WordPress

How to Use the New Facebook WordPress Plugin: A Complete Guide

Facebook recently created a WordPress plugin that  allows your WordPress website or blog to interface smoothly with Facebook.  I recently installed this free plug in and it looks great.  I had been using a third party plugin to send content from my websites to my Facebook business page, but for some reason Facebook terminated that plugin’s interface with Facebook, which caused all content put on my Facebook page by that plugin to disappear.  The experience soured my on using a third party WordPress plugin for Facebook.

Now problem solved with the new Facebook WordPress plugin.  It looks great and I can’t wait to get it up and running after reading “How to Use the New Facebook WordPress Plugin: A Complete Guide.”  The article begins with:

Facebook has released a highly comprehensive plugin for WordPress. With the new plugin, you can perform sophisticated auto-publishing to your Timeline and add many Facebook features to your blog. This makes advanced Facebook social sharing features accessible to everyone. This detailed article tells you how to install and use this powerful plugin.

By |June 27th, 2012|Facebook, WordPress|1 Comment

Why Attorneys Should be Bloggers

Do you have your own law blog?  Does your law firm have a blog?  Do you want to get more clients?  Do you want to make more money?  Does a bear . . . oh never mind.  I am a big advocate of the attorney law blog.  It works for me.  It can work for you.

The term “blog” is short for web log.  In the early days of blogging a blog was a series of posts displayed on a website in reverse chronological order.  People typically created a blog with content about a specific topic because they wanted to provide a source of information about their topic of interest.  You can find many blogs on any topic you can imagine.  The quality of each blog depends on the creative talent, knowledge and writing ability of the blog’s creator.  Nobody know how many blogs exist, but there are millions of them.

Here is my list of some of the reasons a lawyer should have a blog:

  • Blogging is a learning experience.  Writing good articles (called “posts” in blogese) helps you to know your topic better and increases your legal knowledge.  When you write something that can be viewed by the entire world it has a tendency to cause most people to invest time in making sure the don’t say something that is not true or that is misleading.  It is very common for me to spend time researching a statute or reading one or more cases to make sure that what I say in my post is correct.  Writing about a topic also helps me understand that topic better.
  • Blogging brings traffic to your website/blog.  An important goal in having a website/blog is to attract a lot of visitors to your site.  The best way to get visitors is to have large quantities of good content on your site.  One of the best and easiest ways to create content is the blog.  With good blog software like WordPress is it extremely easy to write an article and post it on your site.  No need to send the article to your web designer and wait a week for the article to be up on your site.  With WordPress adding an article to your site is as simple as writing the article, giving it a title, adding it to one or more categories and clicking the upload icon.   Read “Why I Love WordPress for My Law Firm.”
  • Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your area of law practice.  Over time as you add more and more content about your specific area of law (widget law for example) your blog becomes clear evidence to visitors that you are an expert in widget law.  When deciding on who to hire a prospective client is more likely to hire the lawyer that has tangible (ok technically it is intangible) proof of expertise than the lawyer who has no blog or website about widget law.  Consider for example my blog called “U.S. Real Estate Law.”  This blog is about a single topic, i.e., nonU.S. citizens investing in U.S. real estate.  I form a lot of new Arizona LLCs for people all over the world who want to purchase U.S. real estate.
  • Blogging helps you convince propects to hire you.  Several times a day I talk to prospects on the phone who are interviewing me for the purpose of deciding whether or not to hire me.  Prospects frequently ask about a subject that is an article or post on one of my websites.  When that happens I tell the prospect I have an article on the subject and if he/she will give me his or her email address I will  send a link to the article.  I then use Macro Express to zap canned text with the link to the article into an email message and send it to the prospect.  For example, people frequently ask me about dissolving their Arizona LLC.  When I get a call on that topic I send the prospect the following message:

Thanks for contacting me about terminating your Arizona limited liability company.  To hire us to prepare the documents to terminate an LLC, complete our service agreement found here:

www.keytlaw.com/azllc/killllcagr.pdf

For more information on terminating an Arizona LLC, see my article on this subject found here:

www.keytlaw.com/azllclaw/terminating-llcs/how-to-terminate-an-az-llc/

  • Blogging is fun.  Yes it is.  I enjoy the writing and creative aspects of blogging.  I also get personal satisfaction in knowing that people are reading my posts and learning from the results of my investment in time.

A great way to get ideas for blog posts is to listen to questions prospects and clients ask you in email messages and over the phone.  I am sure you have the same experience I have with people who ask the same common questions about widget law (ok maybe questions about your area of practice, not widget law).  These commonly asked questions make great blog posts.  Turn these questions into a post you can email to prospects and clients to show your expertise.  See for example a blog category on my Arizona Limited Liability Company Law website called “How Do I.”  When I get a call or email message from somebody that asks me a question I’ve answered on my blog I send the person a link to the blog post.

An very important fact of blog life and the key to a successful client generating blog is that you must create good content.  This means you need to invest the time to create posts.  This leads me to Keyt’s Technology Rule #5, which is call the Website Content Equation.  The equation is:

more posts = more content = higher search engine rankings = higher web traffic = more new clients = more revenue

Schedule times for content creation and set a goal for a minimum number of posts every week.  Over time your content quantity will grow and the Website Content Equation will put more money in your pocket.

By |May 5th, 2012|Blogs, Marketing, Ramblings, Websites, WordPress|0 Comments

WordPress Plugins Used on My Law Firm’s Websites

I have used WordPress to create 11 websites (put your cursor on the menu text above that says “My Other Websites” to access one of my other sites), ten of which I created to get more clients and revenue.  The only WordPress site I created that is not for my law firm is one called “F-4 Phantom,” a site about my five years flying the F-4 Phantom supersonic fighter bomber in the United States Air Force.

If you want to know why I use WordPress to create my law office websites read my article called “Why I Love WordPress for My Law Firm.”  In that article I say that the biggest reason I love WordPress for the law firm is because WordPress has over 19,000 free plugins that allow a WordPress administrator (you should be your site’s administrato) to add cool features to your WordPress blog or website.  A WordPress plugin is software written to accomplish a specific task or add a feature to your WordPress site.  My guess is that somebody has already created a free plugin that will do  everything you could possibly want to do with your site.

Do you want to have message forums or a list serv on your site?  Would you like your site to have a gallery of photos or videos that are displayed to viewers in the order you select for the number of seconds you select?  Would you like to require a visitor to type a captcha before he or she could send you a message?  There are numerous plugins that provide all of these features right out of the box.  That’s cool and free, but the second neatest thing about WordPress plugins is that when you see one you want you click twice and the plugin is installed and working on your WordPress website.  IT ONLY TAKES A FEW SECONDS LITERALLY TO INSTALL A PLUGIN.

The following is a list of plugins in alphabetical order that I always install on every WordPress website or blog I create:

  • Akisment – used to prevent comment spam.  It automatically deletes spam comments of which there are many.
  • All in One SEO Pack – a great tool for adding title, description and key word meta tags to your posts and pages.
  • Bad Behavior – another spam preventor.  I use Akismet and this one.
  • Broken Link Checker – A must have program.  It alerts you to broken links and makes it easy to fix them
  • Contact Form 7 – Use to create web forms to collect contact information and message text so visitors can communicate with you or your firm’s personnel.  See one of my contact forms.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin makes a map of your website every night and sends it to Google and other search engines to help you get better search engine rankings.
  • Sharedaddy – It creates icons and links to share your content with other sites like Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and Twitter.  You can see this plugin at work at the bottom of every one of my posts.
  • Smart Youtube Pro – This plugin lets me insert and position a Youtube video any where on my site just by copying the Youtube share URL and pasting it where I want it to go on my WordPress site.  It also requires me to add “vh” just before the colon in the Youtube URL.
  • Sociable – I use this plugin to send a post to our Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn pages.  Although you can configure it send every new post we have it set to send posts only if we want to send it and then it only goes to the other sites we select.
  • Subscribe to Comments Reloaded – Use this plugin to allow people who leave comments to chose to receive copies of all future comments and replies made to their comment.
  • Websimon Tables – WordPress does not do tables so you need a plugin.  I have tried a number of table plugins, including one I purchased, and my favorite is Websimon Tables.  It comes with 9 pre-configured tables.  Everything about a table can be customized easily.  It is also easy to move rows and columns.
  • WP-DB Manager – This plugin does all your back ups of your data, including the site’s MySQL data.  It also zips backup files and emails them to you.  I also use it to optimize the WordPress site.
  • WP-PageNavi – This adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog or website.
  • WP-PostViews – It counts and displays the most popular posts and pages on your site.
  • WP-Print – Gives your visitors a better printed output than was is inherent with WordPress.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – This one displays other posts on your site that are similar to the post a visitor is viewing.

To learn more about these plugins and the 19,000+ other free WordPress plugins go to the WordPress plugins page.

By |April 28th, 2012|Blogs, WordPress|2 Comments

Why I Love WordPress for My Law Firm

I love WordPress.  WordPress for attorneys is a fantastic tool for generating clients and more revenue.  I have been creating my websites using WordPress since 2009.  As of today I have created 11 WordPress websites.  You can access them from the menu link at the top of this page.  Of these 11 sites, I am the only person who adds content to 7 of them, two sites contain content created only by two other KEYTLaw attorneys and two sites contain content created by me and other KEYTLaw attorneys.

If your website is not a WordPress site, you are making a mistake unless you have the money to pay a consultant or web development company a ton of money for a super-duper site.  My experience is always been that I can invest the time to learn a software program so I can use the program and its powerful features without being dependent on a high paid consultant who probably isn’t really that knowledgeable.  See Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 1.

I started the original www.keytlaw.com website in the winter of 2001.  At that time I was a partner at one of the largest law firms in Arizona.  The firm’s board of directors told me I could not have  a website and that a firm website was worthless for generating new clients.  I knew that virtually all lawyer websites did not generate new business because they were nothing more than electronic firm brochures.  I was convinced that I could create a website with original content that informed the public about legal issues and that it would generate business.

I was right.  Since leaving big law in 2001 I have obtained over 6,000 new clients most of whom hired me and my firm because of my websites.  A good informational website is a great way for a lawyer to obtain new clients.  During 2011 the total combined traffic on my websites averaged 163,000 visitors/month.  Per Avvo and www.alexa.com the KEYTLaw website is one of the 35 most visited law related websites in the United States.

Microsoft FrontPage

When I took the plunge and created my first website in 2001 the two most popular HTML editors were Microsoft’s FrontPage and Adobe’s Dreamweaver.  FrontPage was cheaper and sold to the public as more user friendly than Dreamweaver so I bought FrontPage.

For eight years I used FrontPage to create every page on the old www.keytlaw.com.  Take a look at an old FrontPage created KEYLaw page.  The old site look and feel worked well for me for many years despite it’s cludginess.  I designed the look and feel of the site without any knowledge of what I was doing, which is why the site looks like it was made by somebody that didn’t know how to design a site.  I knew I wanted a website and so I just loaded FrontPage and started creating web pages.

My original website and now the other ten WordPress sites generate a tremendous amount of web traffic because they contain content. See an old web log report for the month of December 2006 which shows www.keytlaw.com had 91,489 visitors that month, an average of 2,859/day.  For the year 2006 my old site averaged 85,500 visitors a month and 2,850 visitors a day.  Every year the number of visitors increases because we are constantly adding content to our sites.  Web success is very very simple – the more good content you have on your site the more visitors it will have.

FrontPage was actually user friendly for its era, but the problem with HTML editors is that you start with a blank screen and you must build every page and every feature of your website from scratch.  A simple website was easy to create in FrontPage, but to create any feature required a ton of time and html editing.

WordPress

In 2009 I decided to create a law blog so I did a little research and concluded that WordPress was the way to go.  The difference between WordPress and FrontPage is as great as the difference between night and day.  FrontPage was a low tech do everything yourself program.  WordPress is a high tech do everything for you program.  WordPress combined with WordPress plugins is a winning combination that allows a novice to do anything with a website/blog with very little effort or knowledge needed by the WordPress user.

WordPress comes in two flavors, i.e., wordpress.com and wordpress.org.  The .com version is hosted on WordPress’ website.  The .org version is free downloadable software that you must install on a server (shared or dedicated) and that is accessed by people who go to the URL of your domain.

WordPress.com

The .com version of WordPress is a website that as of today hosts 426,536 free WordPress blogs.  To have a blog on wordpress.com all you need to do is sign up and two minutes later you are in business on the internet.  Your site will be a subdomain of www.wordpress.com such as www.lawfirm.wordpress.com.  WordPress hosts your site on its server.  Although it is actually very easy to have a WordPress.org site on your own domain, the WordPress sites on wordpress.com are even easy to use.  See a list of features offered for free by www.wordpress.com.

The downsides to the .com version are:

1.  Your site is not on your domain.

2.  You will not have access to the vast universe of plugins available when you have WordPress running on your domain.

3.  You cannot have any ads.

4.  Customization is limited.

5.  Moving your site to a Wordpress.org site later is a big deal for the average WordPress user.

Reasons Why I love WordPress

1.  WordPress is Very Easy to Install:  With a good webhost like Bluehost anybody can create a WordPress law firm website or blog simply and easily.  I’ve hosted my websites at Bluehost since I created my first blog in 2009.  Bluehost hosts millions of WordPress sites and is adding 20,000 new sites a month.  I cannot say enough about Bluehost.  It’s cheap ($5 – $7) month.  It’s got great tech support 24/7, which I have used from time to time.  What I love best about Bluehost is that is uses something called Cpanel and Simple Scripts.  What these two programs mean to the WordPress user (prospective or actual) is that you can create a new WordPress website/blog in less than ONE MINUTE.  Yes!  In a future video I’ll demo how to do it and how quickly I can create a new site.

To learn more about everything Bluehost gives you for $5/month go to its hosting features page.

2.  WordPress is Very Easy to Learn:  It takes me about 15 minutes to show a person everything he/she needs t know to add content to WordPress.  Only one person in your firm needs to be the administrator of your WordPress site and know how to do things like add, configure and update plugins and do the admin stuff.  There is a higher learning curve to be the administrator, but there is virtually no learning curve to be a WordPress content creator.   Everybody only needs to know how to create a blog post or a web page, both of which are extremely simple.

3.  WordPress Themes:  A WordPress theme is software add on to WordPress that gives the entire site a certain look and feel and built in features.  In my bad old days of using FrontPage, I had to create the look and feel (theme) of my website.  It is not an easy task for a novice, which is why my theme was not too spiffy for eight years.  WordPress, however, for some reason I do not understand offers 1,549 free themes that you can download and install in a matter of seconds.  Yes.  That’s right SECONDS!  See the free WordPress themes yourself.  If you see one you like all you have to do is click on the “install” button then 5 seconds later click on the “activate” button and your WordPress site has a new look and feel.  I use a very popular theme on all of my sites called “Atahualpa,” which had been downloaded 941,182 time as of the date of this article.  There are also thousands of themes that you can purchase if you can’t find a free theme you like.  Update:  I now use the Avada theme on most of my websites.  I love this theme.  It is state of the art including being “responsive” out of the box.  A responsive site is a site that looks great on smartphones, iPads and tablets.

4.  WordPress Has Plugins:  The thing I like best about WordPress is that there are thousands of plugins (19,330 free ones as of the date of this article) that I can quickly download and install on my WordPress site.  Most plugins are free, but some require that you purchase the plugin before downloading.  A plugin is essentially software code that you can add to your WordPress site literally by making two clicks with your mouse.  Unlike the FrontPage days when the website developer had to create all the code to do anything on a website, there are probably several free WordPress plugins that will do anything you could imagine doing with a website or a blog.  See WordPress’ plugins page where you can find all the free plugins.  Here are the four most downloaded plugins (I use all of them on all of my sites) with a description of what the plugin does:

  • Akismet – downloaded 9,949,581 times.  This plugin detects comment spam and deletes it.  Yes  Comment spam is common whenever you have a website/blog that allows visitors to leave comments.
  • Contact Form 7 – downloaded 6,732,250 times.  Allows the administrator to create a contact form to collect information when people want to contact the website creator or somebody in the company that owns the site.  See one of my contact forms I created with this plugin.
  • All in One SEO Pack – downloaded 10,606,267 times.  This plugin has fields into which I enter the title of a page or a post, the keywords therein and a description of the page or post that is not more than 160 characters in length.  When a page or post is saved this information is included in the meta data for the page or post and used by the search engines.  This information is important for good search engine optimazation.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – downloaded 7,368,379 times.  Every night this plugin creates a sitemap of my WordPress site and sends it to Google and the major search engines to assist them when their bots crawl my site.

How to Learn How to Use WordPress

There are many ways you could learn how to use WordPress, but here are my recommendations:

1.  Teacher-Student Method:  If you know somebody who is a serious user of WordPress, ask him or her to give you a lesson and if you can call from time to time with questions.

2.  Watch Lynda.com Training Videos:  Whenever I want to learn how to use software I go to Lynda and watch one or more training videos.  When I wanted to learn how to make Adobe Acrobat pdf fillable forms I watched a 20 hour training video on Lynda.  Today Lynda has a 6.5 hour course on the self-hosted version of WordPress and a 5 hour course on the WordPress.org hosted version.  Both of these courses are about version 3.3 of WordPress, the current version.

You can pay to watch individual videos, but for years I have paid Lynda $25/month for unlimited access to all of its training videos.

3.  Watch My Demo Videos:  You can’t watch them today, because I haven’t created them yet.  In the very near future I will have demo videos that show lawyers interested in learning WordPress everything they need to know to install a WordPress site on Bluehost , configure it with a theme and plugins and how to add content.  Check back in the near future or enter your email address in the field in the top of the left column of this page if you want to get an update when I add new content.

Your thoughts?  Do you or your law firm use WordPress and have any gripes?  Do you use something else that you like?  Leave a comment.

By |April 28th, 2012|Blogs, Stuff We Recommend, WordPress|0 Comments

WordPress is Most Popular Blog Software

A recent survey by Pingdom found that 48 of the most popular blogs are created with WordPress, up from 32 in 2009.  In order the blog platforms by percent of sites using the software are:

  • 48 WordPress
  • 14 Custom
  • 7 Movable type
  • 6 Drupal
  • 5 Gawker
  • 4 Blogsmith
  • 2 Typepad
  • 2 Blogger

Where does your blog/web software fall in this list?   The article says, “It’s also interesting to see that our findings are not far off compared to what Technorati found in its State of the Blogosphere 2011 report. In it, Technorati found that 51% of blogs in the world use WordPress.”  The article contains a list of the top 100 blogs and the software platform used by each.

If you are not using WordPress for your blog or website you are probably making a mistake.  If you are paying somebody big bucks to create a custom site for you then you are really wasting a ton of money.

I started using WordPress in the fall of 2009.  It is an incredible program and it’s free.  I now have 11 websites/blogs (counting this one) that I created using WordPress.  I use WordPress to create pure blog sites and sites that are traditional websites that may or may not have a blog.  Here are the reasons I love WordPress and recommend it:

  • It’s free.  However there are some themes and plugins that you must buy to use, but the vast majority of themes and plugins are free.
  • It’s very easy to use.  I can teach somebody in ten minutes how to add content (posts and pages) to a WordPress blog or site.
  • It’s very powerful.  For some reason I do not understand people write add-in features and give them away for free to anybody who uses WordPress.  The two most common types of freebies are: (1) themes, and (2) plugins.  A theme is the look and feel of a blog or site.  WordPress comes with a default theme, but you can select from thousands of free themes and download and active a them in a matter of seconds.  When you active a theme, it instantly changes the look and feel of your site.  I use a theme for all of my sites called “Atahualpa,” one of the most popular free themes.  A plugin is a WordPress software add on that adds a new feature to your site.  You do not have to spend time creating code to make your site do what you want.  Instead, you search for a theme you want then click on the Install icon and the plugin then downloads and installs on your WordPress site.  For example, if you want a feature that automatically makes a sitemap of your site and uploads it to Google or if you want to have a message list serve on your site, all you need to do is decide which plugin you want, install and configure it and your WordPress site has those new features in a matter of minutes.

Do yourself a favor and switch to WordPress or create a WordPress site if you do not have a blog or a website.  The first step is go to www.lynda.com.  Pay to watch one of its how to videos on using WordPress version 3, the latest version.  If you learn WordPress and have a WordPress blog or website you can save tons of money and frustration by avoiding the need to pay a consultant.

By |April 16th, 2012|Blogs, Software, WordPress|0 Comments