3 Types of Websites: Which is Yours?

3 Types of Websites, all must be created on WordPress.Your website can only be a:  a resource site, a marketing tool or an interactive website.  Which is yours?  As long as your site is built on a flexible platform, it doesn’t matter.

Good – Resource Site

Of the doctors who do have site, most have this type of site.  A resource site contains basic contact information, an about page, insurance participation, hours of operation, etc.  A resource site is not dynamic.  A resource site rarely has content or needs to updated.

A resource site, therefore, has absolutely no marketing value.  Without fresh content, it becomes impossible for this site to become ranked on Google.  No content, no rankings and no visibility.

The only people who visit your website are already familiar with you, that is, your existing patients.

Better – Website as Marketing Tool

A website becomes a marketing tool when it starts to rank highly in SERP (Google results).  Patients search on Google and your webpage becomes visible on the results pages.  Patients click on your site.  Your site is now marketing your practice!

To rise in Google rankings, your website must regularly get updated with relevant content.  This is the principle behind content marketing.  Search engines compare webpages based upon the content.

Websites of this type are dynamic, receiving  fresh new relevant content to the website on a regular basis.  This is the only way to get your website to attain and maintain high rankings.

Best – Interactive Tool

A website can be a dynamic interactive tool for your practice.  It has the same rudimentary contact information as a resource site and is full of relevant content….but it also displays conversations, or threads, between you and your next prospective patient.

This is the basis of social media.

Your articles will gain you exposure in terms of traffic and rankings.  Your willingness to publicly “talk” with your readers on your website is the most compelling component of a blog…the purest form of social media.  It will set you apart from your competitors.

Finding others with the same problems becomes magnetic and provides you with a golden opportunity to show compassion and your “bedside manner.”  Exhibiting this type of transparency builds value and trust.

This is how a website brings patients to your door.

What Can You Do?

Remember to march at your own pace.  No need to be overwhelmed.

Every modern website should be constructed as a blog and the best framework is WordPress.org.  In this way, you can start off with a resource site and add functionality only when you are ready….and it won’t cost anything extra!  A simple resource site gets the ball rolling and does demonstrate to your patients that you are willing to engage the Internet.

With time, you may want to add content.  This will elevate you in the rankings and start to market your practice.  Later on, start to interact with your readers by answering comments and questions.

By using WordPress.org, you can add functions when you are ready and it doesn’t cost anything to increase your function.  All CMS (Content Management System) programs have all of this functionality built in…you just use it when you are ready.  There is no hurry.  Starting out on the most versatile framework in the world…Wordpress.org.

Static sites offer only design….cant’ do this.

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

Is Your Site Mobile Responsive

Mobile Responsive vs. Mobile DesignedThe following is a guest post from my good friend Howard Jacobson.  Howard is a pioneer in intellectual property and has extensive programming talents.  This is from a thread we exchanged over Google +;

“Mobile responsive design” really is two different things. “Mobile” design means to design a web site for a mobile device (e.g., a smart phone or tablet). “Responsive design” means to design a web site for a browser window of varying size no matter the device on which the browser is running.

Until the advent of mobile browsers, web sites were designed only for PC / Mac screens of a certain size. In the earlier days of the web, that size was perhaps 500 pixels wide (because computer screens were limited to a width of 600 pixels. Later, the size grew to perhaps 650 or so because screens became capable of displaying 768 pixels width. Later still, screens became capable of displaying more pixels, and the standard web site width became 960 pixels.

Then, mobile devices came along. These devices have much smaller screen widths and so cannot display well a web site designed for a PC / Mac screen. Many web sites initially responded by creating a duplicate of their site but redesigned for a much narrower browser width. These duplicates were not “responsive”, but they were “mobile.”

As mobile device designs proliferated, the number of different device widths increased. So, one mobile site design did not work well on all mobile devices (e.g., phone versus tablet). The need for a “responsive” technology became apparent so that web site developers and designers did not have to design multiple different separate web sites for different devices (e.g., iPhones versus iPads versus MacBook Airs versus large desktop displays).

CSS3 and Javascript provided that technology. (HTML5 and other technologies like jQuery also help.) These technologies allow a web site to “respond” to the size of a web browser and dynamically adjust the size and arrangement of items on the page as the width of the browser changes (wider or narrower) no matter the device on which the browser is running.

The web site developer and designer create only one site and include the CSS3 and Javascript that detects the browser width and changes the CSS3 properties of page elements to adapt to the changing browser size. This kind of web site is a “responsive” web site.

- Howard

While this may seem confusing, the remedy is quite simple.  Mobile responsive designs are simply website designs which can adapt, via mobile browsers, to varying screen sizes.  One website fits a variety of mobile screen sizes.

“Mobile design is really out of vogue.  All design is now “responsive.” says Howard.

Studiopress makes this simple.  The newer themes from Studiopress are all mobile responsive, keeping you way ahead of the game.  All of our customers and our own sites are built upon the sturdy Studiopress themes;  built on WordPress, optimized and now mobile responsive!


I Bought a New Car

Meet patients online needs.I bought a new car last week.  This is not a post about buying a car, but there are some strong messages about online relationships.

I chose a 2013 Honda Crosstour, the dealer, and my salesperson before ever walking into a sales room.  I did it all online.

The Right Time to Buy

I haven’t had a brand new car since 1990.  My last 3 were previously owned.  I simply drove too much to justify the rapid depreciation costs of a new vehicle.

While two kids are already driving, we will have 3 more who will be of driving age in the next 18 months.  The car I just traded in wasn’t safe enough to keep around for any of them.

So, for a myriad of reasons it was time to buy.  As it was Christmas break, I didn’t want to waste precious vacation time.

Online Window Shopping

Through several auto sites (USAA, Edmunds, Autotrader) I expressed interest in the particular make and model; Crosstour V6, 2013.  In doing so, interested dealers in zip code made contact via email.

Within 24 hours I had received emails from 6 area dealerships.  I read the reviews of the dealerships.  I easily chose two finalists.

The others were disqualified for;

  • Deception:  gave me a quote for a 2012, not 2013.  No 2013′s even in stock.
  • No Quote:  wanted me to visit dealership first before giving me a quote
  • No Response: waited too long to email me or return emails
  • Poor After Market Service

“I Will Beat Any Deal You Receive”

The two “finalists” were quick to communicate and straightforward with answering my questions through emails, gave me a quote and showed some personal interest in meeting me.  They engaged me by accommodating my needs.

In his opening email, my eventual salesperson, “Ama,” even stated he’d” beat any offer” and gave a most competitive quote.  To me, this meant he was serious in wanting to meet me.

For the purpose of comparing, I visited both dealerships.  The first dealership just couldn’t beat the quote I received from Ama.  I drove across town and bought the car from Ama.

What Can You Learn?

Buying a car is a huge purchase.

It seems only too natural to start your search for a dealer and salesman online.  Price is a huge factor, but so is the personality of the sales team.  Are they willing to negotiate, or are they jerks?  Can I start a relationship with a specific person before entering the show room?

For me, there was great satisfaction in already knowing who I’d be dealing with upon my arrival, knowing he’d was anticipating my visit and that we’d already begun the negotiation.  I was also very happy that I was choosing a dealership endorsed by others.

Satisfied, I made the purchase.  I had found a dealership who takes online shopping seriously.  I met a salesman who understands that the online customer is likely to be very savvy about the purchase, but also, very serious about buying a car.

They met my needs.

Just as the dealership met my needs.  We, as doctors and health providers, need to meet our patients needs.  Most of America search first for questions about health providers online.  We need to provide information on our sites about our practice philosophy and who we are as people.

Just as I expect this about a car purchase, our patients, with their health on the “line,” expect to find us on the Internet, too.  Create websites with great content, educate and become transparent.

The car sales industry is changing, but really it’s the consumer, i.e. our patients.  I turned to the Internet for my car.  Doesn’t it make sense more would turn to the Internet for more important issues such as health?

Take them seriously, meet their needs and you’ll be greeting them in person when they walk through your office door.

Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Websites

What's the Difference between Hosted and Self-hosted websites?In most cases, I recommend you choose “self-hosting” for your websites.  Self-hosting allows maximum flexibility and is the best choice for maximizing your SEO.

Hosted Websites are Free

The two most popular “hosted” websites are WordPress.com and Blogger.com.  These are free and “all-in-one.”  Hosting, design, setup and maintenance!

Travel to these respective sites, follow the directions and create your website!

There are several advantages to hosted websites:  convenience, security and cheap.

In either case, both provide hosting and are an “all-in-one” solution for creating a website. You don’t have to worry about security updates and your website will be hosted on safer and better servers than you can arrange yourself.  Security issues, malware and downtime are virtually non-existant…and not your problem.

Hosted websites, however, are severely inflexible and your ability to customize the theme (aka appearance) and functionality is limited.  Worst of all, this option provides limited ability for search engine optimization (SEO).

Self-Hosted Websites

These sites require you purchase hosting (nominal rates, keep reading), install WordPress and maintain the site yourself.  In return you get maximum flexibility, customization and complete autonomy.

There are many “self-hosted” companies offering to host your WordPress.org site;  GoDaddy.com and Bluehost.com are two of our favorites and two of the most popular.

For a low monthly fee, usually less than $10, you can obtain hosting for your site, install WordPress.org with one click and have complete access and control over your site.

There are countless free themes from which to choose compared to a more limited selection with the “hosted” sites.  In addition, WordPress.org is “open source” allowing the creation of infinite “plugins” to add almost any function imaginable to your site.  These, too, are free.

Security updates are provided regularly to prevent hacking (i.e. invasion from malware, spam) and while upgrading is a simple click, you must still remember to do so, whereas with hosted sites, this is provided for you.

Best Way to Maximize SEO

Your ability to optimize your site, however, is the biggest reason to move to WordPress on a self-hosted site.  Maximum flexibility includes use of plugins to specifically allow you to optimize your site;  analytics, webmasters tools, Scribe, etc.

Maximum flexibility also means you can start and grow your site at your own pace.  Millions of blogs and websites are “self-hosted,” that is, it isn’t too difficult.


The last advantage to “self-hosted” is that you own your files.  There is no risk of your site suddenly disappearing due to a change in policy or rules.  With self-hosted plans, you have constant access to your servers and files.


Search Engines Rank Webpages Not Websites

Search engines rank webpages not websites.Search engines rank webpages, not websites.

Think of a reference manual;  dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauraus.  The title of the book refers to a collection of pages bound together.  Unlike a novel, reading each page in order serves no purpose.

A website is composed of webpages.  A collection of webpages constitutes a website and as in our manual example, each webpage of a website contains useful information.

Search engines, such as Google, rank individual pages of each site and not the whole site collectively.

Overall, with good SEO, most of your pages will rank well.

The URL or Domain

Think of a website as a place (i.e. your Domain) where webpages of a common theme reside.  In this way, you may better understand how a “website” may rank for dozens of keywords.  In actuality, a successful website contains many pages allowing for the excellent SERP rankings.

When establishing a PageRank, an overall score is assigned to your domain, or website.  A PageRank is different than index rankings on a SERP.  It gives you an overall score of the relevance of a website.


Each article you write for publish for your site will have a separate and unique URL. The root URL remains the same, but the extension, or filename, is unique to everypage of the site.  For instance;


This points to the home page and is the “root” URL.


This URL is the address of my “About” page.  It is indexed separately from the home page and all other pages on this site.  This extension signifies that it is completely separate file, or page, on my site.

Each of these pages is read and indexed separately by Google.  One page may rank better for “medical search engine optimization” and the other for “randall wong md.”

This website has almost 300 pages “indexed” with the search engines.  In theory, this means this site could rank for at least 300 different keywords or subjects!

Do you have 300 areas of your practice for which you’d like to rank Number 1?

What Can You Do?

This emphasizes the importance of relevance.  Each and every article should be relevant to one subject, or keyword.  The more specific your article, or post, is to one keyword, the more relevant.  Try to write an article “concentrating” on too many keywords and you lose specificity, i.e. relevance.

To your success!


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

Top 10 Tips to Starting Your SEO

Best Top Ten Tips for Starting SEO, Search Engine Optimization for DoctorsHere is my Top Ten List to optimize your SEO (search engine optimization) for your website.  Whether or not you’ve built the site yourself, regardless of the type of website, your marketing goals or even your type of medical practice, these are the basic steps to getting your website optimized, indexed and working well.

Start a GMail Account

There are several Google tools available (and for free!).  All you need to do is create a GMail Account.  With a Google account,  you can then set up;

  • Google Analytics
  • Webmasters Tools
  • Feedburner
  • Adwords
  • Adsense


Every website should have an analytics tool setup.  Analytics will give you vital information about the popularity of your blog, how many visitors and what they read.  Search engines, such as Google, actually expect you to have analytics installed on your site.  In fact, not having analytics installed has a negative impact on your Pagerank and SEO.

Sign in to Google Analytics with your GMail userid and password.

Webmasters Tools

Webmasters Tools tests your site for “dead” links and other internal errors which may decrease your SEO.  Making sure your have proper 301 redirects and 404 errors handled properly are also important factors of your SEO.

It is here that you will register your website with Google and/or by submitting a sitemap of your site.

Claim FaceBook and Google Plus Pages

Though you know I don’t recommend engaging in social media until you’ve set-up a website, I am changing my recommendation for Facebook and Google Plus (now integrated with Google Places).

In both instances, FaceBook and Google have already created pages for local businesses.  Hence, you have a “page” waiting to be claimed.  Both will be influential in the local search market and you want to make sure the information available to the public is accurate.  At the very least, make sure the phone number and address on these pre-fabbed pages is correct.

An unclaimed page may contain erroneous information about your business and also sends a message to your potential patients that you just don’t care to engage.

Add Title to WebSite

A common SEO “mistake” is a missing Title Tag.  The title tag appears in the tab of your browser and is as important for your search engine optimization as your content and inbound links.  Take some time to create your title.

Your site can contain your name, but more importantly, we suggest adding your location and type of medical specialty.  For instance, Randall Wong, M.D., Retina Specialist of Northern Virginia.  Use keywords commonly used by your patients.


The sitemap is used by the search engines as a “Table of Contents” of all the pages comprising your site.  It is an easy way for the search engines to ensure that all pages have been crawled and then indexed.

Having and submitting a sitemap signifies to the search engines that you are a legitimate website owner.  The search engines regard the sitemap as an efficient way to index all the pages in your site and is an expected component of any “legitimate” website.

I use Google XML Sitemaps on all my sites.


Submit your site to the Open Directory.  Websites on the Open Directory are less likely to be black hat or poor quality sites.


This is another file that is a “must have” from an SEO standpoint.  This file contains those files or pages that should NOT be indexed or crawled by the bots.  Examples could be emergency or contact information, disclaimers, privacy policy statements, etc.

From an SEO standpoint, Google, Bing and Yahoo give a higher value to those sites that contain robots.txt….another expected component of a good website.

Length of Domain Registration

Purchase your URL for at least 2 years, but 5-7 years is better.  This increases the “trustworthiness” of your site and improves Pagerank and your SEO.  The search engines rank older, more trusted sites, too (i.e. the age of your URL is important).

If you’ve purchased the URL for only a year, you might consider renewing now, but for multiple years.

Mobile Friendly

Choose either a mobile friendly (aka mobile responsive) theme if you have yet to build a site or change your present site to become mobile responsive.  We recommend themes by Studiopress as inexpensive, SEO maximized and now mobile friendly.

These are my top ten!  I invite you to share your suggestions!


To Your Growth And Success!


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




Choosing the Type of Website: Good, Better and Best

Regardless of your business, there are only 3 “types” of websites; a resource site, a marketing site or an interactive site.  No matter what functions you choose, all should be created on a blog.

“Blog software” (aka content management systems such as WordPress.org) can provide all these functions and can be integrated at anytime.  You don’t have to redesign your site!

Integrate different functions when you are ready!

Website as a Resource Site

This is the most basic form of a website for a medical practice.  It contains information for existing patients who already know your practice.  It will contain static information such as hours of operation, “About Us,” Insurance participation, maps and contact information.  Usually these sites are static and are rarely changed.

Resource sites have no marketing value and will NOT be listed very high on SERP pages on a search.

While a resource site is basic.  It can be an easy first step to getting a website started and also shows you are interested in starting and maintaining a web presence.

Well done.

Website Becomes Marketing Tool

To use your website as a marketing tool, you must understand the concepts of content marketing, SEO and SERP.

Content marketing is the only approach for a medical practice to achieve and maintain high Google rankings.  By adding new, relevant content to your website on a regular basis (the 3 R’s), your webpages will soon be ranking well on the SERP’s!

Search Engine Optimization practices ensure the search engines will know how to rank, and elevate, your webpages.

Your goal is to get your webpage listed in the “top 10″ results of the SERP.  These high rankings will increase traffic to your sites.

Your website is now successfully marketing your medical practice yet still serves as a resource to known patients, however, now you are attracting new visitors to your site.

Interactive Websites are the Best

The best type of site offers information as a resource, markets the practice well and engages the readers…to become new patients.

By ranking highly on the results page (SERP), you are now attracting new patients to your website.

By allowing your readers to comment on your blog posts, new visitors can find patients asking questions with similar problems.  New patients can find others with whom they can relate.

By answering each and every legitimate comment, you will display transparency, share your knowledge and give insight to your personality and the way you practice.

Nothing is more engaging for a new patient than to witness a conversation between a patient (with similar questions) and a doctor.  Nothing.  To find a person with similar issues is engaging.  To find a doctor to respond transparently is a “slam-dunk.”

This is how I’ve grown my practice over the past few years.  The ability for a new patient to witness a conversation on your site is the most powerful influence to becoming a new patient.

To Your Growth And Success!


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



3 Most Important Pages on Your Website

3 Essential Webpages for Every Medical WebsiteYour website should contain 3 basic pages;  Home, About and Contact.  When starting to build a website you should still create these pages first.

Home Page – Just Like Your Front Door

Your home page has one purpose.  It must quickly convey the type of medical services you provide.

Nothing else is as important.


If your home page is too busy and distracting…you can’t deliver your message.  Your readers will click away.

Just like the front door of your home, the home page conveys an image and message about your practice.

Whether you convey this information through a nice header, bold title or nifty tagline, your readers must be able to know they have found the right type of website.  If you have yet to start a website, use the URL to also provide this information.

About Page – Tell Your Story

The about page should be the first page added to your new website.  While the home page conveys what you do, the about page should convey who you are.  It’s a great way to show some personal transparency.

It is here that you get to tell your story.  All too often, the “about” page is mistakenly used as an online resume or curriculum vitae.  While it is important to convey your credentials, take the opportunity to talk at least a little bit about your hobbies, practice style, etc.

Most readers have no idea about the rudiments of medical training and reading the highlights of your medical career tends to mimic every other medical professional;  great credential after great credential becomes meaningless to our future patients because there is no relevance.

Use the About Page to distinguish yourself from your colleagues and competitions.  Be bold and tell a little of the human side of you!  Be transparent!

Contact Page

The contact page should list all of your contact information.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but list all the different ways a patient can find you.  Most of the elements are self-explanatory, yet I’d stress that you should list the real name/email address of a real person to contact.

“Contact” or “Support” are not as good as giving the first name of a true person in your office.  Take the opportunity to make every item as personal as possible….it matters.

  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Fax
  • Email Address
  • Map

To Your Growth And Success!


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.






3 Google Tools You Need: Analytics, GMail and WebMasters Tools

 3 Tools For Every Website to Optimize Medical SEO

After your have purchased your URL, hosting and installed WordPress.org, your next tasks are to start a GMail account, install Google analytics and register your site on WebMaster Tools.

All these are Google products, are free and require a Google/Gmail account.

Get a Google Account

Go to Gmail.com. There will be a link to create your new Google Account.  It is free.

“Create an Account” and follow the directions.  This will now give you a username and password for all of your Google products, e.g. Google Analytics and Webmasters Tools.

Google Analytics Gives You Data About Your Patients

Installing an analytics package onto your website is one of the first things you need to do with your new site.

Analytics allows you to monitor your traffic and behavior of your visitors.  Good analytics can tell you;

  • Number of visitors (usually unique visitors during the previous 30 days)
  • Time spent on site
  • Page/Articles Viewed
  • Average Time Spent
  • Traffic Sources
  • Location of Viewers
  • Browsers Used
  • Site Speed (slow download speeds decrease your ranking)
  • Keywords

In short, analytics allows you to find out about your readers:  what they like to read.

Remember, your goal is to rank your website high to get new patients.  Valuable, highly ranked sites get there by providing information relevant to the users’ (patients’) search query.

For instance, I found that many of my followers like information on retinal detachments.  I noticed this by reviewing my Google Analytics data.  Articles on retinal detachments are read more often than any other topic on my site.

Thus, I know that I’ll attract more readers if I continue to write on retinal detachments.

Submit Your Site on Webmasters Tools

Google also offers this free tool.  Webmasters tools can do many things (see below), but this is the best way to submit your site to Google.  If your site is new, you want to tell Google that you have a new site so you will be indexed.  Google can not rank your site if it does not know you exist.

If you have an older site, it is may already be indexed.

With Webmasters Tools, you can;

  • Verify that your site is operating properly (e.g. do all hyperlinks work?)
  • Determine Incoming Links to Your Site (important for SEO)
  • Identify Popular Search Queries (what search phrases were used to get to your site)
  • Verify a Sitemap

Perhaps the most important function second to allowing Google to index your site is to verify that you have a sitemap on your webpage and that it works.  A sitemap is basically a file on your site that functions as a table of contents for the search engine bots.

Search engines look for a sitemap, without a sitemap your pages may not get indexed.  Without indexing, you may not rank.  It’s important for your SEO rankings.