By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
Tips for developing a successful chiropractors web space
Can you help me design my chiropractic Website? I’ve been asked that question so many times that it has me wondering whether there are more chiropractors in this world than we previously thought.
I’ve answered the question a thousand different ways and to cut back on the e-mails I receive I figured it was best to address some of the basics here.
Many of the design ideas and fundamentals going into the creation of a chiropractic website will be similar to many other service industry types of website design. There are standards to consider like types of HTML, PHP coding, mysql, hosting, selecting proper domains, and a really wide array of different things that you honestly don’t need much information about. As a chiropractor, (or any small business owner setting up a web site) you may choose to know some basic information to make sure your web site is doing what it was meant to do, the rest of the details are optional.
Listen, I wasn’t the first person to build a chiropractic web site. I’ve been at this since 1995 and I’ve amassed more details and information about web sites than I care to put online. All that information is out there anyway, if you only go seeking it out.
So let’s hit some basics which will be followed by some resources where you can get more granular information. By far the most common question I get asked is “can you build my chiropractic web site?” The answer is no.
Who can I get to build my chiropractic website?
If you’re in chiropractic practice, you’ve received the phone calls, the faxes, the e-mails, have seen advertisements online, and have visited those web site design booths at conferences and seminars. I’m going to suggest very strongly that if you want to build a web site that is successful, you go outside the circle. There are great people out there that will build your site but here are my tips.
Go local, go basic, be unique
When I say go local I mean hire a local web designer in your community. Why? Number one, you can sit down face-to-face and see who you’re working with. Number two, they are in your community! You’re now supporting a business that tends to rely on promoting their products and services by promoting work they’ve done for you. This is the complete opposite of what most chiropractic web hosting companies are doing. They (the chiro hosts) typically promote themselves using you, not the other way around.
Your local web designer will likely have their own homepage and there’s a very good chance they’re going to provide a link to your web site from their home page. They are also going to likely provide links to other businesses in your community and you know every business owner is going to check every other businesses web site.
Who you want your web site visited by? Different chiropractors from around the world that want to “borrow” your content, graphics, and videos to use on their web sites? Or would you like people in your local community visiting your web site? There’s no question, Go Local for Web Design!
Don’t use patients to build websites unless they are a professional design agency and you’ve got a really good relationship with them. While going the patient route can be easy, you lose some of that juice you’d get from going with somebody completely new in your circle. Think about who’s going to be hungrier, your existing patient or the web designer that wants to prove their product works?
What do you want your web site to do? Do you want to be educational? You want the whole world to know about DD Palmer and the first chiropractic adjustment on Harvey in 1895? Save yourself some trouble, I’ve already been down that road.
Most web sites have this information and it had better be on your checklist. Your phone number, your location, who you are. By that I mean are you a chiropractor (or are you something or someone else)?
What about my office hours, what about photos, what about where I went to school, what about the types of insurance I accept? Hold on Sparky, you can include all of those but they are not basics. The most basic successful local business web site will have a phone number, the name of the industry, and general location. Name, phone number, address.
John Smith, Chiropractor
Mount Washington, Nebraska
This is my million-dollar secret and I don’t want you to share it with anyone else. Look at the above information and tell me what you see. I’ll tell you what I see…
1) Existing patients finding you online because you’ve included your name and your profession. They will specifically type “John Smith chiropractor” when seeking you out (I have volumes of research on this). They will not be looking for a DC or D.C. in fact, many don’t even know what those letters mean.
2) New patients finding you online because you’ve included all three ways they will do so. The Terms Chiropractor Mount Washington, chiropractor Nebraska, chiropractor 12748 all come back to you (if you’ve done your work right – topic for another article).
3) Other chiropractors and often times also attorneys finding you to refer patients for the same reasons mentioned in #2.
I’ve helped chiropractors gets boatloads of new patients just by utilizing the basic information above.
You’re so bright that you figure you’ll use the methods above but will make it “even better” by including your e-mail address, complete business address, and office hours. Those are options but I’ll tell you what will happen, so make your choices accordingly. 1) You will receive e-mails as follows… Do you take my insurance? I have an itch near my rectum is that something chiropractic can help with? What are your fees? 2) Including your complete business address will allow someone to search you on a map, discovering you are “too far” for them to travel. 3) Office hours are great way to tell people you’re not available.
Express yourself but don’t be a lunatic, unless of course you are. Seriously, there are many things about you that people probably don’t know. They are often things that will allow you to bond with the people you serve.
As examples, I’ve been running long distance for years, mostly along the beach in Venice, California. I receive a steady volume of long-distance runners simply because we share common interests. If you’re a tennis maniac, soccer mom, active in a local church, computer guru, have young children, driving in traffic (finish this list yourself). In my experience, people are bored with seeing professional business photos that just show you sitting there like some sort of run-of-the-mill person.
I love seeing stuff like this on chiropractor’s web sites. They tell me something about the chiropractor.
If you’re a soccer mom, mention it on your web site, and mention it in detail. Talk about the league your kids are in, how you take time off from the office to get them to practice and games (mention locations such as Playa Vista field). If you provide chiropractic care to all the kids that are on the team include that information online. Your human, you are unique, tell us something about yourself! We can learn about BJ Palmer and DD Palmer in the office or a Planet Chiropractic.
Pages or new patients?
If you want hundreds of pages of duplicate content that will kill you in the search engines, almost ensuring that your web site will never appear for the most common search Terms in your community, go use a chiropractic template that has “hundreds” of pre written articles.
Photos not to use
I’ve done this so I am talking from experience. I’m still even guilty of it today as I have many hundreds of chiropractic photos floating around the Internet (they even appear on others’ web sites – nice if you folks sent me some link love). Don’t show photographs of empty adjusting tables, empty front offices, empty hallways, empty parking lots, and really bad pictures of yourself. The last one is subjective but it’s really important to your online image. I know you took the pictures when the office was closed because you are busy seeing patients during the day. What we are seeing though are pictures of an office we will never experience, unless we are coming in when you’re closed.
I’ll post some examples of photos we found to be successful in our chiropractic office but I’ll likely put them into our blog and we’ll just link to that content from here.
I had about a thousand other things to discuss regarding chiropractic web site design but this article should at least have stimulated you to do some thinking. There are two places you can get regularly updated chiropractic web site tips authored by me (and some others). The chiropractic homepage project is a web site that focuses specifically on design, coding, meta tags, scripting, PHP, mysql database projects, and all sorts of intricate details that will help you improve your web presence.