Successful online marketing for law firms

October 09, 2010 When it comes to marketing your legal practice online, do you understand exactly what you need to have a successful website? Most law firms fail to incorporate all the elements that are crucial to a successful website. So what are the elements that your law firm's website needs? 1.  Website Visibility. Web visibility (or popularity or optimization) refers to the overall visibility of your website on the Internet.  Typically there are two ways a potential client can find your site:
  • Through a search engine (such as Google, Yahoo or MSN). When it comes to the search engines, if your website does not show up on the 1st or 2nd page of the most common search phrases used by consumers when their online looking for an attorney, your site is not going to be found. Typically consumers search by typing in a geographic qualifier, along with a practice area and then the word lawyer or attorney. For example, "New Orleans personal injury attorney" or "Houston workers' comp lawyer".
  • The other path to your website is via directories online. These are all the aggregator pages like SuperPages.com or GooglePlaces that will direct to you. Ask yourself, does your website show up at the top of the search engines for those types of searches? Is your site listed in high traffic legal directories? If the answer is no, don't expect to generate consistent business through the Internet.
Now, I hear you saying, we advertise on TV and in print, they will type in our website address. No  they won't. They will type in a name or phrase they heard or read into the Google search bar and hit Enter. The search box has become the primary method of navigation for many users.  If your competitors are savvy, they are buying search terms in PPC campaigns around your name so your Website Visibility and ranking is important. High web visibility is the single most important component in successfully marketing your firm online. 2. Design of Your Site. One of the most often overlooked but incredibly important factors in successfully marketing your firm on the Internet is having a website design that is visually appealing. Just as you would not go into the office in old jeans or torn shirts, your web presence tells people a lot about you. A visitor will generally make a judgment about you and your website within three seconds of visiting your site.
  • Is your site outdated?
  • Is the text difficult to read?
  • Does your navigation system that makes it difficult for a user to find what they're looking for?
  • If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you can say goodbye to that visitor. They will leave and go to the next site and now you've lost a potential client.
It's crucial to have a visually appealing website that is organized in a way that will make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. 3. Website Content. It's not enough to simply have a few lines of text describing your various practice areas. Consumers are looking for information and the more informative your site is to visitors, the more you look like the expert in your field.  Your content must be compelling and essentially needs to convince a visitor that you are the right firm to handle their legal matter. 4.  Conversion Strength.  Once you have a plan for a website that get good traffic and provides good content, the question should be "What can I do to increase conversion rates of those visitors?" Conversion in this situation is when you get a visitor to call your office or send a case evaluation request via an email or web form on your site. Certain elements can help increase the conversion rate of your site. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Does my site clearly indicate why a visitor should choose my firm to represent them?
  • What makes my site stand out from my competitors?
  • Is my phone number prominently displayed throughout the site? Is it easy to find?
  • Do I have a form when consumers can contact me via email on my site?
Anything that can help convince a visitor to contact you will help the conversion strength of your website. 5. Website Monitoring.   Now that you have #1 through #4 handled, you need to continue monitoring. Web analytics is the process of monitoring the behavior of your website visitors. It's not enough to simply have a Hit counter.
  • Analytics can tell you where visitors are coming from, how long they stay on your site, how many pages they are viewing on average, which websites are referring you traffic, which keywords someone typed in to find you and much more. More importantly, they can tell you when a page's content is NOT working. If you have a dead-end page that turns people off, Analytics will tell you that so you can adjust.
Summary: A well done website can be an incredible source of business for those firms that know how to market their practice online. Is your practice's website meeting all of these criteria? If not, maybe it is time to get a professional opinion and assistance.

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