The Definitive Guide to Chiropractic Websites - Learn the Secrets
BY: MIKE HAMILTON // INCEPTION ONLINE MARKETING, OWNER
I’ve been told that trying to figure out chiropractic websites, is like trying to juggle three Rubik's Cubes while solving them at the same time. The internet can be a challenging place, but the basic principals are actually pretty simple. I do my best in the guide below to explain chiropractic websites and internet marketing.
You also may want to check out another article I wrote: The Top 20 Chiropractic Website Companies. It can be a real pain to call all the salesmen trying to find out pricing and services. The information there should help to save you time.
The Design of Your Chiropractic Website
The design of your chiropractic website is critical. Understanding patient actions is a huge part of the process that most doctors forget about. As chiropractors we are so concerned about telling patients about the services we offer that we forget to ask the question….Do they want to know about all the services? In most cases patient are much more concerned about seeing your picture then they are about whatever services you might offer.
When the first chiropractic websites were produced they were focused on patient education. As chiropractors we all thought that websites were going to be the next patient education tool, but we were wrong. Patients were bored to death, and almost none of them read the content.
When the first new patient generating chiropractic websites came out they were very in your face. This obviously works, but is it the kind of impression that you want to leave on the people that know you in your community? Our team at Inception believes that you can get people to take action without making them feel like a child. Show them a professional website with a clear call to action, and you can accomplish the same goal.
Video marketing is becoming more and more important every day, but does your website have to contain videos? Video is great to have on your website, but from experience it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact I would say that having a video on your homepage should only be done if the video is of very high quality. Shooting a dark, low quality video in your office, and displaying it on the top of your website, is not the best option.
On the topic of videos I do believe that it is very good to have patient testimonial videos. Our clients that have a number of chiropractic testimonial videos on their website do very well with them. The videos are not expected to be of high quality, and it’s a great way to show potential new patients what others are saying about you.
There has been a great deal of buzz lately about mobile chiropractic websites. There are a number of companies running around telling small business owners that they are losing clients because they don’t have a mobile friendly website. Is this really true?
To start this conversation we first have to talk about reality. Every modern website works on a mobile phone in some way. Some chiropractic websites display in a true mobile version while others display in responsive format.
You have to ask yourself this question: If you are trying to learn about a new business, would you want to see their full website on your smart phone or just a fraction of it in a mobile version? I for one want to see the full website. Smart phones are so impressive today that the need for condensed mobile version websites really doesn’t exist.
All of our websites at Inception have a responsive design. What this means is that the full page is available, but it changes its shape to fit on the device it’s being displayed on.
Most chiropractic websites are loaded with mountains of information on the homepage. Do a test for yourself. Start clicking on a bunch of different websites from chiropractors in your city, and see what happens to you? Do you scan the whole page and read all the content, or do you look at the one thing that stands out the most? I know that I look at the one thing that stands out the most, and I ignore the rest.
I believe very strongly that potential new patients function in the same way. They spend about 5 seconds looking at your website, and if they don’t take action in that period of time they will leave. They might come back to you, but why take that chance. If your website is set up to be neat, clean, and focused on a good call to action you will have more success.
When we start talking about website design platforms most people have no idea what we are talking about, but if you’ve heard of WordPress then you know a little bit about this topic. In the past most web designers built websites from scratch by hand coding. Today the majority of websites are built with content management systems. You can think of content management systems like building blocks. Designers all over the world create modules that can be plugged into CMS systems like WordPress or Joomla. Content management systems are typically much easier to manage and they also allow you as a doctor to be able to login to make adjustments if you choose to.
At Inception Chiropractic Websites we are personally big fans of using WordPress as a content management system for our doctors. WordPress allows us to offer more cutting edge designs to our clients. We also do not expect our clients to have to work on their own site. We are here to make changes for you within minutes of being asked to do so.
So how much should you be paying for a chiropractic website? Is a $49 website the same as a $250 website? The hard thing for most doctors is that they don’t have enough experience in this area to know what they are paying for or getting. My personal opinion is that you should not be spending above $500 per month on a website, and if you are paying less than $200 you’re probably not getting the service you think you are.
I put together this video to give you a bit more information about website cost:
The content of your chiropractic website is the strength of your website. When Google comes to look at your page they make assessments of hundreds of things. They do their best to evaluate your content against the rest of the competition. Let’s talk about some of the important factors in this area.
The first thing that you want to look at is how specific your content is? If you want to rank for specific terms in a Google search then you need to have well written content about that topic. Most websites have little to no content. The length of your page is important. A well written long article will give you much more credibility then one or two paragraphs. At Inception we handle this for our clients.
Social Media Marketing Integration
Raise your hand if you’ve been told that social media marketing is the key to new chiropractic patients. It seems to have slowed down a bit lately, but there are plenty of social media gurus telling doctors that Facebook is going to explode their practice. Social media is an important part of a complete online system. It’s very important for Google to see that your business has a social media connection, but don’t believe all the hype. If chiropractic social marketing is going to produce new patients for your office, you need to be ready for the work involved. Let’s talk about some of the more popular platforms that chiropractors can use.
There are chiropractors that have had success with Facebook marketing. What you often don’t know is that they had to build a large local following to make this work. The difficulty in the process is finding enough local people to like your business page. If it sounds hard it is. It’s actually hard enough that I’m not sure it’s worth the effort in most cases for chiropractors.
Facebook is a great place to connect with your current patients. They love it if you are willing to take the time to share great information there with them. Don’t post everything about chiropractic and health. You should have a mix of posts including funny, inspirational, and helpful tips. Form a better connection with your current patients on your Facebook business page, and you will be using this social environment in an effective way.
As far as a new patient tool Google Plus is not an area that I would rely on, but it is very important in other ways. The organic local rank that your chiropractic website has is heavily weighted on your Google Plus setup. I could write an entire article about this topic, but what you need to know is that you need a professional helping you in this area. If it took our team at Inception a year to get this area mastered then it’s unlikely . How much money are you losing by not having a top ranking site?
Linked in is a very good place to connect with other business professionals, but it’s not the best place to find new chiropractic patients. So what is the use of having a Linkedin account? Google likes to see that you have confirmed, and active, social media accounts. If you can build up a good number of connections to your profile it’s likely that it will carry some weight with Google. The more authority you have as an author the better off you are.
I would personally put Twitter marketing on the bottom of your list. You might have more luck finding local potential chiropractic patients on Twitter, but the way this platform works is not a good way to form strong relationships with people. I’ve yet to meet a doctor that has told me that Twitter is producing new patients for them, and unless you are using automated tools to do tweets it is just too time consuming. It’s an important part of an overall strategy, but I wouldn’t put too much effort into it.
YouTube is one of the most important areas of social media for chiropractors. YouTube videos are a perfect way for you to show potential new clients who you are, but they are also a great way to boost the rank of your website. You can create a video series that walks patients through something you want to teach them, or you can get video testimonials from your patients. If you are not using YouTube for video marketing you are missing out on a lot of power.
Pinterest is the new kid on the block. I see a number of chiropractors trying hard to make some use of it, but I’m not sure it’s a very good place to find new patients. Anything you put great effort into will produce some results, but you have to weigh out your time to decide if this is really worth it. Pinterest is a social entity that we are still playing with. You can visit our account to see what we’ve done there, but as much activity as we get there I can’t say that it has ever produced a client for us.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of helping your website to be noticed by Google. You see your website is in competition with all the other chiropractic websites around you. Google has to decide who they think the best choice is to show the people that use their search engine service. They want to make sure that the people using their service are happy with the top results that they click on.
Over the years Google has become very good at looking for quality. Today there are hundreds of factors that are used to decide the quality of a website, and it has become a full time job understanding what they want to see. There is no blueprint, and there never will be one. The day that someone like myself can completely game the system is the day that Google will no longer be in business. With that said there are a number of things that I can tell you about what they are probably looking for from the results we see with our clients.
On page optimization or SEO deals with all the optimization factors that are contained within your website itself. Today I would say that this area of optimization is probably the most important. If you get this wrong everything else is a waste of time. I’ll walk you through the most important on page factors.
Do a Google search for anything and you will get a list of results. This list of results has a bunch of blue titles that you can click on followed by a couple of lines of text. You’re looking at part of what is called the meta data. Meta data is composed of title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords. In the world of optimization meta data is critical. It’s probably the first thing Google looks at when then are considering your chiropractic website for a given search.
The majority of chiropractic websites fail at this first step. They either don’t have any meta data or the meta data being used does not match up with the proper keywords. The title tags of your website are the most important ranking factor. Mess them up and everything else you do for optimization can fail.
After looking at the meta data Google will probably look at header tags. Header tags are incorporated into your page content and they should be matched up with your meta titles and descriptions. A properly designed website should also have at least one H1 header tag, and usually one or two H2 tags. The content of those pages must also match up with what the header tags are talking about.
We have already covered the topic of finding keywords, but those keywords are used in these areas of the website. Your important keywords need to be a part of your meta data, your header tags, and the content of your page. Be careful not to keyword stuff. You need to use the words naturally in the text of the page and in many random variations.
In recent years Google has also added structured data. Structured data allows Google bots to find important information quickly. Things like your office location, the author of the website, and patient reviews are something that you can put inside of a structured data markup. The majority of websites today do not have this working for them, and it can give you a great advantage in the search engines.
Now that we’ve covered on page optimization we need to talk about external optimization of your chiropractic site. External optimization is composed of building links on other websites that point back to your website. The links show Google that you have a popular website, but as with everything there are some important guidelines to follow.
For years SEO’s were able to build links with automated programs. Google was not sophisticated enough to catch them, and you could get a top rank pretty easily with a small amount of knowledge. Today Google has caught up, and they have changed the game. It’s no longer about how many links you have, it’s about how good the links are that you have. Quality is much more important than quantity.
Instead of thinking about how you can beat the system by building links, spend some time thinking about how you can produce videos or written content that people actually want. Why did I spend the time to write this huge article? I knew that this was valuable information for you, and that it would probably lead to more business for me. You have to be willing to give something of value before you can expect to get something of value.
The best links that you can build today are:
- Links from High Quality Articles You Wrote
- Links from Videos of You or Testimonials
- Links from Blog Posts
- Links from Guest Blogging
- Links from Citations
Once you build a link it’s a great idea to build more links to your links. As an example you could write a great blog post for your website blog. Then you could make a YouTube video about it and link the video to your blog post in the description box. You could even take it a step further and make a Pinterest pin for the video you created. That would create three levels to your link structure. Now you just have to find the time to do all of that.
The worst thing I have to do in my business is tell a chiropractor that he or she needs to start their website over from scratch. About once a month I encounter a doctor that wants help from us, but there’s nothing I can do. They had an SEO company do work for them that destroyed their credibility with Google. In many cases there is not a good solution to fix this, and they have to abandon their website URL. Starting a new URL means you will be waiting for months to hopefully get back to the first page of a Google search. Be very careful who you choose to do SEO work for you.
If you are really interesed in SEO you should keep an eye on the following websites.MOZ.com and SearchEngineLand.com
Keywords for Your Website?
If you don’t know what keywords are, they are basically the words that people type in when they do a Google search. If you are a chiropractor in Chicago then you can expect that people would search for “chiropractor Chicago” if that were looking to find a provider. Your chiropractic website needs to be optimized in a way that you will show up for the keywords that people in your city search.
Keywords should be scattered though out the content of your chiropractic website. Pages of your website should also be focused on certain keywords, and the content of those pages should have a number of variations of those words.
Marketing Your Website?
Ok so you have a website, and you know what keywords you need to rank for, but how do you market your chiropractic website. In other words how do you get your new website to produce new patients for you? How are you going to get people to find your great new site? Let’s walk through the important steps.
Paid Advertising for Chiropractic Marketing
Have you noticed when you do a Google search that the top few listings have an Ad mark next to them? The results you see there are Google Adwords ads. The offices in those positions have paid Google to achieve a top rank. Does that type of advertising really work? In some cities it can be very profitable to do and in other cities in can be a total flop.
There are a number of different forms of paid advertising including:
- Google Adwords
- Facebook Paid Ads
- YouTube Promoted Ads
- Google Re-Marketing Ads
Each of these paid opportunities can work, but you must do your homework. Using general settings will waste a lot of your money. At Inception we help our clients to fine tune their campaigns to save money and target qualified customers.
Chiropractic Video Marketing
Very few doctors take advantage of the power of chiropractic video marketing. Patients that come to your chiropractic website are generally not going to take time to read the content on your pages. They will however take the time to watch videos that you have there. Video is a way for you to tell people your message, and show them who you are at the same time.
All you need to start making videos for your practice is a $75 web cam, and a few ideas of what to talk about. You can very easily create great videos every week in your office, and then use the power of YouTube to promote them.
Chiropractic Reputation Marketing
I believe that chiropractic reputation marketing is going to be something that every chiropractor will understand over the next few years. Your reputation can be destroyed very quickly by a few unhappy patients that decide to vent their frustrations. Imagine what would happen to your office if every time someone searched for your business they saw a one star listing and a bad review right next to your website? Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for the doctors that currently have this problem it can cost you your office.
One or two bad reviews on a website like Yelp can be very destructive to the future of your business, and good luck fixing it once it happens. Trying to pull down a bad Yelp review is nearly impossible. You must be proactive before the damage hits. Encouraging your current patients to write good reviews for you online is a must. If you can build a solid reputation online you can shake off the inevitable bad reviews that will come.
Google Plus Local
Are you confused by Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Plus Local?
If you are you’re not alone. The bad thing is that the rank of your website is very much based on your understanding of each of these entities. Your listing must be filled out completely, and your accounts must be confirmed. Any local website that has reasonable competition will struggle without a neat and clean Google presence. Our team at Inception can handle this work for you, but if you decide to go it alone make sure you do your homework.
Tracking the Health of Your Website
Google has done a great job helping webmasters keep an eye on their websites. Tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics can help to show you how much traffic you are getting as well as any problems your site might be having. Learning how to use all the functions that Google has to offer is about as difficult as getting through chiropractic school, but the information is there if you have the time to learn it.
There are people that would tell you that you should never connect your website to a Google property. They say this because they think you can hide things from Google by keeping your website on the outside. The reality is that Google can see everything in your website anyway. If you don’t connect your website, and Google does have a problem with your chiropractic site, they don’t have any way to tell you. You could be getting penalized by them without them having any way to tell you it’s happening.
My fingers are sore so I think I’ve reached the end. I will continue to update this article as time goes on to keep things current. Our team at Inception Chiropractic Websites is happy to help you with any questions that you might have. Online marketing is a great way to find new patients, but there’s a lot to it. Simply throwing up an average website will not get the job done. Work with an expert and you’ll see the best results.
CLICK HERE for an article that breaks down the Top 20 Chiropractic Website Companies.