We hope you enjoy reading the MEANit blog with all the guides and tips. If you want our team to help with your web presence click here

The articles here will give you everything you need to plan, design, develop, market and maintain your website, if you have the time required – Enjoy.

Build your own website FREE

Some callers, potential clients maybe, ask a lot of questions or ask us to send them a “Proposal”, with the sole intention of building their own website or taking the ‘advice’ and giving it to someone who will create a web presence for less money.

Why pay a Pro to do the job properly, when you can just pay a rookie peanuts for some form of “web presence”, as in images and text appearing at some url or other. That’s it, website done ! Box ticked, move on. This can maybe work for a sports club or community group where there is no business involved and there is marketing or sales element required. This ‘Noticeboard’ website is much better than using Facebook as a sole platform – maybe not as easy to use, but better. Facebook is rented land where you have no control, so get your own plot of some sort, that you can control. Facebook is NOT the right option, it just looks like an easy familiar one. It is just a Social Channel that some people like – ok a lot of people like.

Examples of low cost sports clubs platforms would include:
www.Pitchero.com/  
www.myhobbyhive.com

Tip: Be aware of your limitations in skills or time and be honest with yourself, so that you do not offer to do a lot of work for free and then be unable to deliver, which will have a very negative impact on your enterprise.

Basic website solutions

Developers can offer a solid DIY web site platform which is a great scalable modular system like the Joomla platform or a Wordpress solution, but rarely do people get their head around the plugins and patches, themes and navigations, updates and styles, never mind the layouts, CTAs and conversion techniques, without even looking at the SEO or Hosting intricacies. Nevertheless, a good web partner is there to support you when times get tough, because it is the same platform that many use for full service business websites. So, by all means, give it a try and spend some time at it. You will learn what is needed, mainly time and experience.

Our best DIY tips include, doing what you do best and outsourcing the rest, to competent specialists. A good Developer is rarely a good Designer, a good Designer is rarely a good Marketer and a good Marketer is rarely a good Developer. A good Project Manager can work with all four and get a great result, but yes, it involves more outlay or costs more money to get done. But conversely this investment will generate more income, more profits and ultimately be much more successful, more profitable than the attempt at low cost DIY. Many low cost options simply lead to no return whatsoever, so it is a net cost and a time suck, as well as the loss of opportunity that you might have had with the right solution.

DIY Website options for small club or hobby sites or Bloggers include:

Wordpress – FREE Open Source Blogging tool with loads of Plugins and the ability to be a decent website, with loads of Themes and plugins. Probably the best free open source business platform available and getting better all the time. Google likes the structure in Wordpress websites. Wordpress powers 32% of the worlds websites and over 70% of business websites. For more details see here.
Joomla – FREE Open Source with loads of low cost themes and plugins and the ability to add Modules that give the options to structure the site in moveable blocks, which makes it easy to use, once you learn the basics. But it is clunky. Where once it was the go to ‘business’ option, it has been left behind because the Wordpress platform has become so dominant and easier to use..
Wix – FREE templates, easy to use, simple basic interface. Not really for business, but can be suitable for first time web presence, as long as you appreciate that it will not scale, so if you grow, you will need to start over again with a more robust platform. Having a basic interface means that everything is basic, so there are limitations, loads of them. Wix accounts for less than 1% of all websites. Read a good comparison article by Colin Newcomer here, it details the good, the bad and the ugly of Wix versus Wordpress
Weebly – Easy to use and very friendly, ideal for a small personal non business website where you want to create a basic presence or fancy learning a bit about websites. Again, it is much of a hobby site rather than for business. It is a good way to learn about putting a website together.
Squarespace – SaaS based low cost solution, with a Personal or Business monthly rate, but very limited in its scope, so not at all ideal for a business. Limited number of design themes available and not suitable for eCommerce. Beware so called web developers who offer to create a ‘business’ website in Squarespace. You will just end up having to do a new site all over again. Keep Squarespace for the hobby sites.
Tumblr – A MicroBlogging site now owned by Yahoo
Typepad – Solely for Blogging

Bear in mind that FREE will have limitations, so at some stage you will probably have to start all over again using a new platform. Some FREE options will have Adverts running inside your “website” and some will push for Addons or Pro versions or hosting. The charges may not be huge, but suddenly FREE is not free and costs increase whilst the cost of lost opportunity also increases – this is the bit that most people miss. The FREE options cannot be personalised or customised for your specific business or reshaped the way that suits your business. But, the experience is a great learning process, if you have the time to study.

Warning: Beware the websites like Go Daddy or Blacknight or Simplsites that offers totally FREE just to get your domain registration fees or annual hosting fees. What they offer in a very basic platform will not work well for business and will lead to pain. FREE and LUNCH – you know how it goes.

Website return on investment.

Determine your investment in a web presence, not based on cost, but rather based on the desired return. If a good website has an outlay investment of €10,000 is that expensive ? What if it generates sales of €100,000.00 a year ? Or €250,000.00 – when does the cost or outlay start to look insignificant. If a Farmer were to plant too little seed, you would not be surprised when he had a poor harvest. If McDonalds left the candy chips out of the McFlurry would it sell as a McFlurry? Would it sell at all ? And what would it be called? McIce? McBland ? – it just would not be a McFlurry. Invest in a little bit of candy chip to make a basic platform work work well for you.

Website basic planning

Start from the desired end result and work backwards to see how much time and investment you will consider for your new or revamped web presence. The biggest mistake made by potential clients is not the savings on costs, but the loss of potential sales due to having opted for a web presence that does not perform. Why waste a year waiting for a poor website to perform, when you could be generating sales within weeks using a good website. A glass jar is not a honey pot. Get some honey for your money and make it sweet for your audience.

Conclusion:

FREE – If you have a hobby, community or small club, there are FREE tools you can use that will work better than Social Platforms. All you need is time, loads of it or a capable volunteer with time, for entering and managing content. A passionate, dedicated team can manage this at very little cost other than decent Hosting.
Here is our FREE Guide to Building a Website WEBSITE BUILDING – PLANNING PROCESS – 4 SIMPLE STEPS Another good technical step by step guide to building your own website is Dustin Hartzlers here.

Business – If you have a business and want to use the web to generate leads or sales, then you need Business option. FREE is not for you and you already know that. Start with a plan, a Digital Strategy. Ask yourself WHY are we doing this, what are the exact aims and objectives, who is the target audience, how will we use this website, market it, manage and maintain it. Get all the basics on paper, talk it out, tweak it, design graphically it for both desktop and mobile, review it all and then do the developing. This process will in itself reveal the necessary costs involved. Only then can you work out the investment required. As a rule of thumb, expect that 25% of your budget will be for developing the site and 75% to market it to your audience.

Get in touch with a dependable web partnerTip: Graphic Design – Determine your budget for Graphic Design and then double it, so that you get great design. Web is very much a visual medium.

 

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 40 ‘Professional Services Businesses‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 40 in 2022?

MEANit-Web-Design-Agency-Michael-MacGinty

Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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Essentials Website

Get a clean, fast, mobile friendly, custom designed website that ticks all the boxes. By focusing on the essentials we can get you an online presence that makes a big positive impact on your business without investing a fortune initially. Build your brand and grow your audience with a Mobile-friendly, WordPress website typically 5 to 10 pages, along with all the training provided, so you can grow your site yourself over time, adding your own content and Search Engine Optimisation to get you found in Google search results over time

Best suited for:

Small firms, practices or businesses, who need a high quality custom design website without needing any large initial investment, but a platform that they can build upon over time.

Intended to get you online and give you a platform to start building your brand.

Includes simple Brief or Plan & Wireframe or Layout, Custom Graphic Design, Website Development of typically 5 to 10 pages, Initial SEO Search Engine Optimisation and Training.

From €4,800

Optional items include: Keyword Research, Keyword Mapping, Competitor Analysis, Monthly Support Plan and ongoing SEO services.

Custom Website

Let us get you noticed with a totally custom designed, fast loading website built to your specific needs. Then we can engage your target audience with unique page layouts perfect for feature content and focused landing pages. Training is provided with this custom designed WordPress website, typically 10 to 30 pages – this allows you to make all the changes you want.
And we can add in the critical Search Engine Optimisation, so your website ranks well in Google. Plus a full written plan for your team to follow..

Best suited for:

Medium-sized firms, practices or businesses who need a quality custom website and a marketing plan along with some ongoing help every month to generate the leads they want

Intended to make you more effective online and build upon your brand at a steady pace.

Includes Brief or Plan & Wireframe or Layout, Custom Graphic Design, Website Development of typically 10 to 20 pages, Initial SEO Search Engine Optimisation and Training.

From €6,000

Optional items include: Keyword Research, Keyword Mapping, Competitor Analysis, Monthly Support Plan and ongoing SEO services.

Strategic Website

You probably have an underperforming website, but realise you need a better web presence. One that will consistently generate the ideal pre-qualified leads and work you really want.
However, you do not have the team time to be doing all this digital marketing stuff. So you want some expert help.

Lets start with a meeting, then we can write up a digital strategy or plan, to ensure we set some agreed goals or targets for us to deliver for you.

Best suited for:

Growth focused medium sized firms or practices, who want to outsource all the website management and digital marketing responsibility to a competent, reliable Irish team, who will generate the new business.

This allows your whole team to focus on what you do best. Results Guaranteed by us!

Includes Brief or Plan & Wireframe or Layout, Keyword Mapping, Competitor Analysis, Custom Graphic Design, Website Development of typically 20 to 100 pages and Training, plus SEO Search Engine Optimisation.

From €9,500

Optional items include: Monthly Support Plan and ongoing SEO services.

A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google Business Profile profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

Conclusion:
As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Also posted here.

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