As we enter the new year, it’s always a good time to do a bit of online housekeeping and make sure you’re ready for the January rush. Today we’ll talk about 5 quick fixes for your online marketing systems that can help you get 2019 started on the right foot.
1. Update Copyright Dates
This is a very quick fix, and while it’s not a critical issue, it’s something that needs to be done. Think of it like making your bed in the morning; it’ll set the tone for the year, and let your website visitors know you’re on top of your online presence.
You really don’t even need to have copyright dates on your site, but if you have them, you need to keep them update. Letting these get out of date displays an inattention to detail that many clients want to avoid when hiring an attorney.
There are plugins that do this automatically, and I’d definitely recommend implementing one of these on your WordPress site. If not, all you need to do here is update the copyright date on your site’s footer and on any landing pages set up with 3rd party services (Leadpages, etc.).
2. Improve Mobile Site Speed
Mobile traffic already accounts for the majority of internet traffic, and it probably accounts for the majority of your site’s traffic too. User attention spans on mobile are typically much shorter than on desktop or even tablet, so it’s critical to get your site’s mobile load time optimized.
Before you make any changes, run a quick test with Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix. Run the tests on both systems and compare the notes they give you — you may also want to run the tests a couple times and see if the results change (they aren’t always consistent). The reason we run the tests on two systems is really just to verify the data. There are a bunch of variables in those testing systems, so we don’t want to rely on just one dataset.
PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix will recommend a long list of changes depending on their analysis of your site, and running down that list is the best place to start. These results will vary from site to site, so I’ll just touch on a couple of basic places where you can pick up a lot of site speed.
- Image optimization – WP Rocket offers integration with Imagify to handle image compression, but there are a ton of services that do this just as well or better.
- CDN & Caching – Leveraging a content delivery network can make a big impact if your server and users aren’t close to each other, and caching can improve page load times across the board.
3. Update Plugins and Software
Most updates are pretty simple these days, but with every wave of security breaches they become more important to install soon after they’re released. Updating the software that helps you run your business, from computers and printers to website plugins, is a critical element of your operations. If you’re not doing this regularly, the start of the year is a good opportunity to implement a system for updates and backups at least on a monthly basis. I’d really recommend going weekly — you can set a lot of things to “auto-update” on Monday morning before everyone arrives at the office.
If you have a WordPress site, you should be able to update all of your plugins at once, but make sure you back up your site and double check for anything that’s broken after you make the updates. These updates, like the updates for your laptop, can include security patches and other features that benefit your site.
Some plugins, though, will require a manual update. This usually only happens when a plugin is deprecated, but some more complex plugins may still require manual updating. To do this, you’ll need to check with the plugin’s developer to see if there’s an update available, download the update, install it on your site, and delete the old plugin. The plugin developer hopefully will have included instructions on how to migrate from the old version of the plugin to the new version, but nonetheless it’s important to remember to take note of the settings for the old plugin, or leave the plugin installed until the migration is complete.
4. Review Contact Flows
Do you know how users get to your site, or to your contact page, or what kind of contact they experience once they’ve called or emailed you? Being familiar with the user experience both on and off your site is a critical part of running any business, and this is particularly true with law firms. Many clients are looking for more interaction and nurturing than most attorneys and firms are willing to give, but email automation and CRMs can actually help us do more while simultaneously saving time.
Too often, sending an email through a contact form feels like dropping a letter in a bottle into the ocean and hoping someone finds it. This is easy to fix — contact form submissions or emails to a global inbox (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) can be followed by an immediate email reply that prompts the users to submit more information, ask a question, or even just call the office during business hours.
This is by no means a substitute for manually replying to these contact form submissions — someone will still need to review each one and handle the requests, but an immediate acknowledgement of the contact can be very reassuring to potential clients and improve their overall impression of your firm’s customer service.
5. Review SaaS Subscriptions
It’s all too easy to let your software subscriptions pile up and get out of hand. Most of us are probably paying for a few services that we don’t really need anymore but just haven’t gotten around to cancelling yet.
Well now’s the time. Take some time to review all of the services being billed to your credit cards, evaluate if you’re still using them, and update credit card information for any accounts where cards might be expiring soon. For any services you’re not using, obviously you’ll want to go ahead and cancel those (check with your team, or your web developers, before you cancel anything you’re not familiar with).
You might have services that you’re basically just using as a repository for data — this is pretty common. Migrating data to new services, or simply backing up the data and storing it somewhere, can be a good alternative. This can help streamline processes and reduce your annual software costs.
It’s also a good time to make sure important subscriptions (like domains or email providers) have recurring/automatic billing set up. You don’t want your site shutting off in the middle of the night.
While we’ve already passed most of the 2018 sales, late December/early January can still offer a few opportunities to switch software over to annual billing to access discounts or to book extra expenses before the end of the tax year.
There’s an endless list of things to do for the new year, but these are a few of the “big ticket” items from our to-do list for January. If you need help getting some of these items off your checklist, feel free to reach out.