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Is there anybody out there?
BY JASON BRATUSKINS*
No doubt you’ve ‘Googled’ yourself and been amazed by how much
presence you have on the Internet – especially if you have a unique name.
Have you Googled the business name
of the pharmacy you own or work in?
How do you tell if people are talking
about you out there? What does the
Internet world think of your business?
Get a domain
Most pharmacies would have some sort
of presence on the Internet. If you don’t
have a presence, it’s not that hard. Buy a
domain name, plan a basic website on a
piece of paper and get someone to build
a site for you, whether it’s your delivery
person or a nephew, or a professional
company if you want to do it with flair.
It’s also easy to set up an email address
for the pharmacy, but to make it look
credible and professional, use your own
domain name that you’ve purchased.
That’s a start to getting you out there –
but of course there are many more ways.
Get a presence
It’s very easy to set up a social media
presence ‐ Facebook, Google+ and
Instagram at a minimum. Whilst easy to
set up, make sure you have a policy and
procedure around monitoring activity in
these forums, and most critically a policy
and procedure on how to respond to
any queries, questions or positive and
negative comments that are posted.
The easiest way to see if your business is
being talked about on the Internet is to
use your favourite search engine. If the
business has more than one word, don’t
forget to enclose the multiple words
in quotation marks to eliminate any
other ‘pharmacy’ or ‘chemist’ around the
world. If your business name is common
around the world, use the advanced
search feature to limit it to results that
are more relevant to your own business.
My favourite (and easiest) little shortcut
for Google is to add the letters “inurl:au”
(without the quotation marks) to the end
of a search to limit results to only those
that have a ‘.au’ in the website name.
Remembering to look regularly for
your business in a search engine is
not easy to do, so there are ways for
relevant online activity to be delivered
directly and automatically to you.
Probably the easiest way to find out if
you are being mentioned is through
Google Alerts. Pop the word “alerts” into
Google, and you’ll end up at the alerts
page. Put in some search terms that
would be relevant for your business,
and you’ll see a list of results. If they’re
what you’re expecting to see, then you
should subscribe to this alert, and get
notified when Google notices you being
mentioned on the Internet.
There are other alternatives such as
Talkwalker, Mention, and IFTTT (If This
Then That) which I’ve had a quick
play with, and all have the same basic
functionality, some with additional
features. Most can give you a daily or
weekly email of the results, some even
post directly to Twitter so you know
straight away you’ve been mentioned!
Get the full picture
Your pharmacy website may have a shop
function or a ‘contact us’ page so you
know if people are using the website.
But how do you know if your website
is being visited and the information on
there is being read? How can you tell
who is looking at your website, and
what are they doing when they visit?
Jason Bratuskins is a practising community pharmacy
proprietor with an enthusiastic interest in the
application of IT to day-to-day pharmacy. He also
works in the pharmacy IT industry on a number of
cutting-edge eHealth projects for Fred IT Group.
He can be contacted via email at: cyberpharm@
The tools exist to get this information,
and even for my humble website I can see
how many visitors I get per day, which
pages they look at, how long they spend
on each page, which page they start on
and which page they leave from, which
country they are browsing from, and
even from which device they are looking
at the website. The information I get on
a weekly basis shows me that for what I
thought was just a simple website that
gives me an Internet presence turned out
to be a commonly visited website that my
customers visit to find my opening hours,
particularly on weekends and holidays.
Again, there are numerous ways of
getting this information out of a website,
and it really depends on how the website
is built, the level of access to the website
administration pages and your technical
understanding. Google Analytics seems
to be a commonly used tool that is easy
to add to most websites, and then a
comprehensive portal on the Google
Analytics website allows you to view
reports about website activity, and
schedule reports to make sure that you
fully understand who is visiting, and what
these visitors do while they come to your
site. If you have an online presence, then
all of this is essential to knowing if there
really is anybody out there.
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