Read this before you publish your next blog entry | Plastic Surgery Practice September 2014

By David Evans, PhD, MBA

Evans_DavidIt’s a renter’s No 1 rule of thumb: Don’t add anything that you can’t take with you if or when you move. It’s pretty straightforward advice, assuming you know you are renting, but many cosmetic surgeons don’t realize that they are renting their own websites, and as a result, still invest heavily in enhancements that won’t transfer readily.

Before you consider any upgrades, make sure you own your website and all related materials, including content, graphics, and images. Here’s how:

1. Check the deed

The copyright notice at the bottom of the home page should list your name and your name only. If the notice includes the name of your website company, you are just renting. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as squatter’s rights on the Web.

2. Review your content

If you hired a company to build and develop your website, there is a chance that the content is canned. The best way to check is to copy a few lines from your site, paste them into Google’s search box, and hit “Enter.” If you get pages upon pages of matches, this is an indication that the copy is canned. In addition, programs such as Copyscape and Siteliner can tell you how many pages on your site match those of other sites, or how many other sites have the same content as yours.

If the list is lengthy, you have good reason to consider moving out. However, you do want to keep the URLs, even if you can the canned text.

3. Revisit your URLs

URLs get better with age. Those with a longer life cycle send a stronger signal to Google and other search engines than brand new URLs. Your website URLs should end with .html or with an English language word followed by a slash (/). For example, www.mypractice.com/breast-augmentation.html or www.mypractice.com/breast-augmentation/ can be easily transferred even if you rent your site.

If your URLs end with a programming language text extension, such as .cfm or .asp, they may be hard or impossible to move, and you can lose years of hard-won rankings on Google. How can you tell? Take a look at the status bar above the browser to see the exact text of each URL for your website.

4. Verify your blogger platform

A blog post or two a month can add to the depth and visibility of your site. Blogging on a site you don’t own can make it hard to transfer your musings to a new site if you decide to hit the road. If the blog is placed on a standard blogger platform, such as WordPress, moving is much simpler. But many web companies use proprietary blog platforms that are not transferable. This means that relocation may require a staffer to copy and paste each blog post, and it may be difficult to replicate the URLs in the new blog. Make sure your blog is published on a standard blogging platform and that you own it.

Following this advice to see where you stand is the best way to protect your investments and avoid throwing good money after bad.

David Evans, PhD, MBA, is the CEO of Ceatus Media Group, based in San Diego. His column, “The Edge,” appears in every issue of Plastic Surgery Practice. He can be reached via [email protected]

Original citation for this article: Evans D. The Edge: movin’ out? Plastic Surgery Practice. 2014;(8),10.