Five Tips for Successful Websites

Posted by dscaringi on February 10, 2016

Websites are an expected part of any lawyer or law firm marketing plan. Gone are the days of having a website that looks like the firm’s brochure. Legal websites are dynamic tools that play a crucial role in creating conversations. Websites come in all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of sophistication. The cost of the site isn’t the indicator of its success. Rather, websites must be compelling. They also must be easy to find on search engines, and simple to use and navigate. Here are just a few components that even the most modest website should have:

  • Responsive design. People go to the internet as a first stop when looking for information.  And, they are increasingly using their phones and tablets to conduct research and business. Today’s websites need to provide a solid user experience across all mobile devices in addition to desktops and laptops. Responsive design is an automated feature that scales the website for easy use on mobile and tablet devices. It should include simple functionalities, such as tapping a phone number to make a call. Remember, that mobile devices are typically fairly small. So, make sure your responsive design elements scale to the most important info on the full site. Finally, make sure it is fast and compatible with the most frequently used systems.
  • Relevant and content rich. Search engines are driven by content relevancy and freshness. In our ‘instant gratification’ driven world, it is important that trending information is at the most forefront of your site. The most successful websites provide frequent, relevant and useful information. It also should be engaging for the visitor. Consider content such as blog posts, brief articles, video and graphics. Adding visitor-relevant content as often as possible will help your site be found by search engines more easily.
  • Scannable content. While we are on the topic of content… remember that you have just a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Use white space, bullet points, ‘regular’ words and brevity. People scan website content, it’s a fact!
  • Use social media. Social media outlets are phenomenal tools for driving traffic to your website. Use social media to amplify your content, draw visitors to your site and build your reputation in the marketplace. Make sure your website integrates with all the social media tools you are using so that folks may easily share your content.
  • Easy navigation through a clear brand. This is by no means news, but it bears repeating. It is absolutely crucial that it is easy for visitors to find what they want and quickly.  A consistent, branded design that clearly speaks to a targeted audience is the cost of admission.

Websites are incredible tools for law firms and lawyers. They provide a repository of knowledge that tells a story and invites a conversation. There are many components to creating a website that works towards achieving your goals. Using the above tips will help get you started on any website redesign or enhancement project.

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The Secret to Keeping New Year Resolutions… and Other Goals

Posted by dscaringi on January 6, 2016

Many of us do it.  Yup… we make new year resolutions.  But then… we drop them. So why do we keep setting them every January?  I am not sure about other folks, but I do it because I believe that the act of setting a resolution makes me a better person, even if I am not successful sticking with them. You see… any effort to become more self-aware is positive.

New year resolutions have always interested me. I have been reading a lot about how people help themselves be more successful when setting and keeping resolutions. Then it occurred to me… many of the recommendations were consistent across the resources I found. What I saw across the board was not solely tips to keeping new year resolutions, but rather solid practices for reaching any goal (business or personal) at any time of year! Jackpot!

Armed with this new inspiration, I need to share a snapshot of what I walked away with from this research:

  • Keep the Resolution/Goal Top of Mind Around the Calendar. Keep reminding yourself of your goals.  This could mean a repeating reminder in your iPhone, or simply a sticky on your bathroom mirror.
  • Create a Habit. The saying goes… it takes 21 times to solidify a change of behavior. If you can make a concerted effort over 3 short weeks, no matter how small the activity, you will find a change in yourself. For instance, if you want to improve your relationships, make a daily connection to people you want to get closer to.
  • Believe in Your Goal. To be successful, you need to feel jazzed up about your goal. It is far harder to achieve something that is hanging over your head because it seems like you probably should do it.
  • Write it Down. By writing your goal down, you are committing to it.  Research shows that people who have written marketing plans achieve them 85% more often than those who don’t write it down.
  • Share it with Others. Tell someone about your goal. By letting someone in on your goals, you are creating your own source of accountability.
  • Partner Up. Do you know others who have similar goals?  Work together to achieve them. Mutual support, even if it’s simply moral support, pushes you further towards success.
  • Track Your Progress. Knowing where you want to get is important, but knowing how you got there is where the fun comes in. Create frequent check-ins for yourself. Always pat yourself on the back for what you accomplish, and then strategize on how you will get further along for your next check in.

Resolutions can get a bad reputation because they often get left behind before the month has expired.  It doesn’t need to be this way!  Try some of these tips that I have gathered from a bevy of resources and my personal experience.  I think you will start to see your perspective, and success rate, change!

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Tips for Setting Goals in 2016

Posted by dscaringi on December 17, 2015

As the new year rapidly approaches, it’s time to consider your goals for the new year. Sometimes this process can make people feel anxious.  Questions start to fly through your head… What if I can’t reach them? What if they aren’t reasonable? How do I begin?  Ignore those doubts.  Goals come in all shapes and sizes.  They are meant to be set just outside of your reach, so that you stretch yourself a bit.  All that being said, people with defined goals, that are written down, tend to make more progress than those who avoid verbalizing where they want to go in a given timeframe.  So where DO you begin?  Rest assured… goals do not need to be world-changing.  They do, however, absolutely need to be personal and specific.  Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Select Small, Short-Term Goals.  Many people think all goals need to be lofty and long-range. While it is good to think big, it is perhaps more important to consider short term goals as a pathway to reaching the big ones. Break down large goals (i.e. bring in one new client in the first six months) into smaller goals (i.e. identify three targets and have lunch with them quarterly).  Dissect large goals into easier steps, tracking how and when you accomplish them.
  • Commit to Your Goals By Writing Them Down. By physically writing down your goals, you makes them real. Keep written goals in a visible place and schedule reminders in your Outlook calendar to execute upon your actionable items and check your progress.
  • Avoid Distractions.  When planning your actionable steps to reach your goals, only take on steps that further your goals in a meaningful way.  Prioritize your marketing activities, undertaking those that will give you the most result for your time investment.
  • Ask for Feedback. Ask someone you trust to evaluate your goals.  This person can be a colleague, mentor, family member or marketing guru.  The point is that a reality check helps you know if what you are setting out to do makes sense.  Ask your advisors to give you honest feedback, both positive and negative.  Remember that negative feedback can be difficult for the giver and receiver, so remain calm and take their input for what it is.  It is always helpful to consider the perspective of the people around you.
  • Take Action.  Once you have your goals in place, don’t waste any time getting to work.  Plan to participate in reaching your goals from the very beginning.
  • Check Back Often.  Don’t make annual goals that sit on the shelf until December of next year.  Check your progress at least quarterly so that you may make adjustments and tweaks as you go along.  This will help you assess if your goals are appropriate and that your actions are furthering your progress.

Planning for success is an important step in achieving it. Plan a strategy to reach your goals and you will be more likely to accomplish them. Along the way, play to your strengths while working on your weaknesses.  I think you will find that you can reach your goals with focus, determination and solid effort.   Good luck!

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