Can a WordPress Theme Help Your SEO?

Can a WordPress Theme Help Your SEO?

Your WordPress Theme Cannot Help Your SEO, But It Could Hurt It

There is no WordPress theme that will give you an SEO boost, but picking the wrong theme could prove to be a slight hindrance to your efforts. A poorly coded theme could potentially result in a slower load time, which could have some undesirable effects:

  1. It can raise your “I clicked on your result and got tired of waiting for the page to load, so I went back to Google” score
  2. The algorithm could register it as a slow-loading website and decide to rank faster sites higher than yours, especially on mobile devices.

Even if you did pick the “wrong” theme, that doesn’t mean that you need to scrap it for a new one. Read on.

There Are Ways To Speed Up Your Site

Start off by seeing where you are as far as your page speed.  Google provides a tool called Pagespeed Insights that will:

  • tell you how fast (or slow) your site is
  • how to improve its speed

And best of all, it’s free.

WordPress Plugins to the Rescue

While you’re unlikely to ever get a poorly coded WordPress theme to rank particularly high on PageSpeed Insights, you can definitely get it to a respectable level.  Just for comparison, these are the results for bbc.com:

pagespeed insights for bbc.com

Follow the recommendations for possible optimizations and you’re on your way to a much faster loading website that is unlikely to lose (impatient) visitors.

The most common recommendations that we see are:

  • Optimize images

  • Leverage browser caching

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

  • Enable compression

  • Minify JavaScript

There are a number of free and paid plugins that can help you with all of these recommendations.  In the next section I’ll go over a few of them.

SHORTPIXEL

This is my go-to when it comes to image optimization.  It will optimize all of the images that you upload so that they are as small as they can be without losing quality.  I don’t build a WordPress site without it.

AUTOPTIMIZE

This is a popular plugin to accomplish the “minify” recommendations that everyone seems to get with PageSpeed Insights.

WP CACHE

WP Cache is a massively popular caching plugin.  There’s no way that you haven’t heard of it unless you’ve been living under a drupal rock for the last 5 years.

Ultimately, Pick The Theme That Will Help You Create Something Great

Even if your theme isn’t blazing fast out of the box, as long as it coded well enough to not weigh down your load time, your focus should be more on the quality of the site that you’re going to be able to build with it.

7 Pieces of Advice Before Hiring a Web Design Company in NJ

We eat and breathe web design, hearing all kinds of horror stories.

Most of these terrible experiences were avoidable.  If you follow this advice, you are much less likely to get burned by your website developer.  There are a number of good web design companies in NJ, but there are also a lot of hacks and flakes.  Here’s how to spot them…

Visit Their Most Recent Web Builds.

Check if everything seems to work, if there are any obvious problems.  Also, check the same websites on a mobile phone; this will give you a good idea of the company or web developer’s ability to develop a mobile as well as a desktop site.

How Fast Are The Sites?

Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and plug in some of the urls.  The resulting numbers should be above 55; anything lower and it’s a sign that the web designer did not really do his or her due diligence in optimizing the performance of the website.  If they cut corners on the optimization of the site speed, what other corners may they have cut?

Check Their Online Reviews

Google the business and see its Google reviews as well as any other Yelp or BBB reviews.  Any reputable company will have at least 5 reviews on the internet from former clients.

Do Not Pay Over 50% of the Website Cost Up Front.

This goes especially for one-man operations.  We regularly get calls from clients after they have been burned by local web designers that disappeared halfway through the job.  You don’t want to be out a large amount of money if the same happens to you.

What Are the Hourly Rates For Any Future Work?

There is a good chance that you will need them to make some adjustments to the website as time passes and you don’t want to get any unpleasant surprises.  Typical hourly rates range from $50/hr-$150/hr depending on the market where you are located.

Ask About Instructional Materials

Ask whether the company or individual will provide you videos or instruction on how to make minimal adjustments to the site.  Does your site have a news, blog, or announcements section?  You should be able to handle this yourself and the web developer should be willing to provide you some sort of instruction on how to take care of it.

Ask Past Clients About Their Experiences

If you really want to vet the web design agency, send a message to the website that they built.  Ask about the experience that the client had, how quick the agency was to respond, how happy they were with the final outcome.

How Much Should A Website For a Small Business Cost?

How much does a website cost?

This post focuses mostly on the costs of building a website in the South Jersey/Philadelphia market, but is applicable in most of the Northeast.

There are analogs to this question in virtually every industry, but in this post, I’m going to compare the process of getting a website done to that of buying a suit.  Just as your choice of suit says something about you in a job interview, your website says something about you in the “micro job interviews” that your potential clients put you through.  The choices that you make in the colors, layout, and copy on your site will impact the impression that your potential clients have of you in the same way that the cut, fabric, and color of your suit does.  And just as there are tons of options as far as suits are concerned—tailored, designer, off-the-rack, etc.—there are tons of options when building a website.

The options

When you’re putting up a website, there really are three general options:

  1. A custom website “made from scratch”
  2. A website made from a template that was customized to your needs
  3. A DIY solution such as Wix.

Each of these three options have their own advantages and disadvantages.  Here I’m going to quickly break them down for you.

Custom Websites: Typically $10k for a basic site, $25k-$50k for more involved sites such as ecommerce

Custom websites are built from scratch to fit your exact needs.  If your site has some special requirements that are unavailable in a template, this is what you will need.  This is the equivalent of going to a tailor to have a custom suit made; you pick a fabric, get measured quite thoroughly, and come back a couple times for fittings and adjustments.  You can also expect to spend significantly more than you will for an off-the-rack suit from Ralph Lauren.

Having a custom website made is a similar experience.  It takes much longer that using a template, it costs a lot more, and if you didn’t have any special requirements, there is a chance that you’ll end up with exactly the same result as you would have otherwise ended up with.

There are three conditions that should be filled when deciding to have a custom site made:

  1. You have a budget of at least $5k-$10k
  2. You have very specific requirements that cannot be properly implemented by a template
  3. You can wait several months to a year to deploy the site

We do not build these kinds of websites at 12hkz, but we do have some partners that do.  We would be happy to put you in touch with an agency that you can trust to deliver a top-notch site that meets your exact needs.

Websites built with a template: $750-$2000 for a typical small business website, $5k+ for involved ecommerce sites

The couture equivalent of a site built with a template is an off-the-rack suit.  If you are built like the majority of Americans, you can walk into a Macy’s and find a Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger suit that looks great on you.  Most of the small businesses that work with us in the South Jersey and Philadelphia region are your “majority of Americans” whose website needs can be met by a website with a customized template.

Many of today’s templates come with pagebuilders that allow the web designer to make significant customizations to the site, allowing you to get something that is pretty close to a custom website.  Most agencies have vetted the templates that they work with, so you should rest assured that the site will load quickly and be up to snuff technically.  The costs are usually dictated by the amount of content that needs to be created for the website.

A website built with a template should work given the following conditions:

  1. You have a budget of roughly $1000-$3000
  2. You need a site up in a questions of weeks, not months
  3. You don’t need the site to do anything particularly out of the ordinary

These are the kinds of websites that we build.  If you would like to see some of our past work, you can check out our portfolio or talk to someone in the office.

DIY solutions like Wix: free to a few hundred dollars

These solutions are created for people that need to get a website on the internet, but really don’t have the budget to pay a professional.  They can be customized to be attractive, but in order to do so, a discerning eye is needed.  The technical knowledge required to get a site up is minimal, but the results can be very good.

This solution is optimal given the following conditions:

  1. You have a very limited budget
  2. You aren’t concerned with standing out from competitors
  3. You are somewhat technically-inclined and have an eye for design

A word of warning

This pyramid is one of the most fundamental truths in business.  You can only get two aspects of it at any time.  If someone is offering you all three, odds are that they won’t deliver on at least one.

How To Add A Tap-To-Dial To Your WordPress Site For Free

We’re going to show you how to add a tap-to-dial to your website.

There are a few ways to add a tap-to-dial to your WordPress website.

APPROACH #1: Just add a link

Adding a tap-to-dial can be as easy as adding a link.  Let’s say you have a post where you simple want to add a “Call Us — 856-701-7947.”  Accomplishing this can be as easy as this:

  1. Highlight the text
  2. Click on “add hyperlink”
  3. Type the link as tel:856-701-7947
  4. Click “apply”

how to add tap to dial in wordpress website

APPROACH #2: Write the code

If you’re not putting the link in a post or page, you may need to write some simple html.  This is how you do it:

  1. Call us at <a href=”tel:856-701-7947″>856-701-7947</a>

The 856-701-7947 will come up as a hyperlink that will allow a smartphone to automatically dial it.

APPROACH #3: Use a cool plugin

There’s something to be said for this.  I’ve found the times that we’ve used these plugins on the websites that we’ve developed here in South Jersey, the green “tap to dial” button at the bottom of the screen tends to get more clicks than the buttons in other parts of the phone.  It might be worth testing.  It will look something like this image to the right.

The plugin that we used to do this is called “Call Now Button” (I know, hard to remember).  Setting it up is as simple as you could ever want:

set up tap to dial with plugin in wordpress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no reason to not have a tap-to-dial on your WordPress site.

If you currently don’t, it’s because either:

  1. You hired the worst web developer in the world
  2. You are too lazy to Google stuff (and you never read this post)

Get your tap-to-dial up on your site and start getting more of your customers on the phone.  If you’re too busy to handle it yourself, contact us.

7 Things You MUST Do Before Doing SEO for a Law Firm in New Jersey

These first tips are applicable regardless of where your practice is.

1. Claim Your Google My Business Account.south jersey seo company

This is your free business listing on Google.  Click here to claim it.

When you’ve searched for a service and saw the big box in the upper right hand side of the search engine results page (like the one to the right), that information was populated by Google My Business.  If you want your firm to pop up there, claim it and maintain it.  Post pictures, respond to reviews, stay active.  If you go to the Google My Business Dashboard, you’ll notice that there are analytics that let you know about people that called you, viewed your business, or asked for directions.  It’s good to keep tabs on this.

2. Get A Mobile-Friendly Website

If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on cases.  If you’re really hurting financially, get a site from Wix.com or Squarespace.  If you’re ready for a big-boy website, make sure that it’s not only mobile-friendly, but that it also has tap-to-dial markup and tap-to-email.  It’s really simple to do and shouldn’t cost extra.

3. Set up Google Analytics and Search Console

Have your web designer set up your Google Analytics and Search Console.  Even if you have not idea how to read it, the data will be valuable in the future when your firm grows and you’re ready to hire a marketing agency.

4. You are a lawyer, not an attorney, law office, or law firm

When you start doing your SEO or Adwords, know that people look for “lawyers in ______.”  They are not searching for law offices, attorneys, or law firms, so if you focus on these terms in your online strategy, you’re going to chasing a smaller piece of the pie

These next few tips are insights that we have from working in the Greater Philadelphia region

5.  SEO and Adwords work wonders for B2C practices like PI, family law, or worker’s comp, but not so much for B2B practices such as real estate law or tax law.

Corporations are not really hiring tax attorneys that they find on Google, but the private individuals that work at those corporations do hire lawyers from Google.  If you cater to this population, SEO and Adwords will almost certainly be worth it.  On that note,

6. Adwords works and you should have someone do it for you.

If you have a good Adwords manager, you’ll get clients tomorrow.  If you’re curious about seeing some of the numbers that you’re likely to see if you DIY your Adwords account, check out this other post that we wrote about the topic. In a nutshell, Adwords can be hit-or-miss for a novice, but can be a major moneymaker if you do it right.  Following us on Facebook or signing up for our newsletter can help you get there if you really want to do it yourself.

7. People in South Jersey are including town names when they search for lawyers

This is good to know when doing your SEO and Adwords.  You will find that keywords targeting specific towns that you serve tend to be a little cheaper than the broad “worker’s compensation lawyer”-type keywords.  If you are focused on the town where your practice is located, we have found that ads running location extensions tend to extremely well, so be sure that they are set up

 

 

Some Basics To Keep In Mind When Designing Your Website

Some Basic Things to Keep in Mind When Planning The Layout of Your Website

Hi, it’s Frank at 12khz.  We are going to be showing you today a website that we built for a client a month or two ago but we are going to be using an example of what works when it comes to having a website in-transit business for a small business. So as you can see, this is for Mosser Legal. This is an appeals law firm in Philadelphia.  This industry, just the legal industry, is extremely competitive because it has an extremely high pay off if you win.  You know, if  you have a website that’s converting, if you are ranking  well on Google you’re going to make a friggin’ fortune.  So as you can imagine, they really have to put in a lot of budget to maximizing the impact of what these websites can do for a law firm.

So let’s check it out.

First thing you land on the website and you have a very clear value proposition.  You know where we are claiming we are of the value, we are the appeals firm in Pennsylvania.  We have  a little proof over here saying, you know, we have over 900 appeals and counting.  It’s important when someone  first land on a  website they understand exactly what it is that you do, what makes you different than every other place.  Someone should not have to scroll on the website and really search around and just say,  okay,  this guy is a criminal defense firm, this is a basement waterproofing place,  this is a contractor that focuses mostly on roofing and windows.  He doesn’t really do kitchens, so let me go someplace else.  You want people to understand exactly what it is immediately.

As I scroll down, you can see that we are talking about the three main areas of business for this firm, criminal appeals, civil appeals.  And in your business there may be something else,  for example, at 12khz we focus mostly on paid search, web design, and SEO, so those are the first three things that we focus on when you land on our website.

As you scroll down we hit you up all of a  sudden with  a call to action, click to call us now.   This is mostly for people that are on mobile phones.   As we  scroll down we’ll make it  a little bit more of the case, why we should hire them and why you should hire us.   Going down, continuing on why you should hire us, some people  want to hear what other clients have said.  If you click here it will take you to a page where there are even more testimonials.   And then at the end yet another call to action, tell us about your case, so this is where we are collecting the leads.

So at this stage…

you have, at the top of the site, the, call us now, this is something you would be manually dialed on a desktop site.

I’m  just going to shrink this, or on a mobile site, you’re going to see it right at the top no matter where you go on the website. As they scroll down we have “click to call us now,” yet another,” tap to dial.”  We have then “ tell us about your case” and then at the very very bottom, you know,  a map that shows people how they can get to the office if they need to, you know, come and visit with the firm.  So the point here is that when someone lands on the website they need to see immediately what it is that you do, what it is you can offer that they won’t necessarily get from someone else.  Second, you need to hit them over the head with a with  the calls to action.  Every place they go, click here, click here, call us, call us, email us, follow us, sign up for our newsletter.  Third, there need to be a coherent progression of what it is that you are doing.   So in this case, this is what we are, okay? Alright, we are still on this is what we are, okay?  Now, we are getting into, this is why you should hire us, with successful cases for clients throughout, and you state,   here are some of our clients talking about us.   And then again a final wrap-up of this is why you should…a  final wrap-up saying, contact us.