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.

How do I decide on the design of my website

YouTube video

How do I decide on the design of my website for my business.
Ten tips as a guide for getting good website design for you – Choosing a Graphic Designer or a Design Theme

1. Use a competent commercial website designer who is very much experienced in designing for web rather than print. This is a small number of graphic designers. Ask to see samples of past web design work. Talk to three of the references – ask them for advice on how you should work with this designer on the design of my website

2. Determine a ballpark or affordable budget at this point in your business. You need to be realistic, by giving a decent budget. Do not engage someone you cannot afford, but again be careful about using someone who seems very low cost. Do stretch yourself on this somewhat, because good design shows, as does bad design. If design is charged on a per page basis and the budget is limited, you would be be better with 5 well designed pages, rather than have 10 pages without decent design. Is it it design lite as in a small amount of design input or is it proper website design, is it just focused on the home page or is it to be on all pages? You can always get more work done later, as your income increases

3. Do a wireframe or layout for a mobile view first and then for a desktop view – approve that as a guideline. Always start with mobile first, because this is where most of your visitors will start their journey, even if they end up viewing on a desktop view later

4. Do full graphic design mockups of your website pages to approve before you let a developer start any work. This will avoid surprises and revisions and time. It also allows you make any changes on paper, before any development starts

5. If you plan to use a web design theme as a base for your own design, check out its reviews, see if previous users were happy with it. Check to see if its developers are constantly doing required updates to see if they will be there for you, if you need help and you will need some. Avoid FREE themes, as they are free for a reason

6. Then get your own customers input at the design stage, before doing any developing. You do not have to take on all suggestions, but you might be surprised at some of the useful suggestions you get

7. Keep asking for feedback, but use your gut instinct to make decisions. Make them fast and iterate over and over, by doing A/B testing to tweak everything constantly as long as it improves results

8. Unless you are Coca Cola or Starbucks, you can afford to look at other websites for ideas and inspiration. There is nothing new under the sun, so find ideas you like and bundle them together to get your own version of a design

9. Just do it – get on with it. A live site is generally better than an idea on paper – you can always improvise and improve when you go live

10. Design will always be evolving, so expect to keep tweaking. Keep using your designer to create new content for your website and Social feeds, that is in keeping with your new look or brand. Just like a bricks and mortar shop window you will be tweaking your website every day or week. Get comfortable with that fact, so you can constantly improve

Once you get your website designed and developed and live, do NOT walk away from it and think that you have ticked a box, so you can simply move on. This is live and evolveing, it is your shop window, your roadside hoarding or sign, your web based advertisement. If it does not generate enquiries, get to work on optimising the website and its UX or user experience/interface.

Website design themes explained.

How-Do-I-Decide-on-The-Design-of-My-Website-Genisis-Theme-Framwork

 

Themes are simply designs that have been created by someone who wants to sell many iterations of it, so they usually sell for less than US$100. Many theme designers offer a basic version for free and promote a premium or paid version of the same thing. You could therefore start with the free version initially and upgrade later to the paid supported version. Each theme comes with its own styling and colours, headers, icons and fonts, plus some recommended page layouts. Modern themes are all mobile responsive and most can be reconfigured to a point where they are hard to recognise, once you add your own content. Nowadays they are so versatile that all the available options add great flexibility, but also add to the confusion.

When designing a website should you use a theme or create a bespoke design?

The best design is custom design for you, which is the most expensive to design and develop. But your graphic designer could design for a theme, so that you start with a basic framework and design on top of it. It is akin to buying an IKEA kitchen and then adding to it with colour or other embellishments.  There may be thousands of that kitchen in houses across the world, but after some personal design yours looks very different. Just do not overdo the tweaking of a theme, as it adds to the development costs. Much like getting that IKEA kitchen and trying to convert it to being a bathroom. There are so many themes, so find one you can use.

If you pay for the premium version the developer will allow you apply any updates, so that your website keeps up with trends. Recent examples include being responsive or allowing you add compatible plugins or allowing add web forms or even adding downloadable web fonts. Read the information on any theme and ensure it is comprehensive. Likewise read the reviews on the theme to see what previous users said about it. Only use a theme that has plenty of good reviews. Also check that the developers have been continually updating the theme recently.  Some themes, like the Genesis theme, from StudioPress, are evergreens and get used a lot because they are continually kept updated and offer good support.

For more information contact us through the quick enquiry form here.

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.
Blog Categories
Website Design
Search Engine Optimisation
Website Support Info
FAQs
Website Tips
Digital Marketing
News
Business Tips

Get ‘loved’ by

MEANit Web Design SEO Google Logo

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.

You May Also Like…