Wordpress

What lawyers need to know about WordPress

Why WordPress Is the Best Choice For Your Law Firm Website

Most attorneys have a website for their law firm, but many are unaware of the advantages they can gain with a WordPress site. A typical website lacks the capabilities of reaching your target audience, unlike WordPress, which can help your page climb to the top of the rankings.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why choosing WordPress is a good strategy for your law firm:

 

Professional WordPress Themes

There are an extensive number of website themes available from WordPress that are appropriate for attorneys. Themeforest is an excellent source for purchasing a WordPress theme for your website. That being said, not all professionally designed WordPress themes are created equal. Themeforest will allow you to read reviews, and see what themes sell the most.

Here is an article on getting started with buying a WordPress theme from Themeforest.

 

 

Website + Blogging

WordPress can not only serve as a blog to post articles, but it can also incorporate a website platform for an entire business or law firm.

All information is in one place, which is not only convenient for the visitor but for the lawyers as well. It is much easier to maintain one site than two.

Attorneys can designate a specific tab on the site to post their blogs, and other tabs can feature each lawyer in the firm, an explanation of services provided, etc.

 

WordPress Plugins

There are numerous plugins available for WordPress that will make the visitors experience more enjoyable and also benefit the site owner as well.

Email contact forms can easily be set up to collect information for potential clients. Spam filters can be installed to keep most of the annoying messages at bay, so you aren’t bothered by them.

There are also plugins that will help you get the most from your content and posts through keyword usage.

This will increase your search engine ranking and website hits, which in turn, will increase your potential client base.

Here is a list of the most popular WordPress plugins.

 

Mobile Friendly

One of the biggest benefits to having a WordPress site is that most of the themes are mobile friendly and can be easily viewed on any smart phone or tablet. Other sites lack this function and users have to scroll left and right or pinch the screen to see the content.

With the expanded mobile use across the globe and Google using mobile as a ranking factor, a mobile friendly site is of utmost importance.

Users spend 60% of their digital media use on smartphone or tablet apps, as opposed to 40% of their time on a home computer or laptop. The WordPress app is readily available for download on most devices, which makes access quick and easy. In 2016, people spend an average of more than 5 hours per day using their phone for digital media (surfing the internet and making purchases)

Posts and content can also be added or edited from mobile devices, which makes site maintenance convenient from anywhere.

 

SEO

Using WordPress can help improve your website Google rankings immensely. The plugins you can add for SEO will help you with the on-site technical side of SEO. Making sure your site has titles and descriptions of the appropriate length, you have a sitemap and making sure you don’t have too many of the same keywords on a page.

Here is a link to an article list 9 of the top SEO plugins and Tools.

Of course, if you are struggling with SEO it may be time to reach out to a professional SEO expert.

 

Post Scheduling

One of the handy tools that WordPress offers is the capability to schedule blog posts and content to a specific time and date.

This feature allows you to upload as many posts as you want and have them released at different times for the public to view. You will eliminate the stress of having to be at the computer to post an article every day/week, because the system will do it for you.

 

Conclusion

The above points are just a few of the reasons why WordPress is beneficial to attorneys and their websites. The ease of use allows content to be added quickly and updates can be made without stress.

If you currently have a website that isn’t doing your law firm any justice (no pun intended), then switching over to WordPress can make all the difference in the world.

For further reading, check out: 4 Questions Attorneys Need To Ask Themselves When It Comes To Internet Marketing and When Should You Have Someone Else Manage Your Website.

6 Common WordPress Mistakes Lawyers should Avoid

Are you an attorney who uses WordPress to power your website?

Here are 6 of the most common WordPress problems that should be avoided.

WordPress has become the leader in content management. The growth of this platform in recent years is astounding!

Statistics posted in this article reveal that approximately 74,652,825 websites are hosted by WordPress.

It also states that twenty-two percent of new US domain registrations are driven by WordPress alone.

With the increasing popularity and competition, your WordPress site should be efficient and up to date.

 

Below are some of the most common mistakes WordPress users should be aware of:

 

Failure To Back Up

The absolute worst mistake you can make is not backing up your WordPress site.

Every bit of information on your website can be gone in the blink of an eye due to many unexpected reasons, such as hackers and update errors.

If you are planning an update, it is crucial that you protect your content by creating a back up.

Solution 

It is suggested here that if you are using a WordPress hosted site, to go to the Dashboard and click on Tools, then click on Export. For self-hosted WordPress sites, it is recommended that a back up plugin is installed, such as BackUp Buddy.

 

 

Failure to Back Up your Back Up

If you want to ensure that your content is the safest it can be and can be retrieved easily, make a back up of your back up on an online cloud.

Online storage will prevent loss of information that you store on your computer. Nobody ever expects the black screen of death, but it happens to the best of us. Secure your data by having multiple back ups in place.

Solution 

One of the best online backup services you can use is Vaultpress. It backs up your site automatically and is very affordable for the piece of mind you get.

 

Failure To Update Plugins and Themes

If the plugins and theme you are running on your WordPress site have not been updated, there is a risk to the security of your website and information. Hackers are able to access vulnerable sites, stealing information and possibly wiping out your page altogether.

This article states that updating your theme and plug-ins will patch any vulnerabilities that have been currently discovered, improve performance and fix any bugs that have been found.

 

Not Being Prepared Before Making Updates

As mentioned above, creating a back up of your WordPress site is top priority, especially before any updates take place. You will be able to restore it back to it’s original form much easier if you take this simple precaution.

It is also recommended to deactivate the caching plug-in, because it interferes with the update process. Once your update is complete, you simply reactivate it.

 

No Google Analytics

Tracking your visitors is an excellent way to analyze your audience.

By implementing the Google Analytics plug-in into your WordPress site, you will know:

– The geographical location of your visitor

– What keywords your visitors are using to find your content

– What pages they are visiting and length of time spent on each page

– Referral pages (links to how they got to your site)

– Time of day site was visited

– Which links on your site receive the most clicks

 

It is essential that you install the Google Analytics plug-in to adjust your content according to the trends in your visitors and page views.

Take advantage of the keyword recommendations to better optimize your page and receive more hits.

 

Weak Passwords

Creating a strong password with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters will make it more difficult for hackers to access your WordPress site.

Avoid using your child’s name or common phrases. NEVER make your password, “Password!”

 

Conclusion

Always protect your content by keeping your WordPress site, themes and plug-ins up to date. Install updates immediately to prevent any vulnerabilities from being hacked.

Use the data and keywords provided by Google Analytics to post content that will make your visitors return to your page. Doing so will increase your success and exposure on the internet as a whole.

If you are interested in training on how to use WordPress to it’s fullest capabilities, click here.

Be sure to read I Use WordPress to Build Websites (And You Should Too) for more WordPress tips.

I use WordPress to Build Websites (And You Should Too)

Why I Love WordPress

If you are thinking about creating a website, I can’t recommend using WordPress highly enough.

Here’s why I love WordPress and you should too!

Understandable

The absolute best thing about WordPress is the simple and understandable platform for users. The site builder interface is perfectly suited for novices, yet offers advanced options for those with an interest or need for more developed solutions.

WordPress makes it easy to get started with a website or blog. Anyone with basic computer and internet skills can do it. WordPress offers thousands of theme options, intuitive building blocks, and an open source platform so you can host with whichever company you want.

Easy SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must for any successful website. Entrepreneurs, blogging fanatics, and established business men and women are all equally subject to the algorithms created by search engines. These algorithms dictate which sites are shown first for certain search terms and phrases.

WordPress has several built-in features, and many more plug-ins (more on that next), to make SEO easy. Tagging pages and images is just the start!

For more details on the best and worst modern SEO practices, read my last post titled The Small Business Owners Quick Guide to SEO in 2015.”

Lots of Plug-Ins

Plug-ins are little software extensions to make special features happen on your website. This is where it gets really fun to play with WordPress.

Since WordPress is an open source site builder, many developers have made thousands of plug-ins to do just about anything you want. Interactive calendars, games, form submissions, advanced SEO, appointment setters, and social media plug-ins exist to make your site impressive and drive results.

Responsive and Mobile Friendly

WordPress has always been open to the newest technologies, changes in SEO, and modern graphic styles. That openness has resulted in embracing smartphone, tablet, and other mobile internet users by offering the ability to create responsive and mobile friendly designs.

Learn more about the benefits of including a responsive or mobile site>>

Established and Progressive Business

WordPress is an established business with 10+ years experience offering innovative website builders for consumers. Their long history of success is a good sign for anyone who wants to be sure they’re working with the best.

I have been personally familiar with the company for many years and can attest to their creativity and customer support. WordPress is also constantly checking for ways to improve their offerings while maintaining the best security — they really seem to have your best interest in mind!

Customer Support

WordPress takes customer support very seriously — a characteristic that should be standard with every web company, but is surprisingly difficult to find. WordPress reaches out to their customers in a variety of useful ways including email support, live chat, forums, a tutorial page, and a helpful how-to blog with tips.

Trust me when I say that not all site builders offer easy assistance. Many do not respond to emails or provide limited user guidance. This has never been the case with WordPress and I anticipate this company will remain at the top of their game for many years to come.

Multi-Functional

Lastly, but of profound importance, WordPress is designed for use in both blogs and websites. Competitor site building platforms typically offer one or the other, or a combination that is lacking in performance.

With WordPress you’ll get a highly function website, blog, or both — depending on your goals. Start with a blog and add a website later. Or start with a website and add the blog later. Whatever you choose, you can be assured that with WordPress the results will be stunning!

Do you need professional assistance updating your WordPress site? Get in touch with me to find out how I can improve the security and style of your site for as little as $65 per month!

How To Keep Your Website Fresh

Tips on Keeping Your Website Fresh!

The most engaging websites are those that draw in repeat visitors and retain them for an active and exploratory session.

Here are several easy-to-implement ideas to keep your website fresh and engaging.

Blog Posts

If you have a blog, be sure to maintain it with regular posts. These could be monthly, weekly, or daily depending on your goals and schedule availability. (Read this interesting article to see the surprising results one blogger experienced statistically and emotionally when he increased from weekly to daily blogging.)

If you haven’t yet started a blog, come up with a calendar for the next 3-6 months before publishing. This will help you avoid getting writer’s block and keep you motivated.

Here are a few ideas for simple blog posts that can add value content on a weekly basis:

  • Round-up of themed ideas/products relating to your industry. (Example: “15 Best Electronic Assembly Tools for 2015”)
  • Commentary on latest industry news bit. Provide basic advice with forecasts and your expert opinion.
  • Directions or video for unusual ways to use your product. Survey social media fans to get ideas.

Photos From Events

Did you recently host or attend an industry related event? Share photos! These photos may show the personality of your staff or retain a strict business appearance — you decide the tone of your business style. If you attend a conference, be sure to find out if photos are allowed before snapping away.

Create a basic photo album, but be sure to add descriptive headlines and notes to present an overall storyline. Share it on your social network with a link back to your site.

Slider Pics On Home Page

Most WordPress themes allow you to place a slider on your homepage. If it doesn’t, you can add a plugin like the Soliloquy slider plug-in, so you can add sliding images to your home page highlighting various new features, articles, products/services, and press releases. If you publish a new blog post, you should put up a new slider pic replacing the old blog post reference. Keep about 3-5 slider pics rotating. More than that will usually be less effective. Readers may need to see the same image rotate through twice for it to catch their attention.

Hire a designer or web developer to create a template to allow you to easily change out the text and photos on slider pics. This way you can always add new slider images as frequently as you may have need. One example of a sliding image feature can be seen on the LuckyFish Media home page.

Stay Inspired

One of the best things you can do to keep a creative outlook for your website is to visit others. Artists regularly use a similar practice to stay inspired, visiting galleries and museums to see refreshing imagery similar to or very unlike their own.

Take a few minutes each week to visit your competitor’s sites and your favorite industry sites. What new features do you see? In what ways have the graphics or images changed? What are they blogging about? Keep a notebook, tablet, or smartphone handy to jot a few notes. Put into practice your favorite ideas or present them to your web developer for consideration.

The Dos and Don’ts of Updating

Regularly review your site every 3-6 months to consider changes. This helps your website maintain more relevance with readers and with search engines algorithms. When updating your site, be sure to avoid certain website mistakes including outdated content, lack of calls to action, and/or inappropriate font text and size.

Need help keeping your WordPress site current with latest malware protection and plug-ins? Let LuckyFish Media handle your WordPress site updates!

3 Steps To Get More Email Subscribers

Email is not going to disappear. Possibly ever. Until the robots kill us all,” says Paul Buchheit, a founder of FriendFeed

Here are some phrases I’ve gotten when telling clients/friends the benefits of creating a good email list.

  • It’s too hard.
  • It takes too long to build a large subscriber list.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • Social Media is better for getting new clients.
  • Email is old school, people don’t read newsletters.
  • Nobody wants to sign up for my newsletter
  • Newsletters are too hard to manage.

Now, let’s compare that with some real world statistics regarding email marketing (Source: http://www.emailisnotdead.com/)

  • 91% of consumers check their email daily
  • 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as the result of an email marketing message
  • Email Marketing has a whopping ROI (return on investment) of 4,300%
  • 80% of content marketersuse email marketing – CMI “B2B Content Marketing Research” (2014)
  • Email is almost40x better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter – McKinsey & Company (2014)
  • 42% of businesses say email is one of their most effective lead generation channels. And for B2B marketers, 88% say email is the most effective lead generation tactic – Circle Research (2012)

Do you feel differently about Email Marketing now?

Here are a couple of tips and some suggestions on how to get started building your own email subscriber list.

1. Ask – If you don’t ask, you’ll never know

The first step to getting more email subscribers is to ask people to sign-up. If site visitors don’t know about your newsletter program, then it will be difficult to obtain new leads. Most importantly, you want to make sure that signing up for you email list is super easy.

Email sign-up forms that ask for too many details are seen as cumbersome by most folks. You can do a survey later, not at the time of sign-up. Think of this like eating a 5-course meal — do you prefer eating the salad, dessert, and entre all at once? Or is it better to space them apart so you can enjoy each step of the dinner?

Keep your sign-up form as brief as possible. I recommend a name and an email. That’s it. If it takes someone more than a few seconds to sign up, they won’t.

Here are the steps a new subscriber should go through if they sign up for your list.

Step 1: Enter their email address.

Step 2: Confirm their email address

Step 3: Start receiving emails from you 🙂

OK, You Convinced me, but what’s the best place for my Email Signup Form on my website?

Letting people know about your mailing list should be done in a classy, not “bashing visitors over the head”, way. Keep in mind, that many visitors don’t always come to your website in the same way. For example, some may start on your homepage, while others start on your blog page.

This is why I recommend having the option to sign up for you email list in a few locations, not just in one spot. Some suggestions might be; in your sidebar, underneath you website banner, at the end of your blog posts, and an unobtrusive pop up or slide in. (With a pop up or slide in, I recommend having the pop up come in at least 30 seconds into the visitors visit. If someone comes to your site and starts reading, and a pop up covers the screen, they will close it immediately. It may annoy them to the point where they may leave your site all together.)

Additional Quick Tips: Show an example of the kinds of information, coupons, etc. that may be found in the email, so visitors know what to expect. Also, send out your emails on a consistent basis. If you don’t send anything for 1 year, and then start sending out emails regarding your product, people will leave your list because they don’t remember who you are or why they signed up for your list in the first place.

2. Offer an Incentive – “Use a Carrot”

Generally speaking, people will not sign up for your newsletter just because they like you or think you are cool. By Offering a simple, but valuable, incentive to entice people to sign up you will have much better results. This could be an e-book you’ve published, a one-time coupon for your products, a free sample, an entry to a giveaway raffle, or some other creative offering. The point is, once you get a lead to sign-up for your emails, no matter the initial reason, they are more likely to return to your site in the future.

I highly recommend that whatever item you offer as a “carrot” that it be professional quality. If it’s not good enough to sell, it might not be good enough. If people download your eBook, only to find it’s very poor quality, it will give them the idea any future products you offer, will also be poor quality.

3. How to Get Started – Tools I recommend

If you are going to start an email list I recommend either MailChimp or Constant Contact. (Here’s a review of 6 email marketing software tools) MailChimp is dead simple to set up and allows you to create multiple lists, as well as an automation system. An automation system, will allow you to send a series of welcome emails to the new subscribers of your list. This is a great way to build a relationship with your new subscribers.

Another tool I recommend is Optinmonster. It’s a great WordPress plugin that will help you convert your visitors into subscribers and customers. It will allow you to start collecting email addresses very quickly.

I hope you enjoyed this tips. Now, go forth and get more people on your email list! 🙂

Do you need some assistance getting your online marketing started or sustained? Checkout LuckyFish Media services to improve your site goals.

3 Website Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve all come across ancient websites and nearly laughed aloud at the old style of graphics, simplicity of design, and often boring content. With ever-changing expectations for website design, how do you know if you site is making mistakes like these?

Take a look at these key website mistakes to avoid to be sure your website is ready for modern audiences.

1. Out-of-Date Content

Providing website visitors with out-of-date content is one of the worst pitfalls for marketing your company image and value.

For example, if a user clicks your “News” tab and finds that the latest piece of news is from 2013, he or she is going to believe your entire website may not have been updated for years. This calls into question everything about your business  — standards, product usefulness, dedication to the industry, and plain and simple professionalism.

Many websites avoid dating content at all. Others regularly date items such as blog posts, news releases, and more. The important key is to regularly review and edit your site. If you choose to share news articles featuring your company or product, do so regularly. If you don’t have anything fresh to share, maybe it’s best to remove that portion of the site.

2. Lacking Calls to Action

Do you know what feature distinguished Facebook from other social media sites in the early race to domination? It was the “Like” button. Before Facebook introduced the “Like” button in 2009, users had to textually comment to show interaction with a post. The “Like” button is a simple call to action, but gets highly responsive results. One study of the “Like” button suggests that the history of “Liking” goes much deeper than the history of Facebook. This goes to show that a well researched call to action is worth investigating.

Informing website visitors what to do next or providing an interactive way to communicate preferences greatly lowers bounce rates and improves conversions. These next-step suggestions are called “Calls to Action”. Calls to action may be an anchored text link, an image button link with text, or a sentence including a quick link. Examples of each style:

Take a look at each page of your website, are you lacking calls to action? If so, this is one crucial component of your website you’ve got to improve immediately!

Which call to action style should you choose? Actually, the best way to answer this question is through testing. Set-up an A/B split test to present two different calls to actions to your site visitors in equal shares. Monitor which call to action style gets retains more visitors and/or leads to conversions. This will provide the best insight to which strategy, wording, colors, etc. are best for your particular business needs.

3. Inappropriate Font Size and Type

Font size and type play an important role in the emotions a website evokes on its readers. And now is the time to consider making font changes since recent browser support changes have made more font options a reality.

In a study about fonts by Microsoft and MIT researchers, many important findings about font size and type were discovered. More aesthetically pleasing fonts result in a happier mood and greater reading engagement. Secondarily, the happier mood encourages better cognitive abilities post-reading. Essentially, what this means is that it’s important to consider the font on your website if you want to influence your visitors in a particular way.

Different fonts may also evoke certain cultural emotions. For example, Helvetica font is what is used by the US government on tax forms. This association may produce unwanted side effects in mood. On the other hand, scripted fonts produce more romantic feelings, but are not easy to read for large bodies of text. In general, San-serif fonts like Arial and Calibri appear more informal than Serif fonts such as Times New Roman. A knowledgeable website designer should be able to help you consider which font is best for your purposes and audience.

Font size is just as vital as the type. Too small a font may be difficult for many readers and come across as intentionally misleading (as in the case of the “fine print” on giveaways.) For years it has been noted that font size 12pt and above is ideal, however many contemporary websites are moving towards fonts 20pt and larger. One recent study on font size suggests that these large fonts produce positive emotional responses. Again, these positive emotional responses are crucial to the actions of your website visitors.

Did you find this article about website design informative and useful? Share it on Facebook!

Should You be Managing Your Business Website?

Having the right person handling your website can take care of potential issues. 

Depending on your skill level and availability of time, you may or may not be the right person to manage your business’ website. If you don’t do it, who should you select?

Here are a few important considerations when choosing the right small business website manager.

Internal Employee

It is likely that at least one employee in your business may have some untapped skills that could be useful for your website. These skills may include content writing, web or graphic design, marketing, and/or coding. If you suspect such a person may exist on your team, discuss your ideas with thim to gauge their interest. You may give small tasks for him/her to complete at first, working on a trial basis until you feel confident of the right fit.

On a personal note, I actually did this for a previous company I worked for when they found out I had WordPress experience. That being said, I don’t recommend going to your employee and saying “I heard you have this skill, congratulations you are now our website designer”. If you believe an employee could help you in a certain area make sure they are compensated for the extra work. Don’t just add more work to their plate. It doesn’t make for a happy employee.

You’ll also have to consider the limitations of your current personnel. You may find you have an excellent graphic designer who is horrible at blog writing. Or you may find a marketing genius who knows nothing about coding. It is likely you’ll need to supplement any internal support with a hired specialist to fulfill all the needs of your website.

Freelance Contractor

A freelance contractor is anyone working as a self-employed individual, taking on small or temporary jobs. There are many websites that help connect freelancers with those who need to hire for a particular project. Over the years I’ve learned that not all freelancers are created equal. Freelancers are generally very good at one area of web development, but may not be the answer if you are looking for someone with knowledge of website design and SEO/Marketing.

Freelancers are great for short-term projects. In the case of managing your website, you may hire a freelancer to assist in getting it set-up at the beginning. However, it is unlikely that a freelancer will be the best fit for a long-term management relationship. Freelancers can sometimes be fickle — leaving certain jobs if a better opportunity arises elsewhere, etc.

B2B (Business to Business) Website Manager

Hiring a professional to manage your website may be the best solution. This ensures that the correct level of expertise, care, and time are given to your website as needed. A professional website manager often has access to certain resources that an internal employee or freelancer may not be able to offer. Also, a professional website manager should be able to offer a variety of services to meet 100% of the goals for your website — email and social media marketing, blog content writing, design and coding, and general website maintenance.

No matter who you select as website manager, you’ll want to always have access to your analytics data. This allows you, as the business owner, to make key decisions regarding the direction or your website.

Are you considering hiring a professional website manager for your business site? Take a look at the LuckyFish Media services to see if we’re the right fit for you.