- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On May 20, 2015
We looked at 935 hospital websites and found that 375 had blogs. That’s 40%.
So the first thing we learned is that many hospitals don’t have blogs. We are a little puzzled that only 40% of hospitals have blogs. According to Hubspot, companies that blog 15 or more times per month (3-4 times per week) get 5 times more traffic than companies that do not blog at all.
Not only that but the effect is cumulative. So as your institution blogs it builds an inventory of blog pages that increase your traffic in a compound way over time.
According to research conducted by Google, more than 77% of patients use search engines when they research hospitals and search engines like blogs as they provide readers with fresh content. Adding a blog to your website will almost certainly improve your website’s overall ranking for many keywords, especially those related to conditions and treatments that you may write about on your blog. As your website appears higher in the search results for more and more keywords the traffic to your site will rise.
Hospitals without blogs
So why don’t more hospitals have blogs? We don’t yet know the definitive answer but here are a few thoughts:
1. Hospital marketing teams are short of time: Blogging takes time. Given the myriad of projects hospital marketers have on their plate it’s not so surprising blogging may get shelved.
2. Hospital marketing teams don’t have enough writers: Writing skills vary. Some marketers don’t like to write or may not have the writing skills on their team. Doctors often feel they have too much to do to write a blog post. These marketers may need to get outside help.
3. Hospital marketers don’t agree that blogs are useful: Content marketing is not always a quick win. It’s often a cumulative effort that pays large dividends in the long term. Some marketers don’t agree with the data above that blogs are useful.
Getting it right
But say you think your hospital should have a blog or you do have a blog but think it can be better. What are the best practices and tips for making your blog better?
We took a look through the 375 blogs we found in our research and looked at which hospitals were doing blogging the right way (in our opinion). We cataloged the 10 hospital blogs we thought were the best and documented why we thought they stood out.
We found a few common themes in these top 10 blogs. Here are a few of the best practices to keep in mind when building or improving your hospital blog:
1. Tell stories: It always been the case that people gravitate to stories and remember them. This is true online as much as offline. In fact it is amplified by the ability to share great stories via social media. So please tell as many stories as you can.
2. Use photos in your posts: We came across many hospital blog posts without images. People love images online (think Instagram and Facebook!) Use photos generously…and please avoid just a photo of the author that’s so dull after a few posts.
3. Keep it approachable: A key to success in blogging is to keep readers coming back week-after-week. Use approachable stories for this like health, eating and exercise tips. Sprinkle in those wonderful patient stories and we will keep coming back time and time again.
4. Create an attractive template: A nicely designed template goes a long way to making your blog enticing to read. Use some color but also leave us plenty of white space so we can read in comfort.
If you’d like to read more about best practices for hospital blogs or simply use these top 10 hospital blogs as inspiration for your blog, grab our ebook, How To Make Your Hospital Stand Out…With A Blog.