Lawyers: 3 Tips to Enhance Your Web Presence

Whether you’re a partner in a big law firm, or have ventured out on your own, being a modern lawyer requires a Web presence. It’s true that the merits of your career should be the main factor drawing clients to you, but the fact remains that success alone doesn’t magically create a robust clientele. When it comes to the Internet, your goals are to project a polished and positive image, be easily searchable and answer potential questions prospects may ask.

Lawyer Web Tips

Here are a few tips that can help you make that happen:

Perfect and Align the Overall Image

You might think that branding isn’t very important as a law firm. But your firm’s identity is central to how clients (and others in the industry) are going to perceive you. First and foremost, spend a little time on your website. It can be minimal in design and copy if that’s what you prefer, but it should still look clean and well thought out. If you need a new template or are starting out with a website from scratch, check out a site like Top 10 Website Builders in order to easily compare what different services offer. Many of the recommended website builders give ample choices for design and make it easy to create exactly what you’re envisioning, even without possessing Web design skills.

It’s also a good idea to keep your themes and messages consistent across your website and your social channels. If your site has a color scheme of tan, black and green, for example, your Twitter should follow suit. Keep headshots professional and consider using the same one on your site that you do on your social platforms. This will help prospects and clients to quickly identify you, no matter where they’re looking. Double check that your site is mobile-friendly, too, since many people search for attorneys on their smartphones. Your site should be responsive and easily viewable whether it’s accessed from a laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

Encourage Positive Reviews

One of the downsides of living and working in the Internet age is that you can’t control everything that’s said about you online. The best thing you can do to protect your virtual image is to conduct your practice with integrity and do everything you can to ensure client happiness. Beyond this, you don’t have much say over what gets posted about you and your services online. In order to counteract potential negative reviews, gather several glowing testimonials you can post on your website. And be sure to incentivize your most pleased clients to review you positively on sites like Yelp and Avvo. Include a blurb asking for a quick review in your email signature, with a link that takes clients directly to one of the sites. And if no one takes the bait there? Don’t be shy about approaching clients directly to ask if they will do you a favor and share their experience online.

Get Noticed

Another important piece of the digital puzzle is actually getting people to find you. In order to do this, search engine optimization (SEO) is key. Start by brainstorming all the keywords that your target client would use if searching for a lawyer. Your specific areas of practice, your location and words like “lawyer” and “law firm” are all good bets. Then dig into how your Web pages are set up. Each one should be carefully planned out. Rather than including a page that lists all the areas you concentrate on, create individual pages for each one. Having one page for “Employment Law,” one for “ International Labor Law,” one for “Child Labor Law,” and one for “Workplace Discrimination Law” will net you far better results than piling them all onto one page.

Still need more places for SEO to do its work? Try starting a blog. Only do this is you’re able and willing to keep up a flow of content at least twice a month (if not more), and aim to write on topics that your ideal clients would want to read most. Include your SEO keywords throughout the posts, when applicable (and not too frequently). This can help when someone is searching for you too.

As you work toward establishing a solid digital presence for you and your firm, begin by assessing the overall image. Be sure your website and social media channels are consistent and refined, encourage positive reviews from satisfied clients and spend some time incorporating good SEO practices into your site. Armed with these tips, you should see a spike in your traffic—and clientele.

Magic Jack Go review

Currently I have Ooma for a home phone service. They have great reviews and overall ratings on Amazon. I also have had great service with them. As a premier, they have an Android app with unlimited minutes (i.e. a cap does exist somewhere, just like with Magic Jack). But I noticed that Magic Jack has great reviews on Google Play. It’s time to give that a try off of Amazon.

The first thing is to figure out how to activate it. Unlike Ooma or Obihai devices that are detected off the router, Magic Jack doesn’t work like that. I’ve tried it and it didn’t work. But this YouTube video is very good and I followed the steps.

But there are two problems I ran into. I like to emphasize that you should first research the problems on Google or Bing. Enter the right keywords or phase. Don’t chat with the Magic Jack chat, as you might find the answer yourself much easier. Let’s look at my two problems.

  • After I went through the PC activation process, I plugged the Magic Jack into my router. But I was getting a number 1 – no Internet connection message – via the phone. Now it was time to try an experiment. The Ethernet cable that came with Magic Jack is flat. My Ooma device is also connected to my router – no problem. What is the problem?  It was time to substitute a standard cable I had lying around. It was round in diameter – not flat like the Magic Jack cable. Now I had Internet connection. My advice? Use another standard cable to substitute for the Magic Jack provided one. If you don’t have one, go to Walmart, Target, Myers, Sam’s Club or Costco and buy one.
  • The second problem was aloud humming noise that occurred – after a few hours. But a Google search came up with articles at Magic Jack humming noise 1 and Magic Jack humming noise 2. The answers they suggested centered around grounding. Time for an experiment. First I tried plugging the Magic Jack into different outlets – no change. Then I swapped the cordless phone from Ooma for my Magic Jack. Then I hooked up the corded phone into Ooma. Ooma now had the humming noise and Magic Jack was fine. The answer was to go to Walmart and purchase a Vtech cordless phone for the Magic Jack. Problem solved.

I’ve made some communication tests with the Ooma, Magic Jack and Google Hangouts dialer app. The quality is quite good, but I also run the VOIP phones off a hi-speed cable setup. Ooma premier has many more bells and whistles then Magic Jack. But Magic Jack is not bad, if you follow the steps I recommend. The only issue with the Ooma app was there was no end call button.  Support had me uninstall and install it.  I think they should have it available as an update – like other apps.

Anyway, here is a tip. When you access Facebook, web, etc. at home, you are going off the mobile network and chewing away at data caps. When they are reached, the data is then throttled (i.e. slowed down). If you have a router and set up a home network, the cell phone can connect to it at home. So if you connect to your home WiFi (or public WiFi with a VPN app), it uses that to connect to Internet, etc.

Android App Security and Communication Tips

Last week, I shared some tips on Android apps entitled Three Tips for Choosing Android Apps. In order to understand Apple and Android, I pointed out that both were derivatives of the Unix system.

smartphone weight training

A good article that explores the underlying languages is Developing for the iPhone and Android: The pros and cons. In the article, these points are crucial:

  • “Android apps are written in the Java programming language”
  • “On the other hand, applications that run natively on the iPhone operating system are written in Apple’s Objective-C, a dialect of the more common C language that has elements of Smalltalk.”
  • “Over the past year or so, however, new tool kits and development platforms have emerged in the marketplace to make it possible for programmers create iPhone applications without having to study Objective-C.”

These are important points. When I was at COD taking programming courses, they did offer courses in C, C++ and Java. With C and C++, you can understand the languages Windows, IOS, Unix, Linux and Android are written in. Java is also immensely popular at community, private and state US universities. So it is easier to crank out Android app developers.

On the other hand, objective C is not taught a COD or Harper, two Illinois community colleges with great computer science offerings. So Apple will probably get less developers. And there is no overall king of tool kits out there yet, to crank out Objective C. With that in mind, along with much higher prices for a Unix system derivative and hardware functionality duplicated by Asian firms – I’ll run with Android. And like the article also points out, Android is an open system and Apple a closed one.

In 15 best antivirus Android apps and anti-malware Android apps at, two antivirus products stand out from China:

  • 360 Security
  • CM Security

Do you really need an anti-virus?  Let’s look at Best Free Antivirus App for Android.  It says this:

“First things first. Can my Android device get infected with a “virus”?”

“The short answer is NO. Because, you see, Android apps work under a “sandboxed” security scheme. This is a technique that places “virtual walls” between apps and the rest of the device’s software, so that the only way an app can share resources and data is by declaring permissions which restrict what actions an app can perform on your Android device, what files it can reach, and whether it can get access to your personal data or not.”

In ELI5: How do mobile apps make money? , it does raises questions how apps make money. I installed both 360 Security and CM security on my Android machine. The CM security and their companion product Clean Master, appear to sell ad banner clicks. I do get advertising with them – which is OK. But they have pointed out some vulnerabilities with some existing apps. But they suggested upgrading them – which I did. Which brings up a great point. Check your phone for firmware, operating system and application upgrades.

I don’t know how 360 Security makes money, as they don’t have paid product upgrades or banner ads. I do like both 360 Security and CM Security.  But I have some old favorite on Windows with Malwarebytes and CCleaner.  I have the Malwarebytes real time protection activated.  They are supposed to work well with antivirus apps. I booted out 360 Security and kept CM Security.

I’ve installed the MagicJack app. It keeps starting up initially and prompting me for login info. I’m currently waiting for MagicJack Go to arrive from Amazon. I like Skype for video chats and talking to friends and family connected with Skype. Ooma does have a phone app. But I have read that it is five dollars extra per month and is limited to only 1000 minutes a month (i.e. sign in to your Ooma site and look at add-ons). If you go to Google Play store (i.e. apps for Android devices), it has about 2.9 out of five stars in ratings. MagicJack App has 4.1 out of five stars for a rating. And it offers unlimited calling (i.e. I’m sure there is some cap somewhere). On the other hand, Ooma has excellent user ratings and reviews on Amazon. What does that tell you? Ooma for a home system and Magic Jack for mobile devices and backup.

Anyway, enough for now. More on MagicJack and Google App Dialer with Google Hangouts, when I have a chance to test them. Remember this.  If you use WiFi sites often, check out 17 best Android VPN apps

Three Tips for Choosing Android Apps

Recently, I decided to upgrade my cell phone to an Android smart phone. Unlike Windows, IOS and Android are basically Unix derivatives. If I go to the Quota discussion entitled Are IOS, Android, Macintosh, and Linux, all related to Unix? at Is Windows the only off-league operating system? , the answers confirm my hypothesis. And the Forbes article entitled  Is Unix Now The Most Successful Operating System Of All Time? mentions, “Yes, it is true that both Apple at +0.4%‘s iOS and and Google  at .45%‘s Android are variations of the basic Unix Operating System. And 900 million concurrent users might indeed be the largest number of people using an operating system yet.”

Phone

But Android is the current market share holder. The Apple Publication Mac Rumors confirms this in iOS and Android Combine for 96.3% Smart phone Market Share in Fourth Quarter at Smart Phone market share. It mentions that,”The latest numbers from research firm IDC reveal that the smart-phone market continues to be a largely two-horse race between iOS and Android, which accounted for 19.7% and 76.6% market share in the fourth quarter respectively.

So if you are going with the Android apps and Android phone, here are some tips I discovered to be useful:

Asian market and antivirus

Let’s look at antivirus. In reality, you can get by without an anti-virus on a Unix cloned operating system. But to have an extra layer of protection, it’s worth while to add one – especially a good free one. There’s a good article entitled  20 Best Free Android Security and Privacy Apps 2015. I’m running with a candidate from Asian called 360 Security, which is a leading company in China at China security. But any one in the article is good or ones with many high ratings, downloads and many reviewers on Google play.

You should only run and install one antivirus solution. Otherwise, they might fight against each other and consider the other one as enemies. I have also played with Bit Defender, Avast and AVG on the PC before. They are also good. Ccleaner compliments 360 Security for cleanup and speed boost.

Instant Messaging

The other Asian market comes with instant messages. I have both Whatsapp and Line installed. Whatsapp was purchased by Facebook for nineteen million. In a Forbes article entitled Line Takes On WeChat, As Whatsapp Watches at Smart phone instant messaging, it said this,” Just a month after word emerged that Japanese mobile messaging giant Line had found a China partner, new reports are saying the company is preparing to formally enter the market in the next few months. “

I believe in having two variations of the same tool available – except for anti-virus. Line and Whatsapp fit the bill. And Line is another Asian innovation.

Conserving resources

In the PC world, I like Google Chrome and Firefox. But I stay away from Google Chrome on my PC, as it likes to autostart itself. Even if you take care of this in the Windows start-up menu, Google Chrome will reset itself on continued usage. Therefore, I go with Firefox.

But mobile providers like to cap or limit you total monthly bandwidth. The fastest browser is Opera Mini, which is developed initially by a telecoms company in Norway. I prefer it for Android, but Chrome or Firefox for the PC or Android vi WiFi.

Any tips for our audience

My Boost Mobile plan only covers the US, while Ooma and Google Voice covers US and Canada.  However, I can call Canada via Mobile and WIFI spots via:

  • Google Hangouts Dialer App.  You must have a free Google Voice account set up.
  • The MagicJack App.  They have gotten good marks on Google Play and  Amazon – better than the Ooma mobile app.  I’ll need to test it.

Any tips you can think of? If so, please share them.

Strategies to Grow and Protect Your Business

According to American Express Open’s Small Business Monitor, 32 percent of entrepreneurs are making growth a top priority and are largely abandoning a “wait-and-see approach” to business. While all business owners dream about steady growth, too fast too soon can derail your plans without a strategy in place. Here are some of the stages to consider during your business’s growth from little fish to serious contender.

Strategies to Grow & Protect Your Business

Go Lean

The relatively new but popular business methodology, lean start-up, aims to dive into experimenting with everything from advertising to sales over meticulous planning. Small and struggling business owners may embrace the lean philosophy as a means to fail fast or succeed quickly. They often skip the big offices and fancy gadgets and favor working from home or a small office space to figure out if their business is working. Lean businesses want to move fast so they can either turn a profit or close it down and move onto a different idea.

Instead of slaving over business plans and presenting to investors, lean start-ups often use customer development to test ideas and get out in the field immediately for feedback on everything from pricing to acquisition strategies. Going lean can also reduce overhead and the need to invest in office space, equipment and staff until they get feedback from the field.

Moving from Home to Office Space

A business may look to moving into a professional office space once it secure clients, has a track record for success, and gains some confidence and momentum. A growing business will need to make room for an expanding support staff and equipment. Business owners may go the traditional commercial lease route, or get creative and opt for co-working space.

ShareDesk allows businesses to book thousands of work and meeting spaces in cities around the world. Rent a cubicle, desk or entire office by the hour, day or month. This situation can offer an interim space for growing businesses who need more space but aren’t ready to make the leap to a full-time lease. And if your business entails out-of-town business meetings, you can find meeting room space for roughly $10 an hour with access to presentation equipment and professional communal spaces.

Honoring Your Customers’ Privacy

Malware, viruses and cyber attacks are now the normal business news from Target’s hack all the way to J.P. Morgan’s security compromise. Whether you’re a micro-company or rapidly growing, you owe it to your customers to protect privacy and online security. A data breach could compromise your customers’ social security numbers, bank account numbers or even health information.

Unfortunately small businesses can’t do much to prevent a breach, but you can monitor and get help before it spirals. Using a company like LifeLock can help monitor data points, scan for threats, help restore your identity and financial reputation and track your credit score.

Managing your Employees

As your company grows, so will your staff. But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and hire a team at the first sign of success. Consider hand-picking a virtual staff to help with bookkeeping, customer service, project management and administrative tasks first. Virtual staffing agencies like Virtual Staff Finder can help identify candidates that match your needs and even help with the interviewing process.

At some point you will probably need some in-house staff. You may find managing employees in the office all day to prove an overwhelming task. Overloading your staff with details, meetings and tedious admin tasks can lead to cognitive overload and diminish concentration. Give your team enough structure to stay organized on the task at hand, but give them freedom to do their jobs and eliminate needless paperwork and bureaucracy.

Should VoIP Be Regulated?

The growing penetration of Internet into our workspaces as well as homes has enriched our lives but at the same time it has thrown up some unique challenges. Data on the web moves freely and openly. Will it be the same for VoIP calls and data pertaining to the calls? Are the businesses going to accept that the calls move freely when they are being transmitted over the Internet? The assumption of this fact might be easy for many, especially when any kind of regulation on the web is not accepted easily and often resisted. However, if it is the business VoIP connection then regulations on it has to be there for the benefit of the business.

VOIP

Rules and Regulations

If you have recently switched to VoIP then in the coming days you might even adopt mobile VoIP as well. You will need to drill deeper into the VoIP regulations if you wish to safeguard your VoIP connections against a variety of malpractices. The VoIP users in the E.U. countries and North America have to abide by some of the regulation when the VoIP connection leverages PSTN connection. The regulation has to be put because the legacy carriers do not want to lose money and needs to be compensated when their network is used. The corporate users are able to receive the services at cheaper rates but here the VoIP connection complies with the legacy standards. This is needed because the service providers are compelled to provide good quality.

For the VoIP connection that does not leverage the PSTN, regulations are generally not used. For instance when Skype has to use such a connection, it uses the PC to PC communication. On the other hand when business make use of such applications they tend to prefer quality over the free services. The limited features and integration disabilities does not make the experience better.

In case you are a user who belongs to the zone where both the regulated as well as unregulated VoIP connections are used then the quality of the connections will definitely vary. For the business that want to focus on their core business functions, partnering with a provider that providers regulated VoIP will prove to be very useful. You will have to find out how things work out in reality and then take your decision regarding the regulation.

A College Scholarship Contest

Recently, I got an email from Jamie Smith, about a scholarship program there are having. Because I believe in education and the cost is high, I thought I would share info on this scholarship contest.

Unfortunately, I have been seeing a large number of commercials on TV for universities that have questionable accreditation credentials. One boasts of preparing students for technology certification exams. But a search for this school on Google or Bing brings up questionable business practices, questionable accreditation and high tuition costs – after all, it is a for profit university. I feel a student would be better off getting an associates degree in computer science or related technology, from their in-district junior college. Then just take some private industrial courses, to prepare for certification. Anyway, let me turn this over to Jamie:

Swift

“FormSwift is a project focused on creating personal and legal templates that are customizable, easy to use, and highly professional. For select businesses and organizations, including schools, non-profits, and athletic associations, we offer a tailored set of free services, such as our non-profit documents hub .”

“We have decided to start a scholarship contest , because, as a young, growing start up ourself, we understand the importance of counting every penny when trying to start your dreams. By giving $1,000 to the scholarship winner, we hope to help a young, start up savvy college student or high school senior realize the potential and power of her or his ideas. We, as a business, spend most of our day thinking about how to help organizations grow by easing the burden of important tasks, such as filling out tax forms so in turn, we hope our scholarship applicants can dedicate a few hours to think and come up with a concrete way paperless documents or our business can positively benefit the environment, colleges, or the business world in general.”

“During our final decision process, we will reward the scholarship entry with the most creativity, originality, and clarity of purpose. Because the scholarship is not limited by GPA, major, or geographic region, we hope we to give a voice and opportunity to every type of student. In conclusion, we hope our scholarship can teach our applicants that being successful in the start up world is not necessarily dependent on traditional metrics, but rather staying true to your most passionate ideas.”

Jamie Smith is a Content Outreach Associate for FormSwift, specializing in sharing the various free services FormSwift can offer to help businesses and organizations manage their paperwork.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30,191 other followers