The question is no longer should your medical practice have an online presence—the question is how can you develop your medical practice’s online presence?

What do you do whenever you need information on anything? You go online. You search. You ask for recommendations. Your patients are doing the exact same thing. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your patients can find you.

Check your current web presence. Start at the beginning and Google yourself. Find out how hard you are to find online. As explained by Mobius MD, it’s important to get a sense of what your current online presence is before you begin investing in updating it.

Hire an experienced web designer. Anyone can design their own website using any number of simple online programs. You could ask your niece in middle school and she could probably cobble together something decent. The real value of an experienced web designer is their ability to leverage search engine optimization (SEO) to make sure that patients can find you. This can be a pricey investment, but it will be worth it in the end. Plus, you can track the traffic to your site to confirm whether you are getting a return on your investment.

Keep content fresh. Search engines crawl your website to determine if the information is appropriate for the audience you are targeting. These search engines also value updated content. Make sure you are posting new articles or blogs to your site and that the content is fresh and engaging. Don’t post medical advice; stick to medical information.

Don’t neglect social media, but don’t be swallowed by it, either. According to Higher Visibility,  you need to keep track of your social media analytics (ie, how much engagement your posts are getting) and provide high-quality, consistent content. Look at what your competitors are doing and make sure you are targeting the right audience. This can be a huge job. You may want to investigate hiring a social media manager with experience working with medical practices.

Don’t forget your insurance company partners. If you are a provider for one or more insurance companies, check to make sure your information is accurate on their website. Many patients start their search for a physician by checking who their insurance plan covers.