Your personal website should make you money. I speak to so many surgeons that really do not understand that. The trick with Internet Marketing is that you actually have to spend money on making your website work, in the sense of it creating a positive cash flow for you. The most common misconception is that once the site is constructed, your job is done.
With everything in life, the more that you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Here is the problem though. You are a cosmetic doctor, not a website designer or programmer. You likely know very little about it, which is fine, it is not your job. However, this also leads to some detrimental mistakes that keep your website from becoming what it could be. When you choose a company to build your medical website, to do search engine optimization (seo), to make changes to your current website or simply to host your site you need to be very careful. There are numerous “rookie” mistakes that you can make. I have listed some below:
1. The Domain – Be Sure You Own It
When you find a company that you are happy with, be sure that you own the domain. This is the most common mistake I see. Have you ever seen the movie Ransom, starring Mel Gibson. This actually reminds me a lot of that movie. You work with a company, you give them a lot of money, you trust them, etc. Then they decide to raise their rates tremendously, they don’t do what they say they were going to do, they don’t call you back, or any other situation comes up and you decide it is time to switch to another company. But you don’t own your own website that you have paid for, etc. Seems stupid, but it happens a lot. The company then tells you, that they are happy to transfer the domain and website into your name, but you need to pay them X amount (sometimes $500, sometimes $5,000 and sometimes even more) for them to do it. They hold your website hostage and demand a ransom….what can you do? When you sign a contract with a company, be sure you own the domain. You can check who owns the domain on www.whois.net. It is a simple, free tool for you. If you need help finding out, shoot me an email.
2. Search Engine Optimization – Your New Website
Always try to find a company to build your website that has both the ability to build the site and also search engine optimize it. A common mistake I see is that cosmetic surgeons will choose one company that has no clue about search engine optimization to build the website, and then after the website is complete, try to find a company to get that website to the top of the search engines. Unfortunately, it only hurts you. You pay more and get less results because of this, both short term and long term. Search Engine Optimization should be built into the website, not added after the website is complete. Be sure the company you choose knows how to do both and make them show you examples. I can give you a list of questions to ask that can help you determine if they actually know what they are doing. Most companies have great sales people that can convince you they are the best….make them show you actual verifiable results. That is a lot easier to understand than a long sales pitch.
3. Your website is complete – How do I add more content?
This is one of the largest money makers for medical website design companies. You want to add before and after photos, articles, text, change your phone number, or anything else, but wait, there is a charge for that. Of course, you are not working with a non-profit so you do have to pay money for services. However, the issue here is when you are paying someone $50 to change your phone number, or $100 to add an article, or $35 just to speak to them on the phone. Over time this adds up and makes you a lot less likely to add content.
Changing a phone number should take no more than 2 minutes, total. A good company will happily do that for free for you. NKP Medical makes most updates and changes for our current clients at no charge. The problem with most companies is they think short term, and want as much money as they can get now. That is also why most companies have very high customer turnover, because you feel like you are being taken advantage of. It is not fair. My philosophy, and of course my companies philosophy on this is that when you are making changes to your site, it will mean your site will be more successful for you, both with conversion and also with search engine optimization. This will make you a happier client which means you will stay with us for a long time. Customer service is so vital for every company, and most do not realize it. Get everything in writing before signing any contract. Be sure that updates and changes are included or are billed per job, not hourly. This will make it much easier for you to understand exactly what you are paying for.
4. Client Testimonials – Who can I call?
To me, this is by far the most interesting concept where you are just setting yourself up to be taken advantage of. When I am asked the question “Who can I talk to that uses your services?” It can be phrased in so many ways, but all you are asking for is a third party testament to their services. So yeah, the smart thing to do is to ask them who you can call……not really. When I am asked this question, my immediate and constant response is, “Call any of my clients, here is a list of all of them.” Companies give clients free services, money back, and other incentives to give them a raving testimonial. I guess my simple point is to ask the company for a list of 20 clients, and call three randomly. Do not call who they tell you to call because of course you and I both already know the answer before you even call that person. The other thing you can do is Google the company’s name, and it should be relatively easy to find some of their clients. Calling people randomly will get you a much better feel for how good that company really is. They should welcome it too, if they are good at what they do.
Feel free to email or call me with any questions. We are always available for free consultations and advice.