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.
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!
The Internet changes frequently and over time, has become more and more adept at helping the average person find the information needed to make important decisions. What does the online future hold and what should your law firm focus on in 2014 to make the most of your online marketing opportunities?
The Internet is one of the most valuable tools consumers have at their disposal for conducting research, so to give the impression of being a successful firm, you must make sure you are using professional online marketing to your advantage. In today’s digitally connected world that means a website for both the desktop users AND a mobile optimized website.
Website design is one of the most important factors for building a strong online reputation for your firm. A high-quality professionally designed website says a lot about the quality of service your firm provides. It enables your visitors to access the information they want in a quick intuitive manner, creating a strong engaging user experience.
More and more people these days are using mobile devices to access the Internet. Recent estimates show about half of all Americans use smartphones and about a quarter of the population owns a tablet. With so many people using these PC and laptop alternatives, website owners must ensure their site is capable of performing properly on a mobile device. Experts say that before too long almost all internet access will be done through a mobile devise. Will your website be prepared to render the proper mobile-optimized user experience on these mobile devises?
In addition to having a desktop site that looks good and functions on a mobile device, you must also make sure your firm’s site is secure on these devices. You must do all you can to ensure your website is not hacked and it is secure. The most up-to-date options include protection from mobile data loss and threats specifically targeting tablets and smartphones. Security should also include reduced risk for lost or stolen devices, including unauthorized access, and data leakage from employee-owned devices. Finally, the best security systems offer equal protection for desktops, iPhones, iPads, Windows Phones, and Androids. However no system will ever be 100% secure, at best it will only deter the hackers.
Content and Design Revisions for Older Sites
Finally, consider if it is time to update your desktop site’s content and design. Aside from general updates of information, you might also need desktop software upgrades and updates to make the site compatible with today’s devices. Things like typography, interactivity, and format all effect a site’s usability on a mobile device. Responsive web design will continue to be a trend in 2014 because so many people are transitioning to mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the Internet. Content will continue to be an issue for optimization, too, so if it’s been awhile since your last revision, now is the time to get started.
If you want to learn more about the latest design trends for 2014 or you are ready for a site upgrade or simple evaluation, let us know. We can help you get your site ready for the next phase in Internet marketing.
Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at 516-238-5252.
Here is a fact worth noting… every business website is affected by recent Google algorithm updates. It started a few years back with one called Panda, which was followed by Penguin in 2012, and finally Hummingbird near the end of last year. The goal of each update was to enhance the user experience and ensure the best results were provided when users conducted a search. Unfortunately for some, it sent their online marketing plans into a tailspin. What do algorithm updates mean for your firm’s site and how you can you avoid the problems many experienced in 2013?
Understanding the Latest Update – Google’s Hummingbird
Hummingbird was the most sophisticated of the three recent algorithm updates. It attempts to anticipate what a user wants in response to his or her search. Hummingbird considers a user’s location and his or her search history when returning results. Hummingbird also makes it easier for users to search using natural language, so instead of typing “personal injury lawyer,” he or she can enter the question, or verbalize “where can I find a personal injury attorney specializing in auto accidents?”, and Google will understand the tone AND intent of the question.
What Does This Mean for Your Firm?
Sites featuring quality content experienced few negative effects from the Hummingbird update and in many cases, they rose in search results. However, as things continue to evolve, traditional SEO practices might not be enough to garner the results you want from your firm’s site.
Google has more engineers today working on search than ever before. Fifteen percent of searches each day are phrased in ways Google has never seen before. Their goal is to stay ahead of the curve. Your online marketing goals should be, as well. If you want to make the most of Google and other search engines, there are a few things you can do to improve your rank now and maintain a high rank in the future, even as things change. Most importantly, post new quality content regularly. Blogging is an excellent way to accomplish that task.
How can your law firm’s site offer the best user experience and ensure Google’s algorithms appreciate your efforts?
#1 – Post high quality content on a regular basis. Make sure your content focuses on your firm’s niche practices and provides information you believe your client would want to read. The better you know your potential clients the easier it will be to provide valuable content. Learn more about getting inside your client’s heads here.
#2- Be practical about keywords. They are still important, but abusing them will only damage your rank. Take a common sense approach to keywords and use them as a general guide for content, instead of as the main driving force.
#3 – Utilize Google Authorship because it boosts your online credibility. Google Authorship allows you to officially claim ownership of your firm’s content, so readers establish familiarity and trust with you. Algorithm updates will likely continue to favor verified authors, so linking content and Google Authorship will also enhance SEO.
The more you do now to make your firm’s site high quality the less you will be rattled when new algorithms are released. Ultimately, trying to outsmart or trick search engines results in failure, so take an ethical approach to your site and in the end, your efforts will pay off.
If you would like to learn more about how algorithm changes affect your firm’s site or you would like to discuss changes that could improve your site’s rank, give us a call.
Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at