Blogs are not magical.
A lot of people hype that blogs are the panacea to all your marketing problems. Let’s get real for a minute. They’re actually just a website. The difference is each blog post represents a “new website page.” Content is king with Google, so for many it’s simply easier to write small blog posts to add content rather than feel intimidated by adding new “articles” on a website. And yes, blogs allow interaction but frankly few therapists have enough website traffic, let alone the right KIND of traffic, where visitors are going to be commenting on your blog.
Blogs are date-stamped (well, most entries are.)
This is not always great for therapists with timeless information or, in my premarital relationships website, where engaged couples would balk at a fantastic article with advice if they saw I wrote it four years ago. Right now it’s on my homepage as “Hot Topics!” Keep your audience in mind and whether, in three years when then see your blog, they’re going to think your amazing advice is outdated.
Clients may not give a hoot about your blog.
They want in person help. They want your contact information and to learn about you. If you have a lot of fantastic, well-organized information ON your website directly, you may get more eyeballs reading your information which will convert more web visitors into clients. By the time clients find your website they may already be exhausted and the last thing they will do is click on your blog. They don’t need more information – they need HELP. In person.
Blogs are hard.
Finding your voice is hard. It took me YEARS, after teaching hundreds of therapists and marriage educators about website stuff, to finally find my voice for this blog. If I had started this blog three years ago it would have been a pain in my butt, a huge guilt trip, stale, hard to stay motivated, and not been as organized because I wouldn’t have a vision or know how to organize my blog categories. (Organizing a blog is an entire training by itself!)
There are actually three different ways to have a blog.
One way is to have it “under” your website, so for example I could have chosen thomasconsultation.com/blog (Thomas consultation being my main therapy marketing website.) I could have also tried thomasconsultation.blogspot.com to at least keep the same name of blog, just with blogpost.com or wordpress.com (there are other blog programs out there too, like livejournal.com, etc.)
The third way is the strategic way. It’s my passion – Search Engine Optimization. I could spend ten thousand dollars or more to get one ad in one therapy magazine and hope it draws a few eyeballs my way. Instead, I did research, spent a lot of time thinking about who I am, my brand, and what is available. I decided to be psychotherapy private practice as the overall umbrella for my website marketing stuff because that phrase got the most traffic on Google over other phrases. It’s my niche client and therapists don’t necessarily think about “SEO” so it wouldn’t help me to market as an SEO guru. The domain name itself is taken and I didn’t feel a need to spend $100/year hosting this blog, so I’m using the free wordpress version. As of the time of this writing, it’s been 16 months, I’ve had almost 300 posts (almost one a day and I had a 6 week bed rest period in there without use of an arm.) I’ve had 6,666 visits to my blog. Even if you take out probably 2,000 spam visits, that’s over 4,000 eyeballs of MY ideal readers finding my blog and information. Without a penny spent.
The trick to this SEO blog thing, however, isn’t just the name. It’s our final quick lesson for today.
The more you write, the more you help Google understand who you are.
I realize it’s a difficult mindset to think of yourself as a Robot, but that’s what search engines are. YOU know you’re a kick butt therapist with expertise in your subject matter, but why would Google care? And how does Google match your amazing brain spillage with the millions of daily questions people ask? It does this by many factors, one of which is what you say. I blog nonstop about therapy websites so I get that exact traffic. If I blogged nonstop about the nuts and bolts of a private practice business, I’d get that traffic. And if I blogged about ethics of therapy, or how to set up office furniture for a private practice, I’d get that exact traffic. The point here is I chose a fairly broad blog name (psychotherapy private practice) and then it’s my duty to help Google understand the kind of traffic I want by writing a lot so it can match people’s questions to what I’m saying. Most therapists don’t write enough to help Google know exactly why their blog is awesome. And most therapists are too broad with their blog topic which means their real competition is huge, national, heavily marketed websites on their niche area.
I hope this information was useful! I protect my time but do limited personal coaching. Contact me if you want to pick my brain more. I find being strategic the most important first step in your marketing efforts. You have to know yourself, your audience, and then slot in how to make this work best.