An effective blog is much more than a place to post a few random thoughts. As we noted in A Plastic Surgeon’s Social Media Hub, a well designed blog is a next-generation, interactive web site.
One of the most critical decisions for a plastic surgeon in web design is choosing the right platform for a blog. That platform can make or break your objective to create the communications hub you are aiming for. It is essential to decide on the right platform as early in your blogging process as possible.
First Some Questions
The best way to choose the right platform for you medical practice blog is by answering a few strategic questions. Your answers to these questions will help you determine which blog platform is best for your practice.
- How large is your practice?
- What do you want to accomplish with your blog?
- Are you a savvy Doctor 2.0 Web User or a newcomer?
- How much are you willing to budget?
- Will multiple users be posting to your blog?
- Do you want a free blog hosting service or self-hosted?
The answer to that last question is most important. There are plenty of excellent free services like Worpress.com and Blogger, but most professional quickly realize they need a self-hosted platform. They cost a few dollars a month, but the advantages far outweigh the expense.
Self-hosting does not mean you have to house your blog on a server at your practice. It does mean you are choosing a blog platform that is independent of the blog software provider. Wordress.com blogs, for example, reside on WordPress’ servers and are more limited that self-hosted versions of WordPress.
- Cons of Self-Hosting: Cost
- Pros of Self-hosting: A self-hosted platform gives you total control of your content. You will also have significantly increased functionality, more blog themes to choose from, and more design options. Perhaps the single greatest advantage to self-hosted blog platforms is you have almost unlimited options for expansion.
If you want to know what blog platforms are best for business, it makes sense to take a look at what the best blogs are built on. A Pingdom 2009 survey revealed the platforms used by the top 100 business blogs.
- WordPress – 32 of the top 100 blogs
- Typepad – 28 of the top 100 blogs
- Together WordPress and Typepad account for 60% of the top 100 blogs.
Making the Choice
The preferred option for a plastic surgeon’s web design in blogs is a self-hosted platform. While Google, Blogger is often a first choice, most serious bloggers quickly turn to a self-hosted option like Worpress or Typepad. Various surveys reveal one predominant reason – control.
Your two best options for a self-hosted blog platform are:
WordPress.org – The self-hosted version of WordPress is free to use but requires your own host for it to run on. WordPress offers a wide range of free themes to choose from. There are also a number of third-party designers that specialize in premium WordPress themes that generally cost less than $100.00. WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to SEO visibility.
Typepad –This platform has hosting built-in to its price. Its features include widgets, much like WordPress plug-ins, and professional support.
Here are a few factors you should consider when comparing self-hosted platforms:
- Ease of use – Is it fairly intuitive?
- Functionality – Do you have to reinvent the wheel to make it do what you want it to? If so, avoid it.
- Customization – There needs to be a balance between how much you can change about your blog’ design and the amount of effort or resources it takes to accomplish that. Worpress themes allow an experienced web designer to alter CSS style sheets giving you practically total control over the appearance of your blog.
- Reputation – There are literally hundreds of blog platforms but less than 20 with a track record and support a busy professional should trust something as important as their communications and social media hub to. There is a reason 60% of the top 100 bloggers use only two self-hosted platforms – they work.