Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.
Issue link: http://digital.ophthalmologybusiness.org/i/138484
continued from page 7 end users, notice that it is dated. This means that you may not rank as high as you could because you are being "penalized" for junky coding, broken links, dead-end files, or site structure that is hard to navigate. For ease of use and best practices in both design and optimization of your site, it is important that your website is clean and not cluttered. If things start to look and feel messy, or if you have too many items on your site competing for attention, question what you want your user to do. The answer is usually simple—fill out a form, pick up the phone and call, or buy something. Make sure you keep your pages focused on your end goal. Link to relevant information within your website Don't leave anyone guessing. Set up proper funneling within your site to get visitors to the information that they need. For example, people might visit your site to find out why they are having blurred vision. They may not yet be ready to contact you at this point, but from further reading, they are shown links to pages with topics like nearsightedness, vision correction options, corrective lenses, and ultimately LASIK. If they are interested, then they will fill out the form or contact you directly by phone. Without proper linking and information funneling, potential patients will not find the answers they are looking for. If users cannot find information they need on your website, they will leave and check out your competition. Search engines know when a visitor leaves your site to visit another site, and they will rank your site lower in future search results if they see this trend continue. Promote your specials Hook visitors with special offers and calls-to-action. Most people are looking for specials, promotions, 8 or coupons when doing online research. If you are running monthly specials, put them in the most prominent spot on your homepage— usually in the header or somewhere in the top third of your page. In my years of analysis, the top three most clicked-on links on most ophthalmology websites are: About Us, Financing or Specials, and Contact. Keep these items easy to find. Other good places to highlight your specials and promotions are on high traffic pages relating to your promotion and community-oriented pages, like blogs or social media sites. For example, on the corrective lenses page, you could list any discounted eyewear or rebate specials on contacts. On the consultation page, you could offer a discount for first time visitors that may entice a new patient to contact your office. On the LASIK page, you could offer a free LASIK consultation or discounted procedures you may have. If you are not currently offering any promotions, you could always ask for interested parties to sign up for a practice newsletter to keep the potential patient in the loop regarding your services and future specials. Promote your strengths If you are doing something that no one else in the area is doing, promote it! If you have training or skills that are unique to you and your practice, you want to let potential patients see that you are an expert. The "About" pages are a great place to do this, but highlighting special skills or services is always something you want to promote throughout the website in an eye-catching way. Tell potential patients why you stand out from the crowd and why your techniques are unique and sought after. Build a loyal community It's no longer enough to just have a website. Your website is one component of a larger network of informa- Ophthalmology Business • July 2013 tion about your practice. This network highlights your brand and details your expertise to those in need of your services. This is done on various online platforms—blogging, social network communities like Facebook and Twitter, online ophthalmology directories and medical forums, and more. Through online community interaction, you have access to people who are looking for the services you provide. Important things to remember about community: 1. Be a good listener. Community members will share their experience and insight if you let them. 2. Be interactive. It is important to share your information on your social platforms. 3. Do not "soap box." You don't want to be someone who spews only your message. Be a true provider of information. Share authoritative links and news from other sources. Do this and you will be seen as an authority by both community members and search engines. The more active you are in your online community, the better. 4. React and reward. Reach out and help those who need your information and professional advice. Reward online community members with specials listed on places like Facebook or Twitter. By focusing on these aspects of your online business profile, you will be building a strong online brand and you will be positioned to bring in even more qualified leads. This, in turn, will help grow your patient base. OB Ms. Smith is a search engine optimization specialist at Page 1 Solutions LLC, an internet marketing firm in Golden, Colo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.