Excerpted from page 14 of the July/August 2015 edition of AOA Focus.
More Americans than ever are online, and for the most part, so are optometric practices.
A recent Review of Optometric Business survey found nearly 70% of respondents' practices were online, yet only 13% rated their website as 'sophisticated or technologically advanced.'
Use these tips, and don't allow a neglected or outdated website to turn new patients away.
- Grab patients' attention.
"Patients often tell me that they learned about my practice on the Internet," says David Armstrong, O.D., of Virginia. "My practice exclusively serves low-vision patients. When someone searches the Internet for low-vision help, I want them to find me. My website, Facebook page, YouTube videos and blog are all linked together, and by making regular changes to each of these, I am able to make it more likely that I'll be found."
- Think mobile.
"It's imperative to have mobile-ready websites," adds Alan Glazier, O.D., of Maryland. "Google recently updated its algorithm to favor businesses with mobile-ready websites. This means people in your vicinity trying to find the products and services you hope will be found may not be easily able to find you via Google if you do not have a mobile-friendly website. There is already a negative impact on search engine position because of this for many practices. This, and the fact that more than 30% of all online searches are performed over mobile, are reason enough to ensure you are present where people are searching for you."
- ID website 'pet peeves' and head the other direction.
"I considered my personal 'pet peeves:' Is information old or outdated?" says Fred Arima Jr., O.D., of Washington. "Is the important information readily available? Are the address and phone number on the home page where they can be seen? Is the website easy to navigate, and is there a logical organization to the site? Are colors and graphics attractive? I suggest ODs consider minor content updates at least monthly, posting public patient reviews of the business weekly and major updates, such as colors, videos, layout and fonts, at least yearly."
- Think of your website as an extension of the office.
"It's important that your virtual office website is as nice as your physical office. You need to be thinking about updates every few years," says Eric White, O.D., of California. As technology continues to change, your website needs to change, too. Since we are always directing patients to our website to fill out forms and check out the latest information, we want this space to be as advanced as our office. One of the most popular areas of our website is the virtual office tour so patients know what to expect when they walk through the door."
The AOA will use the time to evaluate its collection efforts and create a registry for the future that is most useful to improving eye health and vision care. The AOA launched the registry in 2015.
Even if you’re choosing to disengage, today’s politics have a way of finding you. What are the ground rules for approaching political debates in the practice?
Under new rules for the 21st Century Cures Act, doctors of optometry will need to prepare for changes going into effect April 5. Doctors should check in with their health IT vendor in order to make sure they meet the new requirements.