Optometric gurus tell us that we all need a web presence. So far, my web presence consists of old high school photos that some well-meaning Class of 1971 alumnus felt the need to post on Facebook. They show me as a nerdy, dirty-haired, skinny, hippie wannabe. I have changed completely since then. Now I am not skinny.

I’ve tried the deal where you join an optometry group and they build the website. This is not very patient friendly, as your business cards are too small to hold the website name, which is always something like this: www.eyeprotectorsoftheworldwhojusthappenedtojointhisorganizationsowewouldbuildthemawebsitecausetheyare2lazy2doagoodjobthemselves/drmonty.vickers.com.

Patients tend to not want to spend 20 minutes typing just to see a page that lists your address, except they got the town wrong.

I’ve also had phone book type websites. These are wonderful vehicles for making more money... for the phone book advertising company. Also, if you say the words “phone book” to anyone under 45 years old, they will immediately text you, “Is that where you illegally bet on which cell phone will win?” Or, even better, “What’s a ‘book’?” This is not a great way to bring younger, sophisticated, stylish smartphone addicts into your office.

Oh, and they also got my address wrong in the ad, but will fix it in one year. The good news is they can track how often somebody calls you from the special number in the phone book and I want to thank my Mom for calling me 300 days in a row from the special number in the phone book. (In case Mom reads this column because my cousin tells her how to turn on the computer again: Yes, Mom, you do need to take the eye drop every day, so please don’t call.)

So, we’re starting anew with fresh, innovative ideas, such as listing our address and phone number correctly. 

Get a ‘Social’ Life
Now, I’ve been warned that a website is not enough. We must also have a social media presence and I’ve been advised that my high school pictures don’t count. We need professional content that helps tell our own story in our own words that the company will supply so I will not screw it up with bad optometry jokes. They did ask me if I had ever been published in a professional journal because that, apparently, carries some weight with search engines and with prospective patients who might randomly search for “optometrists named Monty.”

They carefully researched my 22 years of “Chairside” and concluded that the only articles I ever wrote that would attract Internet-savvy patients would be either the one on toilets or the one on Thor, God of Thunder—and it would even be better if I would somehow blend these two important optometric articles into something like, “Thor Needs Toilets.”

Now, I’m busy collecting professional photos of me doing what optometrists love to do—taking care of patients and eating hot wings—for the new website, which should be up and running about two weeks after I retire.

This is an exciting time in our profession and I urge all of you to enjoy the next patient who comes in as much as you were terrified by the previous patient who asked about online glasses. Take a deep breath and build your web presence so your patients, for the first time, can see who you truly are, deep down inside your soul, according to website builders who do not know you from Adam.

Mom, text me.