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Doctor DIY: Don't Refer to a Specialist When Creating a Practice Website

The latest versions of Wordpress and other blogging software make it fast, cheap, and easy to create and manage a website for your medical practice.

If you’re under 30 years old, technology is in your genes and this post won’t apply to you (in fact, I would appreciate it if you didn’t laugh out loud while reading). However, if like me you belong to an older group of people and you are interested in connecting with your patient community, other professionals, or family and friends online, a good thing just got better. I’m talking here about Wordpress 3.0.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Wordpress, it is a blogging framework originally used on the Wordpress website. Using tools provided at that website, anyone from anywhere could fairly easily set up their own blog for free, and millions of people did.

The cool thing is that Wordpress offers its publishing platform in a free download that you can use to create your own personal website. You purchase your own domain name, set up a Web hosting account, install Wordpress software, and then you’re set to create a nice, if not professional looking, website.

I understand if the idea of designing a website makes your teeth chatter. And honestly, that’s why so many design companies are in business. But if you are looking for other ways to reach out to your community while keeping costs under control, it truly has never been easier to create your own website. While Wordpress is just one of many tools available, I’m highlighting it because the most recent software release has a bunch of very cool features, many of which are summed up nicely by Alex Bor in the OneExtraPixel blog.

Wordpress is no longer simple blogging software. It is now a bonafide way to easily create and publish virtually any kind of content that you want. With very little pre-planning, I had a website that suited my needs up in just a couple of hours.

How much money you can save by developing and maintaining your own website(s) depends largely on how much you’re already spending. For example, about seven years ago, I invested around $2000 in design services and $20 for a domain (annual renewal), signed up with a reputable hosting service for $20 per month for one website, and chose to maintain the site myself. Last week, I signed up for a Web hosting service that offers everything the previous service did plus a free domain for around $5 per month. And for no additional fee, the service will host any number of domains and sub-domains for me and provide 24x7 support.

That last point is a big deal for me because not only do I need someone to run to when I hose things up, but I want multiple websites. And one of the nicer features of Wordpress 3.0 is that I can create and maintain a network of sites with a single Wordpress installation.

The savings are probably negligible if you are running a single website and make few or no changes to it. However, if you’re interested in running multiple dynamic sites, the money quickly adds up. For a small business like mine, every little bit counts.