Someone Else’s Content = Your Website Sucks

Closed can of tuna isolated over white backgroundThe vast majority of dental websites have content that is provided, in its entirety, by the website designer.  Most dentists hire someone to build their websites.  That’s OK!  It’s even SMART!  But, they also delegate ALL the content to the website developer.  And, that’s not only not OK, it’s a really bad idea.  Turns out, I’ve written about this before.  My apologies for being repetitive.  But, a new patient from last week reminded me how important this is.

First, you must know that if a website developer is providing the content (both copy and images), that it’s the SAME as they’ve provided for the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of their clients.  They can’t possibly create unique content for each of their clients.

Canned content should be banned content.

So, what do you get?  Canned content that reads like a dental encyclopedia.   It says nothing about your practice’s unique qualities.  It doesn’t make a connection with the visitor.   It’s not compelling.  It doesn’t RESONATE.

You like me?  You really, really like me!

When a patient tells me that he found me through a web search, I often ask, “Did you look at other websites?”  And, if so, “Why did you choose us over the others?”
I’m genuinely interested.  You should be, too.

Last week, I got a new patient in the practice.  I asked him those same questions.  He lives 45 minutes away.  He needs and wants extensive dental treatment.  There are over 1,000 dentists in my county.  He picked me.  How?  He found my website.  OK, so what?  Well… plenty of those 1,000+ dentists also have websites.  He probably drove by a hundred dental offices on his way to mine.  Would you like the opportunity to help patients like this?  Requisite photos below!

copy blog-

copy blog-6575

copy blog--3

copy blog--2

He told me that my site made him feel comfortable.  He said, “It was in a language that I understood.  I felt like I already knew you.  Read that again.  He felt like he already knew me.  ME.

Your website isn’t selling dentistry.  It’s selling YOU.
Read THAT one again, too.

The dentist-meister… makin’ copy…

makin copiesI wrote every single word on my site.  I also took all the photos.  I’ve posted plenty about photography.  But, this blog post is about your website’s copy (the technical term for the text in any marketing piece).

I’ve long contended that “Content Is King.”  And, I’m here to tell you that COPY is the King’s Crown.  The copy on your site is absolutely critical.  But, that doesn’t mean it has to be fancy or a literary masterpiece.  Rather, I recommend a casual conversational style for writing copy.  Remember that your website is intended to be read by normal people.

Write like you talk.

Don’t write for other dentists (or even yourself).  Consider how you might answer a dental question at a cocktail party.  We all get questions about dentistry in social situations.  I hope that you have the ability to speak to people in non-technical terms.  Save the “dentalese” for conversations with other dentists.  This applies to chairside conversations as well as marketing.  Also, remember that adage, while nearly everyone likes sausage, they don’t want to see how it’s made.  They also don’t want to read how it’s made.  Refrain from the detailed descriptions and definitions of dental procedures.  Focus on benefits not features.

Who better than you?

YOU are the best qualified person to write the copy for your website.  Anything written by anyone else, especially a person who has never set foot in your practice, cannot possibly reflect your practice’s unique qualities, nor can it resonate with visitors and prospective new patients.  PERIOD.  If you didn’t write it, it sucks.  That’s right!

Sure… hire someone to put your website together.  It’s worth paying someone to do all the technical stuff.  And, to get the ball rolling, use their stock content.  But, you should make a focused effort to REPLACE that content with your own.  Do one page at a time.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Get help and input from your team and even your spouse or other trusted non-dental people.  Have someone proofread for spelling and grammatical errors.  It can be casual and still follow the rules of good grammar and spelling.

Google like (good) copy.

candygram for mongoThe bonus:  Google likes good copy!  Good, compelling copy is naturally chock-full of keywords.  And, Google likes unique copy.  Duplicate content is downgraded by Google.  So, if hundreds (or more) websites have the exact same content as yours, that is not a good thing when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization).  But, ultimately, the real reason for good copy is to CONVERT visitors into patients.  It doesn’t matter how well your site ranks, if the visitors aren’t making that call for an appointment.

Get crackin’!

Don’t wait!  Pick a page from your website and start re-writing!  Don’t get caught up in writing “perfect” copy.  Just whip it up and get it out there.  Write like you talk.  Short paragraphs.  Keep it simple.  Keep it conversational.  Benefits!  No sausage-making details!

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10 Responses to Someone Else’s Content = Your Website Sucks

  1. It’s true! If you do have someone writing your website for you I do feel that it has that impersonal feeling unless you are working side by side. I like the exercise you have requested us to do by re-writing our website. I may just take you up on it!

  2. luu says:

    i believe the content should be interesting and draws in the reader, regardless of who is writing it

  3. I agree – I did get a webdesigner, and they did have a copy writer for me, but I did a lot of the material myself. That said, my team felt the site was too wordy compared to other practices’. How do you balance the text (which I guess should be long enough to have enough key words sufficiently well distributed) with encouraging people and not scaring them away?


    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog! That’s a good question. I think long copy can be great if…

      1. It’s compelling. If it tells a great story and draws the reader in, then go for it.

      2. Break it up. Short paragraphs… 5 sentences max per paragraph. Use bullet points or numbered lists. 🙂 Think “bite-sized pieces.”

      3. Use photos to add visual appeal and break up the copy. If you look at a lot of my articles here on the blog you’ll see that I use photos quite a bit for those purposes.

      Long solid blocks of text are intimidating and likely to cause the visitor to hit the “back’ button.

  4. Irfan says:

    I like the idea of talking like I speak. Some “experts” have criticized some of my website posts/pages for being too casual and without ideal grammar. I’m not typing in TXT slang or anything, just casual wording like I would say in real life. I think I’ll stick with my tactics. The issue is forcing yourself to start updating pages regularly. I will go in spurts… a few days up updating.. then a year of forgetting.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Irfan! Thanks for your comments. Going in “spurts,” as you say is a lot less overwhelming than trying to tackle the whole thing at once. Plus I find that I’m more creative in spurts.

  5. Dr. G says:

    Thanks for the great blog and article. Two questions for you.

    1. How often do you feel is ideal to make a new blog post? Weekly? Monthly?

    2. What is have you found to be the ideal article length? I want to provide enough info to my patients, but not lose their attention at the same time.

    Thanks again.

    Dr. G

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Dr. G,

      Thanks for visiting my blog and asking some good questions.

      1. I don’t know that there’s a magic number. I think if you over-do it by posting gratuitous articles for the sake of creating “content,” visitors will become disinterested and be more likely to not return. So, I would suggest posting when you happen to have something interesting to post.

      I don’t force myself to post on this blog. I just post when I’m inspired by something. Sometimes I’ll post on consecutive days. Other times it could be weeks between posts. I think the key to return traffic is interesting posts.

      One source of inspiration of articles is any time dentistry, teeth, or smiles are in the news. For example, when Dr. Oz starts spouting off dangerous dental advice, seize the opportunity. Write! You can set up a Google alert for dentistry in the news. That can be a good source for inspiring articles.

      2. That’s another one that “just depends.” It depends on the subject, I think. Some topics require longer copy. Others can be very short. I don’t think we can apply any sort of rule to length. Some topics can be covered in a single paragraph. Others may be a full-length article with 1500 – 2000 words.

      I think the key to writing good copy (of any length) is to present it in bite-sized pieces. Remember to use paragraphs. A huge block of solid text is intimidating. Short paragraphs break it up visually and cognitively. Our eyes and brains like bite-sized pieces.

      I also like to use images to break up the text. And, let’s face it… we all like pictures. Pictures also break up the article visually. Pictures can also support a point being made. I should also bring up copyright and license at this point. Do NOT just copy and paste images you find on the web with Google. If you use pictures that are not your own, you MUST either have permission or license to use them. You can face legal consequences otherwise. And, chances are you WILL be caught. I use for any stock photos I use in this blog. Yes… I pay for the use of those photos. It’s worth it, in my opinion.

      I hope that helps! Thanks again for the great questions.

  6. Dental Warrior, amazing post ! Being an online dentist, i myself realize that people will pay attention to you when the REAL YOU pays attention to them. You really don’t have to be creative while writing the content for your dental practice. You just have to be yourself. It takes time to be a good writer but trust me you are gonna love it when you will finally be able to write stuff for your own practice.

    P.S: I really like your blog. Keep the good stuff coming. Thanks.

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