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The Right Host for Your Medical Blog

Our goal here at MDWebPro is providing Doctor 2.0 tactical guidance for making your next-generation, interactive web site the best it can be! As we noted a few days ago, that next-generation site is your blog specifically designed as a social media hub.

The first step is to choose the right platform, and without a doubt, WordPress and Typepad are your two best choices. Once you’ve committed to a platform, the next step is to find the right host for your blog.

Why Blog Hosting?

Blog hosting is specifically optimized for blogs. The web hosting providers we will feature here all have specific hosting plans designed for the unique requirements of robust blogs. That includes guaranteed up-time and generous space for videos, multi-media files, and images.

Self-hosted blog platforms, like WordPress, offer virtually unlimited control of your blog. The top blog hosting providers are geared toward housing these platforms. You will still have to purchase the domain name for your blog from a domain registrar though many blog hosting providers will take care of that for you when requested.

The Best

When choosing a blog host, there a number of factors to consider. Live support is a big plus. iPage, for example, guarantees a two minute response time from agents. The top 5 blog hosting providers listed below offer live chat and 24/7 customer support.

Hosting Review ranks the top blog hosting providers based on criteria like up-time, cost, and user reviews. As a physician who is leading the way with your medical web design, that last one should resonate. Hosting Review takes all of these things into account and then places a composite ranking for best blog hosts. The composite is the number next to each provider. Uptime is rated from 1 to 5.

#1 iPage (94%)

  • Customer reviews – 89 positive / 25 negative
  • Cost – $3.50 per month
  • Uptime – 5

#2 FatCow (92%)

  • Customer reviews – 73 positive/ 30 negative
  • Cost – $4.67 per month
  • Uptime – 5

#3 justHost (89%)

  • Customer reviews – 83 positive/ 35 negative
  • Cost – $4.95 per month
  • Uptime – 5

#4  1&1 (88%)

  • Customer reviews – 51 positive/ 26 negative
  • Cost – $4.99 per month
  • Uptime – 4

#5 HostPapa (87%)

  • Customer reviews – 62 positive/ 13 negative
  • Cost – $4.95 per month
  • Uptime – 4.5

#6 GoDaddy (86%)

  • Customer reviews – 52 positive/ 24 negative
  • Cost – $6.99 per month
  • Uptime – 4

#7 inmotion (85%)

  • Customer reviews – 56 positive/ 12 negative
  • Cost – $5.95 per month
  • Uptime – 4

#8 bluehost (85%)

  • Customer reviews – 48 positive/ 25 negative
  • Cost – $5.95 per month
  • Uptime – 4

#9 1xwebhosting (84%)

  • Customer reviews – 59 positive/ 32 negative
  • Cost – $4.95 per month
  • Uptime – 4.5

#10 Hostgator (83%)

  • Customer reviews – 16 positive/ 8 negative
  • Cost – $4.95 per month
  • Uptime – 4

Hosting Provider Limitations

Most of these hosts will make the process of setting up your blog very quick and easy. However often there are long-term drawbacks to choosing the quick and easy route.  Some additional points to consider when choosing your host are:

Will the site appear on a domain I control?

Many hosts will allow you to register a domain and point that domain to your new blog but the domain ends up using a redirect to a domain the host owns. This can create an identity crisis as visitors to your blog don’t know if you are www.social-surgeon.com or social-surgeon.blogspot.com.  And if social-surgeon.blogspot.com appears in the URL bar when reading your blog, it is likely that links back to your blog will point to social-surgeon.blogspot.com. This becomes a problem if you ever change hosting providers.  When you change providers, the domain will change and any links to your blog will be lost.  So please chose a host that allows you to see your domain (www.social-surgeon.com)  in the URL when reading your blog.

Will they allow Google Analytics?

Some blog hosts restrict what 3rd party code you can install on your blog and this can include Google Analytics. Since you can’t improve on what you can’t measure, it is critical that your host allow for installing an adequate analytics package so you can view the trends in your blog traffic over time.

Visitor Tracking and Marketing Automation

Dovetailing with the Google Analytics point above is the potential need to integrate your blog with a visitor tracking and marketing automation system. Do you want to see names of your most frequent blog visitors? Sometimes this isn’t a priority but if you are trying to build a list of prospective patients for your practice, building, managing, and nurturing that list over time is more effective with a marketing automation system. Many of the inexpensive hosting providers will limit your ability to integrate with these systems.

Becoming part of a bad neighborhood

Search engines use IP addresses of sites to build a relational map of all the sites on the web. They do this to determine which sites are closely related in the offline world. An example would be when two sites share an IP address, that means they reside on the same server.  When two sites are on the same server, there is a higher likeliness they are owned by the same people. When you opt for inexpensive hosting, your site will sit on the same server as 100s or 1000s of other sites. In most cases these neighboring sites will be clean and professional but occasionally they can create the impression that your site is part of a bad neighborhood.  For little extra money each month you can own your IP address or your whole server and control who your neighbors are.

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About Tim
Tim George is a regularly contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Tim is passionate about web marketing for MDs expecially the latest trends and results in social media, SEO and inbound marketing. For more, please follow @MDWebPro on Twitter

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