Posts Tagged ‘website content’

The Role of Legal Content in your Lawyer Website

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Legal content writing is more than just putting a few words onto a page and dropping a lawyer’s name into the mix here and there. Legal content compliments your brand, much like an aromatic white wine — Chardonnay, for instance — pairs well with semi-hard Cheddar and Alpine cheeses. Effective legal content should encourage the prospective client to linger over your lawyer website – drawn by aesthetics, captured with substance. The problem is finding the time to write your own legal content, let alone make it appealing – especially for sole practitioners and smaller law firms.

Legal content writing

Legal content consists of lawyer website articles and blogs. Lawyer Success, Inc. has a network of attorney-writers available who understand both the legal and marketing mechanisms required to produce successful legal content.  Our consultants interview you to gather the criteria desired for your legal content, and our technical team ranks keywords (SEO — search engine optimization) using the latest web traffic reporting tools, then our writers marry the two in your customized legal content. The result is an online presence branding your own legal niche!

Perhaps you already have an aspiring legal content writer on-staff, or prefer to hire your own legal content writer through Craig’s List or another online classified source – or, maybe you just want to do-it-yourself? The quality of the work you publish on your lawyer website is important. Remember: This is a prospective client’s first impression of you, and you want that first impression to resonate favorably.

Online publishing made easy

Publishing new legal content 4-5-times per week and writing weekly press releases is a great way to effectively add unique content and value to your lawyer website. Great content generates links, and constantly updated content creation can elevate your Google rankings higher than paid-link campaigns. Lawyer Success, Inc. can show you how to add content, edit web pages, format content, add articles, blog posts, audio, and more to your lawyer website from the convenience of yourself (or, we can administer your site for you). We also make your lawyer website and optional blog page conveniently accessible from your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android smart phone.

Free lawyer website design

Lawyer Success, Inc. saves you time and money on legal website content and lawyer website design. Call today to receive free, no-obligation strategies from a highly experienced consultant (and never a sales representative). There is absolutely No Risk for trying our Free lawyer website design offer!

Call (800) 877-2776 for FREE ADVICE from marketing experts – no sales pitches, just real advice.

Writing in Plain Language Which Speaks to Your Readers

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Here’s a news flash that most writers will surely find distressing—web readers usually actually read less than a third of the content of any given page. Whether this is because the reader actually found what he was looking for by the time he had read that amount or because he realized this was not the information he was after is unclear. Or, a third choice could be that the information the reader is looking for was hidden behind loads of extraneous text which the reader had neither the time nor the inclination to sift through. People come to a website with a specific goal in mind and if they are unable to find the answer to their question they will hit the back button in the mere flash of a second.

Meeting Your Readers’ Needs

If you want to meet your reader’s needs, then no matter what subject you are writing about must be presented in the most efficient manner possible, and the old adage about less being more is true nowhere as much as on the web. Text that is rich with flowery or complicated words not only breaks your reader’s concentration—as they try to figure out what each words means—it also takes the attention away from the subject and puts it onto the words. Plain language encompasses and entire style of writing which allows the target audience to understand quickly and easily the first time they read a passage.

Organization is Key

Plain language is always well-organized as well as sharp and succinct.  Think about having a conversation with a friend then eliminate anything which wouldn’t be part of that conversation. Writers who have spent many years writing prose may have the most difficult time with this advice, but remember—you are not banned from using any but the simplest words, so long as you ensure they are also familiar words to your readers. This means that you must know who your audience is. If you are writing for yourself in the form of a blog or on your own website, it is likely that you do know who your audience is. If you are writing for others, determining your target audience takes a bit more work. You may need to thoroughly dissect the site you are writing for in order to determine what the basic education level, work environment and level of technical expertise is regarding your subject.

How Important Is Plain Writing?

Plain writing is so important to reader comprehension that federal agencies are actually required—under the Plain Writing Act of 2010—to write their white papers, documents and websites in plain language that most all readers will comprehend. This particular law also requires that employees who will be engaged in writing will receive training on writing plainly. Suppose you have written your content using the plainest language possible. What else can you do to ensure your content is read?

Begin with the shortest, most concise statement you can possibly make about your subject. Make this statement both informative and immediately intriguing or engaging. Seconds are crucial here, so ensure this first statement is pure magic. Assuming you achieved that first goal, next make your page highly scannable with headlines for each paragraph chunk which makes a promise—and a paragraph that delivers. Provide clear links, use bulleted or numbered lists where appropriate and stay with short sentences. Finally, even if you are fairly certain you have a good handle on who your readers are, don’t ever assume they have specific knowledge of a subject or have read related pages. Write in such a way that each page will stand on its own, and write in plain, simple language.

How Presentation and Interaction are Critical to the Success of Your Web Content

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

While great content is a critical factor in the success of a website presentation and whether the reader can successfully interact with that content are also high on the list.  People, at heart, are rather superficial, and whether we want to admit it or not we respond to appearances. Those appearances impact our feelings, our perceptions and our choices, and the appearance of any given website can impact whether people will trust that website and, by extension, the business.

Even with stellar content, if the presentation and appearance don’t mesh, people will spend less time reading the content, may assume the company is amateurish, and could even question the company’s ability to produce what it is promising. Website owners should always guard against a cheap or amateurish-appearing site unless they want the first impression of their readers to be a negative one. The company website represents the organization’s brand, giving an immediate impression of credibility and professionalism.

Great Content May Never Be Read Without Great Presentation

In order to ensure readers actually make it to the engaging, compelling and informative content, the website must be presented in a clean, well-organized manner with a clearly presented logo or brand. Navigation should be clear and simple, guiding visitors to the parts of the website the owner deems most important. Communication with visitors can be accomplished through imagery and visual cues, guiding readers to the meat of the site—the content. Within the content links can direct readers to related articles or background information or, if writing for a blog, the writer can link to earlier posts the reader might find equally relevant.

Web Writing Goals

The web writer must consider all the contexts in which their words may be found, hence the importance of titles. Content must be broken down into chunks of text with section headings which allows readers to quickly find the information they are looking for. It cannot be said enough that Internet content must be scannable—after all, if no one reads the content, then how valuable can it really be. Content that is compelling, personal and energetic, written in the active voice is almost always the best choice. Writing that comes with a bit of attitude can also be appealing to readers, but the ultimate test of whether your words will be read lies in the presentation.

Allowing the Reader to Interact With the Story

Beyond great content and superb presentation, web writing must encourage reader interaction. Readers want to feel as though they are having a conversation with a trusted friend, so take the necessary time to turn a mass of words into something that draws the reader in. Even complex subject matter can be made much more reader friendly with the inclusion of white space—one idea per paragraph and paragraphs that are no more than 5-6 sentences contribute to that white space. Strong headlines get readers involved in the content, while equally strong subheads hold the attention throughout the page. These techniques which are not specifically noticed by readers nonetheless allow them to be drawn into the story, becoming fully engaged and reading to the very end. Content is king, but presentation and interaction are strong supporting players.

Compelling Content plus the Right Keywords Equals Success

Monday, June 25th, 2012

As Google’s algorithms continue to change and mature, compelling content is headed to the forefront of website success. Although many people have known for a long time that compelling, relevant, engaging and timely content were crucial, the Internet world as a whole has been slow to catch on. Most all of us have found content on the web which makes little sense and is largely a string of keywords put together with little thought of actual readability.  On the other side, frequent web users generally have certain sites they visit time and time again.

What Makes People Return to Websites?

Think about what makes you come back to the same site over and over and likely you will find it to be the relevant, interesting and compelling content. This level of content not only keeps readers coming back, it even sparks readers to share the content with friends and among social media. Sites which reach the level of “compelling” generally offer unique, well-written content with links which not only point users to other site areas but also keep spiders well-fed, resulting in better search results. These sites also have content which is considered “evergreen,” meaning the information will not be out-of-date next month—or even next year.

Compelling Content Nobody Can Find

But what if your content is top-of-the line, grade A content, meaning it offers expert and timely information in a compelling and engaging manner—yet nobody is able to find it? This is where other factors, such as the right keywords and scannable text, come into play. Suppose you wrote an article about building rocking chairs, yet nowhere in your content were the words “rocking chair?” Aside from being a little crazy, it would also make it impossible for searchers to find your site when they typed in the search query “build rocking chair.” While this is certainly an extreme example, what it should tell you is that quality web content must be extremely easy to find and must be relevant to what the searcher is searching for.

Using Keywords Wisely

Keywords are vital to the ultimate success of your web content therefore you must take special pains to make them stand out, while also ensuring they make sense within your context. Search engine spiders are looking for your keywords and they need to be able to quickly determine whether your page actually describes the topics your keywords are advertising and, if so, how relevant your pages actually are. There are many ways to come up with the best keywords, but following a system can ensure you get the ones which will send traffic scurrying your way.

First of all simply start with the easiest words you can think of, right off the top of your head. Next, figure out synonyms for those words and finally consider your user’s vocabulary. This means you should factor in misunderstandings, incorrect terms, associated concepts and even classifications children would come up with. Once those critical keywords are firmly in place, work at integrating them in your content in the most natural way which keeps the content flowing and doesn’t make them shout “keyword” to your readers.

Final Thoughts

Remember to keep your content eminently scannable remembering that web readers have little time and even less patience when they are looking for a particular bit of information. Web readers scan, looking for stand-out sentences. This practice dictates that you include engaging headlines, chunks of text and bulleted lists in order to hold their attention. While content is certainly king, great content may never be read without a few tweaks along the way.

Organizing and Pre-Writing to Make Your Web Content Sparkle

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The word “outline” takes many of us back to our high school English class and brings a shudder. The truth is, your English teacher was smarter than you think. Writers who want their content to be compelling, engaging, informative and sparkly would do well to engage in a bit of pre-writing before they sit down to write their article. Pre-writing can allow you first and foremost to focus intelligently on your topic while narrowing the focus. You will find that your mind opens to ideas you had not thought of once you engage in pre-writing. Pre-writing also allows you to identify any potential gaps in your information—gaps you may not have been aware of. If you tuned out during high school English, you will find some tips below which will allow you to organize your thoughts and thus your content in a way that will have your readers coming back for more.


Focused free writing—what you may know as stream of consciousness writing—is a good beginning point before you attempt an outline. Use a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen and spend from 5-15 minutes summarizing your topic as you let your thoughts roam freely on the specific subject. You will write anything which comes to mind without stopping and without editing or even reviewing what you have written. When your time is up, take a look at your initial topic summary and re-write it. Is it different than the first? Look over your writing and determine whether there are words or ideas you can flesh out on your topic and if a main idea comes shining through.

Outlining and Listing

You are now ready for a more structured and sequential view of your research and your free-writing or brainstorming. Arrange your items and topics in a logical manner without worrying about punctuation, grammar or complete sentences. Make a list of your topics then structure them similarly. Sequence these topics according to their importance—if you have two topics which are equal in importance, place them at the same level; you will likely see one edge out the other as your writing progresses. You can outline on a piece of paper, but know that it will be messy when you are done. If you are someone who cringes at the thought of cross-outs and mark-throughs you should likely do your outline electronically, leaving a nice, pretty outline you can print out.

Reading and Thinking

One way to improve your writing is to read constantly. Make notes of writing styles which engage you and notice how the content is laid out. Writers who are oblivious to what is going on in the world will likely turn out content which is boring and trite. Take a few minutes a day to let your mind wander over ideas which have occurred to you over the past week or so, and capture those ideas on paper before you can forget them. Listening to the conversations of those around you is also a great way to come up with new ideas and inspiration as well as getting different perspectives on old subjects. When you have lots of new ideas, you are ready to pre-write and turn those ideas into valuable content.

Why Titles are Crucial in the Success of Your Web Writing

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

You’ve probably heard it time and time again—the title of your article is critical to the success it gains on the web. Ignoring the importance of that title can be very detrimental to your writing—after all the majority of readers determine whether or not they will read your article based on the title, and the search engines will not be able to accurately identify your site’s subject matter, hindering the flow of traffic. Those who work at larger newspapers are well aware that titles of the newspaper articles are considered so extremely important that there is often a title editor on the job.

This person’s sole function is to constantly come up with compelling, interesting and enticing headlines for the stories run by the newspaper. As readers have less and less actual time to read an article which catches their eye, they turn to skimming to determine whether the information they need or want is contained within a specific article. If you are a newspaper reader, you likely look at the front page, skimming the headlines to determine what you want to read, then continue through the paper from page to page, skimming headlines and stopping occasionally to actually read through an article.

Words That Draw Your Reader’s Attention

There are specific words which will naturally draw the eye of your reader—the most common, of course, being “sex.” Obviously unless you are actually writing about sex you can’t just throw the word in randomly in order to get readers. There are other words considered “high engagement” words however it’s important not to overuse them. Readers will quickly recognize they are being manipulated rather than being able to clearly see what the ensuing article is really about. If you are writing for a specific genre, such as the art world, including words such as gallery and exhibit can draw your reader’s eyes quickly to your article, giving them a hint of something they want to read about. Keywords should be used in your titles, but only in a natural manner, not in an obviously contrived way.

Titles Geared Toward Search Engines

In addition to having a good idea of what words human beings will look for when writing your titles you will also need to know the words search engines rely on. For instance if humans typically type in “backache” rather than “back ache,” then you will want to use the former in your titles to ensure they can be found by the search engines. Additionally, the search engines rely heavily on article titles in order to determine what the content is about, so the title is indeed, crucial. Every page in your site should have a unique title which clearly describes the content on the page rather than the overall site.

Title Tags

So you understand the process for writing a title for each page, now think about your title tags. In terms of search optimization, the single most important sentence you will write for your website will be the title tag for your primary website page. The title tag tells the search engine what the page is all about, and, in the case of your primary page, what your website is about. Your primary keywords or keyword phrases should appear in the title tag with the most important words appearing near the beginning of the sentence. Most guidelines state that you should limit the characters in your title tag to 70, and although only the first 70 characters will show in the top bar of the browser, search engine robots can read the remainder and there is no penalty for going over that number of characters. Think of your titles and title tags as the gateway to your compelling content—if neither humans nor search engines want to open that gate, then the rest of your content will never be seen.

Is Your Web Content Gender-Neutral?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In most cases of web content, the person’s gender is not relevant to the story you are telling. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. If you happen to be writing for a women’s website on the subject of menopause, then gender is certainly relevant. Should you not be writing for a website which is specifically geared to one gender or another, then focusing on one gender or the other can seem very sexist. Unfortunately, many of the descriptive words we use have gender bias built right in, such as “fireman,” or “actress.” Even a decade or so ago writers were instructed to implement the generic masculine terms, but in today’s world these words can seem dated or biased. There are ways to incorporate gender-neutral words into your content without using the clumsy “he or she.”

Be Specific

Generally speaking, if you are talking about men or boys, then use “he, his and him,” and likewise use “she, her and hers” when talking about females. However if you are writing a sentence such as “Each lawyer must take his bar exam,” this is a case of using a masculine pronoun in a generic manner. While you could write that sentence as “Each lawyer must take his or her bar exam,” this feels awkward. You could also use the vague their as in “Each lawyer must take their bar exam,” but this is somewhat controversial from a grammatical standpoint. In order to avoid making these choices regarding pronouns which tie to one gender or another, try using the authoritative style of the verb instead. Use the second person you or your rather than the third person gender-specific pronouns he, his, she and her.  In this case the sentence becomes “In order to become a lawyer you must take your bar exam,” and completely eliminates gender-specific wording.

Other Strategies for Keeping Your Content Gender-Neutral

The next tip for gender-neutral content is to change your nouns and pronouns to the plural form. Rather than writing “Each intern should mail his or her resume’ to the human resource department,” or “Each intern should mail their resume’ to the human resource department,” why not try it this way: Interns should mail their resume’s to human resources.” You have said the same thing, but in a much more concise and gender-neutral manner. Another way of keeping your content gender-neutral consists of repeating the noun, particularly if it will clarify the meaning of your sentence or eliminate the pronoun altogether.

Why Should You Care About Keeping Content Gender-Neutral?

Your goal is to convey information to your readers in a form they can both understand and use, avoiding anything which hinders clear communication. Should any part of your targeted audience find themselves insulted, offended or confused by the manner in which you express yourself through your writing then the understanding of your message could be derailed. While the process of using gender-neutral writing may feel like a relatively low-priority issue, ensuring your content is complete and correct is not a low-priority issue. Whenever possible, bypass the entire gender issue, and when it is not possible use masculine pronouns only for men and boys and feminine pronouns only for women and girls. A little practice in keeping your content gender-neutral will allow you to use these tips without thinking twice about it.

Identifying Your Audience When Writing for the Web

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

In order to identify your audience your target audience think of what you would do if you sat down to make a sketch of a person. You would add one element of the face at a time—eyes, nose, hair, then refine those elements even more by adding the color of the eyes, the style of hair. Eventually you would have an entire face before your eyes and you would have identified a specific person. In order to identify your web readers, don’t attempt to get a complete picture all at once. Start with a piece of paper or your word processing screen in front of you, and ask yourself specific questions which you can definitively answer. After you have a basic outline, do your homework and fill in the missing information.

You will first ask yourself questions which involve the overall demographics of your targeted audience. Solid, measurable data gives you a good foundation for understanding your audience. What age or gender group are you targeting? What social or economic group? Are your visitors members of a specific profession? Are you targeting a specific type of person who is looking for a specific product or service? (In almost all cases, the answer to that will be yes!)  What is the primary language of your readers, and what is the average education level? Would your readers be likely to have disabilities which would affect how they view your site? All of these pieces of the puzzle can help define your audience, and, assuming you determined that the majority of those reading your content were young, self-employed and at least fifty percent Spanish speaking, would that alter the manner in which you wrote that content?

Qualitative Data

Who is that person and what tasks are they performing on the website you are writing for? Qualitative information tells you why people will visit the website and read your content, as well as what they want to read, what they need and what they expect. Analytics programs are a good place to get the qualitative information you need such as which pages receive the most traffic and which links are clicked the most. Such a program will also let you see how much time people spend on the site, and whether or not they hang around and interact. Once you know why people visit your site and understand if the majority of them leave satisfied with their experience, your writing will change to reflect that information.

It can be really easy to get caught up in the writing process and neglect the person you expect to actually read your content, yet if you write without identifying your audience you may end up getting fewer readers than you will if you have a good understanding of them. You must also avoid thinking that your fellow writers who leave comments regarding your content are in any way your target audience. If you operate under that assumption then your viewpoint—and your writing will be extremely limited.  Stretch your thinking and look at the big picture, then craft your content in such a way that it will not only appeal to your target audience but to the largest portion of readers possible.

Creating Learner-Friendly Content

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

If you know why you are writing each piece of content you publish, then it is likely that your writing reflects that passion. Whether you are writing for yourself about issues which center around your work, your hobbies, your family or your feelings, or you are writing for a paycheck, you must always write for a reason. People across the globe are literally fascinated by details; if you can write in a way that shows why the subject matters to you, it is likely it will also matter to your readers. Many websites are not learner-friendly; they may have a lovely design, be very accessible, have usable interfaces yet can lack the learner’s goals or needs. This is assuming that the writer is even aware of what the learner’s needs are.

If you take a look at the entire industry of the web, you will see that as writers we may not have worked hard enough to create content-rich websites which allow exploration and learning. In other words, even though we all know the importance of keywords, compelling headlines and short, snappy sentences and paragraphs, this is not enough. Our readers are also learners who want an interactive, discoverable environment. Does your writing provide that environment, or is this an area of your content which might benefit from a little tweaking? First, take a look at your narrative then build on that for learner-friendly content.

How Storytelling Benefits Your Content

Narrative—also known as storytelling—is crucial to learning. A huge portion of the communication we as humans have with one another revolves around telling a story. We use this technique to provide information as well as to make an emotional connection. We use storytelling to align what we know about our world with what our readers know. When people enter into an exchange of a story, trust is built as readers work their own narrative into the content you’ve provided. Storytelling allows readers to easily move from one portion of your content to another, and helps bits and pieces of information turn into actual knowledge.

Interact With Your Readers

Once your narrative has created a bond with your readers, the next step is to interact with your reader in a way that changes them or prompts them to act. Learners jump into content-rich sites in the hopes of being changed in some way. They hope that what they find in your words will change their outlook on a specific subject, shift their view of the world, or give them something they did not have prior to reading your content. Learners need context in their reading to allow them to integrate what they already know with what they are now reading. The greater amount of context you provide, the more your readers will learn from your content.

How Your Readers Will Discover When Reading Your Content

As you are probably aware, different people learn in different ways. While some learners require exceptionally organized blocks of information others will take a more random path of exploration and investigation. Some readers will want to satisfy their curiosity rather than following a prescribed path, and discoverability which is built into your content can allow them to do just that. In short, content which is discoverable allows readers to choose their own path, build their own adventure. Sites such as Wikipedia are highly discoverable in that readers can move from one block of content to another as their interests take them. Ideally, every piece of web content will be a piece of the huge puzzle which, together, creates a rich landscape of exploration for all readers. So long as writers write for a reason and know why they write, learner-friendly content will be the result.

Banishing Bias When Writing for the Web

Monday, June 4th, 2012

As a web writer your goal is to reach as broad an audience as humanly possible, and to this end it is likely that you follow all the best practices for writing web content. You keep your sentences short and snappy, spend lots of time ensuring your titles and headings are brilliant and compelling, and you write with a target audience in mind. The question is—do you really know who that audience consists of or do you only have a very fuzzy idea? It is almost a certainty that your audience will vary widely in age, race, gender, culture, nationality and so on. What this means for the web content writer is that when you unconsciously use biased language, you risk alienating a certain percentage of your readers. In some cases, using biased language or writing with a clear bias can even damage your overall credibility.

Ways to Avoid Bias

First, make the determination as to whether a group-specific reference is relevant—in other words if a person’s age, race or gender is not relevant, then avoid mentioning it. If your story is about a local bank president who has won a prestigious award, then mentioning gender is probably not required. However, if that bank president is the first woman to ever win the award then gender is relevant and must be mentioned.  Next, be precise in your language—don’t use the word “girl” to refer to adult women, or the word “retiree,” when your content calls for the specificity of “people 65 and older.” Use the precise words which are favored by whatever group you are writing about.

Avoid Stereotypes and Generalizations

If you are writing a story about bad drivers and you find your own bias showing through—if your article seems to imply that all women are bad drivers—then take a step back and re-think your words. Using the words “everyone,” and “normal,” are also primary ways to tick off at least some of your readers. After all, what constitutes “normal?” And when using the word “everyone,” you may lead your readers to wonder if “everyone,” is everyone except them. Use specific words to describe a person or group, and guard against letting your personal feelings or biases about those people or groups come through in your writing.

Avoiding Clichéd Contents

Avoid using the pronouns “us, them and we,” in a way that implies you have a personal connection with your reader. By saying “We all want a good bargain when we go shopping,” you are implying “people like us,” rather than maintaining a connection with all your readers. Certain figures of speech or slang words can make your writing sound very biased without your intending it to. Suppose you write something like “This is not your Grandma’s beef stew.” Your implication is that older people are not welcome to read your article. Cliché’s can end up being very offensive to a specific group of people and can also mean that your writing is dated.

Is Bias Normal?

Bias is a natural slice of human conduct, and actually allows us to stay alive in an odd kind of way by allowing us to make choices which can rescue us from peril or defend our loved ones or livelihoods. It can also inhibit our ability to be open-minded to all those who come to our content. Much of our biases exist in our subconscious, and are absorbed through our culture or our family. We tend to assume our specific beliefs are normal and that others share our viewpoint. When writing for the web, however, let go of those biases to the extent possible, then proofread your writing with an eye toward spotting any biases you missed.