by Michael Dorausch, DC

I’ve covered this seven reasons topic before, but Dr. Darrel Crain asked if I’d cover it again, with a greater emphasis on chiropractic web sites. You’d think I’d be a big fan of the companies pushing chiropractic web site templates, but that’s not the case. Issues like horrible search engine optimization (SEO) methods, duplicate content, secret linking schemes (that profit the company making the template), and reliability on paid search (PPC) for traffic, are some of the reasons why I tell chiropractors to stay far away from most chiropractic website companies.

I still think going local is best when hiring a web designer. Here are my top seven reasons why a chiropractor should do so…

1) They are local: This may seem all too obvious but it’s number one for a reason. I’ve had websites that were created in other states or countries and you may have heard stories of how much money one could save by doing so. After having several websites created I can say that the potential savings are just not worth it for the chiropractic office when creating a single website. Going local is nice because you get to meet the person you’re working with. They can come to your office and you can potentially visit their office.

2) Duplicate Content: I have yet to find a mass-produced chiropractic website that does not suffer from a duplicate content penalty. This affects a web site’s ability to rank high in search engines. Something a chiropractic office should be paying attention to (if they are hoping to get new clients from online).

Think about duplicate content this way. Imagine you had a Medicare patient named Sally Smith. In order to be paid you submit Sally’s file to Medicare for reimbursement. Now imagine the chiropractor down the street from you sends in the same exact billing to Medicare? Their billing includes the same patient name, identical Social Security number, identical complaint, and the name of their office instead of yours. Think that would raise a red flag eventually? Now imagine we duplicate that process a few hundred times but just change the name of the chiropractic office doing the billing. Red flag? You bet!

A local web designer is going to be sure your content is unique (unless they’re stealing content from somewhere else) to your chiropractic office only, giving you a significant competitive advantage over your neighboring colleagues, who have to all opted to share one website (unknowingly of course).

3) They know your community: Assuming your web designer has lived in your community for some time they should have a good understanding of the area. This is something that’s often overlooked but it can be a critical factor for the chiropractic office hoping to capture the local search market. It’s my experience that your local web designer is going to be more familiar with local zip codes, major area landmarks, neighboring cities, realistic driving directions, and will generally have a better feel for the geographic area your chiropractic office serves.

4) Promoting your business locally off-line: (valuable tip) Chances are your local web designer is going to want to show off what a great job they did on your chiropractic website. You’ll potentially be the small-business owner that people will desire to visit when the topic of referrals comes up. In my experience it never hurts to get face-to-face with more local business people, even if it is to discuss websites and marketing. Think outside the box for a moment here and imagine the possibilities if you and some of your local business buddies (real estate agents, attorneys, local bakery, favorite locally owned small business restaurants) linked to each other’s websites. One could argue this is really an online idea but it is far better if you have the discussion with other local small businesses off-line.

5) Promoting your business locally online: It’s likely your local web designer has their own website (and it’s likely they have more inbound links than your website) and they’ll probably want to display a screenshot of your web site along with a link to show examples for future clients. There is potential your chiropractor website will receive some “link juice” from your designers website, and that’s a good thing.

6) You are supporting your local community: You can electronically transfer your funds overseas or waste money monthly on companies providing cookie-cutter chiropractic template type sites or you can support a local, talented, artistic and often times independent web designer. “Made in [Your City]” adds a neat touch to a local site. I can tell you right now the outsourced project is not likely to provide you with any links and worse, the company giving you a template will likely suck your link juice right out of search engine rankings by keyword linking back to their main web site (without telling you they’re doing so). Even worse than that, I’ve witnessed three so-called chiropractic web site companies, selling links for profit (Google TOS violation) and not telling their clients there doing so.

7) Saved Money Invested in Proper SEO: The money you save by not making the mistake of going overseas the first time, or having to pay monthly fees for a template driven website, can be invested in proper search engine optimization practices. There is a chance that your local designer has enough talent (or more likely works with someone) to provide basic SEO services for your chiropractor website. This is where your monthly ongoing expenses should be invested, especially if your chiropractic office exists in a metro area, like my Los Angeles office.

If you have any specific questions about duplicate content, pay per click (PPC), or other things mentioned here, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can address them in a way you can best understand.