Want More Sales – What’s Your Polish Look Like?

Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.
Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.

Your website is all about more sales! That’s the reason you’ve hung out your shingle, but are you hurting leads and sales by having a website that’s not polished enough?

Polish is not about having fashion models in your content photos, although attractive people in your pics will not hurt, it is about the details.

These details communicate visually your professionalism and instill confidence in prospects when they visit. It’s the look and feel and you’ve got 10 seconds to make a favorable impression!

Here are my top polish points to check out on your own site.

Content blocks on the home page
These just must be the same word count and line up horizontally. When you have three different sized boxes it just looks bad.

Blog post excerpts in your footer
Control the word count! There are plugins you can use to assure your excerpt stays the same word count. Make sure to use them so you do not have giant blocks of blog content making the bottom of your website page look like jagged teeth.

Photos with no smiles
Staff photos where everyone looks grim or the business owner is frowning should be updated. Look approachable, you don’t have to be a model, but a pleasant look on your face is important.

Photos where the clothing is too casual
Owner and staff photos are important. If you work in a professional arena like a dentist or doctor – wear a white coat, lawyers – wear a suit, business owners – the higher dollar figure your sale, the more dressed up you should be. Polo shirts and super casual wear is great for your photo if your customers and competitors will be wearing those types of clothes. Careful – what you wear impacts your site’s polish and communicates professionalism.

Blog posts that are off topic that don’t match what you sell
If you blog yourself for your own website, make sure that you create and stick to a content strategy that works to build keyword density and authority  for your website.  Keep the your website’s polish going by being on topic.  Blogging is not your online journal, but rather a way to build authority with search engines and provide new fodder for search engine robots.

If you need help polishing your site, we provide consulting services to help your site improve in appearance and polish. Find out more today.

GoDaddy Takes Another Hit with Network Protect

GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?
GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?

GoDaddy Network Protect? What’s that? That’s what GoDaddy calls it when they take your site offline due to a high number of hack attacks on your shared server. Our client has now been down two days. GoDaddy says it will allow the website to be seen when the hack attacks stop and they can turn off the GoDaddy Network Protect.

Wow, that is bad. Could your business afford to be offline two+ days with no end in site? I just have to challenge the type of network protection that GoDaddy has in place if they are constant targets of hackers. Either they are not policing their customers or not properly securing their shared hosting environments. You would think that they would have security in place to protect their business.

If you are hosted at GoDaddy, you can remediate this issue when your website is blocked due to a Network Protect action by buying a dedicated IP address. I just did that for our client who was under a Network Protect and could see his site online in about two hours.

I do have to say that after one of my domains was blacklisted due to a hacked site on my GoDaddy shared hosting environment server and now this situation with a customer, I will only recommend using GoDaddy as your host if you do not want to move or if you get a dedicated IP address for about $75 a year on top of your hosting.

Better yet, consider a different web host who takes security more seriously than GoDaddy.

Tips to Moving Your Law Website Away from FindLaw.com – Part Two

Continued from Monday.

We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing
We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Internet Marketing

FindLaw does not make it easy for you to move. Roadblocks and delays are all part of the tactic to get you to decide it is too hard to move.

Here are more tips on how to move out of FindLaw.

Your mobile version of the website will be broken.
The static site you will receive, will work in mobile, but have no navigation. I am still working on this issue, but one easy work around is to use DudaMobile to render the mobile version of the site and simply install a “script” to sniff for mobile devices that DudaMobile provides.

Make sure you search out and remove FindLaw links.
Use Dreamweaver to ferret out the hidden links to FindLaw in your source code. I found links in the head tag and links in the footer, as well as links to broken elements like site search, client testimonials, and review us buttons. As a site owner, understand that your webmaster really needs time to find these, create new links or elements to replace all these things that are broken.

As far as I am concerned on the site I am working on, these dynamically scripted elements are not needed to make the site work and look good. Don’t let your webmaster take time to try to fix them especially if you will use your site for only one year.

Make sure to get ownership of your social media accounts.
FindLaw sets up social media for your website, but not in your name. Make sure that before your subscription with them expires that they transfer ownership to you so that you will be able to update your social media profiles.

Know that you will need to have a newly scripted contact form.
The static site will not arrive with a working contact form. Make sure your webmaster knows that time needs to be factored in to create one and test it on your new hosting server.

You will now need to buy your own hosting.
Make sure that your webmaster sets these accounts up in your name. Otherwise you simply move from FindLaw to another gateway but this time with a webmaster taking over.  Before you move make sure you know where your mail server is and who owns and has access to your domain name. Assure that the domain name is tied to your business not FindLaw or your new webmaster.

Make sure link testing is done as the static site is brought up and online.
I found that even top of page links in the content were broken. Easy to fix, but as you work on these static sites, you start to see just where the “warts” are. Link references are wrong, image URLs are not correctly defined – and all need review and fixing.

It is not inexpensive to move out from FindLaw but in the long run owning your own site files allow you to spend money where YOU want – maybe in Google AdWords where you’ll get better lead results.

I estimate that the initial review of the problems and site renovation will cost this client $1,500 to $2,000 initially but the annual cost saving from FindLaw to self ownership is $30,800 a year. That’s a nice chunk of change to spend on Google AdWords, blogging, and social media and be building a site you truly own, not one you “think” you own but that is not really easily transportable.

 

Tips to Moving Your Law Website Away from FindLaw.com – Part One

We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing
We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Internet Marketing

Are you moving your law website away from FindLaw.com due to high monthly payments; sometimes over $2,800? You are not the only law firm that is planning ahead to move out!

As a professional internet marketing consultant, I find it very hard to believe that a $2,800 a month charge is not “bringing home the bacon” in regards to leads. Although FindLaw.com may be the perfect place for some law firms, I have one firm I am working with right now that does not feel that way and has complained about the high costs and low lead numbers.

We are moving this firm away from FindLaw.com and here are some tips to consider if you are considering moving out as well.

Do not wait until the last minute.
FindLaw.com requires a 90 day notice that you are leaving. Don’t miss this deadline or you will be forced to renew another year. That’s what happened to our client. He was so aggravated, that he made a note on his calendar for the next year and contacted us to move.

When you decide to move get started on a new website.
Don’t wait to get started on a new site. You may need 90 days to get your new site up. Although FindLaw says that the site you paid for and “own” (minus all their scripting that makes it work and images that makes your site beautiful)  is yours to move, I can tell you that the static site is nearly worthless and you may pay more to try to fix it than to simply start over.

Consider the static site they give you as a temporary  “Band-Aid”
The static site we got has missing scripts, missing images, the code is one huge glob, not even readable, navigation elements are missing or in our client’s case weirdly commented out to not show in the source code.  Consider this a site you can use only after significant cleanup for one to max. two years.

Push hard and early to get your static site sent to you.
We had to push the FindLaw rep to give us the static site 70 days out from stopping services to allow us time to try to fix anything we could. What we got I would call marginal. Don’t let them give you the static site a few days before you leave. Your webmaster will need a minimum of 30 days to work it over for it to work and look “good”.

Make sure to check back Wednesday for more on moving your site out of FindLaw.

 

Introducing Our Summer Intern, William McCord

William McCord, Our Summer Intern
William McCord, Our Summer Intern

William McCord, my 20 year old son, has joined the firm for the summer in a Computer Science internship.

William is a rising Junior in Computer Science with an interest in programming, GIS, and cyber security at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

With a passion for computer programming, he is already helping to implement and tweak complex scripts for AdWords account management as well as fine-tuning his HTML and CSS skills for website design.

This summer, he will be focusing on WordPress management, site design customization, website security, mobile-friendly e-newsletters, and AdWords script programming.

He is a incredibly fast learner, innovative, and a hard worker. We are excited to welcome him into our office.

We Now Offer Video Services

I’ve partnered with my husband, Michael McCord, to provide video processing and compilation services for use at YouTube, on websites, and as for AdWords video ads.

Here’s are two great examples of Michael’s video skills.

His superior attention to detail, software smoothing of clips, smooth transitions make his video processing skills the perfect match for what our clients want.

He can combine, still photos, video clips, and even make a coherent video out of multiple clips you send. Plus, pricing is very affordable. Our typical video project is under $300.

For more information, visit our Video Services page on our website.

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