If you don’t yet have a website, the world is your oyster! Maybe you’re a new osteopath or just realising the importance of web presence. This guide will help you get started.
Choosing Your Domain
Your domain name is your website’s address. It makes sense to make it your name or your clinic’s name if you have your own. The domain name is a key factor in helping your patients find you, as it can’t be imitated by other sites. For example, if your clinic is named after the town it’s in, you’re already in a good place to pick up people who search for “osteopath in [town]”.
You also need to consider your domain extension. The common ones are .co.uk and .com, but there are many different choices now. In the last few years, .uk was made available to help free up a new wave of sites where the .co.uk was already taken. Although .com might feel like the best choice, bear in mind that if you want local clients, it helps to have a geographically relevant extension.
Add-on domains might be useful. My first osteopathy website operated from the .uk domain, but I also bought the .co.uk and .com extensions. All these sites contained was a bit of code to redirect anyone who’d landed on the .com or .co.uk to the .uk site, where all the content was. However, this didn’t happen often as it would only be people who’d typed the address in manually who came across the empty sites. If your package offers a free add-on, you might like to take it, just remember to evaluate what traffic it brings you (if any) before it renews. Maybe an add-on domain is best suited to you if you’re looking to protect your brand from people who might start a business with the same name.
Finding a Host
Your host is the company whose server your website will live in. You can find comparison sites to look at price, as well as reliability and features of various hosts. Over the years I’ve used a few with various pros and cons. I now use one.com, which works really well for me. If you’d like to use them too, my discount code gives us both a few pounds off.
I recommend buying your domain name from the host you’re going to use. You might be able to find the name cheaper on a site that doesn’t offer hosting, but there are often costs involved in transferring the domain to a new host (from the person who sold the name or from the host itself). Hosts often offer a free year of domain ownership when you buy your hosting package too.
Deciding on Software
Your computer runs on an operating system, your website needs something similar. You can build a website from scratch, but it’s a lot of effort when there are great products out there that are free, secure, and full of good features. WordPress is very versatile software and almost half of websites worldwide use it. I’ve been using it since about 2007 and I can’t fault it. These days you have even more control over how your site looks, even if you don’t know anything about writing in code.
Some people get on really well with Squarespace or Wix. I haven’t worked with Wix for many years, but I didn’t like using it back then. I have a couple of clients who use Squarespace, and it is good and user friendly. There is much less functionality than WordPress, but you can get a decent clinic website and blog up and running easily. Their blogging software has some points to help with SEO, but it’s nothing compared to Yoast for WordPress (scroll down to the free one).
If the software side of things is too daunting for you, I recommend contacting Osteohustle to get you off the ground.