I started a podcast

Mead podcastingI don’t know if I ever had “regular” readers of The Blogging Dentist. But if I did, I probably made them think that I’m not writing any more. I’ve fallen down on the job. I’ve published inconsistently. I’ve been lame. What can I say?

Well…I started a podcast. I used to think that writing a blog took a lot of time. And it does. Kind of. But podcasting takes even more time. So the time I might have spent writing here has been spent getting a podcast up and running.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time. For those who’ve never listened, a podcast is a radio show that can be downloaded from the internet. They’re usually free downloads and the best place to find them would probably be the iTunes store.

I like podcasts because they’re often done by regular folks in their spare time and this gives them a really nice authenticity. The typical podcaster is someone who’s an enthusiast on a subject (think Harry Potter, triathlons or Thai food. Or at least they used to be. A lot of radio stations and professional entertainers have come to realize the power of being able to syndicate your own show for next to nothing and have begun to use the format as well.

It’s actually a blast. I’m enjoying the interviews and discussions with my friends and colleagues. I’m enjoying the fact that I’m spreading ideas. In fact, that’s the same reason I like to write a blog here and at meadfamilydental.com.

There are a lot of similarities between blogging and podcasting. The similarities are all about being a “content creator.” So much of what dentists post on the canned “our blog” part of their websites is written by whoever it is that manages their office’s social media. When I read those blog posts they usually don’t seem authentic. I’d much rather read something a little less polished that I can tell was written by the dentist who is connected to that website.

That’s the spirit we’ve tried to bring to the podcast. The format is half interview and half group discussion. We’re interviewing people that my co-host (Jason Lipscomb) and I find interesting on topics that we find interesting. We call the group discussion “the Brain Trust.” It’s informal. Kind of like the discussion you’d have with colleagues at dinner when you’re taking some CE.

The DentalHacks PodcastThere are a lot of laughs and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Which some may consider a fault. I think it’s our biggest strength.

So, go check out our podcast. I think you’ll enjoy it.

And I’ll try to start posting more here, too.


Can I use The Blogging Dentist to promote my product/idea/class?

I get requests to write a guest blog or advertise in some way on The Blogging Dentist quite often. Since this blog is purely for my own amusement, I haven’t really considered this in the past. But now I’m thinking about it.

Why would someone want to use “The Blogging Dentist” to promote their product or idea? I’m not exactly sure. I’m quite certain that my readers are overwhelmingly dental types, so maybe they think that by reaching the people who read this blog they’d be getting their message out a well selected audience. Maybe they figure that it’s a super cheap and low risk way to connect with said “dental types.” They’re probably right on both counts. My promise to my readers is this: I won’t allow cheesy and hollow sales pitches on The Blogging Dentist.

Since I’m the king of this castle, I’m going to lay out my rules.

  1. Ideally, you’re a dentist or dental business that has an idea or product that you think should be shared and talked about. Hopefully you aren’t selling insurance or Amway.
  2. As mentioned, I will allow no “sales pitches.” Blogs are about spreading ideas. That’s what I try to do here. I spread ideas that I’ve had and that I’ve heard about. I can’t stand the bald sales pitch. I understand that it is sometimes necessary, but I rarely react well to it. I need to be romanced. Give me some clever copy. Explain what the problem is and how you fix it. Link to your website if you like, but keep it classy. I don’t endorse products, but I might let you discuss a novel way of doing things that involve a product. It’s about the ideas, not products.
  3. You may not bad mouth your competition on the Blogging Dentist. I’m going to buy a Ford because I think the Ford is a great fit. Not because the Ford sales guy thinks that Dodges suck.
  4. I reserve the right to edit your copy. I won’t put words in your mouth, but I might change your syntax. Sorry…it’s a curse.
  5. Amuse me. This is the most important rule. If I think it’s funny, I’m more likely to share it.
  6. If you have a blog about your ideas or products I’m MUCH more likely to allow you a guest spot. I would enjoy having other bloggers come on board. As long as you’re O.K. with following the above rules.


What won’t fly:

  1. If you’re the web guy for some dentist’s website and you send me a generic blog post about the top 10 most cavity causing foods that you didn’t write and you put your client’s name in the byline even though they didn’t write it either…I’m not going to put it up. No chance. If I even think that the copy is written by someone other than who claims to have written it I won’t put it up.
  2. If you have a product you’d like dentists to know about but you’re only willing to share canned content I’m not going to let you guest blog.
  3. Buying ad space. At this point you can’t buy space at the Blogging Dentist. But if you have an interesting idea that you want to share in an amusing and engaging way…I’m happy to help!

If you’re interested on guest blogging about your product, service or idea feel free to email me at: alan@meadfamilydental.com. I’m happy to discuss it with you…as long as you’re willing to follow my rules!

Going Back to the Well

The best time to start a blog is five years ago.

I started writing my blog at meadfamilydental.com in 2008. Just about 5 years ago. I’ve got a couple hundred blog posts. I’m very proud of a lot of them. Some of them are just O.K. A few kind of suck. I’ve found something kind of cool about blogs, though. They can be recycled. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are uniquely designed to feature links.

I wrote a post on Mead Family Dental on October 12, 2012 called “Objections.” I was pretty proud of it. I think it was one of my better posts. It did not get a lot of traffic at the time. There were a total of 96 pageviews from October 12 to October 31. That’s O.K., but not great. I remember being disappointed that it didn’t get a little more notice, but hey…that’s how it goes.

I posted the same link on Facebook yesterday, June 6th, 2013. I’ve already had 105 pageviews in the last two days and a few Facebook friends “shared” the link on their pages. Why didn’t it get the attention the first time? I’m not sure. I do know that my posts only show up on a fraction of my Facebook friends’ pages when I post them. So it actually makes sense to link your blog posts on social media sites more than once. How many times? I’m not sure. I want them to seem fresh, so I don’t share the same link more than once every few months or so.

The point is this…if you’re not sure what you should post on an office’s Facebook page, why not use older posts from your blog?

Oh, that’s right. You don’t have an office blog. Or your office blog doesn’t have a lot of posts. Or your office blog posts aren’t original and authentic.

The best time to start writing an original and authentic office blog was 5 years ago. The second best time is right now!

Does My Dental Office Need a Blog?

To be honest…probably not. Let me explain.

Blogs are a pretty special kind of website. The defining property of a blog is the fact that it is updated “regularly.” Regularly means different things for different kind of blogs. Many news websites are blogs that are updated minute by minute. This blog is updated as regularly as I have ideas and time to write them down. How regularly depends on the goal of the blogger.

Because blogs are websites that are updated regularly, search engines like Google and Bing tend to notice them. These search engines are constantly sending out bots or crawlers to index the internet. Sites that have regular updates get more attention from these bots and often do well in search engine results.

Most dental office websites are relatively static. Their content doesn’t change very much. A website with static content has to rely on other ways for search engines to find them. There are lots of ways to optimize a website to be found by search engines, but updating content is a simple way for non programmers to compete.

So, back to the original question. Does my office need a blog? Well, it depends. Is your current website doing well with the search engines? Do you come up pretty high on the first page when people look for “dentist in your town” or any other keywords you’re trying to connect with? If you’re doing well here, you probably don’t need a blog. If you’re not doing so well with the search engines, a blog could probably help.

Here’s the part you’re going to hate. In order to be helpful, the blog needs to be pretty original. If you have a company that’s managing your social media presence and they include a blog, it’s probably not going to help much with the search engines. In fact, it could be hurting you. If they’re using a stock blog for many of their clients, Google knows this. Google could actually use duplicate content against you.

You should write your own blog. That’s the very best way to do it. It’s time consuming and you don’t have a lot of time. I get it. If that’s the case, just don’t do it.

People can tell when a blog is written by someone who cares about the content. It really shows. You don’t have to be a great writer to have a great blog. But, you do have to be honest and it helps if you write like real people talk.

Another cool thing about blogging is that it is a great way to share ideas. If you have an interesting take on a topic, a blog is a very easy way to get your message out. It’s really easy to amplify your message using social media like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. All you have to do is copy your blog’s url and paste it into your Facebook status. You just shared your idea with a bunch of your Facebook friends. And if you use Facebook on a somewhat regular basis, your friends there are probably a great audience that may well enjoy your message and help you spread it!

So, does your dental office need a blog? It’s hard to say. Whatever you do, don’t have a blog just because someone selling you something tells you that you need one. A good rule of thumb is that if you won’t write it, at least most of the time, you probably shouldn’t have one.

But then again, what do I know?

What you get from a blog that you don’t get from a traditional dental website

Whoa, meta.


Whoa, meta.


Your office website can say what everyone else’s website says. It can have the same photos and same “blog” posts as everyone else using your web guy has.

Or it can tell a story about why someone might want to be your patient. Your blog could give a glimpse at what it’s like to be a patient in your office.

I’ve met thousands of dentists over the years, and none of them were even close to the same. But you wouldn’t know it from their websites.

The “rules” of blogging

been there

been there

If you want to know the rules of blogging for dentists, you could do a lot worse than reading Dr. Jason Lipscomb’s post.

Probably the most important part of the entire article: “If you know you aren’t going to do anything with it, leave it out of your social media plan.”

“But my social media consultant tells me I have to have a blog!”

Here’s the simplest rule about whether you should have a blog. If you aren’t going to write it (or most of it), then don’t have one. Generic blog articles copied and pasted by your web guy just plain suck. Even if you’ve got great search engine results, if you have lame content on the blog a savvy potential customer is going to be able to tell that it’s canned copy. And you need to assume that everyone that gets to your site is a savvy potential customer.

Note: web comic taken from www.toothpastefordinner.com


why Google loves blogs

Google loves blogs. There’s no two ways about it.

Actually, Google loves websites that change a lot. And since blogs are websites that add new posts all the time…they change a lot. Therefore, Google loves blogs.

I’m a wet fingered dentist. I don’t pretend to know how Google selects what’s important. I can barely spell algorithm (?), much less understand how a search engine really works. I’m actually pretty skeptical of anyone who thinks they’ve got Google figured out. (can anyone say Demandforce?)

It turns out that the more you update your site, the more often Google has a chance to “crawl” the new material. My office website/blog routinely ranks pretty high in Google organic results. I have no special training in search engine optimization, although I do use a WordPress plug in called All in One SEO pack. But my (relatively) consistent posting over a few years has gotten me on the first page of Google listings in my area for quite a few search terms. I haven’t paid a consultant and I don’t have recurring costs to do it. What I do have to do is write blog posts.

Most dental websites are considered “static.” They may have great information and may be beautiful, but they don’t change much over time. Google can tell when a site isn’t changed often. These sites often suffer in organic search rankings because of their very “static-ness.”. A static dental site of the cookie cutter variety (my pet peeve…I’ll save the details for another post) has to resort to other tactics for Google ranking.

So, one good way to keep a good organic Google ranking or improve one that’s not so good is to have a blog. Blogs are a lot of work, but they’re totally worth it.

So what do you think? Could a blog help your website? Do you think I’m full of it? I’d love to hear your comments or feel free to email me at alan@thebloggingdentist.com.


A dental blog about blogging? For dentists?

No, seriously. That’s what this is.

If you happen to be reading this you’re actually reading the very first post of a new blog. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Blogs are one of the very easiest and best ways to spread ideas. Whether your idea is which candidate to elect, what dish soap to use or why  your dental office is the one to choose, a blog is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to get your message out.

So, you’re asking, what makes me the expert? Well, I’ve maintained a blog as my only dental practice website for more than three years. I’ve learned a few things since I started…mostly the hard way. My real expertise comes from being an avid blog reader for the better part of a decade. I was reading blogs before I knew what blogs were.

So, what’s a blog? The word blog is short for “web log” is described on Wikipedia as “a personal journal published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.” It’s just a bunch of posts or articles with the latest entry first. That’s it.

So why am I so excited about blogs? You’ll have to stay tuned for that. More to come!