03 Nov The 100th Post to RetinaEyeDoctor.com: 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.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist