The State of Mobile Technology: Are Desktop Computers Obsolete?  

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.

*Source:

http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25372415

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015

 

How to Create the Perfect Password

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.

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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

Attorney Advertising: What’s the Difference between Educating the Public and Advertising?

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!

How to Create a Strong, Professional Online Presence for Your Law Firm

Create a Strong,  Professional Online Presence  for Your Law FirmThese days most law firms have a website.

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.

Create Videos

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!

Website Design – New Features for Today’s Marketer

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?

Website Design

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.

Mobile

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?

Website Security

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.

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Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at 516-238-5252.

Google Algorithms Updates and Your Law Firm’s Website

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.

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Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at 

516-238-5252.

PASSWORDS AND YOUR WEBSITE SECURITY

There is a terrific article in today’s Newsday by Jamie Herzlich who writes the Small Business column titled “Password can spell security or disaster”.

 Check Newsday or the business section of the Newsday site, and for those without access here’s the article:

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In a time of sophisticated attacks on computer systems, companies should routinely re-evaluate their password policies and consider improving security measures, say experts.

A password breach can be catastrophic for a company. Yet, many firms don’t put enough emphasis on security, often opting for easy-to-remember words or phrases.

Considering what’s at risk, companies should routinely re-evaluate their password policies and consider improving security measures, say experts.

“It’s human nature to create less work for ourselves,” explains Morgan Slain, CEO of Los Gatos, Calif.-based SplashData, which recently released its annual list of worst passwords, such as 123456 and “password.”

“As much as we try to educate people and enforce stronger password policies, this list has remained fairly unchanged for three years,” says Slain, whose top-25 list was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online in the previous year.

  •  Passphrases: If you want to create a secure password easy to recall, consider using “passphrases” — short words with spaces or other characters separating them, advises Slain, adding it’s best to string random words together, not common phrases. Three words or more is ideal, he adds. For example, “cakes years birthday” or “smiles_ light_skip.”
  • Be inventive: Don’t use the same username/password combination for multiple websites or accounts, another common error, he notes. “People tend to reuse their passwords,” says Jeremi Gosney, CEO of Tacoma, Wash.-based Stricture Group, a password recovery and security firm. That’s because they have so many passwords to remember, which ultimately results in their creating simple ones, says Gosney, adding, “Most people know they have a bad password.”
  • Digital route: If you want a truly secure password, remove the human element entirely, he says. Have a digital password manager generate your password for you, he advises, such as LastPass. “Any kind of human-generated password we’re going to be able to crack.”
  • Management app: SplashData also offers its own password manager application, SplashID Safe, which generates, organizes and protects passwords. Users need to remember just one master password to get into the program, which safely stores your passwords and can automatically log you into accounts and websites without your having to retype a multitude of passwords.
  • The stronger the password, the less often you need to change it. “If the password is sophisticated enough, you don’t necessarily have to change it every few months,” says William Collins, president of NST Inc., an East Northport-based information technology services company.
  • Policy for workers: Whatever protocol you follow, it pays to have a password policy so employees have guidelines and understand what is expected, says Collins. Use the policy to enforce a standard, such as requiring passwords to have a certain level of complexity, he notes. Require a combination of letters, numbers, capitals and symbols, and avoid common words and phrases. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the last four digits of your Social Security number or your kids’ names, he says.
  • Restrict access: Also, remember not everyone needs the same access to the same passwords. “Restrict access to only those who need it,” advises Collins, and don’t be careless with your passwords (i.e. don’t write them on a sticky note).
  • Brian Selltiz, president of Digital Provisions in Smithtown, a commercial security integration firm that works with NST, says his policy dictates certain standards, such as the minimum length of passwords. He also limits access to passwords to certain employees based on their positions. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry,” says Selltiz.

2013’s WORST PASSWORDS:

1. 123456

2. password

3. 12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc1236. 123456789

7. 111111

8. 1234567

9. iloveyou

10. adobe123

Attorney Online Marketing in 2014 – 5 Things You Need to Know Now

Online marketing is still one of the best resources attorneys have for growing their firms. It is easier now than ever to create a professional online image for your firm through social media, websites and mobile marketing. However in the digital online world, the technologies change often.  If you are wondering what is new in the online marketing world in 2014, read on:

1)    Google+ is Essential

Chances are you’ve heard about Google+, sometimes called Google Plus. Toward the end of 2013, Google began placing even more importance on the use of its social media platform, so businesses are able to benefit from having a complete and active Google+ account to enhance their online presence. Google+ offers plenty of great marketing and branding features, so if your firm is not already on board, now is the time to create a page and starting interacting with other members.

 2)    Video Changes How Clients View You

Some business owners are intimidated by the idea of video marketing. The truth is it really helps clients relate to attorneys. According to Forbes.com, more than 90% of surveyed responders said they prefer video to other forms of marketing, including case studies and price quotes.

Simple introductory videos are an important part of your firm’s website. You can even expand your video marketing by starting a YouTube channel to educate potential clients. Use videos the way you would a blog – to build a reputation, share information, establish your credibility, and help clients become comfortable with you even before contacting your firm.

3)    Mobile Optimized Websites are the future.  The future is here now!

According to ABC News, by June of 2013, more than half of Americans owned smartphones. That number increase regularly. Interestingly, in today’s world there are many people who access the internet only through a mobile devise, never using a desktop computer. To provide the best user experience possible, your desktop website should be mobile optimized so that the content renders appropriately for the screen on which it is viewed. There are currently two ways to optimize your site – using a redirect link to a separate mobile designed website, or using a responsive design that reorganizes the page content and imagery according to the size of the screen it is being viewed upon. Each has its benefits and drawback, worthy of a separate blog topic.

4)    Keywords Are Not What They Used to Be

It is time to change your thinking about keywords. If you haven’t already familiarized yourself with the most recent SEO changes, do so now. Keywords are still important, but the days of stuffing terribly written content with hundreds of keywords are long gone. Now your content needs to be well-written and packed with useful information. This might take a bit more time or require the services of a writer capable of writing within your industry, but it helps you establish the type of reputation you want online. Having your website discovered by search engines and writing in a voice that is professional enough to represent your company now go hand-in-hand. Quality content written with important keywords in mind is now only one way to achieve high rankings.

5)    Content is King; Easy Access to that Content is Essential

Now more than ever before the search engines respect well written informative original content. Target 300 -500 words per page and make each word count. Content that informs “glues” both your visitor and the search engines to your website, providing a better user experience. Your website design should work in conjunction with that content, allowing your visitors to get to their desired information within two clicks.

 Want to learn more about what’s hot in online marketing for this year? Contact Websites for Lawyers at 516.238.5252 or by emailing us here.

50 Simple Ways You Can Market Your Law Firm’s Practice

WebsitesForLawyers.net 50 lawyer marketing tips from the ABAIn case you missed this, here are 50 Simple Ways You Can  Market Your Law Firm’s Practice originally published by the ABA. This is an excellent online article with some very worthwhile and easily enacted upon marketing ideas. Read the full story here ABAJournal.com

While many of these 50 points fall under the “common sense” category, we do not always remember to utilize tactics like these when working to build our businesses.

A few of my favorites:

4.) If you have a practice-related blog, write posts with information that’s truly useful to business targets. More often than not, that doesn’t include descriptions of how competent you or your firm are.

17.) People sometimes need to be convinced that their legal problem is severe enough to hire you, and it’s up to you to persuade them. That said, turning someone away when they really don’t need a lawyer is good for business, too. It’s a good way to build trust.

19.) Install Google Analytics on your website. It details what search terms got people to your site and how long they stayed there. You can also use it to determine popular search terms, and put the terms that relate to your practice on your website.

27.) If you have a website (and you should), have a blog, too. Add new content daily, because Google algorithms give more prominence to sites with fresh, original content. The content doesn’t have to be in the form of a long, researched post. A paragraph or two, with a recent link to something interesting and relevant to your practice, will get you the same amount of traffic-if not more-than longer posts.

44.) A few good questions to ask people you meet in networking situations: What got you started in this line of work? What are you working on? How are things going with your business in this economy?

Let us know which of the 50 points you found most interesting, new and useful.

Learn How The Internet Works!

websites for lawyers, world science festivalThe World Science Festival has produced a most interesting 3 minute video clearly illustrating the way in which the Internet works showing how your computer’s browser finds and puts those web pages on your monitor’s screen.

According to their website… “The video lets you ride shotgun with a packet of data-one of trillions involved in the trillions of Internet interactions that happen every second. Look deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction, and follow the packet as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires, and cables, to a host server, and then back again, all in less than a second.”

Worth your time to watch it here: How The Internet Works