What about Open Source and your Website or Medical Software Application?

“There are countless times where using the freely available, open source alternative would indeed work just fine for the majority of software requirements. I believe that by working together, both proprietary/closed source and open source software have a place in this world. Because embracing both options when appropriate translates into true software freedom.”  Matt Hartley

There is a lot of information out there about open source technology.  “Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.” (OpenSource.org)  Though it can be a power tool to develop software, we believe 80% of Organizations out there, particularly Hospitals, Practices and other Medical Related entities should NOT consider such options to run their websites.

Why not Open Source for Hospitals, Medical Practices and Other Medical Related Entities?

The pro of open source is the same as the con of open source…anyone can see the code.  This creates an opportunity for hackers to find vulnerabilities within the software.  If done, someone could potentially alter your message on your website or even completely delete it from the servers. Just search “Hacks for X Software” and see what you come up with.  It is amazing what you can find just on You Tube!  Also, each time there is an upgrade to the open source software, you will need to upload it in order to protect yourself from potentially harmful people.  See what happened when Al Gore’s website was hacked for failing to update his WordPress software.

Open Source Requires more resources to keep it current

When you download and use open source software, you must consider who is going to help you when there is a bug, or a security patch.  Do you really have the man power, the time and the resources to cover this individual?  It might end up being more cost efficient to purchase the closed source, proprietary, software in the beginning than waste time, effort and resources fixing the headaches as they occur. 

The Doctor’s Bag

The Mediasation Content Management System that The Doctor’s Bag uses is proprietary software, not open source. That means that you have the security of knowing who has access to the software that is running your website. It also means that we’re here to stand behind the CMS and you.  Our team of developers is 100% accountable for every feature that rolls out and to listen to our clients on new features they would like to see. Because we work from a single code-base, as we add features and enhancements to our software, you automatically have these available to your site – no software to install, no patches to run. It just works, so you can focus on your patients and your message and not have to worry about the technology.

SEO and SEM: Getting Started

More and more people are researching their medical and treatment choices online. Search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) are excellent ways to market your practice and bring more users to your practice’s website. Though there are numerous changes and adjustments that you can make to increase your site’s visibility, here are a few tips to get you thinking about SEO and SEM.


Keywords are the search terms that users often employ to begin their online search. If you include these specific words and phrases within your site’s structure and its content, users have a better chance of finding your site.

Begin by thinking about the words that someone might type in to find your site. Keep in mind that some users know a lot about a topic and may use different keywords than someone who has limited knowledge. Being aware of these differences can help you create content for a varied audience.

And if you need help coming up with keywords, some online search engines have tools that can help you generate keywords that are relevant to your business.

Make Your Website Easy to Navigate

Unless you have hundreds of items that need to be indexed under different categories, you can keep your website structure simple and therefore easier to use.

If your site’s navigation is based solely on drop-down menus, you may want to rethink the structure. Using text navigation not only helps users who may not have some applications like Flash or Java, but also makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site. A crawler is an automated script or program that methodically searches the Internet, extracting data.

Use Exact Language

Create accurate, descriptive page titles for each page. Page titles full of numbers and letters rather than words will make it more difficult for users to search and locate your site. In addition, using the description tag on your page to outline your business helps when search engines pull up information to include in results “snippets,” or the bit of text that often accompanies a result listing.

Create Quality Content for Your Users

Producing quality content for your site is essential. Remember, your site exists for your users, not search engines. Copying large chunks of text or not breaking it up with relevant headers and dividers does not make it useful to your users. In addition, if you create unique content and update it often, visitors will return regularly and new users will also discover your site. Blogging and adding news items are great ways to update your site.

Paid Advertising

If you’re also ready to purchase search engine advertising on sites such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and others, they offer ways to insert your practice’s name in search results. This type of advertising is highly targeted, reaching customers and clients who are already searching for your specialty or focus. There are various levels of advertising, from those for small business to campaigns for global corporations.

Marketing Your Practice the Right Way

Generating and building exposure for your practice and reaching more patients online sometimes can be an involved and complicated process. The web experts at The Doctor’s Bag can help you navigate the world of SEO and more, helping your site to perform well in online searches and reaching more patients. Contact us today.

Up Next: Learn how to effectively promote your practice’s website, both online and offline.

SEO (Search Enging Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing)- The Basics

A friend or colleague may have said, “Have you implemented a SEO plan for your website?” or “Have you tried search engine marketing?” Digging into the inner workings of your website and customizing numerous parts may seem intimidating, but optimizing your site and its content for search engines (and the people who use them) can increase your practice’s visibility, send more users to your website, and in turn bring in new patients.

What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Whether you pay for advertising, use your website’s descriptions and keywords to make it easier to find, or both, SEM and SEO are great ways to drive traffic to your site and increase exposure. There are various methods, paid and free, to help users discover your practice online.

Search Engine Optimization
SEO involves using designing, writing, and coding a website to make it more understandable to search engines, therefore ranking it higher in search results, and making your site easier to locate for people who are seeking services like yours.

SEO is not all about keywords and coding, however, it also relies on the quality and purpose of your site. The Google search engine’s SEO guide says, “…you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what’s best for the visitors of your site. They’re the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work…Search engine optimization is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.”

Search Engine Marketing
While the free method of keywords, tags, and more can definitely be considered “marketing,” search engine marketing (SEM) may also involve paying for ads that show up along with the results of a search.

This type of advertising is very popular (and often very effective) because it is linked to the keywords that a searcher types into the search engine. Linking ads to search results reaches consumers who are actively seeking your service or product. There are many ways you can purchase search advertising, including sponsoring searches, pay-per-click ads, banner ads, and more.

Why Do I Need SEM & SEO?
For showcasing your practice online, SEO and SEM are powerful tools. If users are already searching for a practice or specialty similar to yours, why not put your name in front of them? With a combination of SEO and SEM, you can leverage more visits to your website—transforming them into more visits for your practice.

Expert Assistance
The Doctor’s Bag team can help you navigate the world of promoting your practice online. We offer a full spectrum of SEO and SEM services for all types of practices, from plastic surgeons to general practitioners. Contact us today to learn how we increase your practice’s exposure.

Coming up: We’ll share information on how to approach SEO and SEM, along with a few tips.