A Brief Look Back and Look Forward at Websites
It’s a fact that the world of web design and websites is ever changing. New improvements in design and technology emerge all the time.
Can you imagine growing up without being able to browse the web or carrying a cell phone with you everywhere you go?
Many of us can. But for the new generations such as iGen and Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2012, it’s unimaginable. Not having a mobile phone, not being able to jump online or text or visit a social media site is a foreign concept.
The Evolution of Web Sites and Web Design
It’s been more than 20 years since computer scientist and CERN engineer Tim Berners-Lee launched the first web page in 1990.
Today, web development has moved beyond the realm of computer science alone. Fields like graphic design and marketing have become an integral part of website development evolution.
How important is it for websites to be mobile friendly?
“Mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.”
Web Perseverance’s New Websites
While trends come and go, consumers want designs that reflect their company’s values. We’ve worked to make our websites unique and authentic. Here are a few recent examples:
- Restoration Dry Cleaners. The branding for the new site incorporated much happier images. We shifted the focus from damaged materials to restoration of prized possessions. By replacing fire and smoke images and damaged articles with happy people, bright and colorful wardrobes and other images, we changed the look and feel of the site. Branding shifted from “damaged” to “restored.”
- The Van De Water Law Firm and Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP websites incorporate hero images (large full width image at the top of the website). The viewer meets the attorneys at first glance. This emphasis brings a more personal experience to the viewer when visiting the website.
- Anna’s Fried Dough is another new site we launched. We worked with the client’s existing logo to bring a colorful and fun feel to the site. The company initially introduced its product through concession stands at fairs but now it offers wholesale purchase as well.
- Poseidon Irrigation grabs the viewer’s attention through its colorful logo over a sprinkler system background video with spraying water. It’s a colorful and eye-catching site where viewers receive great visuals of the product’s use.
Are you looking to boost your internet marketing? Keep up with the times and reach out to us.
Author: WebPerseverance: Cindy J. Silver
ADA Non-Compliance and The Beyonce Website Lawsuit
Non-compliance with the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) has farther-reaching effects than many business owners might realize. Recently, a blind woman filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Beyonce.com website.
Details of the Beyonce Website ADA Lawsuit
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit alleges that visually impaired users do not have equal access to the website’s products and services.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Mary Conner is a New York resident who is totally blind. She is not able to browse the site and get information. Why? The images do not provide text equivalents. There are also no dropdown menus and navigation links that are accessible for her. She also cannot use a keyboard instead of a mouse to browse the site.
The class named in the lawsuit is “all legally blind individuals in the United States who have attempted to access Beyonce.com and as a result have been denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services offered by Beyonce.com, during the relevant statutory period.”
The requested injunction would require that Parkwood Entertainment, Beyonce Knowle’s management company make the site accessible to blind and visually impaired customers based on the ADA. The lawsuit also seeks compensation for damages for its class members who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination.
Web Accessibility and the ADA
The lawsuit regarding Beyonce.com is not the only lawsuit that has been filed against website owners who were non-compliant with the ADA. As we mentioned in an earlier blog article, more than 240 class action lawsuits have been filed against businesses for ADA non-compliance based on inadequate website accessibility (according to law360.com).
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Website Is ADA Compliant?
Business News Daily article states that no definite legal guidelines outlining ADA compliance exist for websites. However, website owners should make a good faith effort to incorporate features that would make your site more reasonably accessible.
Some of suggested features include:
- Alt tags for images, videos and audio files. A blind web user cannot see an image. However, web software will read the image description contained in the alt tag used for the image, video or audio file.
- Text transcripts. Transcripts for video and audio content can help the hearing impaired.
- Organized layout. Organize the navigation menus, links and buttons so they are user friendly throughout the site.
At Web Perseverance, we use a website plug-in that increases website accessibility for disabled web viewers. Web Perseverance is an internet marketing company. You can see the plugin logo on this site. It looks like the wheelchair handicap logo and is located at the bottom left of your screen. Click on it, and it will display various boxes with features that help make our site more user friendly for disabled viewers.
- A keyboard key
- Bigger cursor
- Increased contrast
- Larger text
- Desaturate (the button removes color from graphics and images)
- Highlight links
- Legible fonts
- Read page (audio software button that reads the words in the navigation, content text and tag information on the page)
Do You Have Questions About ADA Website Compliance?
We are glad to answer your questions and can discuss putting this plug-in on your website. Contact a NY Internet marketing specialist today.
If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in traffic or decrease in your site ranking, your redirect attachment URL settings may be the bug-a-boo. Yoast, one of the most popular SEO plugins among designers, discovered a bug in their recent upgrade. Rather than defaulting to ‘yes,’ the “redirect attachment URLs” option defaulted to ‘no.’
What are Attachment URLs?
Simply put – whenever you insert an image, into a post or page, WordPress creates a new page with that single image. This new page is a called an attachment URL. The problem with these pages is that they have little to no content beyond the image and therefore are bad for site SEO. And while they increase the number of site pages they don’t contain what search engines deem as quality content, so you could get dinged because of it.
What went wrong?
Customers who updated from an earlier version of Yoast SEO to Yoast SEO 7.0-7.0.2 may not have had their settings automatically converted from the previous version to the new version. So, if in your case, the upgraded plugin did not convert your previous settings it would have overwritten those and set the attachment URL option to the default setting of ‘no.’ Thereby creating a lot of thin, ‘image only,’ pages.
Impact on websites
Worst case scenario, some sites have experienced having attachment URLs quintupled, without adding any content. Because with the setting set at ‘no’, XML sitemaps were enabled for attachments. This is where it gets bad for SEO – a lot of those attachment URLs were indexed by Google. In some cases, these sites may be suffering from Panda-like problems. If your site is image heavy and light on content, this could be a problem for you as Google then assumes you’ve put on a bunch of non-relevant content suddenly and in essence are trying to game the system. When you actually aren’t.
How widespread is the problem?
According Yoast, who put out this article, the situation does not appear to be widespread. They have, upon discovering the bug, created a patch to fix the problem of the settings default. For full information and instructions on how to remedy the situation, read the Yoast article, cited above.
Talk to an innovative website design company that cares
Web Perseverance is an innovative online marketing company that devises online strategies through website design and maintenance, SEO, advertising, business strategies, social media networking and search engine marketing (SEM). We help you achieve an online presence that generates website traffic and converts to revenue. Our full-service internet marketing firm is staffed with highly experienced, talented, and versatile individuals who are committed to bringing your vision into reality. We base our marketing and business strategies on the unique characteristics of your business or practice, your needs, and your goals. We work closely with you throughout the planning and implementation process to ensure you get the right online strategy for you. Contact us or call (631) 765-8098 to schedule a complimentary review of your current online presence. For clients outside of the New York metro area, we can arrange a conference call to discuss your goals.
Investigating Employees Through Their Social Media Accounts
Social media can provide a lot of information about people’s lives. Why would an employer want to know what an employee is doing through social media?
An employer may suspect that an employee is doing other things during work that do not relate to his or her job, such as posting on Facebook, watching Youtube videos, etc. An employer may also wonder if the employee is speaking badly about the company or discussing private company information.
Any number of reasons could motivate an employer to pressure an employee for social media account information or to access the employee’s site without permission.
What laws protect the privacy rights of employees?
The American Bar Association warns employers about not violating the Stored Communication Act (SCA). The SCA includes social networking sites when it states that individuals are subject to criminal and civil actions when the individual:
“Intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided”
“Intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility”
(By intentionally accessing) “obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system”
Keep in mind that a government institution may obtain a subpoena for an investigation and through court approval access social networks for information. However, a private company conducting an internal investigation does not have this right.
Employers who obtain access to social media under false pretenses or through duress can be held liable and courts typically do not view favorably attempts to access an employee’s account information or the private account of a “friend.”
However, in some instances where employers obtain the information without asking or pressuring an employee to provide it, the courts have allowed it.
Get Legal Help with Your Questions about Employment Law
It is often wise to seek legal advice when you have questions about accessing an employee’s social media information. Stephen Hans & Associates offers seasoned legal guidance and representation to assist business owners with employment issues.
A well designed website that is optimized for search engines, contains high quality content, and shows the benefits of retaining your firm can act as an anchor for all your marketing efforts. When done properly, a site can also control your firm’s image and increase your referral rate. In fact, it’s highly likely that the first thing a person will do when referred to you is to check your website.
A website will save you time and increase efficiency
A website can answer many of the basic questions a potential client has about your firm, such as your address, directions to your office, your areas of practice, and your background. This will allow your staff to be more productive because they won’t be fielding phone calls seeking this type of basic information. An effective website should include:
- Firm address
- Directions to the office
- Phone numbers and email addresses
- Relevant legal articles you have authored
- Media about you or the firm
- High profile cases you have won
- Achievements or awards
- A frequently asked question page covering areas of practice
- A helpful and informative blog with articles about your practice focus
- Links to resources for clients
Your site should also include a well-written attorney profile with:
- A professional photo of yourself
- Your education
- Court admissions
- A summary of your practice areas
- Charitable and/or community involvement
- A few personal facts about you that make you relatable and show you are a person a prospective client can trust and like
Make your website the centerpiece of your marketing efforts
While a website isn’t the only marketing tool you should use, it can serve as the centerpiece to your marketing efforts. A home base that your other marketing can point to and direct prospective clients to for further information about your firm. All your directory listings, email campaigns, and print, TV, and radio ads should direct prospective clients to your site, where they can benefit from getting the full information about your firm.
Talk to a NY SEO website specialist today
In the age of information and technology there isn’t any reason not to have a website but there are plenty of reasons to have one. Your site doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be effective—and show why you are the legal professional a potential client needs. Web Perseverance provides custom websites for legal professionals in New York and throughout the United States. We are experts in search engine optimization (SEO) and understand how to build sites that will come up in search results when people are looking for an attorney. To talk an NY SEO specialist about building an effective website for your firm contact us or call (631) 765-8098 today.
It’s pretty common procedure for a fiduciary to a trust to obtain a release, with the objective of waiving the fiduciary’s obligation to provide an accounting of the assets of the estate and trust. A recent opinion from the Surrogate Court in New York County casts some doubt on the potential validity of such releases.
In Matter of Ingraham, NYLJ, June 16, 2017, at p. 28 (Sur. Ct., New York County), the court considered the validity of a receipt and release and ruled that it did not absolve the trustee from the legal responsibility to provide an accounting. In Ingraham, a successor trustee had filed a petition with the Surrogate Court asking that the former trustees submit an accounting. One trustee complied with the request, but the other trustee objected, citing both the language of the trust document, which she argued relieved her from any obligation to provide an accounting; and releases that had been signed and executed by the trust’s grantor and by the other trustee.
According to evidence entered during the proceeding, the document signed by the grantor released the trustee from “any and all claims related in any way to her role as trustee,” other than claims arising as a result of fraud or willful misconduct. The document also included a provision waiving the right to a formal accounting of the trust. The other trustee had executed a similar release.
The court, however, found that that trustee could not use the release to avoid the duty to provide an accounting, citing two specific reasons:
- The release specifically reserves the right to seek relief if there are allegations of willful misconduct or fraud
- The duty to provide an accounting is a fundamental aspect of any fiduciary relation, an essential part of a trustee’s duty
The court also concluded that, even if the released waived the grantor’s right to an accounting, it was not legally binding on the other trustee, successor trustees and trust beneficiaries. Furthermore, the court rejected the argument that the trust document waived the requirement that trustees provide an accounting, concluding that the trust document only waived the obligation to provide periodic accountings, not the requirement that there be a final accounting.
When you’re involved in an estate or trust administration dispute, it’s essential that you have knowledgeable, skilled and experienced legal representation. Estate and Probate Attorney Bonnie Lawston has protected the rights of individuals in trust and estate matters on Long Island for more than 20 years.
Contact Probate and Estate Administration Attorney Bonnie Lawston for all your Probate and Estate Administration matters.