Hard Work Works..

…and so does Evernote.

I am happy to announce my new role and relationship with this wonderful company as an Evernote Community Leader.

What this means for you:

  • You now have a resource to help answer any question you have regarding Evernote.
  • Especially if you are new to the program, but even if you are a seasoned user – you now have a resource to discuss best practices.
  • If you think your organization would benefit from using Evernote, I am here to help with everything from set-up and integration to follow-up and maintenance discussions.

Feel free to contact me if I may be of any assistance at all.

Priorities.

There is always a battle between what is important and what is urgent. As I learned long ago from Stephen Covey putting things in four quadrants will help you manage your time and achieve your goals. The four quadrants are:

  1. Important + Urgent
  2. Important + Non-urgent
  3. Not Important + Urgent
  4. Not Important + Not Urgent

Unfortunately category 3 often overwhelms 1 + 2, leaving us spinning our wheels being unproductive.

It is so easy to look at these categories and tell yourself that you’ll make changes. If only it were easy in practice.

 

The Long and Short of it.

Long-tail keywords are in, baby!

Scratching your head? Me too, until I got the hang of using them. We all use keywords to search when we are trying to find something local to us, or within a specific niche. Incorporating them in your writing is crucial for people to find you, and can be lucrative if you can discover some untapped treasures.

What are they?

Long-tail keywords are combinations of keywords or phrases that are generally more than 3 words long.

Examples –

“best easy apple pie recipe for kids”

“great skate parks North Dallas”

“easy hikes with great views LA”

Sound familiar? Sound comfortable? Have you ever typed anything like this into a search engine? YES! ME TOO!

How does this apply to dentists?

Here is the reason that I’m so excited, and why you should be too. Nobody is reading this blog, and not many dentists are aware of these. Professional web marketers are certainly aware of them, but have you ever looked at a colleagues website written by a marketer? I think we have a better chance at converting patients when we write ourselves.

Also – most dentists are competing on keywords that we are all too familiar with: implants, veneers, zoom, crowns, etc.

I’m beginning to write with the questions my “target patient” is already asking Siri.

“How do I straighten my teeth?”

“Is an implant really healthy?”

“Do I really need a crown?”

“How do I keep my teeth white?”

“What is the best way to clean my tongue?”

“How to get fresh breath fast”

Go get writing! I am, and we are already seeing results. SEO is a marathon, if you are doing it the right way. Do a little bit, every day or every week… or even every month. Keep it up, and we will see each other at the top.

Keep up the conversation on social media! Use #socialdentist and join me on twitter – @drbalaze

 

 

Webmaster Wednesdays

Webmaster Wednesdays

The key to keeping it simple

Social and Web stuff have taken over my life. It will become a full-time job, if you allow it. Locking myself down, one day a week, to get everything related to our web presence done saves the rest of my week to handle everything else.

Wednesdays are my day to plan for the rest of the week. Review all scheduled social media posts, brainstorm new ideas for newsletters, blogs, insta and snap updates.

Execution, as you know, will need to happen throughout the week for some platforms. True engagement doesn’t happen if you automate everything – you need to be able to fully interact with people. That happens in real time. Promoting your latest blog post, sharing health related posts, and birthday / celebration posts – those can be automated. And they should be.

tools of the trade

Content Calendar – Still in creation mode for me at this point.  After this post, it’s #1 on my priority list. It guides your writing, and keeps you from having to think too much about what should come next.

Evernote – I keep a note about blog post ideas with check boxes. When I come up with something new, it gets added. When it’s written, it gets marked off so that I don’t repeat myself.

Hootsuite – Most of our accounts are hooked up to Hootsuite. Youtube, Snap and Instagram aren’t connected at this point. Hootsuite allows posts to be scheduled across all of the platforms – FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+.

WordPress – This blog, and our practice website have been created with WP. I love the integration, ease of use, and again – the ability to schedule posts to be published.

wrapping up

I hope that you too practice Webmaster Wednesdays – It’s a system that keeps me focused on the task at hand, and not distracted, or worried about what I need to write on next.

Who is that Masked Man?

Now that I have painstakingly chosen a super-sweet domain name, let’s talk about domain masking, and re-directs.

First some definitions.

Domain masking is when your website lives at one address, “randomsite.wordpress.com” for example, but the domain name “mysweetblog.com” shows as the url instead.

A redirect is exactly as you might guess.  You can program one domain to immediately load another domain. All of the information lives at the main domain, but for whatever reason – like a common misspelling, or owning multiple domain suffixes .com/.net/.org – you want to funnel them to one location.

In our situation, we are doing both.  Our original website has been at “wygdds.com” for many years, and there are lots of postcards, business cards, letterhead with that original domain name printed on it.  People we work with on a regular basis may have it programmed into their computers.  We don’t want to cause any inconvenience by having them land at an empty and lonely domain… i.e. smile.com. [cue Alanis Morissette]. So, we have set up a redirect through our domain hosting company.  This way, when you type in the old domain – you get promptly handed over to the new one, and you don’t even know that anything happened.  You get to see the new domain in your address bar, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Our new website “personalizedsmiles.com” doesn’t actually live there, it lives at another location with a complicated sub-domain of another domain. But we are masking that [i.e. covering the complicated domain] with our easy-to-remember, painstakingly-chosen, super-sweet domain. You pull up our website, and it behaves like any other. Google doesn’t know any better, and neither do you. Why do this? Well, some will do it for security or privacy reasons.  We are doing it because it was easiest to set up the website with it not being crawled by google at the confusing domain, and then when it was ready – mask it with the new domain and get it crawled and indexed.

I hope this helps to address some of the considerations for domain names, redirects, and masking.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

6 Rules to Choosing Your New Domain Name

Dr. Daniel Balaze is a dentist learning about social media and SEO for dentistry. This image of a cityscape highlights how the domain name of your website is similar to a piece of real estate on line.
Have you found your home on the internet?

I spent months searching for the right domain for our dental office website.  Brainstorming sessions, online research, consults with friends, team members, more research, more brainstorming sessions, presenting the list to the other docs in the practice, more research … Finally, a consultation with our internet and website team at Avelient sealed the deal. [the url will be a secret until the site is complete… ;)]

The process has to happen.  Take the time to really develop what it is that you want.  Remember that this is your online address.  It needs to be thought out very carefully, and it takes time.  Even if you think you got it on the first try, it is worth it to spend time thinking on it some more. It hurts…  But you need to do it.

Here are some rules to guide you to the best dental website domain. Ever.

1.] Dot com wins.  Every time.  No questions asked.  If you have to choose between two awesome .net addresses and an ok .com address? .com wins.

2.] Go local?  Every market is different, but yourtowndentist.com might still be available.  Ours wasn’t. Neither was ourtown-dentist.com or dentist-ourtown.com.  Not to mention the abbreviations of our town… OTdental.com was gone too.  For us, going local didn’t make sense, We didn’t want to be part of the crowd.  You’re also competing for patients on a very local level.  I don’t necessarily want to compete with dentists even 50 miles from me, never mind across the country.  Look at your competition, and see if there’s a domain that might set you apart.

3.] If you have to spell it out, it sucks.  I am strongly considering changing the domain of this website because I hate telling people not to spell out the word “doctor”.  But, vanity urls are very common among dentists for obvious the obvious reason that as many of us are solo practitioners and business owners, we ARE our own brand.  That’s one thing if your last name is Smith, and something completely different if it’s Czajkovsky.  Also, what can get confusing are quirky spellings of everyday words.  I wouldn’t want to have to explain that my email is, “Dan at smiles dot com, but that’s spelled with a ‘y’ and a ‘z’.” The point here is – the best domains are easy to say and spell, period.

4.] Avoid double meanings. The example that I found during my research was ExpertsExchange.com – or was that ExpertSexChange.com?  Just be careful, and consult with everyone you know and trust before buying that domain name.

5.] Keywords and EMDs. I was able to get a keyword into our domain name, but I wouldn’t call it an Exact Match Domain (EMD).  If it makes sense, and truly makes sense, then I’m sure an EMD will give you an advantage over the competition.

6.] Hyphens. I have heard mixed reviews on hyphens.  In regards to my local search of dentists in our town, there were already several versions with multiple variations of hyphenations.  The general rule is to avoid any more than a single hyphen.  When you use more than one, you tend to look spammy and may have some difficulty proving that you are a legitimate site.  Even if you’re only using one, you might have to explain it.  Imagine your new domain is abc-xyz.com and someone else owns abcxyz.com.  How much of your hard earned traffic is going to end up on the wrong web page?  How many of your emails are they going to have to read?  This means that you’re going to have to explain the hyphen every time… see #3 above.

In the end, you want to have a domain name that represents you well.  It should reflect who you are and what you do.  It takes time, so prepare yourself to sit with some ideas.  Let them marinate, then come back to them and see if you still like any of them.  Take it to some trusted friends, ask some strangers, get input from anyone in your target audience.  Then get some advice from some professionals as well. Spend this much time with it, and you’ll be able to go forward with confidence.  This is where your digital representation of yourself and your business will live.  Do it once, and do it right.

Clicks vs. Conversions

After several months of playing with and modifying our adwords campaign we have learned something.

People are really good at clicking on our ads, but our phone wasn’t ringing any more than it used to.

What does this mean?  Our website didn’t connect with the people that were clicking on our ads.  Either the content or the design elements… something wasn’t jiving.  This meant that we were spending money on each click, and getting nothing in return.  Some would view the number of clicks as a successful ad campaign, but the goal isn’t people clicking on our ads.  The goal is getting people to pick up the phone and call our office.

So, we evaluated the website and decided that it needed an overhaul.  The ad campaign is on pause for now, and we will work to refine it to better target the same people that would connect with our web page.

Also in the works is a focus on our FB page, and hopefully an efficient way to use the same content to update our Google page as well.  FB Dark Posts will follow shortly, and possibly an intensely focused FB add campaign.

If You Schedule It…

One thing you will hear marketers proclaim from their pulpits of social media superiority is this, “content is king”.  Nearly immediately after they stop shouting about that, they start shouting about how important it is to create a calendar to organize all of your content creation efforts.

I couldn’t agree more.  At our practice, I have first created a plan of attack.  Our “Social Media Marketing Strategy”.  We know how much we want to budget on things like adwords, a website, and in-office promotions.  We know how much time we are able to commit to these efforts, and lastly we have general ideas about the subject matter we will focus on. I don’t think the amount of money or time that you are willing to spend on your effort is important – but deciding what it will be is very important.  You can create and maintain a very successful campaign on very little money, and very little time.  Consistently showing up to make the efforts is what counts the most.  Once people start counting on you to be there, disappearing or fading in and out will only make you seem unreliable and that is not good for any business that I know.

Once you have a calendar, stick to it, evaluate your outcomes, and modify your efforts to better reach your goals.

Thanks for reading, and as always please comment using twitter hashtag #scheduleit

Yours in dental health,

@drbalaze

The ads have started rolling.

Two days ago, I began our Adwords campaign. The results at this point are less then spectacular… Here are my current thoughts as to why:

-I am refusing to discount our services, or give free exams. We occasionally have in-office promotions that go out to existing patients – I will try them next month and see how they change our ad performance and click through rate [CTR].

-Although I have several different ads currently running, I have only one “Ad Campaign”. My 10 different adds are all sharing the same keywords, the same bidding strategy, and the same schedule.

-Our domain name, “wygdds.com”. My mentor, friend turned boss’s initials and credentials. It works because it’s his/our brand, it doesn’t because no-one knows what it means. I am going to get a new domain, and see if that change doesn’t help to better convert new patients.

In my research, I have found that some of our competitors get most [99%] of their traffic from Ads. These Ads only have a handful of keywords that are creating any traffic. I am going to try a separate ad group, and only focus on these keywords that have any searches at all. Simultaneously, I will try and boost our organic results for these same keywords.

Let’s continue the conversation on twitter!
message me with #dentalseo