This post originally appeared on the Great Dental Websites’ Blog
I frequently see or hear debates about whether a practice should do their own website copywriting or if they should pay a professional copywriter to do it. It’s a nuanced debate, and several factors need to be considered, including time, costs, and skills.
WHAT’S YOUR TIME WORTH?
In my experience, the problem is rarely about the ability of a dentist to write their own content. It’s the time commitment. From a subject knowledge standpoint, dentists are the ideal copywriters for their own websites. But they are also trying to run or start their practice, and it’s easy to push off writing the next page of content when you are dealing with several other fires.
CAN YOU ACTUALLY WRITE?
You have to ask yourself if you’re actually a good writer. Knowing your subject matter is great, and I know you’re a highly educated medical professional, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a strong writer. It’s also easy to not see your own mistakes, so having a second set of eyes to check your content is necessary. Hell, my writing is often riddled with errors, and I’m heavily dependent on autocorrect, to a point where my team doesn’t even allow me to write content on my own site unless it’s been edited first.
Thinking back to our clients over the years, about 5-10% percent (at best!) of the dentists who elect to do their own copywriting see it all the way through and do a great job. It often means that their website launch is delayed, sometimes by months, as the practice finds the time to write the site themselves. However, many dentists who are motivated at the beginning of the project eventually elect to have a copywriter finish the writing for them.
EDITING & WRITING FOR GOOGLE
Standard practice will have 8-12 individual service pages, a home page, bios, FAQs, financial pages, new patient information sections, and various other content depending on their practices. This is easily 30 to 40 hours needed to write these pages. Not only that, but a dentist’s hourly cost generally equates to upwards of five times the hourly cost of a professional copywriter – or more! And even if you do manage to save money or break even, it’s still necessary to have someone thoroughly edit your content and make some tweaks for SEO purposes: even professional writers have an editor. So what may have started as a way to save some money may end up costing you more in the end.
Lastly, there are SEO considerations to keep in mind when writing a site. They aren’t sorcery, but rather well-known best practices that help search engines easily scan your website to see what’s there. These considerations aren’t hard to learn, but if you aren’t doing this regularly, how much time do you want to invest in learning that delicate balance as well?
WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS
In my opinion, the hierarchy of quality content and copywriting for a dental website is as follows:
- The dentist writes a rough draft of every page on their site; then, a copywriter re-writes and heavily edits as necessary.
- The dentist writes detailed bullet points for each page; then, a copywriter builds the content around those details.
- The copywriter interviews the dentist about their practice and philosophies then writes a sample page for the dentist to review. After both parties feel the practice voice is properly captured, the copywriter writes the rest of the content.
- The dentist writes their own content, allowing a copywriter to make simple edits and corrections.
- The dentist writes their own content and posts as-is.
- The dentist elects to use “canned content” for their site.
In the end, it’s your website and your practice. What you want is the final decision, but be sure to consider all options before deciding how you are going to tackle your website copy. If you get stuck or want to debate these different options, feel free to shoot me an email, and I’d be happy to talk to you.