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.

COVIDiary

COVIDiary-Week-Three

Week 3 – Sad News

A man of value is a real gentleman. He respects, guides and helps everyone around him irrespective of their gender, race, creed. He knows his limits, has a great conscience and is noble, just and active..”

Week 3 saw us lose a Client, a Friend, a Co-Campaigner, a fellow Human Rights Activist and a proud Townie.

Frank Larkin, died last Friday and was buried on Monday, at a funeral with almost no mourners. This was not a COVID death. He was regularly referred to as Wee Frank, but he was a big man, with a sharp brain and a wealth of empathy. His loss is having a profound effect on us and on his very extensive connections, especially his true love and wife Pauline.

A year ago we set up Access Ireland with Frank to deliver Disability Awareness Training. Frank was train the trainer qualified. This enterprise was just taking off and was looking very promising.

It is hard to get past this news and we are wondering how we can help our community remember Frank. He leaves a big gap. He campaigned for so many people with disability, whether that was getting accessible parking at the new courthouse or getting heard by politicians Nationally or in Europe HQ. He would be disappointed if this gap is not filled by someone new.

Status at Work for MEANit
Productivity is being somewhat affected by working remotely and the fact that everyone is so focused on COVID. It is a huge emotional distraction or worry. Some clients have postponed projects, some have challenges getting content because they have closed down premises temporarily. Or they cannot physically get out to create the content.  In order to be able to support all our clients we need to maintain enough of a team to work as close to normal as possible. Software does not care about pandemics and in fact hackers love a crisis.

Business status
The number of enquiries has gone up substantially as people plan for a post COVID future. It is obvious that people are going to focus on doing a lot more business online. Likewise, we need to plan for considerable expansion in 2021. There is a definite trend towards working with competent, experienced web design agencies with a proven track record. Cheap or low cost options do not look so attractive anymore, as people realise they had not been working for them. There was no return on the low investment. So it is time to get serious about this aspect of the business.

Good News

Zoom has become an everyday tool for business people now. Yes there was some news about them sharing data with Facebook. We doubt you need to worry abut that unless you are working in a very sensitive area.

Remote working is very much the norm now. Smart business leaders are planning for doing business online in future. There is no knowing how long COVID will be around. Or when the next virus will hit, but it will. So it is is time to change the business model somewhat.

The Whatsapp group set up by Toni Forrester at the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce is still working wonderfully well. It is bringing local business people together. They are seeing the benefits of their Chamber membership. The generosity of people in that group has been wonderful, so many friendships are being forged. And so many people are delighted to be able to  be of service. A few use the platform to whine, but for the vast majority it is about helping and seeking advice.

Donegal Business Network supported by ETB Donegal is to hold a Zoom Workshop with Jo Collins on April 14th at 11.00 am for one hour in conjunction with Donegal Women in Business Network and Letterkenny Chamber.- ‘Communicating with Customers in a COVID Climate’ Register FREE here.

 

Next Steps
Now is the time to invest in our future, create a new business plan, factor in the new normal. In the near future people will not want to get close to each other, they will be wary, because COVID will be here to stay, at some level. Lifestyles will change, people are getting used to eating at home, getting more fast food, getting home deliveries and shopping online. They will do meetings online, do webinars, avail of online learning, courses, classes, trainings.

Normal is not returning 100% or even near it. Be prepared for a new way of doing almost everything. Now is a time to invest in some upskilling, to improve your processes, how you do things. Certain areas will become more competitive, so the better you are the more business you can look forward to getting. To ignore the changed environment, to shun the new responsibility, will see you and your business suffer, along with your family and staff. Now is the time to be proactive, do not wait for some gong that says we are COVID free – it will not ring.

Do talk to your Accountant, the Chamber of Commerce or the Local Enterprise Office. Ignore any pessimists or naysayers, the prophets of doom. They are having a field day, but their futures are in doubt as people go online in search of useful positive advice. Ignore Social Media opinion, stop binge watching the News or Netflix, look for inspiration, help and advice.

The Donegal Local Enterprise Office  building is still closed to the public, however the team is very much working furiously behind those closed doors. This is a good first port of call. Likewise, if you have a positive accountant talk to them now or get a new one that is forward thinking. One who is not frozen in the headlights of COVID. Get one who is ready to help you tackle the challenges you face. 
We all have a lot of work to do, if we are to protect and create more jobs in our community. As Entrepreneurs, business leaders, managers, we signed up for this, so now lets show some leadership, to help each other get through this temporary challenge or change to the way we conduct our business.

#stayapartstaywell  #letterkennychamber  #thisbusinessispersonal #COVID19 #SelfIsolationHelp #coronavirus

See COVIDiary Week 4 here when we publish next week.

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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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