Category Archives: Web Design

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.

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.

 

Why You Should NOT Host at GoDaddy – Part One

No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!
No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!

No, you should not host at GoDaddy. Consistent  website and email access are too important  and hosting at GoDaddy is not practical if you want to be in business 24/7.

Here’s What Happened to Me at GoDaddy

I have my play/test website www.mccordwebservices.com hosted at GoDaddy. My main website is hosted with Hostway and found at http://www.mccordweb.com. I got a notice from WordFence Premium that my website www.mccordwebservices.com was on the domain and email blacklist with Spamhaus.org, McAfee DNSBL, and CBL.Abuseat.org. These are important sites that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use to decide what sites and email to block. So that notification was labelled critical.

That means that if this had happened to be  my main business website any email I would have sent out using my email tied to my domain would have been bounced and set as undeliverable. On top of that the reputation of my business would be tarnished from being blacklisted. As I am in the industry having my site compromised or the appearance of being compromised is even worse.

I called GoDaddy immediately upon receipt of the notification. I was told that no my site was not compromised (I knew that as I practice intense security), but that several accounts on my site’s GoDaddy shared server were compromised, hacked, and sending out spam and possibly malware. With additional research on my own, I found out that one of the offending websites in my shared hosting environment with the same IP block was MichaelClayton.org. (Please do not visit this site as you do not want to get malware.)

I asked GoDaddy what they were going to do about quickly resolving this issue. They said they had notified the offending site owner and that the owner needed to do a cleanup. There was no deadline or time frame shared with me.

I asked GoDaddy to move me to a new server and was told by Tech Support on 5/23 at 9:35 am Eastern Time that a move was not possible and that when I signed up for hosting with GoDaddy, I had agreed to their terms of being on a shared server- meaning I could run into this problem again or in the future.

I asked for a change to my IP address and was told I could buy a dedicated IP address for my site  for $75 a year. I pointed out that I was not willing to pay for something to solve a technical issue that was GoDaddy’s job to fix and was told sorry that’s the final answer. I had to pay to solve their problem!

I asked to speak to the supervisor and was put on hold for 20 minutes (I clocked this). When the tech came back on the line, he told me all supervisors were busy and that nothing else would be done for me.

As of today,  my website IP is no longer blacklisted! It took 7 days for this issue to be resolved and one listing I had to submit a manual request for removal.

As a professional webmaster who has a number of customers hosted at GoDaddy, I was furious with the response that I received.

Please check back on Wednesday for the rest of the story and my recommendations for hosting and what to do if you are hosted at GoDaddy.

Site Chat = Leads + Sales

Online Site Chat Let's You Connect Immediately.
Online Site Chat Let’s You Connect Immediately.

Site chat apps do generate leads which do turn into sales.  I am a living testimony to that. Since I have installed the Drift app, which is an online chat app, I have had about 5 chats, some just about questions but two about services. One moved into contract and has spent about $4,000 for my services.

I’d say that having the chat function on my website has been good for business. What’s even better is that I am always on, but do not always enter a response immediately to a chat. Even with a live chat function, you can have weekends and a real life. Your business does not need to own you.

I do feel that my prospects do like the friendliness and immediacy of  live chat. The paid version of Drift, which I am using as a free version, does has an automated bot that fills in the gaps with responses which is nice and I may upgrade to it if I get more big sales.

I find that the really serious clients start out on the chat app but then move readily to email and then to phone calls. The client that found me via my online site chat closed in less than one week.

So, if you are looking for more sales, I do recommend installing on your website an online chat function. Drift is just one of them to consider, but there are others.

Weighing Your Options for Website Redesign Work

Solutions for your business that make sense.
Solutions for your business that make sense.

Many legacy website owners are now looking at upgrading their websites to leverage new technologies but what type of site should you consider as you weigh your options?

WordPress Websites Pros and Cons

I have a love/hate relationship with WordPress. I love the power and adaptability. I love the free plugins, but I hate the security problems and I hate the lack of really fine control both for SEO use and for image placements.

If a client decides that they want to do their own content updates, WordPress is perfect for them, but at a cost.

If a client does not buy a security monitoring service like WordFence or SiteLock, they may leave their expensive new website open to becoming hacked and banned on Google (until remediated from a hack).

Being secure costs money and WordPress is not a set it and forget it application. Be prepared if you decide to do your own updates that you need security software and need to do your own weekly site updates to keep WordPress secure.

HTML Websites Pros and Cons

For clients that are never going to do their own updates and do not need special plugin features from WordPress, I love a regular HTML version website. I love the control of page and image naming, the ability to have total control over site architecture, and the security of knowing that hackers do not typically use HTML websites as a platform to spew spam or malware.

HTML websites do not need regular security review, analysis and monitoring as WordPress sites do. But as technology changes they typically should be replaced about every five years.

If you need help with a SEO focused information-rich website for your service business and are not using ecommerce, pick up the phone and chat with me about your needs at 540-693-0385. I’d be glad to let you candidly know if our services would be a good match for your needs.

Google Starts Testing on Mobile First Search Index – Explained

Googlespeak can be confusing for those not in the industry, so this post will help business owners understand what Google means when it states the following:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first.”  Doantam Phan, Google product manager

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

This is the bottom-line. Google is testing and will most likely rollout a huge change to its indexing algorithm that is used to rack and stack websites in the organic or unpaid results of search pages.

The algorithm will now review and base the ranking index across all devices based on what the Googlebot spider reads in the content of a mobile version website. This is incredibly big news and the ramifications are huge.

Here’s why:

  1. If you have a responsive website, you do not need to worry. You are totally covered for this update.

2. If you have a mobile adaptive website, you need to start making changes. A mobile adaptive site means that the content for your mobile site is different and sometimes lacks the content that you have in your desktop and tablet version site. You may have dropped content, streamlined content on pages, or not developed content for some pages. In other words the mobile site is different by design and desire from your desktop site.

3. If you do not have a mobile site it is time to get busy and move to a responsive website design. Although Google says that it will still spider your site with its mobile searchbot, I would expect in the future to see tags in the index stating your site is not mobile friendly and possible demotions.

Google means business on mobile as attested by the following quote.

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” Doantam Phan, Google product manager

 If you need help with a responsive website, now’s the time to check in with the McCord Web Services team. Our focus is to implement affordable, SEO-focused responsive websites that bring you customers.