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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?

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.

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!

3 of the Best Search Engine Optimization Tips for 2015

The Small Business Owners Quick Guide To SEO in 2015

Small business owners with a new or existing website are likely aware of the need for proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to enhance their marketing efforts. That being said, being aware of a need and knowing how to implement a solution are not always the same.

Use this handy small business quick guide to get started on SEO best practices and learn a few things to avoid. This is by no means an extensive look into Search Engine Optimization and how to implement it. If you are looking for a deeper resource into SEO and internet marketing, please take a look at my eBook, “Today’s Marketing Cookbook” available on Amazon.

Best Practices for Business SEO in 2015

Best practices for SEO are regularly changing as search engine designers continually create more intuitive algorithms and advanced operations. Here are some of the best practices for business SEO for 2015:

  • Engaging and Valuable Content

    — Long gone are the days of repetitive keywords and “stuffed” content. Today’s search engines can distinguish the difference between valuable content and that which was written simply to weigh heavier on certain search terms. More important than the search engines, however, is the fact that real customers have always been able to tell the difference. Content that is useful and provides meaningful engagement with your products and services is, and always has been, superlative.

  • User-Friendly Navigation

    Search engines are also now able to determine if a site is user-friendly or not. Basically, does the site promote simple navigation, good design, and regular content updates? If so, then it will be deemed as user-friendly by both search engines and humans alike.

  • Mobile or Responsive Website

    If your site is showing up in mobile search results, you’ll want to be sure it meets the most recent demands for SEO success. Read more specifics about choosing to include a mobile or responsive site in my latest blog post.

Some of these best practices are further explained in my post “How to Keep Your Website Fresh.

Essentially, the best thing any small business owner can do on their website is to connect with the target audience.

 

Just like building a relationship in-person, connecting with your customers takes time, effort, and commitment.

 

Worst Practices for Business SEO

There are many outdated websites touting certain SEO practices. Here are the worst contenders if you want to design a poor SEO site:

  • Bad Link Building Practices

    First, let me clarify that links pointing to your website are not bad. The intentional practice of link building is what is not acceptable. Link building was hugely popular for years as search engines placed value on the number of links across the internet which pointed to a particular website. In efforts to increase the number of links, many sneaky behind-the-scenes tactics were created to place these links anywhere and everywhere.

    For a better application of link building, small business owners should instead focus on providing valuable content. As users share this content with others, it will create natural inbound links. If you want to learn the right way to start building links, I recommend this article “Guide to Link Building” by Moz

  • Keyword Stuffing

    — This is also a practice left over from decades past. In those early days, search engines counted the frequency and density of certain keywords on a website to determine its ranking value. Today, search engines are much more advanced and in fact demote sites which have purposefully stuffed excessive keyword usage into their content. Let keywords flow naturally in your content.

  • Lack of Image Descriptions

    — Image descriptions and “Alt” text are the primary way a search engine can “read” the picture. If you don’t tell search engines what this image represents (i.e. a picture of a “cat holding a candy cane”) then this image will add little value to your SEO intentions. Instead, always provide alt text and descriptions for your images. This not only improves your SEO game, but is more ADA friendly

The list of what NOT to do could honestly be triple or quadruple the length of what I’ve provided here. However, by keeping the right objective — your customers — as the guiding principle of SEO habits, you won’t go wrong.

Have you found this small business SEO quick guide helpful? Share with your social network!

If you prefer to have a professional handle the SEO of your business website, please drop me a line. My SEO services can provide your company with the experience and understanding needed for the best digital marketing practices!

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 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.