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Web Site is One Year Old! was started one year ago!  I remain as energized as ever about social media, the Internet and patient education.  Creating one of the few objective souces of health information has been a lot  of work…but also very rewarding and fun.


“Traffic” on the web is a good thing.  Traffic refers to the number of people coming to a web site.  The traffic here now approaches 2000 people per month!

Most of the traffic now comes from search engines such as Google (Bing and Yahoo being the two other major search engines).  65-70% of the visitors now come as a result of a “search.”

Twitter and Facebook

Initially, I’d write an article then promote the article, and web site, via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  These are social media platforms.  Basically, the traffic would increase when I wrote a new article, and decrease if nothing new were added.

I used this method for a solid 9 months.  In the first year, I wrote over 200 articles for the web site.  That’s almost 4 articles per week!

Great Content and Google

My 200 articles is a lot of content for any site.  We now have a rock-solid base.  Google really likes web pages with solid, relevant content that is updated regularly.  Google rewards pages like this with higher rankings, or “visibility.”

As a result, this web page now starts popping up on Google searches.  We are rising closer to the top.  People see us on the first one or two pages, click and come to read.  In other words, people are now finding the site on their own.

You may have noticed that I am not writing as frequently.  This is the reason.

What Does This Mean?  This has been a fun and rewarding year.  I have spent 100’s hours learning about how to effectively use the Internet.  I really enjoy it.  I also feel my writing has improved.

On a local scale, patients are now self-referring after finding us on the Internet.  It really is a new age!  I have had patients from as far as Nigeria come and visit.

On a larger scale, I remain firm in my belief that more and more patients will be looking for relevant, credible health information over the Internet.  More docs will, and should, take our lead.  Slowly the quality of health information on the Internet will improve.

Thank you for commenting, reading, and sharing this blog with your docs and friends.  Thank you for your support.

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Attn Email Subscribers: New Email Alerts

To My Subscribers,

In the past few days I have been busy changing the service that notifies you of new articles on the web site.

The email alert is no longer coming from (Google) and should be coming from aWeber (of no consequence to you).


  • the change in the new look of the message.
  • the “thank you” you just received although you signed up sometime over the past year.
  • you may have received two different alerts about the same article

Thanks for your patience,

Still learning.

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Medical Blogger: What's in a Name?

Am I a Medical Blogger?

A “blogger” is someone who blogs.  “Blogging” is the act of writing articles, usually about a personal opinion, or posts, and publishing them on a blog.  A “medical blogger”  is usually a doctor that blogs about medical issues.  I am not sure where I fit in.  I am a blogger and I am a doctor, but I try to keep my opinions to myself.

Blogging is Writing to Persuade

As I discussed last time, blogs have become quite popular for a variety of reasons.  From a bloggers perspective, publishing an essay on the Internet, using blogging software, is a snap; both easy and fast.

I spend most of my time, sometimes as often as 5 days a week, creating content for  It has become a passion of mine for almost a year (I started April 2009).

While I am technically a blogger, there is a true distinction between myself and other bloggers.  I intentionally avoid expressing my opinion.   I try, as best as I can, to write objectively in order to teach.

Most other bloggers write to persuade.  I believe this to be a huge difference.

Medical Blogging

There are some notable medical bloggers.  Dr. Val, KevinMD and DrRob to name some popular ones.  They, too, are doctors and bloggers.  They are typical “medical bloggers.”

Most of their blogging is focused on politics and trends in medicine.  Often there may be an article offering a glimpse into a doc’s life, but still their writing is mostly opinion, perspective and persuasion.

I don’t think I really can run with these guys.

I Need a Home

I actually need a name.  I need to create my own name.  I need  a name that accurately, and fairly describes what I am doing;

I am a doctorblogger but I don’t write normal doctor blogging stuff.  I write about accurate health information regarding two causes of blindness.

Any suggestions?

Using a Blog to Teach

My true objective is to teach and provide health information.  I just use a blog as a format.  If blogs are synonymous with web sites, and from a reader’s perspective, they are the same, then I am creating an authority web site focused on eye disease; diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

A physician is an authority on health and medicine.  I aim to use this knowledge and authority to promote better health info on the web.

So, who am I?

What Does This Mean? We need to carve out a niche and distinguish ourselves from true “bloggers,”  medical or otherwise.  It may be too early to really define a new term describing what I do here, but perhaps, in the near future, more and more will catch on.

Certainly there is an unmet need for providing good health content on the web.  At some point, other docs will realize that they, too, can contribute and meet their own patients here!

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The 100th Post to What I have Learned, Part I

This week celebrates my 100th post to the site.  I started in April, 2009, hit the 50th post in August and have been continuing to develop the site.  In August, to celebrate my 50th post, I wrote about what I had learned.  I would like to continue that theme this week.

1.  Stay Focused with Your Writing/Blogging. This is probably the hardest part about developing a weBlog.  This is also the most important element.  There are several reasons;  in order to maintain, or develop, a faithful readership, you need to have new, relevant material.  Just like a web site that becomes stale, no one will return if you don’t have any new content or comment.

On the other hand, do not write for the sake of writing.  Writing about something for the sake of creating a new “post” is easily transparent.  It will not reflect your passion.

2.  Social Media Works. Social media, whatever it means, works.  Let it work for you.  Social media will help you get the word out, faster than email, faster than a press release and faster than your web page. Learn how Twitter, Facebook, etc. function and how it can work for your web/message.

I am on Twitter.  It takes a while to understand Twitter, but it is extremely powerful.  I am just learning.  I have made several connections via Twitter.

I just started a fan-page on Facebook (Randall Wong, M.D.)?  Why?  My regular page was really for friends, my kids and family.  If you establish a fan-page, you do not have to “friend” anyone for comments to be posted on your page.  I personally don’t see anything wrong with a doctor “friending” a patient, but it is a sticky area right now.

3.  The Learning Curve is Very, Very Steep………..and Broad. You are one person.  The more you learn, the more there is to do.  From running analytics to changing headers, not too mention maintaining your site with fresh content.  I, specifically, feel that content is the core of your site.  I am not an affiliate marketer, I intend to stay and contribute.  If you find yourself short of time, put the time into your writing.

There are always going to be distractions; the header that doesn’t fit, the graphic with the wrong color, the positioning of the Google ads, etc.  Remember, this is a work in progress, it always will be.  The learning curve is initially very, very steep.  I am still on the “up” slope.

For months I kept the generic header pics.  I survived this and don’t think my readers much cared.

4.  The Glass if Half Full. As you pay attention to your statistics/analytics, take heart in the positives.  For instance, pay attention to the number of unique visits versus return visits, the time spent at your page/site.  Be aware, that too much information for a fledgling web site is not necessarily meaningful.  There are 3 stats that are meaningful;  new and unique visitors to your site, returning visitors and the time spent at the site.  Remember, I am speaking about a blog (versus a site that is designed for sales).

New and unique visitors indicate that people are able to find you via search engines, SEO (search engine optimization), social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).  Whether or not they stay and/or return is a matter of your content.

Returning visitors indicate that your content is intriguing, interesting and fresh.

Time spent at the site is a good indication of your readers’ interest in your blog.

5.  Backlinks and SEO (search engine optimization) go hand-in-hand.  Search engines, like Google/Bing/Yahoo, are focusing more and more on relevance.  Relevance for your searches.  The ranking of your web depends upon the relevance of your content and how it matches with the keywords used for the “search.”

You must first work on the content of your blog.  Once established, the search engines will revisit the more and more you publish something new.  The next goal is to establish backlinks.  Backlinks are links from other’s web site “back” to yours.  They are also known as incoming links.

Backlinks are votes, or endorsements,  from other sites.  If another web site, of similar content, is “voting” for you by creating a link on their page to yours, the search engines will notice this and increase your ranking.

Example – suppose my site, on macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, is “backlinked” with other sites on eye disease.  It gives my site credibility and hopefully my rankings will rise.

More tomorrow.


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist

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Social Media for a Medical Practice

When I started this blog/web site in April, I had a good idea of what I wanted to say, but I had no idea how a blog and social media would work together. Yesterday, I addressed over 60 eye doctors at a local continuing education conference. I discussed how I envision social media helping doctors and their patients by providing both with relevant and credible health information.

My “slideshare” presentation is available for viewing on the home page of this site.

Social media for patients with diabetes and macular degeneration will prove to be a powerful tool and lead to improvements in health care. This is my hope.

Examples of social media include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, etc. While not an expert on social media, I believe I do recognize a powerful component of social media. The ability for one person to communicate with one or thousands simultaneously, in real time, and on a level playing field is the most important attribute of social media. Social media allows one person to share his/her thoughts, thereby sending an endorsement about a product or issue (be it positive or negative) to everyone that cares to “listen.”

Social media’s “value” may be understood in the following example. In social media, people tend to “listen” or to “follow” what other people are doing. People get “to know” other people by listening and following about other’s activities, interests, comments, etc.  Social media is like going to a gigantic cocktail party. At a cocktail party are dozens of conversations going on at the same time. Social media allows you to follow all of the these conversations at once, and, if you desire, you may join these conversations to add your own two cents.

Let’s move on.  If I tell you that I saw a movie/DVD from “Blockbuster” yesterday, and you and I usually have the same tastes for movies, what do you think you’ll do next time you want to rent a DVD?  Not only will you look up that title, but you’ll probably go to the same DVD store I do.  Why?  Because I endorsed the movie and told you were you were likely to find it!  You followed my recommendation.

Much the same is true about social media.  Now, let’s say both you and I have diabetic eye disease or macular degeneration.  Let’s say I found this really great web site about diabetic retinopathy.  Wouldn’t you go?  Sure you would.  You know me and respect my tastes just as I respect yours.

Okay, back to real life.  I have created this web site for two reasons;

1.  Build a Virtual Community:  I want to create a web site that offers relevance to the topics of macular degeneration and diabetic retionpathy.  I want to create a credible source of information (a web site about retinal disease written by a retinal specialist).

2.  Build a Local Community:  I want to create web site for my actual patients and their “non-retina” physicians, such as primary care phyicians, internists, family docs and endocrinologists, as well as other “non-retina specialist” eye doctors.  My feeling is that everyone’s level of knowledge will be increased.  As Sy Syms said, “an educated consumer is our best customer.”

Why social media? The internet is rampant.  Everyone uses it for “information”  credible or otherwise.  I believe healthcare will be better served as more credible information is published, but there is a problem.  Doctors are not too internet savvy.

More tomorrow.


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist

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My 5oth Post to What I Have Learned.

As I recently “celebrated” my fiftieth post, I also recognize the progress, and mistakes, made so far.  For those of you interested, modern blogging is a powerful medium in which to publish, share, market and promote goods, services and information.

I would like to share some of this progress and tell you what I have done so far;

1.  Be disciplined.  I started April 21, 2009.  50 posts took almost 4 months.  It takes discipline, but more importantly, have an interest in what you are doing.  Don’t write for the sake of writing.  Your lack of interest will be evident if you have nothing to say.

2.  Be focused.  If you take the time to read the first 10-20 posts, you’ll find the subject matter is scattered.  I recently decided to move away from writing about all retinal diseases as the subject matter is too broad.  I have focused on patients with diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.  This helps me choose what to write about, and faithful readers are more likely to find something of interest.  Faithful readers will keep coming back.

3.  Define/target your audience.  I am not too sure of this one.  I am relatively new to blogs and websites.  I have a personal goal of achieving 5000 visits per month.  It is important to “speak” to your audience in a manner that neither bores them nor intimidates them.  It is impossible to address everyone’s needs.

4.  Blogs/Web sites need to be dynamic.  This means several things.  First and foremost, you are building a site that will never be finished.  This includes graphics, content, widgets, plugins, etc.  As you change, so will your blog.  Second, don’t be in a rush to have the “perfect” website.  Readers are interested in what you have to say, not how you look.  The graphics and layout will come with time.  Just get started.  It is scary, but if I can do it……………………….Oh, yes, third, be patient with yourself and your site.  It will change as you better define what you are doing and so will your writing.  By paying attention to your traffic, you should be able to tell when you have found the right recipe.  Stay tuned – I’ll let you know.

5. vs. Both are exceptional products, but there are basic differences. requires the purchase of a hosting plan and purchase of your own URL (e.g. is free and contains hundreds of themes.  I would choose a hosting service such as “Go Daddy,” as they provide hosting, support and WordPress.  The biggest difference with is that you use your own domain. is free, does not require a hosting plan, has limited themes and you create your URL from within the wordpress domain.

6.  Use “Go Daddy.”  I chose WordPress. org for many of the reason stated above and would heavily endorse obtaining the URL (the and web hosting from “Go Daddy.”  They are the largest and have supreme customer support. is even integrated through Go Daddy if needed.  It couldn’t be simpler to start. If you choose to do so, clicking on the link below will help this site as an affiliate.  The pricing to you is the same. Hosting & Servers 468x60

7.  Registered with on August 3.  At this writing, this blog is 3,193,036 places from #1!  Technorati is a weblog search engine.  I’ve been reading a bit here and there, it seems it is one of the pioneers of blog SE and the one of the largest.

8.  The downer about weBlogs is that you can’t have everything cute, pretty and tidy when you launch, or, I haven’t figured out an easy way to do this.  Unlike a web site, the files/webpage are created on your own computer and then upload for publishing, that is, you can create your whole website from A-Z and not publish it to the world until you are ready.  Wordpress software is located on your hosting server (in the case of or on servers.  You must login to work on your site.  No hiding anything.  The hardest part is getting to know the intracies of your theme to customize your layout as it takes time with trial and error.  (There may be a work around, but I chose not to get too distracted and just plunged ahead.)  The great thing about blog software is that you can work on your blog from any computer that has an internet connection (vs. a webpage that can edited only from a specific computer).

On the other hand, your popularity as a blog only increases with the number of tags and the amount of content, so in the beginning, you are going to be pretty hard to find anyway!

9.  My hope is to create a credible web site for my patients, my colleagues and other persons that have macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.  There are few sites that I have found that have been truly written by a retina specialist.  I think there is an advantage in there somewhere!

10.  Tweet on Twitter.  Presently, I “tweet” every new post on Twitter.  I am hopeful to start a periodic email/newsletter targeted to my patients and colleagues urging them to use this as a resource.  I have integrated RSS and email opt-ins via  It takes a lot of hastle out of keeping track of all the chicklets/social bookmarking sites.

Lot’s of luck.  Wish me luck.  Have fun!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist/Retina Specialist


Currently, I see patients with retinal diseases; macular degeneration, retinal detachment, macular holes, macular pucker within several different's a different arrangement, but it allows more continuous care with many eye specialists. In addition, I am very accessible via the web. To schedule your own appointment, call any of the numbers below.

Virginia Lasik | Office of Anh Nguyen, M.D.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Contact: Layla

A: 431 Park Avenue, Suite 103 • Falls Church, Virginia 22046
Ph: 703.534. 4393
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Dressler Ophthalmology Associates, PLC
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Contact: Ashley (Surgery/Web)
Chrissy Megargee (Web)

A: 3930 Pender Drive, Suite 10 • Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Ph: 703.273.2398
F: 703.273.0239
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