You may be wondering whether starting a clinic blog is worth the time and effort. The short answer is yes: healthcare providers definitely benefit from including blogs on their websites. Read on to find out why.

Blogging: It’s a lot of work, right? If you’ve considered starting a blog at some point in your career but decided against it, I’m guessing it’s because:

  1. you don’t have the time;
  2. you don’t feel like you have enough unique ideas; or
  3. you’re not sure how to get started.

If so, you’re certainly not alone. According to Website4MD:

  • about 40% of healthcare providers say they don’t have time to run a blog; 
  • 35% say they don’t have enough ideas; and 
  • 16% say they don’t know anything about blog setup or management.

But the fact is, putting in a little effort now can pay off in a big, big way later on down the road. According to the 2018 State of Inbound report from the marketing experts at HubSpot, healthcare businesses that have a blog on their website see 55% more traffic and are approximately 13 times more likely to experience a positive ROI each year compared to their non-blogging counterparts. That’s because blogging plays a huge role in search engine optimization (SEO). According to WebPT’s own SEO specialist, Matt Berger, “Writing blog posts helps improve your web visibility so you can get in front of potential new patients. Every business can benefit from having a blog, and smaller practices, especially, can use this as another tool to help gain exposure among larger practices with bigger audiences and marketing budgets.”

How do blogs increase website traffic and visibility?

Simply put, the more frequently a website is updated, the more search engines like Google or Bing will prioritize it—and thus, display it.

Berger compares it to a neighborhood on Halloween night, with each house being an individual website: “Trick-or-treaters can go to any house to try to get candy, but the Internet is a big, big neighborhood—too big for trick-or-treaters to hit every single house. So instead, they go to houses that have lights on and lots of Halloween decorations and skip the ones that aren’t decorated for the occasion.” Similarly, a clinic website that isn’t actively maintained with updated content will be harder to find, and search engines will be less likely to deem it the right choice for the online searcher.

How can PTs make sure their blogs are seen by the right audience?

There’s a lot that goes into boosting post visibility, but essentially, you should write posts that answer the types of PT-related questions your patients search for on Google.

According to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “80 percent of Internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online,” which has created a unique opportunity for physical therapists to connect to new patients through healthcare blogging. For this reason, you’ll want your blog to touch on topics that:

  1. are relevant to your practice and your patients, and
  2. demonstrate your expertise.

Posts could teach readers how to do something (e.g., a particular exercise) or provide answers to common questions—questions related to your specific practice as well as more general therapy questions. You’ll also want to blog about new services and other clinic updates.

All of this will increase the probability that the right searchers will land on your site when they perform related online searches. Not only will this help you generate new leads, but it’ll also establish you as an authority to your patients—as well as Google. After all, the more traffic your site gets, the more authoritative it appears to search engines—which helps you get even more traffic. It’s a bit of a snowball effect.

What type of blog posts get the most traffic?

You can use your daily experience—as well as social media—to mine for all kinds of content ideas.  

As I mentioned above, you’ll typically want to create content based on your ideal patient’s most frequently-searched questions—both specific to your practice and physical therapy in general. Bear in mind that not every blog post has to be a six-page essay. Instead, consider scannable, bite-sized content like:

  • listicles,
  • FAQs,
  • step-by-step tutorials,
  • myth-versus-fact articles,
  • case studies,
  • success stories,
  • expert roundups, and
  • checklists.

You can also mine relevant interest groups on Facebook and discussion sites like Reddit for topics. Look for questions people frequently ask, and be willing to engage with other participants. You can even use these forums to promote your posts, although you should always check with the group rules before doing so. You should also be careful not to come off as too salesy—especially on Reddit—as this can actually turn people away from reading your blog.

If you’re not one to surf the web regularly, not to worry—you can get plenty of inspiration from your daily interactions with patients. What sorts of questions are they asking when they call to book an appointment? What about when they start care? And which answers could you expand into a standalone article?

What are some blogging dos and don’ts?

There are a few basic need-to-knows when it comes to blogging. In short, keep your posts concise, conversational, and relevant.

You may not be a published writer, but your blog should still look professional and compel people to read it. Fortunately, your expertise as a therapist already gives you some credibility, but here are a few specific dos and don’ts you should consider before you start posting content:

  • Do create a headline that entices people to click on the title (often a question or declarative statement).
  • Don’t try to wax-poetic or speak in a corporate tone. Instead, keep it conversational.
  • Do have an opening paragraph that connects to the title, grabs the reader’s attention, and prompts him or her to continue reading.
  • Do use keywords. According to Berger, you should choose one primary keyword for a blog post and include it in the body of the post, the main headline, and the first paragraph. This helps search engines determine whether the content is relevant to the keyword.
  • Don’t try to stuff keywords in places where they don’t belong. Any keywords you use should sound natural and flow with the rest of the paragraph.
  • Do use free search engine optimization (SEO) tools. There are tons of free tools out there to help you find good topics, pick keywords, and optimize for search engine visibility. Here are the ones we recommend:
    • Google Analytics: If nothing else, Google Analytics is a must-have for any PT practice website. This will provide you with information like:
      • who visits your site;
      • which pieces of content they read;
      • which of your marketing strategies are the most effective; and
      • a lot more!
    • Google Keyword Planner: This is available through your Google Analytics account. It provides search volume, difficulty score, and more to help you find new, relevant keywords.
    • AnswerThePublic: This tool helps you determine the questions and queries your audience searches for most by creating visualizations and reports based on keywords you enter. 
    • Google Trends: This tool shows trending keywords and the performance of keywords over time.

So, there you have it: the basics of blogging for PT clinic websites. Have any blogging-related questions? We know a thing (or two) about the topic, so feel free to shoot us a question in the comment section below! For more great advice on how to launch and run a PT clinic blog, check out this post.