Your Avatar: Your Personal Brand

Randall Wong, M.D., Medical Marketing Enterprises, Website Optimization

An avatar is part of your personal brand.

This is mine.  An avatar is your personal logo and is used to visually recognize your personal brand. It should be used anywhere you write, or publish, on the Internet.

I use this picture on each and every article associated with my name including my websites, blog and social media accounts.

I chose this “logo” of myself as it quickly conveys; my profession, what I really look like, and has a unique blue/green the really stands out.  You can quickly pick out my avatar even when standing across the room!

Why Use an Avatar?

An avatar provides instant recognition of you, the author.  This visual signature will influence your known readers to read more of your work.   Remember most Internet users make decisions to “Click” (and read more) or “Bounce” (away from your page to something else) in about 2.5 seconds.

Just like a signature, an avatar lets your readers to visually recognize your brand.

Choosing Your Avatar

While your avatar can be any type of image, symbol, logo, icon or character that suits your style, I recommend using a picture of yourself.  Whatever you choose, make it part of your personal brand and keep it the same.

As we (docs) are in the service industry, by using a picture of yourself, you will demystify and personalize yourself.  While doctors might be tempted to use the typical 3/4 pose in a white coat or suit, a more candid and relaxed image is recommended.  This will help exhibit some transparency (doctors showing human traits) and will further distinguish you amongst your competitors.

Choose something that is easily and quickly recognized.  Select a photo no more than 150 x 150 pixels.  You want to keep the file size as small as possible for easy uploading.

Most avatars are small and square.  Choose an image that is easily and quickly recognized.  A photo of about 150 x 150 pixels is probably ideal.  Crop the image to make it square.  Square is best to minimize any automatic cropping when uploading to a website.  This ensures that your image will be uniform.

Using Your Avatar

Use your avatar just as you would your signature.  It should be used with any article your write for your own site, your social media forums, but more importantly, should be included on anything you write on other websites and forums so your readers can easily find you.

Use the same picture every time so that your readers can instantly recognize you in various forums.  For instance, my avatar appears on my FaceBook page, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts.  Just as you would keep a consistent theme across your different sites and accounts….keep the same picture.

When visually scanning what to read next, any clue will increase readability.

This same picture appears in the “authors” column of websites where I write regularly such as Physicians Practice.

This website allows your avatar to follow you from blog to blog when you guest post or comment.  It is free and removes the need for you to upload your image every time you write.  It makes it easy to keep your brand consistent across the web and adds some professionalism to your posts and comments and also ensure consistency.

Best of all, it’s free!

To Your Growth!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization

Website Grows Practice 30%

My website on retinal diseases grew my surgical volume by 31% last year.

I have been in practice for 19 years and presently work for two separate ophthalmic groups.  Neither does any marketing.  Both have webpages that should be parked (the websites are stale and have been ignored and do not reflect positively on the groups).  Their websites do not rank well.

My websites are the only marketing tool I have.  The “non-retina” volume (e.g. cataract surgey) has remained “flat” at best for each group.

12,000 “uniques”

I attract over 12,000 visitors per 3o days (this is the standard metric by which website traffic can be measured, the number of unique visitors per 30 days) to my website about retinal disease.

Over 25,000 pages were viewed.  Most visitors read about 2.5 articles and spend about almost 1.5 minutes “looking.”

82% are new visitors.

Most of my readers are from the U.S.

International and Interstate Patients

In the last year, however, I have had several international patients and several dozen patients traveling interstate.  Most come for surgery.

Local Patients

The growth of my retina sub-specialty practice is not due to the numbers of international nor interstate patients I attract.  Those numbers are relatively lean, but they do grab your attention.

In fact, the core of my growth is due to the tremendous local exposure my website generates.  I rank higher on SERP, and more often, when patients are performing a search for a retinal specialist than any of my competitors.

I own my local zip codes.

I have become my own, single largest referral source.  Patients come from two major sources.

Self-referrals are the obvious source.  As 90% of Americans first turn to the Internet when looking for answers to their health, many patients simply self-refer themselves.

The second way my practice grows is related to my referrral base.  Word of mouth from patients and referals from other doctors no LONGER are sufficient for patients to call and make an appointment.   Word of mouth and doctor ‘referals’ serve only as suggestions. 

I need to be validated on the web before a call is made to make an appointment.

This is the mechanism by which my web presence has helped boost my practice the most.  A suggestion is made to see me, and I am validated vis-a-vis my web presence.

Not Social Media Either

I do use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  I use them primarily to reach out to the few who “follow” me on these platforms.  My analytics are respectable, not due to traditional social media, but due to the efforts of content marketing.

Content Marketing is the Best for Medicine

Content marketing and optimizing your SEO (search engine optimization) is the only way a medical practice can achieve and also maintain high rankings.  Creating value on your website by providing useful, relevant health information is the key to getting your website ranked highly on SERP and attracting new patients.

While Facebook’s marketing utility is indeed growing, without a good website, you can’t develop a Facebook marketing strategy.  While this may not be true in other industries, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be used to draw attention to your website.

Content marketing provides value to the patients looking for answers to their health questions.  Google and the other search engines rank websites based upon relevance….i.e., the quality of the content on your site.

Good relevant content turns into high rankings.  High rankings become patients….eventually.

(I’ll be writing next about the different stages of a website and how traffic can turn into….patients.)


Have a great President’s Day Weekend!

To the Growth of You and Your Practice!

Randall V. Wong, M.D.






About Keywords

 Keywords are a best SEO Practice, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Maximize your SEO by understanding keywords.  These are the words and phrases entered in a search bar.

Keywords are terms, or words,  used to index and retrieve documents on the Internet and are the beginning of “search” and “search” is the beginning of SEO (search engine optimization).

Keywords Start Search

Keywords are index terms used to find documents, or webpages, related to that specific term or subject. When you start a “search,” you are trying to find webpages that match your keywords.

When you “Google Something,” the words you “Google” are simply keywords.

Used to Index Webpages

Google, and the other search engines, index/categorize/file every web page on the Internet.  Keywords are assigned to every webpage.

Remember, Google ranks webpages, not websites.  This means that every webpage of your website gets indexed and is assigned a “main topic.”

Every time you search, the engines try to find the best webpages that match your keywords.  (The order in which the results are listed is the science of SEO!)

How Search Engines Determine Keywords

In the old days of SEO (or maybe before SEO even started), the webmaster would supply their own  words  that should be used for each page.  These were added as ‘metatags’ which told the search engines the keywords to use for that particular webpage.

Keywords would also be overused within the content of an article.  The more times a word was used in an article, the higher the ranking!

“Keyword Stuffing” became a black hat SEO technique and quickly became an unethical way of trying to manipulate page rankings on search engines.

Nowadays, neither technique works.  In fact, metatags are ignored by Google.  Also, if a particular word represents more than 5.5% of the total words, the SEO value decreases and the page is actually penalized with lower rankings.

Google now has its own algorithm for determining keywords.  There is no longer any gamesmanship and is one of the reasons that good SEO has become so important.

Adding Your Own Keywords

In almost all website design programs, blogging software, HTML generators, etc., there are area where you can manage the SEO of your webpage.  In these areas, you can specifically add titles, descriptions, compose metatags and keywords.

What Can You Do?

In Titles:  Use your keyword within your title.  This not only catches the attention of the search engines, but your readers, too.

In the Description:  Take the extra time to compose a succinct description of your article – no more than 150 words and use your keywords.  The description is the text underneath your webpage title on a SERP (search engine results page).  It will not necessarily improve your SEO, but it will catch the attention of your readers.

Scribe SEO Tool:  I use, and we suggest, purchasing a subscription to Scribe.  Scribe is a plugin for WordPress (and other CMS applications) and makes optimization simple and easy.  It will walk you thorugh setting up your tiltes, analyzing your writing and descriptions, count your keywords and grade each publication.

To the Growth of You and Your Practice!

Randall V. Wong, M.D.


The Difference Between a WordPress Post and Page

 Guide to Choosing WordPress Page versus WordPress Post


You are now ready to publish your first article on your website.  You have two choices with WordPress, post vs. page.  How do you choose?

Both pages and posts are used to create documents, or articles, for your website.  They are simply files you create when creating content.  Both are similar to creating a “Word” document on your word processor.

Technical Differences between WordPress Pages and Posts

There are several technical differences between the post and the page.  Some of these differences are; pages are not time-stamped, pages are not distributed via RSS, pages usually don’t offer the ability to add comments and posts are listed in reverse chronological order (the most recent first) on your site.

When to Create a Page

In general, pages are linked to the home page or the navigation bar.  They are highly visible and easy to find because pages contain good general information about your practice and the services your provide.  Pages tend to serve as great references on your website.

Examples of “pages;”

  • About Page
  • Contact Page
  • Insurance Participation Page
  • Disclaimers
  • Patient Information Forms
  • Services Provided

Create 3 Overviews and Publish as a Page

In addition, we recommend creating 3 “anchor articles” as pages.  Create 3 different articles about 600-800 words in length.  Each article should be an “overview” about a particular topic/disease/service that your practice is proud to provide.

Pages are usually automatically added to the WordPress navigation bar once published.

Use pages to quickly convey to your readers the main themes/services of your practice.  Refrain from trying to write a lengthy article about each and every procedure or service in which you “specialize.”  This will be distracting to the reader and they will leave.

(Don’t worry.  As your site grows with additional content, you’ll naturally be broadening the scope of the content of your website, and thus, all of your services and specialties will become evident!)

When to Create a Post

Posts should be shorter than pages.  Somewhere between 300-500 words.  No more.  Posts are the core of a website.  By publishing regularly, your readers are kept up to date via your posts, your website gets refreshed and your SEO values improve.

Posts should be shorter than pages, contain one idea or topic and should compliment the overviews.  Posts are the core of your SEO of your site!

After creating your 3 main articles, we suggest publishing regular posts…at a rate of once a week in the beginning.  This is the core of content marketing.  Following the “3 R’s” of content marketing, should get your pages ranked in no time!

Posts should be focused on one topic.  In the beginning, make the subject of your posts related to one of the anchor articles.  These posts should be a bit more detailed than the larger overview article.  Thus, your information in your posts will compliment the larger overview pages.  Here are some other suggestions for writing great content.

Creating links from the post to the page, and vice versa, is also a great way to improve your SEO.  By creating “internal links” within your site, the search engines will be sure to index each and every article of your site.

Make sure to allow comments on your posts.  While you may “turn off” comments on pages, make sure comments are “on” for your posts.

The most powerful part of your website is to allow user generated content, i.e. allowing your readers to leave a comment…followed by a response!

To the Growth of You and Your Practice!

Randall V. Wong, M.D.