Archive for September, 2010
Monday, September 20th, 2010
Lawyer Success, Inc. was selected to become one of Google’s new Android app developers and beta application inventors. This will enable Lawyer Success, Inc. the access to programming, submission and marketplace on Google Apps for Android. Google Android apps as well as Apple’s iPhone/iPad apps are becoming a popular branding and marketing tool for law firms of all sizes.
One of the first attorney apps to appear on iTunes was developed by Miami personal injury attorney, Jason Turchin. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-attorney-app/id343058489?mt=8
If you have an idea for a law related app or have questions about building or marketing either a Google Android app or Apple iTunes app, contact Lawyer Success, Inc. for a free initial consultation. Call (769) 218-6099 for more information.
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
According to American Lawyer Media statistics, the largest 100 legal firms spend an estimated $9-10 million dollar annually on business development and marketing for their business. The second 100 largest companies spend nearly $3 million per year. It is not unusual to see some of our nation’s smaller law firms with six-figure investments into the development and marketing for their legal business. These days a substantial amount of that budget is allocated to your legal firm’s website—and for good reason.
Your Budget/Your Team
Some in the business will tell you that you need one full-time marketer for every thirty or so attorneys in your firm, or that you should allocate from 2-6% of your gross revenues to business development and marketing, and, in general, these can be good guidelines. The reality, however, is tied less to the size of your firm or your budget, and more to where your firm sits when it comes to market share. Keep in mind that “lawyer marketing” is really just marketing—for lawyers. You must learn how to read your market and establish an effective marketing plan, most especially when dealing with the Internet and your firm’s lawyer website.
If you are wondering just which market factors you should consider when building the business development and marketing plan for your firm, the following are good, basic, guidelines to consider—both for internet websites and non-internet marketing as well:
- How long has your firm been in business? While most of us expect we will spend more on marketing in the first few years in order to get the law firm up and going, the reality is that it takes money to make money, and where law firms are concerned your marketing budget will likely go up proportionately each and every year.
- Who is your market? Personal injury, family and criminal laws spend considerably more money on development and marketing costs. This rule translates into website planning as well.
- Is there something new in your firm that you’d like to announce to the world? How about a new partner, a new practice group, a firm merger, or a decision to target a particular industry? A website blog, or a Facebook or Twitter page is the ideal way to spread the good news.
- Where do you envision your firm being in five years? Your firm needs to have a goal, a path, and a plan.
- And perhaps the trickiest of all—look around—what is everybody else doing? If whatever you are doing is working fabulously—keep it to yourself! And unless you see another business that is wildly successful—ignore everyone else. It can be counterproductive to religiously peruse other law firm’s websites looking for that elusive, magical formula that makes instant success. Study your own business and hire great people. Spend the necessary amount of money, but make sure you get the right amount of bang for your buck.
Thank goodness the stigma associated with attorneys actively generating media coverage has all but disappeared. Legal publications abound, and legal reporters at newspapers and business magazines are practically stalked by law firms of all sizes seeking media attention. There are plenty of internet attorney directories online; do your research and make sure you are spending your online dollars productively.
Your Law Firm’s Website
In order to achieve a dominating presence across the internet, you need to become recognized, through your website, as an authority within your particular area of the law. The internet has changed everything about marketing attorney services, and as such has become incredibly competitive. In order to rise above your competition, you will need to create not only a dynamic website, but one that is chock-full of unique content. Lawyer website marketing is a completely different animal than it was even five years ago. Changes come quickly, and you must stay on your toes to be competitive.
The ultimate website design will be geared toward increasing the chances that your firm’s ideal client will contact your law firm first. Your attorney website should be presented in a professional way that conveys experience and reliability. The bottom line on your website is whether or not your potential client takes action after surfing your site. You only have one chance to make a lasting impression on your law firm’s website, and most people will make a decision regarding whether or not they want to continue on your website in the first few seconds—never forget that presentation is everything.
Free lawyer website coaching calls available by calling (769) 218-6099 hassle free assistance.
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Legal websites with little or no fresh, engaging content usually attract limited traffic, and even fewer contact to client conversions. The content on your legal website, in the form of articles, newsletters, blogs, etc., sends a message to potential clients and provides critical information for those searching for an attorney to handle their important legal matters. Even though search engines do not disclose the criteria they use to rank attorney websites, specialists in the field are able to spot trends which turn into hallmarks of effective online legal marketing, and content appears in those trends over and over.
Content = Credibility with Google, Yahoo, Bing and other Search Engines
One reason for the extreme importance of your legal website’s content is that great content increases the credibility of your firm. Content can give you the extra boost your legal firm needs to push you up above the rest of the crowd. Your legal content will serve as a source of education, assuring your future clients that you maintain a website which contains accurate sources of interesting and timely information. If your goal is to give your potential clients confidence in your firm’s capabilities and trustworthiness—and it certainly should be–then content which provides links to other helpful resources and quotes accurate law is essential.
The more useful the content a user can find on your website, the more likely they are to bookmark your firm’s site. Even if they do not need an attorney at this particular point in time, they will remember the information they gleaned from your website and either return, or refer a friend in need.
Content = Search Engine Optimization
Law firm SEO truly starts and ends with the content on your law firm’s website. Your content must be well-written and unique if your goal is to increase search engine optimization.
As search engines crawl through literally billions of web pages per month, they must determine which sites will rank close to the top. While many components factor into this complex decision, content is the most important one. Your precisely targeted content will ensure your website keeps clients coming back time after time.
Tell Google About Your Legal Website’s Content
Google will find your articles based on the written content; therefore you need to tell Google exactly what you are writing about by doing the following:
• Write articles that are at least 300 words, and are extremely topic-focused
• Use your keyword phrase in the title of the post
• Include keyword phrases in your content—but only in context, and don’t over-do it.
• Use a content management tool that offers SEO functionality and auto Sitemap building. Click here for more information.
While it is not a fact set in stone, it has been observed that if your article consists of more than 5% of your keyword phrases, search engines may penalize you for “keyword stuffing.” Your writing must flow, and although the keywords must be there, they must appear natural and not simply stuck here and there to get them in. Your articles must first appeal to your reader, then to Google.
Once you have informed Google about your legal website, craft your content keeping in mind the fact that web readers don’t read, they scan. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short and concise, and make good use of headlines and bolded items which highlight your most important messages. Next, use bullet points—judiciously—to make the scanned information easier for your reader to process. Remember that people don’t want to see your firm as “faceless,” but rather want to be able to personalize and feel as if they “know” you. You can accomplish this by using attorney biographies, newsletters and blogs, all of which humanize your law firm and make it feel accessible. Never forget that the average person does not have an understanding of “legalese,” and will, therefore, shy away from it. If your prospective client doesn’t have a clue what you are writing about, they will move on to the next legal website. People visit the Internet for information or entertainment, and your potential clients are looking for information. They want their questions answered quickly and concisely, and want to solve their problem in the most expedient manner possible. Keep your content informative, engaging, and update constantly. Soon you will find your firm at the top of the list with happy, repeat customers.
For expert guidance and free advice, call Lawyer Success, Inc to answer all of your questions. Call (769) 218-6099 today.
Monday, September 13th, 2010
Many attorneys start out their Internet marketing campaign by purchasing a law firm website template. Some attorneys will go to the next step and will read a few web pages about SEO or buy a book on how to search engine optimize a website. This was in hopes of learning how to optimize their law firm website for search engine rankings. Like a lot of small business owners, you may have even submitted your legal website to a few search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo in hopes that people would show up to your law firm website and call you for you to represent them. After a couple of weeks go by and your website has only attracted a few stray people to your law firm website you may feel like you wasted your time.
If you were one of the “smart” ones who even tried to “optimize” your website for your main 1 or 2 keyword phrases in hopes that you would rank well ion Google, Bing or Yahoo. You probably saw a few more weeks go by with no luck. No visitors and no money. Now you really feel certain that you had completely wasted of your time!
Most lawyer will give up at this point while some will decide to build another website but focus on a different market or keyword phrase. You may have probably figured out by now, that is NOT the way to get your law firm website on the top of Google, Yahoo or Bing. These days creating a bunch of websites expecting people to just “show up” does not work like it did in the 1990s or early 2000s.
The key foundation you need to begin any new or existing website development and search engine optimization campaign on involves using the “right” keyword phrases. The right keyword phrases are defined by LawyerSuccess.com as, “The keyword phrases the search engines have reported as most relevant and search in your area.”
Th biggest reason for law firm website optimization failure is choosing the keyword phrases you “think” people will use versus the ones people are actually using. This coms to the surprise of many of our new clients. They are relieved to know that a simple research tool made publicly available for free can help them narrow their focus to the “ideal” and most effective law firm practice area keyword phrases.
We will provide you with a few different websites that offer free keyword research when you call LawyerSuccess.com at(769) 218-6099 for a free consultation.
Friday, September 10th, 2010
The parallel question—and equally important one in response to the above title is—“How can I improve my web site’s ranking in search engines?” The number one fact you should keep in mind when considering how to increase traffic to your website—which first requires a high ranking in the search engines—is that study after study has proven that web users almost never look past the first three pages of results when looking for a relevant site. Therefore, if your website is not within the top 30 results, chances are good you will languish in cyberspace.
First, you need to improve your website’s rankings; once you get the click onto your website, it is imperative that you grab them and hold on tight! The very basics to improving the search engine ranking of your law firm’s website include:
- Register your website. While this may appear to be a no-brainer, if you want to capitalize on your firm’s popularity, you need to be registered with the top search engines along with as many other high quality websites as possible. You can accomplish this by submission to the free search engines such as Google, submission to the paid search engines such as Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, etc., registration at legal sites such as Findlaw.com. Law.com, Martindale.com, and by exchanging reciprocal links with professional organizations.
- Reciprocal Links. The best way, according to Google, to ensure a top listing for your legal website is for it to be linked to other, high-quality websites. This is known as “link popularity,” and is critical to the success of your website. Because Google’s automated search robots jump from page to page via hyperlinks, the more sites that link to your firm—or vice-versa—the more likely Google will list your website. It is important for you to contact other legal websites and ask for reciprocal links.
- Relevant content. It cannot be stated often enough that having relevant content on your law firm’s website is critical to your success. The majority of your potential clients have no idea what your law firm’s name is. Therefore, they do not type in “Richardson and Richardson Law Firm,” but rather search by either asking a question—“How do I find a divorce attorney in Austin, Texas?” or they type in a string of words such as “worker’s comp in New Mexico.” For your law firm’s website to respond to search questions like this, you must offer authoritative information on your practice via articles, newsletters, bulletin alerts, links, statistics, etc.
While there are many more ways to increase your search engine rankings, these are the basics of law firm website SEO. So, once you have made it to the top in the major search engine rankings, and potential clients are clicking on your law firm’s website right and left, how do you ensure they stay on your website and don’t move on to the next law firm?
A great legal website will first be visually appealing, using a combination of appropriate color choices, smart page layouts, visually intriguing graphic designs and carefully chosen image selections. When all of these components are taken together–while your visitor may not know why he or she wants to continue clicking on your website’s links, ultimately leading to a phone call to your office– your initial visual presentation keeps your visitor firmly on your website.
Following the ever-important visual presentation, keep the following tips in mind when thinking of how to keep your clients on your page:
- Make sure your content is the highest quality, most informative, interesting, factual content around. Professional legal web writers could be essential to the success of your web content, which can include articles, newsletters, blogs, etc.
- Make sure your firm’s telephone number is displayed prominently on each page of your website, and offer an e-mail form on each and every page. While you will have certain customers who will pick up the phone, others will prefer to send an e-mail, so cater to both.
- Offer a free e-newsletter, which will build your list of engaged readers and market your firm. Be sure you follow up by e-mailing out a newsletter at least once per month to keep your firm in the forefront of your potential client’s minds.
- Consider attorney biographies on your website. It has been proven that this is one of the most popular sites of a legal firm’s website. People feel a more personal connection with your firm when they can actually see the faces, and have some relevant information about your individual attorneys.
Increasing website traffic to your legal firm’s website is a constant and ongoing process, not one that you can do and forget about, however the payoffs can be a huge increase in your ideal client base. Call Lawyer Success, Inc. for a free website traffic coaching call by calling (769) 218-6099.
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
First impressions, as we all know, are critical, and when visitor’s surf your law firm’s website, they will immediately judge your company strictly on the look of your website. This could be the first time your visitor has seen or heard of your law firm. They are likely in some sort of trouble, or need, and find themselves in search of the best law firm for their particular issue. While it may seem rather shallow in some ways, the appropriate color choices, image selection, smart page layouts and visually intriguing graphic design will determine if your visitor clicks away to a more visually appealing website or stays put.
Lawyer websites come with a particular set of requirements, the first being the need to combine sophistication, uniqueness and professionalism in a warm, welcoming, and easy-to-understand presentation. The legal profession is still a serious business and while your website must reflect that, it also needs to be accessible to the average person—no “legalese” allowed when trying to bring clients into your firm. Whether you are a small, single attorney practice, or a large, international law firm, you need to leave an impression to your website visitors that your firm, while professional and solid, is also made up of real people who are ready and extremely able to help you.
Custom Legal Website Design
If you hire a professional company to design your law firm’s website, they will ask pertinent questions which will enable them to examine your overall online marketing strategy from all angles. The idea is to reflect your unique business in all its aspects onto your legal website. You will discuss all the components that will come together to create your one of a kind website such as keywords, taglines, slogans, navigation menus and logos. When creating your website, keep these thoughts in mind:
- Understand search for attorneys; learn how normal people search for a lawyer to represent them on the internet. You might be surprised to find that the words you use to describe your law firm might not be the same words a visitor would use.
- Understand your website’s keywords–they are the foundation of your law firm’s SEO campaign, therefore you must be vigilant when building your website around your carefully chosen keywords.
- Use legal industry keywords strategically because each page on your website is a potential doorway to your law firm. More doors=more opportunities for prospective clients to enter in.
- Use your keywords in the page titles which are displayed at the top of the browser. Each page title should be unique according to the very latest website requirements.
- Use keywords in your content, however not to the extent that it becomes stilted or unreadable. Use the keywords in their proper context, and avoid at all costs “stuffing” keywords into your content.
- Incorporate links in your law firm’s website. Search engines follow the online community, which includes what the community is saying about you and your website. For search results to remain relevant, the sites which remain at the top must be rewarded. If a page receives links to it from a site that is already highly ranked, it will help boost the search engine rankings of the receiving site as well.
Creating a website design that will bring you the type of clients your firm wants is a skill and an art; you owe it to your firm to hire the very best website designer around. After all, would you wear your old sweatpants and t-shirt to an interview? Of course not, because you desire to make a great first impression. Your website needs to “dress up” and make the same unforgettable impression.
Free lawyer website coaching calls available by calling (769) 218-6099 hassle free assistance.
Friday, September 3rd, 2010
It is important to understand the concept behind search engine optimization, aka SEO. Internet marketers help websites and the website’s inner pages more “search engine friendly.” This process includes creating an effective keyword and keyphrase list of well targeted and trafficked terms. Then SEO the next step utilizes fluid copywriting and keywords within the body of each piece of web page content so that it adds to the content’s continuity in a relevant way. SEO or search engine optimization also improve website’s structure for better indexing by major search engines.
Friday, September 3rd, 2010
Today we downloaded the free WordPress iPad app (application) and here is our take on lawyer blogging using mobile computing devices like the iPad. This application is a must download if you want to be able to access and blog using your iPad since Apple’s Safari browser will not allow you to use the WordPress web based program.
For starters the iPad WordPress app is extremely simple and pared down to the most important festers such as managing posts, pages and comments, etc. Also included is the ability to add photos directly from the iPad’s photo library. This feature is very time efficient and simple. In fact there are only 3 icons on the main blog writing page.
One icon is for setting your blog post status, date and auto picture resizing which is a really nice feature. The second icon feature the picture selection menu. Again, very pared down to only the very essential and basic features.
The third icon on the write page on WordPress for iPad is the preview page option. This allows you to view the layout of the blog post prior to posting it on the website or blog.
When the user is on the write a page or post page, the options available are title, tags, categories, status, and the body text area.
This WordPress iPad application is perfect for getting new content on your lawyer blog while you are at the local coffee shop or waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant. Again the features are limited to only the essential features like comment management and creating, editing or posting blog posts and pages.
What we liked about the WordPress app for the Apple iPad is the ability to quickly get in and start blogging. Unlike the WordPress on your PC or Mac this application is very fast and is almost instantaneous which really supported our need to be able to launch blog copy while on-the-go.
We also loved that your could easily add multiple WordPress blog accounts in to the application. it also saves your passwords which again supports the need for speed and convenience for professional legal bloggers.
The one real sticking point though is the lack of some of the more commonly used features that would make this application perfect. The lack of being able to make text links without having to code is an issue for novice bloggers. However you are able to drop in HTML code while typing out your content with is pretty helpful for more advanced bloggers.
Another fairly burdensome functionality issue is the lack of the ability to go from one app back to WordPress without having to close out the application. When you leave WordPress, it closes and then reloads when you return. In other words, if you wanted to copy and paste something from another app or the Internet, WordPress closes out and then you have to go back in to the post you were editing all over again.
Also you can forget about this app if you want to create or launch a WordPress blog. This app lacks all of the Plugin, Settings, and other programming features that are in the full version WordPress program you typically run on your PC, laptop or Mac.
Again, this app just focuses on allowing you to access, create and edit your content at the very basic level. Does that have value? Yes. For those who just want to be able to quickly get their ideas out to their potential clients and want to turn spare time in to lead generation productivity this is your answer and it is better than nothing at all.
The best alternative is to be able to access the full version via Safari or to download a different browser to your iPad to access the online version of WordPress.
This blog post is the first post in which we used the iPad solely for blog content creation. Total elapsed time for this blog post – under 10 minutes. In fact it took less than 45 seconds to learn where all the features were and how to use them.
This is ideal for the lawyer who wants a fast, portable and convenient way to publish new information on his or her blog while on the go. If you travel by commute or by mass transportation this the city, you will be able to turn that spare time in to lead generation time.
Call LawyerSuccess.com if you are interested in designing a blog for your law firm. blogs are extremely effective for creating new leads from the search engines. Call (769) 218-6099 for free attorney blogging tips, ideas and advice or to have one of our designers create your custom blog.