According to a recent PEW RESEARCH CENTER report* almost 66% of Americans own a smartphone. More importantly almost 20% of Americans rely on a smartphone exclusively for accessing the internet. These trends are expected to continue growing.
So what does this information mean regarding the desktop computer? According to a January 2015 IDC press release*…“Portable PC growth remains strong with double-digit growth from a year ago, while desktop shipments declined by more than -10%.”
Could this be the beginning of the end for the desktop computer? Desktops have survived the invention of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other mobile devices, but could there a time come when all laptops seem too bulky and too stationary to ever own?
Current State of the Desktop Computer
Desktops and laptops still possess the majority of the market when it comes to searching the Internet at 90%, but smart phones are close behind at 80% and tablets are nearing 50% and growing rapidly. These numbers are expected to change in the coming years as tablets and other mobile devices become accessible to users in all budgets. There is also debate over the recent net neutrality ruling and how it will affect Internet use in the coming months and years.
Desktops have withstood the usual two year time-frame it takes for something to be considered obsolete once a viable replacement arrives on the market. However, recent years have brought alternatives:
- Laptops now feature strong performance power without weighing a ton from excess hardware
- Cloud services allow users to send data to online storage
- As more and more people telecommute, desktops seem to make less sense
Despite the developments in mobile devices, many believe it will be a long time before business users shift completely to mobile devises over laptops or desktops. Desktops have a longer lifespan than laptops, but they limit the mobility of the user.
Desktops for Entertainment and Work
One of the key markets that will play a role in the lifespan of desktops is gamers. They benefit from the customization options desktops offer and require systems that are high-speed with strong 3D graphics. Smartphones, tablets and laptops will improve, but they will still be far from the ability of a desktop.
Another feature of desktops that appeals to gamers and other communities is the ability to easily fix and upgrade parts on a desktop. Laptops have some upgrade ability, but tablets are far behind.
Desktops allows users to operate numerous open windows simultaneously and run multiple monitors when necessary. Gaining single screen access to multiple browsers, photo editing software, social media, and word processing at the same time is essential for many people in the business world and a desktop is still the best (and in some cases only) way to do this.
Finally, and perhaps is the biggest argument in support of desktops never leaving the market? The devastation of a shattered screen is extremely unlikely. Anyone who knows the devastation of dropping their smartphone, tablet or laptop understands the security offered by a desktop computer.
Are we on our way to a desktop-free world? Only time will tell, but most agree it isn’t going to happen in the immediate future.
How to Create the Perfect Password
We came across this article about online security and feel it is so important and informative that we’re posting it verbatim from the originating website. A link to the story is at the bottom of this email.
Creating the Perfect Password
With more and more of us shifting everyday tasks-banking, education, social interaction, even shopping for groceries-to the virtual world, securing our personal information has become more important than ever. One of the simplest ways to help protect our financial and other info from prying eyes and would-be identity thieves is to use a strong password. Yet many people take a decidedly casual approach to choosing a password, with potential disastrous results.
Having your password compromised is no laughing matter. More than half a million hackers have a go at cracking Facebook passwords every single day. In an effort to protect its users, the site gives specific tips for protecting both your Facebook account and any financial information you may have saved on the site-unsurprisingly, choosing a strong password is high on the list.
Facebook’s not the only place you have to worry about securing your financial info, of course. A 2013 investigation by Verizon found that, across 27 different countries, attacks on banks and other financial institutions account for a full 37% of data breaches. In 76% of these intrusions, the hackers simply used a weak or stolen password to access the system. Password theft is one thing, but if all that separates a would-be thief from millions of dollars is the name of someone’s pet gerbil, it may be time to beef up password protocol.
So what constitutes the “perfect” password?
If you’re serious about security, a strong password will include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and even non-keyboard characters. It will be unique (using the same password for everything might be common, but it’s also spectacularly unsafe). It’s also greater than eight characters in length, contains arbitrary phrases made using numbers and letters (e.g., “b4D P4S$W0Rd”), but no complete words. And no matter how secure your password is, it’s made more secure by changing it regularly.
Strong, adequate, or weak, no password can protect against every possible threat. But by following our tips, you can help keep your social media accounts in your own hands, make your financial info safer, and encourage meddling thieves and hackers to seek easier prey.
Read the article online, click here.
Most attorneys, especially those at smaller firms, rely on referrals, networking and advertising to attract new clients. For this article we’ll address the difference between educating the Public and advertising.
Attorneys can educate the public concerning legal issues with materials that are not considered ads. Advertising is any type of communication about an attorney or firm of which the primary intent is retention of attorney or firm for financial gain as a result of the communication. Communication that is not associated with financial gain is not governed by the special rules governing attorney advertising, but it is expected that attorneys not engage in any conduct whatsoever that is fraudulent, dishonest, deceitful, or misrepresentative.
Advertising serves two purposes:
1) to inform potential clients regarding seeking legal advice for their needs
2) to enable lawyers to attract new clients by building their brand
To achieve this in an ethical manner attorney advertising must not contain any false, deceptive, or misleading information about your firm, your experience and the law.
Ultimately, there is very little difference between educating potential clients and advertising to them. As a matter of fact, many attorneys use educational materials to attract clients. The public is entitled to know about the various legal services that are available to help them in certain situations. For instance, if a person is injured through some form of medical malpractice, he or she has a right to know about their legal right to take action and seek compensation. An attorney can provide information and educate in good faith, indicate symptoms that may indicate the malpractice while also attempting to garner the individual’s business.
What are some of the important aspects of educating potential clients through advertising?
- Providing the ability to recognize when something is a legal problem. There are people who encounter situations in life and do not realize they have a right to take legal action. Attorney advertising can be an effective way to alert the public to their rights.
- Creating reasonable expectations using honest statements. Attorneys are permitted to make statements about their professional track record, but they must be factual. Generic terms such as “best” or “greatest” must be avoided when comparing services with those of a competitor because they are immeasurable. Stick with bona fide professional ratings to draw a distinction between you and your competition, but remember a disclaimer is necessary to help potential clients understand that not every case is identical.
- For those advertising online through their website, avoid using prohibited meta-tags. Meta-tags are hidden computer software codes that direct Internet search engines to a particular site. For example, if a lawyer uses the meta-tag “NY personal injury specialist,” someone searching the term “personal injury specialist” could be directed to that page. This is prohibited under Rule 7.4(a) of the NYS Rules for Attorney Advertising because of the use of the word “specialist.” A meta-tag that does not violate the rules regarding terminology would be permitted. Essentially, just because the general public cannot see the meta-tag does not mean an attorney can violate any of the rules of advertising.
In the end, your best bet is to err on the side of caution. Make factual statements in your advertising that can be backed up by data and if you believe something could potentially lead a client to believe something that is not true, do not include it.
Looking for more ways to enhance your firm’s online presence? Give us call!
One important marketing goal of a law firm should be to build a strong online presence that conveys a professional message and supports your firm’s mission. Unfortunately, if a website is your only presence, you are missing out on a lot of great marketing opportunities.
What are the best ways to create a strong, professional online presence for your law firm? Here are a few thoughts.
Have a Complete Website
First and foremost, your site should be current and relevant. If it has been a long time since the site was updated, make revising your website your first priority. Your firm’s site should be current from both a content AND a software perspective. Most people choose to update the content with a blog. Add new and relevant content on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis, but make sure it is consistent. The great thing about a legal blog is the amount of material with which you can work – there are always topics and stories that are timely and relevant to share with the public.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a branding tool, not a sales tool. Too many business owners dismiss social media as a viable way to grow a business online, but this is changing fast. It is important to explore your social media options and determine the best course of action based on the needs of your firm and where you are now.
If you are currently absent from social media, choose one platform and spend a few weeks focused on building a campaign. Once that is consistent, add another platform. For instance, set up a Facebook page and begin posting to it daily. Once that is part of your regular routine, create a Google+ page, then a Twitter account, and so on. The key is to have solid, consistent campaigns for each platform.
In addition to having these social media accounts and keeping them active, there are other beneficial things you can do. For instance, those with Google+ accounts can take advantage of Google Authorship. This links all the content you publish online with your Google+ account, giving you greater credibility and making it easier for people to find your work.
Online videos are one of the most consumer-friendly methods for marketing. As a matter of fact, the video content site YouTube reaches more consumers age 18 to 34 than any cable network. Six billion hours of video are watched every month on the site. Though a lot of that is entertainment, YouTube has also become a destination for research and learning.
If you have not yet considered using video to enhance your online presence, you should add it to your list of goals for the year. Video is truly the key to taking your firm’s marketing to the next level. It puts potential clients at ease and helps them feel familiar with you before they even step into your office. Videos also show you are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to educating people about your field.
Claim Your Directory Listings
There are free listings for your law firm now on all Internet Yellow Pages, local search pages and directories, including vertical legal directories. Typically these are basic generic listings, name firm name, address and phone number. By claiming these listings you can build out the details to include email addresses, website URL’s hours of operations, photos and practice area information. This makes for both a more robust listing for those potential clients seeking legal guidance as well as an extended Internet footprint which the search engines appreciate.
Solicit Reviews and Testimonials
This seems simple enough, but not enough business owners are taking advantage of it. Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, especially if they are connected to that person in some manner. Asking happy clients to review your services is one of the best ways to build an online reputation. Referrals are as important (even more so, really) online as they are in the offline world. Find a way to link your social media efforts with soliciting referrals and you will create a great system for reaching out to potential clients at a very personal level.
Looking for more ways to enhance your firm’s online presence? Give us call!