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.

Why do people use search engines?

Usually to find out how to do something, where to go for something, find out what happened, who did what, when did something happen or why did something come about. A browser enters a search Word or Term and then gets 7 ‘Organic’ results plus a load of Sponsored Google Ads. Ignoring the 3 top Adverts, the browser usually selects the best looking option from the 7, usually the first or second.

In selecting one, the browser expects to get the best possible answer. The resulting page may have the answer, so the search is over.  But, if the answer is not there or is not immediately obvious in the page navigation, the browser returns to the search page and selects a different choice. Typically this continues until an answer is found or a question can be asked in a Forum or site form. So, to be found at the top of Page 1 is vital. But just as importantly, so is having relevant page content and easy conversion tools. The search result descriptive text has to be logical, inviting and 100% relevant.

Getting visitors is a waste of time if they do not convert to customers.

When people browse they generally want to know something, go somewhere, do something or buy something. So, you want to be there, be useful, be accountable and provide outcomes by using tools for estimates or comparisons. This is why Google want you to use the See, Think, Do, Care Framework, to build brand awareness, drive consideration, acquire traffic and build loyalty.

Given a conversion rate of just 1% for a good well planned site, a lot of thought needs to go in to creating good content, presenting it well, keeping it fresh and making it easy for visitors to reach out with a question or make a purchase.

Plan your site to guide the browser through all the way to communicating with you. Most browsers will NOT enter your site through the Home page, so focus on the pages that offer answers to questions rather than just selling. Encourage questions, calls, emails and instant chat to engage with browsers. Add Newsletter, start a Forum, list Testimonials. Make every page Search Engine Friendly – SEO Search Engine Optimisation is a must and needs to be done by a competent marketer.

People who find your site for the first time, will NOT trust you, so prove that you are the solution provider that they can use with confidence, that you offer great service, good value, full support – in just the same way you would do, if the Client walked in to your office or showroom. Rather than wait in a side street waiting for potential Clients, use the web to get on to the internet Main Street, one that is full of browsers who are looking for what you have to offer.
Google Chrome – If this is your browser, you are effectively feeding google all your questions and it will start to give you answers that are bassed on your geographic location when you are logged in. The algorithms are set to give you the answers the search engine calculates are best for you. It is a good idea, but just be aware that your results could be different to your neighbours.

Search Engine Functions

What do search engines do? Search Engines do a few things, they crawl content on the web and index it for relevancy based on their own algorithms, so that they can deliver results to specified queries. As time goes by they get access to books, documents, pdfs and much much more than just websites, so the Semantic Web will make a major impact on our futures. The Search Engine will cache or save the information it finds so that it can retrieve it when someone is looking for it. Indeed they will keep copies of the information in different locations to help deliver the information quickly. Then it ranks the value of the information based on relevancy and how well people react to it as an answer or something worth reading. This is what determines the make up of SERPs Search Engine Results Pages.

Crawl – this is literally that – where a search engine has robots crawling through your pages to determine which ones are worth listing. These robots look at your code, rather than the images or visual pages. It checks the code to see what terms are important, headlines, bold writing etc.
Index – once a page is deemed worth of listing in results it is indexed. Not all pages are deemed worthy of indexing
Cache – saved on a server or multiple servers in Datacentres around the world ready to deliver when the right question is asked.
Rank – Pagerank is the rating the page gets for relevancy, based on the indexing and how people react when they get it served up to them. Google will also check the speed of delivery of your page, so slow pages will be punished. The 200 Google algorithms have all been created to do the ranking as best as possible.
Link Building – Originally, in the early 2000s the number of links to your website was very important, until Google realised that some webmasters were gaming the system, creating doorway pages and false links, so they made changes in 2005. Link building may still work somewhat, but the sites that link to your site need to be quality relevant sites. In 2010 with Caffeine and again in 2012 Google got better at ranking based on links, so quality rather than quantity took prominence.
Keywords had been important, but again in the same way, some webmasters gamed the system, to add specific words to attract visitors.

SEO Search Engine Optimisation entails many parts, but the aim is to drive more pertinent traffic to websites. These parts include things like adding tracking code, relevant keywords per page, creating useful content, structuring the website properly and generating links, as well as managing connected any Social Media presence.

Web partners offer free guidance on how to manage your SEO, as it is not difficult, just time consuming. Google does the same and their Matt Cutts offers some great video snippets of advice. He does not specify every secret Google algorithm, but he does give great direction on how to create a site using best practice that will rank well. The main tip is to simply create good relevant content and present it in a logical easy to navigate fashion. The Target for success is to become a popular Authority site where content is relevant, well structured and easy to navigate & read. Every page needs to be easy to find, with user friendly URLs, have relevant keywords and description. The result should be desired Traffic, visitors who are likely potential customers which will generate interaction and ultimately increase sales. You can make this happen or employ someone to do it, once you identify your goals.

NB: In 1998 Larry Page and Sergei Brin wrote about how Google wold work. see here if you are really interested in reading the whole detail.
In 1993 Meta Data became the way websites were ranked. Up until then with AltaVista Keywords were enough to get sites found and this was easy to manipulate. In 1998 Google ranked based on backlinks, quality of linking sites and link text. By 2005, it became domain relevance and authority, how good was a site when it came to answering questions on a given subject. Then 2009 saw Social make a big difference, who is talking about your site and sharing your content. 2012 saw semantic web and SEO impact on ranking and by 2014, it became a combination of all these items, with a focus on quality of content, NOT quantity, so Google is determined to see that when a search term is entered that theywill deliver the best site for the answer, whether it is general or local, so that they stay the dominant search engine. Current revenues in 2015 would indicate that the plan is working well. This is good for the people searching and apart from the proliferance of advertising on the page, the search engine is getting better all the time.

Contact us here to get help with your website design today.

 

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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

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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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