Why I Switched Over From Wordpress to Squarespace

I've been using Wordpress for my website for almost two years. Prior to that, I was responsible for a wealth management firm's website, and used Wordpress for that too. In fall 2017, I decided to take a look at alternatives; my Wordpress website for Apto Marketing was sleek, professional in look and feel but ultimately not that easy to use when I wanted to integrate marketing automation and create more dynamic content. I had installed plugins for marketing automation but the path to implementation seemed too laborious for what I wanted to achieve. After much research, I settled on Squarespace. These are my reasons for switching:

  • Efficiency is important to me. Squarespace and other WYSIWYG website builders have highly intuitive UIs (user interfaces) and offer a truly effective way of creating websites that look clean, professional and which help us brand ourselves and generate leads. You can build what you wish to achieve without HTML coding knowledge.
  • Effective Support. Wordpress does require a bit of a learning curve and is much less intuitive. Even if you get someone to set up the site for you, serious glitches need to be fixed by them (e.g. my entire website didn't load because of a problem with a plugin update). If your web developer is a busy one, you may have to wait to fix glitches (and pay for it to boot!). I like that Squarespace has an award-winning customer service team that supports me 24/7. Thus far, every question I've had has been answered to my satisfaction, and promptly.
  • Cost. The cost of plugins and paying a web developer for what I could achieve on DIY sites such as Squarespace was also a factor in converting me.  I also had to pay separately for my site to be hosted when I used Wordpress; another addition to the debit side of my cash flow.
  • Centralization and ease of integration. I wanted to host my site on a service that freed me from having too many moving parts to attend to (and the vendors to match). I wanted back-ups and updates and security to be taken care of, rather than to have to monitor these crucial requirements constantly and separately. And I didn't want to buy another e-mail automation service and tag that on top of my Wordpress site.
  • Tried and tested. In both my personal and professional life, I go for brands that have a solid track record. I lean towards value over affordability. I also pick providers that have ironed out all the little hiccups that can make life challenging for their users. Squarespace has thousands of customers and it's survived the competition.  I now know why.

I'm not recommending that you switch to Squarespace or Wix, but it's important to always start with fundamentals - if you don't need all the bells and whistles, and the ones you need are available are affordable, easier to use, and present your brand well, then these "DIY" platoforms are worth considering. Wordpress continues to be a major platform for website hosting and building. It remains a solid choice for those who need separate plugins and tools that allow for complex campaigns, tracking and deep-dive analytics.  Ultimately, you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of each service provider, and be very clear about what matters most to you.

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Can QUORA Help Your Firm Find New Clients?

Engaging on Quora can amount to a prospective client you've never met throwing a question out into the ether that you can actually answer directly.

In a world where search engine algorithms have transitioned from simple key word searches to how people actually ask questions when they type into a search box, Quora offers an interesting way to market yourself directly to potential clients who want your specific expertise.

So much of marketing (and marketing technology) these days is built around trying to decipher or pre-empt what people want and need. Quora essentially tells you what people are interested in knowing in your area of practice precisely because they post specific questions that relate to your field. If you consistently answer questions related to your area of practice, you can start to build you name as a credible expert.

(For an overview of what Quora is, visit www.Quora.com/about. Do a quick search to see what people are talking about in your area of practice.)

I haven’t come across many other legal marketers talking about Quora, but I personally think it’s a worthy place to showcase your expertise. Its Q&A format allows you to get specific, and thereby allows you to come across as experienced, compelling and authentic.

And you get to do it as an actual person, as opposed to merely posting the same content as a blog post on your website. Being able to put a face/human being to words one reads on a screen enhances a person's trust of you. A person who gets the answer she needs from you when she posts her question on Quora can feel like she is being helped by her very own legal expert. Certainly you won't be the only one providing answers, but sometimes, competing with other lawyers on the quality of your response can make you stand out all the more.

That said, I suspect Quora is probably better suited to B-to-C practices, rather than to firms whose target clients are corporations or companies. If the lay consumer is your ideal prospect, then using Quora to promote your brand and expertise is worth trying, but not if you seek corporate clients.

The answer threads on Quora are almost never closed, so you can give your answer long after it’s been posted. If you get up-voted, all the better. But remember that the later your answer, the further down in the scrolling it will be located. Not the most visible place, as compared to the top, where your answer appears as one of the first few. On the other hand, people who are interested in specific topics will sign up for a personalized feed, ensuring that even if they did not pose a question you are answering, your audience will be wider than the person that did.

I also like that that Quora has no geographical boundaries, so not all readers will reach out to your competitors or peers and instead connect with you instead as you’re based in their city or county.

A note of caution: I would be reluctant to give up Facebook Advertising or pushing out good content on LinkedIn in favor of focusing on Quora. What I propose is that it's often an overlooked publishing outlet for your expertise. Give it some of your attention but not all of it. You may be pleasantly surprised. At the very least, it will give you some sense of what prospective clients need help with. Which can be very helpful in your SEO strategies and implementation.

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To Gate or Not To Gate -- Should You Give Away Your Whitepaper or e-Guide?

We've all experienced this before: we visit a website, and a pop-up showcases a whitepaper or e-Guide that we can download or have emailed to us if we provide our first name and e-mail address.  This is how most businesses use content to build their e-mail marketing lists, which comprise of leads they can nurture over time towards conversion into a sale or appointment with a sales person. In automated marketing parlance, it's known as "gating" your content.

Should you do the same with your firm's website? Or should you provide such content for free, without requiring a visitor's name and contact information? After all, if your content is free, then anyone (including your competition) can download it without your having captured their name and e-mail address. To some, this is a lost opportunity for building your e-mail list and nurturing a prospective client towards becoming a paying client.

The way I see it, much depends on the rest of the content on your site. 

Think about your own experience -- would you provide your name and e-mail address for a piece of content when the un-gated content on that website is less than impressive? Conversely, if what you've read so far on that website impresses you (it's useful, succinct and well-written), you're likely to be more convinced that the gated content should be just as valuable too. In short, when it comes to gating your own content (such as a report, white paper or e-guide or even a survey), it's going to have minimal efficacy if what you provide for free to visitors isn't up to par.

So before you spend money on a marketing automation tool with all the bell and whistles, go back to the fundamentals: make sure you provide good content. These tools help you capture leads so that you can nurture them, but the return on your investment is seriously curtailed if you fail to persuade visitors of the value of what you're gating. In other words, if the "open" areas of your website are lacking (e.g. lawyer bios, informative videos, FAQs, testimonials, case wins/studies, appointment-making plugin, contact form, blogs etc.), you're not going to entice visitors to sign up onto your e-mail list. You're not going to capture e-mail addresses via the marketing automation tool you've set up.

In short, gating is something you can do only if the freely accessible content on your site is compelling, unique and useful. If you don’t have enough of such content, then gating can be counter-productive and it may be better to simply keep everything – including your excellent e-guide – off your site until you've improved the rest of your content.

One last tip: it's crucial not to disappoint anyone who provides her contact information to receive or access your gated content. If it's not up to their expectations, you're going to lose a valuable prospect (lead). It's got to be as good as your un-gated content i.e. timely, informative, and easy to digest.

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