When Should You Have Someone Else Manage Your Website?

As an attorney, your days are consumed with litigations, phone calls and paperwork. Finding the time to maintain your website may be nearly impossible.

In addition to the time it takes to maintain your website on your own, there is also a learning curve as how to keep up the site. You will need to research the various content you want to include on your site and how to apply it.

If you are not familiar with website development and maintenance, expect many cases of trial and error to absorb many hours of time. If you are not trained, it can be very frustrating to dedicate time to your computer after a long day in the office or courtroom.

For a website to draw traffic and present a professional image, it must be continuously updated with fresh content and interesting features. The goal is to draw potential clients back to your site so that they become familiar with your practice and ultimately hire your services.

Eliminate the stress of taking on another task and consider hiring a quality website maintenance provider to your agenda.

Consider the following maintenance tasks and the time it would take you to learn and implement how to include each one on your attorney business site:

Increase Your Google Ranking

If you want potential clients to find your website, you need to rank high in the Google search engine.

There are many techniques and tricks to raising your ranking, but do you have the time and expertise to actually make it work? This is where hiring an experienced website maintenance company comes in handy.

Experts in SEO (Site Engine Optimization) can get your firm listed higher; increasing the flow of traffic and high end clients.

Entrepreneur Magazine reports that the scope of SEO is changing, and now incorporate branding, social media integration and marketing of content, which take time to learn and put into action.

Get a Free SEO report from LuckyFish Media

Adding New Images or Graphics

Web developers have resources to find the perfect graphics and images for your website.

If you were to take on this task yourself, you would be spending a lot of time searching for the stock images you need and possibly incurring the extra cost of using them on your site.

Adding New Pages

If you add or remove an attorney from your firm, you will want to adjust that information on your website as soon as possible. You may also decide to include a FAQ page or other content you develop.

Easily add pages as needed to your website by sending the information to your maintenance expert. You will have your content up in no time, without any added frustration or time expense.

Technical Support

Glitches in the system happen to everyone at one point or another. Do you have the knowledge and patience to fix website errors quickly and efficiently?

If your schedule is tight, the last thing you need to worry about is spending hours trying to figure out why your page is showing errors and not functioning properly. Not only will you lose visitors, but it will cause a lot of personal stress as well.

Relinquish the burden of technical issues and hand it over to a professional who can fix the problem in a timely manner. Your nerves will thank you.

Conclusion

As you can see, the benefits of having access to a web developer for all of your website needs is a must. Relieve yourself from the stress and pressure to fix problems and make necessary updates.

Dedicate your time to your practicing law and leave the technical issues up to someone else.

For more information on incorporating a web designer to manage your website, read: 8 Tips That Will Make Working With A Web Designer A Breeze and Website Disaster Recovery Plan: Do You Have One?

8 Tips that will make working with a Website Designer a Breeze

How To Prepare To Work With A Website Designer

When working with a website designer, to design your legal firms website, requires thorough communication between both parties to achieve desired results.

Experienced web designers are familiar with what works in building a quality website that will increase revenue. Discussing details of your vision and goals with your designer, will give them a solid foundation to start developing your unique website.

If you are working with an experienced website designer, they will have you fill out a website planner form to really dig into what your website design goals are.

 

Below are items that should be considered before the designing process begins:

 

Domain Name

Your domain name should be easy to remember and not too long.

You also need to make sure that the name is not already being used. Think of several names that appeal to you and get the opinion of your designer as to which would work the best for you.

Be sure that your domain name is relevant to your business. If you are an attorney, include the words “law”, “lawyer” or “attorney” to immediately define your website.

An easy way to see if a domain name is available is to visit GoDaddy

 

Content

Determine your audience and the type of content you want to focus on.

Did you want a basic site that only features the contact information of your law firm and the attorneys that work there? Do you want a more elaborate site that has FAQs, statistics or articles?

Legal firms that have many quality pages on their site about practices areas, tend to have the most success when trying to rank for local SEO keywords.

 

What Pages Should I Include?

Your site may have pages dedicated to particular topics. Consider the different areas you would like to feature and create pages for each one.

For example, an “About Us” page that describes your services and mission statement. You could also create a page for each attorney in the firm, which lists their credentials and important information.

Some attorney websites include a blog page that features articles that focus on the type of law that is practiced in that firm.

 

Color Scheme and Style

Determine the color scheme and style that you prefer for your site. Take a look at your logo and be sure that they coordinate well.

Do you want your site to look modern, flat, etc.? You can discuss details with your designer as to what you have in mind and ask for their input.

An experienced web designer should be able to guide you in the right direction to get the appropriate look you desire.

 

Budget

Be sure that you know the price range that is affordable for your budget before consulting with a designer.

Many web designers have different packages or price points that you can choose from. By determining your needs ahead of time, the designer will be able to give a more accurate quote for their services.

 

Know The Correct Terms

Attorneys need to be familiar with website jargon when communicating with their designer. This will make the process run smooth, without confusion or misunderstandings on either part.

For more details on that topic, be sure to read: 11 Website Terms Every Attorney Should Know.

 

Decision Makers

Determine who is in charge of making the decisions on the website. If your law firm is comprised of more than one attorney, consider the input of others in the office. It’s always great to get advice from others in the office, but there needs to be one person who has the last word when it comes to the design of the website.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will be in charge of making future changes to the website?
  • Will the web designer have access to the site after it is built?
  • Will another member of the staff be responsible for updating the website?

 

Conclusion

It is always a good idea to have all your ducks in a row before hiring a web designer. Make sure you take the above points into consideration and have some type of idea about the look and feel you want to portray.

Lastly, do your research to find the perfect designer for your firm. Professionalism and references are a must. By being well informed and prepared, you will be able to collaborate with the designer of your choice to create a website that will increase exposure and build a strong client base as well.

11 Website Terms Every Attorney Should Know

There is no better way for law firms to attract potential clients, than to have a quality website.

A recent Nielson survey reported that, three out of four Americans use the internet to search for an attorney.

Individual practices and large legal offices will each benefit from having a responsive and easily navigated website. To find out more on how a website can benefit your legal practice, check out: 3 Things You Get From A Business Website.

 

Attorneys who are involved with their own website need to be familiar with the following important terms in order to get the full potential out of their website:

 

  1. Domain Name

 A domain name is the network of a particular website address, which identify certain web pages within the site.

 

  1. IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) Address identifies each computer that is connected with the internet with a unique number. Similar to that of a physical mailing address, this number allows exact pinpointing of location so the remote computers can instantly communicate with one another.

 

  1. Web Hosting

Website hosting is the place where all the files for your site are stored and maintained. This is how your site is accessed when a user types in your website address (URL).

 

  1. Server

A simple explanation of a server is a computer that delivers web pages. When a website address is typed into the browser, the server is what connects to the site and sends it to the computer.

 

  1. Traffic

Website traffic is calculated by the number of visitors and pages viewed on your site.

 

  1. Session vs Hits

A session is referred to a visit to your website by a particular IP address. If a user visits your website more than once, each time is recorded as a session. This is one way that website traffic can be calculated.

A hit is counted for each file that is downloaded from the website server, such as images and files. For instance, if your home page features five images and a text file, then your site would receive six hits.

 

  1. Hyperlink

To easily link a website, web page or image to another location, a hyperlink is created. It is a highlighted word or phrase that is easily recognized and can be clicked on to go to the new location in the internet or within your own website.

 

  1. Mobile Ready

With the increased use of mobile devices, web pages need to be user friendly and load quickly in an organized format on phones and tablets.

When websites are mobile ready, they will have a clean, simple layout that can be easily accessed so the user can receive all of the benefits of a standard page that is viewed on a laptop or PC.

 

  1. Meta Tag

One of the leading ways that search engines rank websites is with the use of meta tags.

Keywords, page/image descriptions and content are very important to include in the meta tag portion to rank higher in the search results.

 

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is a combination of methods and procedures that will drive more traffic to your website. This will increase your ranking in the major search engines.

A list of excellent SEO tips can be found here: 3 of the Best Search Engine Optimization Tips for 2015.

 

  1. Favicon

A favicon is the small image that you see next to the URL in the search bar from many websites.Many attorney websites use their logo as their favicon. Including one on your website will aid in building your brand.

 

Conclusion

Be sure to keep track of the fluctuations in your visitor traffic. Are there certain posts or pages that draw more attention than others?

Look at other successful attorney websites for ideas to determine how you can improve your format and content to better represent you and your services.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation to create a responsive and productive website that will receive quality traffic and increase your client base.

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.

3 Things You Get From A Business Website

The successful businesses of today focus their attention on developing a user friendly internet experience to gain exposure to new clients and customers.

Billions of people across the globe have access to the internet, therefore it is pertinent to integrate a website into your business plan.With the dramatic increase in mobile smartphone use, business websites are receiving more traffic and sales than ever before.

A study by Prosper Mobile Insights, published in Forbes Magazine in 2013, states that eighty-one percent of smartphone users have researched products and services from their phone and fifty percent have made a purchase through their phone.

Another study revealed that thirty percent of smartphone users plan on making their purchase within sixty minutes. Mobile shoppers are very purpose driven and your website must hold their attention and fill their needs.

 

The Top 3 Advantages of a Business Website:

 

An Online Salesperson

Treat your website as an online salesperson. Think about the attributes that can inform your clients and draw them to your products.

An article in Entrepreneur Magazine mentions several tips to consider:

 

Website Design : Your site should be user friendly, updated often with current prices, sales and products. Your business site should be pleasing to the eye. Avoid distracting graphics.

Training: Include any training on the products and services you offer. Doing so will boost your potential customer’s confidence that they will be able to use your products with ease.

Customer Service: Focus on your client’s needs. Customer’s questions should be answered in a timely fashion, just as a salesperson would do in a brick and mortar environment.

 

An Online Presence

Having an online presence is extremely important in the business world. Customers are able to find your business online and learn about what is offered at their convenience, twenty-four hours a day. The explosion of social media in recent years has made greater exposure more possible.

This article states that one of the main benefits of having an online presence, is the ability to connect and interact with people who are interested in your products and services. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are becoming the leaders in sharing information with like minded customers.

By linking these social media accounts to your website, your customer base will grow and they will always be able to stay on top of the current activities of your business, such as new products, sales, blog posts, etc.

 

An Online Asset You Control

Everything about your website is in your control. Although useful, Facebook pages have limited control. The theme and style of your site gives the customer a feel for your business. If you feel that your site needs a face lift, you have the ability to change the appearance any time you wish.

Products, services and prices can be easily edited and removed. Highlight your specials or certain articles to draw attention and interest. You can use keywords and SEO to drive traffic to your website, giving it a higher search engine ranking.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, implementing a website into your business is crucial. Don’t be left behind by passing up the many opportunities that a well developed website will do for your company.

Integrate social media for optimal exposure. Create an account with all of the major players and link to your website, so information can be easily shared on all platforms.

Take a look at successful competitors websites and determine what factors make their sites effective.

The style and layout, as well as content should be considered. Try to emulate your competition, but use your own creativity and branding to make it unique to your company.

For more reading on how to improve your website, check out: 3 Easy Tips for Captivating Your Website Visitors and How to Keep Your Website Fresh.

What would happen if your website crashed?

Website Disaster Recovery Plan: Do You Have One?

What would happen if your website crashed? No business owner ever wants to experience it — just the thought alone is chilling. However, preparation for a website disaster should be on the forefront of any business owner’s agenda when it comes to their digital marketing plan.

What could cause your website to go down?

A sudden loss of a website indicates some type of error. There are many possibilities for the cause of this error — malware infection, WordPress error, misconfigured plug-ins, lack of payment for hosting or domain services, server failure, improper coding, and simple human error. There could even be a jumbled combination of these problems.

How long does it take to recover a crashed website?

If you lost your website for any of the above reasons, it will take time to recover. There are generally two scenarios to consider:

  • Scenario 1 — You have backed up all files, themes, and text. If you have done this, then it is just a matter of how quickly you can resolve the cause of the crash and replace the information. This could be a few minutes, hours, or days depending on the speed of your technical team and your company’s ability to pay for services.
  • Scenario 2 — You have backed up nothing. If this is the case, then expect a much longer wait to restore your website. It could even be weeks. Not only will the process to rebuild your website take much longer, but it is highly unlikely it will have the same look, copy, and design as the original. Always check with your hosting company first. Most good hosting company keep daily server backups which will allow you to restore your site. On the bright side, this could be an opportunity for a complete site makeover.

What is the impact of a lost website to your business?

Websites are one of the most important components of marketing and sales for many of today’s modern businesses. Losing a website could have significant impact on your business. You may lose current or potential customers, have difficulty retrieving recent order information, and/or lose valuable files such as graphic designs, PDF documents, and more.

All of these losses carry financial impact as well as employ much labor to reclaim. Additionally, any downtime for a public website suggests poor management or technical skills…leading to a dampened brand reputation and customer relationship.

The solution: A website disaster recovery plan

Although you may never be able to fully protect yourself from a website failure, there are steps you can take to prepare and plan for a recovery.

A prudent business owner will see the high value in having a disaster recovery plan. The immense amount of time, money, and brand reputation that is at stake makes the effort to produce a recovery plan seem very small.

What should be included in a website disaster recovery plan?

Before drafting a website recovery plan, you’ll need to know what’s required to create your website. For this you’ll need a detailed list of service providers and technical support staff. This list could include:

  • Domain name registration
  • Hosting provider
  • Web development staff or provider
  • Graphic designer
  • Content writer
  • Photographer
  • Product specialist
  • Email account provider (often the same as the domain provider)
  • Any passwords needed. (Web Hosting account, email passwords, etc.)

You should also have a clear idea of the purpose of your website. What are your sales funnel goals and how do they translate into your web design? This may reveal additional providers for specialty apps you want on your website.

Next, your disaster recovery plan should also include regularly scheduled back-ups of your existing website. Many hosts provide this service, but it is also best to perform the task yourself. You may want to switch hosting providers in the case of a failure.

If you have a WordPress website it’s a must that you are using some form of backup service continually. If your WordPress site breaks, it’s usually because of a plugin, but the last thing you want is to spend a week trying to find a developer to fix your problem, while your website is unusable. To back up my client websites, I use BackupBuddy from iThemes or Vaultpress. Both can back up your site daily, and  if something happens, you can have your website back up within 1 hour or less.

The final portion of your website recovery plan should include elements of your customer relations and public relations. With any website failure there will be at least a few minutes of downtime.

  • How do you plan to inform your customers about this loss?
  • And where will you direct them for questions?

Also consider your social media outlets as a way to disseminate information regarding downtimes.

Creating a website disaster recovery plan is a crucial component of returning to business-as-usual following an unplanned event.

Continue reading other helpful digital marketing ideas on my blog!

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!