Tag Archives: how to

Website 101

Ever wonder how websites are designed and how they become accessible on the Internet? Maybe you’re looking to create a website for your company or revamp and old site to reflect fresh, modern trends. Doctors’ practices can benefit greatly from having a website. Websites attract new costumers, keep your existing clients up-to-date, and allow people to get a sense of the atmosphere and offerings of your practice before setting foot in your office. However, if you do not understand how websites work and what services are best for your company, you may not know what you can do yourself and what services you need.


Here are some of the basic questions regarding websites and hosting asked by our clients:

What is a website, exactly?

A website starts as a file that contains information on how content should appear on the Internet. You need a program like DreamWeaver that allows you to design the webpage, just as you might use Word to type a letter or PowerPoint to design a slide show. Just because you have designed a webpage does not mean that it is automatically on the Internet. Let’s start with an analogy: imagine your home. A website is like the physical structure that is your house. If you have the code written for a website and a software program that allows you to translate code into webpages, this would be like having the blueprint and raw materials for your house.

What do you mean by “code”?

Code is like a blueprint. It describes exactly where everything should be positioned on the website down to every color and piece of text. Before your website goes online, it starts as a blueprint of how the site should appear once it is on the Internet. Every web page is made up of two types of code: HTML and CSS. HTML describes the content of your website, telling your web browser which headlines, subheadings, paragraphs, lists and other objects should be displayed. CSS styles your content, defining the fonts, sizes, colors and position of all the objects.

Why do I need a Web Host? 

If you only have the blueprint and materials to build a house, you won’t get very far. You need a plot of land to build it on. The company that sells you the plot of land on which to build your house is similar to the Web Host. The web host has physical hardware and servers needed to put your website on the Internet. Without the web host, your website has no way of getting online.

shutterstock_62162776What is the difference between a website and a domain name? 

When you purchase a plot of land, you are given an address that designates where exactly your home is located. All the rooms in your house, your porch, garage, and backyard are grouped under a single address. This is akin to your website’s domain name. It’s the address that determines where on the Internet your website can be found. You are given a domain name when you purchase the space from the web host. Purchasing your own domain name is like owning your own home with a unique address, while “free” websites from hosts like GoDaddy are often like renting apartments; you get your own space but your address is still attached to the whole building.

If a domain name is your address, what is the URL?

A URL is a little bit trickier to compare. It’s as if each floor and room in your house has a separate address. If your living room had a URL, it might be https://www.100DruryLane.com/firstfloor-livingroom

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When your website is optimized for search engines, it means that someone looking for what you’re offering (i.e. “Chicago Dentist”) will find you website as one of the primary options when they type those search words into Google, Yahoo, or another search engine.

How do I customize my website?

Like deciding whether to buy a house, condominium, or apartment – and whether to rent or own – the more time, effort and money you are willing to spend, the more customizable your website can be. If you start from scratch in creating a theme and format for your website and your buy your own domain name, the options for customizing your site are very open.

If you have the resources and knowledge, you can buy a plot of land and build your own house from scratch. However, most people choose to go through a real estate agent and building company, and when they need maintenance done to their house, they hire a contractor. If you do not have the tools and time to build a website, you will need a third-party company to design, host, and maintain your website.

Some higher-end companies will do all of these services at a cost. They will design your website and customize it to your personal brand, put it online, and then update it as you request changes. A completely original and customized website with ongoing maintenance services is the most costly option, but it is also the most professional and comprehensive option for building your website.

When you rent an apartment rather than buying a house, you may not be able to paint the walls or remodel the layout of your apartment. Similarly, if you purchase a inexpensive template site from a large web host company, you will have less freedom to cater the site to your tastes and brand. Every route you chose when deciding options for your website will come down to this: the more your are willing to pay for creative design services, the more personalized and professional your website will be.


  • shutterstock_122664076Webpage – a file saved on a computer containing information on how a content should appear on the Internet
  • Website – multiple webpages, linked together via a common domain name
  • Domain Name – a unique address describing where your website is located on the Internet
  • URL – a more specific address that ties each webpage in a website to a hierarchy branching out from the site’s domain
  • Web Hosting – a service that has the capability to put your website on the Internet

Differences Between a Press Release, Article and a Blog

What is a Press Release?

A press release is a written announcement to the media. It announces scheduled events, promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, etc.

Examples of a Press Release:

  • Purchase of new dental equipment, such as a 3D CT scanner.
  • Hiring of a new associate to the practice.
  • Non-for-profit event to be hosted by the dentist.

How to Write a Press Release:

1) Headline:

  • Initial case: Capitalize the first letter of each word, except for words that are less than letters. Example: Chicago Dentist Hires Oral Surgeon and Dental Laboratory Technician.
  • Keywords: Draw people to read the press release by using important keywords related to the subject matter. The best headlines draw people and search engines. Example: Cosmetic Dental Practice Opens in Burr Ridge, IL.

2) Summary/Sub-header:

  • Goal: Encourage people to keep on reading your release. Identify a key feature that is going to draw attention.
  • Length: One paragraph long—two to three sentences.
  • Example: Smiles Cosmetic Dental opened in Burr Ridge, IL on Saturday, May 25th. John Doe, DDS, opened Smiles after 5 years of starting his first practice in Lombard, IL.

3) Body:

  • Place and Date: Start with City, State, (SOURCE) Month Day, Year. Example: Burr Ridge, IL (SMILEHOUND) May 28, 2013.
  • First paragraph: Covers the who, what, when, where, why and how. Besides the headline and summary, this is your last chance to really clarify the news. The rest of the release provides details and supporting information.
  • Supporting paragraphs: Give further explanation, statistics, background, and other details to support the claims from the introduction.
  • Quotes: Mentions from someone within the company or interest gives the press release a human element.
  • Length: News releases are between 300 to 800 words.
  • Related links: At the end of the release, include links to the company website to make the reader’s search for information much easier.
  • Contact Information: Include a name, phone number, email address, and mailing address for the reader’s reference to seek out more information.

4) Writing Rules:

  • Write in third person: Use he/she, him/her, his/hers, it, they, them, their/theirs. If you find yourself using I, we, me, us, my, mine, our, ours, you or yours, you’re not writing in third person.
  • Use active voice: Construct the sentence where the subject “acts.” To compare active and passive voice, active is constructed like “Timmy likes the dentist,” whereas passive is constructed like “The dentist is liked by Timmy.”
  • Proofread to check for grammar: Grammar rules can be reviewed on sites such as grammarly.com or grammarbook.com.  Poor grammar usage could potentially affect your credibility.
  • Do not use all caps: This is a red flag for spam or an advertisement. Using all caps also looks very unprofessional and will most likely be ignored.
  • Clarity and readability: Transparent writing is important so that the reader can understand as much as possible.
  • Hyperlinks: On keywords, a related hyperlink will optimize the release. Readers should not be misled by a link that does not match the keyword.
  • Factual Information: Avoid embellished writing and just stick to the facts.

What is an Article?

An article is a written work via print or online. Articles can feature news, research results, academic analysis or debates.  They can appeal to the general interest, like daily newspapers, or to a niche market, such as dental magazines, etc. The main purpose is to educate the reader.

Examples of an Article:

  • Dentist’s advice on how to prevent gum disease.
  • Information on new technology in dentistry.
  • Comparing and contrasting different teeth whitening options.

How to Write an Article:

1) Headline

  • Keywords: Mention keywords related to the subject matter or hot trends that are newsworthy.
  • Attention-getting: A well-written headline will draw a reader to the article.
  • Style: Written in an abbreviated style—not in a complete sentence. Example: Brushing Teeth Lowers Dental Health Risk

2) Byline

  • Format: Give name and position of the writer.

3) Lead

  • Goal: Sum up the article. The lead sets the tone and draws the reader to keep reading. This is the first paragraph of the article and answers the who, what, where, when, why and how questions.

4) Body

  • Content: Details based off of the lead.
  • Style: Chronological, Cause and Effect, Classification, Compare and Contrast, List, or Question and Answer.
  • Quotes: Mentions from someone within the company or interest gives the press release a human element.

5) Conclusion

  • Style: End with a quote, descriptive scene, a play on the title or a summary statement.

What is a Blog?

Derived from the words “web log,” a blog is an informational site consisting of posts in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be written by a single individual, or by multiple authors. They invite readers to interact with the writer by leaving comments on a post. Blogs vary in purpose—some are personal online diaries whereas some are brand advertising for a company. Authors may choose to include pictures or links to other websites and media.

Examples of a Blog:

  • What you’re on right now!
  • News: HuffingtonPost.com
  • Tabloids: TMZ.com
  • Corporate: WholeFoodsMarket.com/blog
  • There are many others categories depending on the writer, audience, business, etc.

How to Write a Blog:

1) Blog posts can vary in content.

  • Question and Answer: Why is it important to brush your teeth? How often should you brush your teeth? What are the best toothbrush brands?
  • How-To: How to Prevent Gum Disease
  • News: Study on Plaque by University of Michigan Reveals…
  • List: The Top Dental Schools in the United States
  • Review: Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

2) Tips:

  • Consistency: Posts should look the same in format, font and size.
  • Style: Use bullet points, paragraphs, headers, and images to break up your writing and give it variety.
  • Frequency:  Writing new posts depend on the writer. However, to stay fresh and relevant, update as frequently as possible.