A Series on Technology: Website, Email & Apps
For some, our recent crisis was manageable because they were already accustomed to working remotely. For others, it proved a nightmare. This is our final installment on technology. You can bury your head in the sand or you can embrace the new technology available for your practice. It doesn’t require an IT degree or an IT department. Incorporating advances in technology into your practice is easier now than it has ever been. Even if you have stuck your toe in the sea of new technology, now is the time to wade in a little deeper. How can technology help your practice? How hard is it?
Let’s talk about websites, email, and apps.
When was your website last updated? If it was more than 90 days ago, you aren’t updating it enough. Before you go putting lipstick on a pig, think about investing in a professional, high-quality website.
Regardless of your practice type or where you live, your potential clients are on the Internet. And, they are making decisions about legal services based on what they see. Legal consumers are sophisticated Internet shoppers. If your website isn’t top notch, they will know it.
There are two types of people who will visit your website: those who are looking for you specifically and those who are looking for someone like you. You want to impress them both. Your website is often the first impression that you will make on them. Don’t waste it.
Websites are selling opportunities.
With the right search engine optimization, you can enhance a potential client’s likelihood of visiting your website. Once there, you will need to convince them you are the right person for the job. If someone learns of you from another source (referral, reputation, etc.), they will likely visit your website before you ever know that they are considering you. They may choose to go elsewhere before you can speak with them if they are not impressed by what they see.
Google is the driver for search engine optimization. Recent changes to Google’s algorithms give greater weight to the substantive content of your website. In other words, keyword packing websites is not the way to drive your site up on Google results. Substantive relevant content will. Freshness is also an important measure. How recently have you added or updated content on your website? The more frequent and more recent the better.
So, you need a top notch website, and then you need to update it frequently.
If you’ve invested in a domain, then you should have a matching email address.
Having an email address that doesn’t end in “@yahoo.com” or “@gmail.com” is not difficult or expensive, and you have the added benefit of appearing more reputable and established to clients and referral sources. For example, if you secured “thejoneslawgroup.com” for your firm (“The Jones Law Group”), your email addresses can easily be established with that domain, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you update your email address, you can easily set your system so that emails sent to your old address show up in your inbox.
There are many platforms through which you can send and receive email.
You may be accustomed to Microsoft Outlook which is used by many law firms or another organizations. You can buy and install Microsoft Outlook, but there are other providers. Google mail is growing in popularity. If you are working on a Mac, the existing Apple mail system may be sufficient for you. It is for me. Explore your options. Ask around. Try them out. Don’t continue to pay for something that you do not need.
If you are using your smartphone in your practice, there are many applications you will find helpful and new ones are released practically every day.
There are smartphone applications for practically all of your laptop or computer software, such as word processors, spreadsheets, calendars, to-do lists, reminders, time and billing systems, PDF readers, and more. There are also apps by which you can track your business mileage, scan documents, and edit PDFs. Stay in tune with new developments. Share your experiences with others.