Do You Waste Money?

Having an internet presence makes your identity public and attracts more than potential customers. Being an attorney makes some people see you as a cash cow. Add these things together and you get a sense that you might be spending more than needed – just because of your profession.

We are happy to share with you products and trends we come across that can make a difference in the wallet – apart from all the scams that we cover in separate posts.

Waste #1: Exchange servers
If your firm is relying on Microsoft Exchange, consider switching to Google Apps. Apart from being a bargain for $50/year per user you get access to many applications and a document storage that you can share with whomever you like. All you need is internet access — you basically fire your IT company.

Waste #2: Hosting with Lawyer Directories:
If your website has been built with XXXXX or XXXXXX, you might want to do a reality check: am I really getting as much out of these listings as I was promised? We received a letter from a lawyer in Alabama, who decided to move away from his premium priced lawyer directory. As a result, he saved $30,000 annually.

Waste #3: Monthly SEO work
Unless you are constantly changing your website, this does not make sense. A well optimized site will grow in ranking, you may collect valuable back-links though. Better spend your money in social media presence.

Waste #4: Mobile apps
A mobile friendly website is a must these days – especially when we consider the multitude of different devices with different screen sizes. But who wants to install an app so they can look at what you are offering?

 

 

Lawyer Website Marketing: Things you should know

Trademark the name of your law firm

  • Anybody can trademark the name of your law firm. Do it before someone else does it.
  • Contact your Secretary of State – it is usually just $10 for several years.

Some bars require approval of new or even changed websites

  • If you are a bar member and wish to publish a website, inquire whether your bar wants to approve a new website or even changes on your existing site.
  • Some bars charge their members an approval fee and a high fine if these regulations are not met.

Internet customers are different!

  • Respond fast once you receive a request from your website:
    Internet customers are used to quick responses. Don’t wait until the next day.
  • Be clear about value and pricing of your services. You often compete with law firms advertising ‘K1/K3 Attorneys $200’. Often enough potential clients try to get telephone consultations for free. Ask us for some samples.
  • Beginners only: offering free initial consultation can help in getting your first clients. Once your name has become known, switch to a fee for initial consultations.

Be visible and available

  • Have your website listed in local directories
    There are tons of directories out there, most of them free, but with an option for paid  ‘premium listings’. Only if your traffic reports show that you actually get traffic from that listing, consider the ‘premium listing’ — not before. If in doubt, call us.
  • Consider digital phone services. Paying for long distance service is not needed anymore.
  • Consider a Toll Free 800 number. Although many people do not pay anymore for long distance calls, it still sends a message of professionalism.

Beware of…

  • Domain renewal scams. Stay with your domain registrar. If you have paid your domain with one registrar,
    nobody else can charge you for renewing. Usually those letters have the word ‘solicitation – not an invoice’ in it.
  • Invitations to be listed in some world business directories. It sounds like big business, but usually ends up in a big scam.
  • Search Engine Optimization offers: Remember that we take care of the search engines for you. None of the agencies that have a “suggestion for optimizing your site” has checked your site’s position.
    Offers to optimize your site often end up in charges without better listings.

 

Website Builders: You Get What You Pay For

The other day I talked to a lawyer in San Diego, California. He had built his website himself with a website builder at a popular hosting company and was convinced he had made a good choice. Since both of us were curious about the actual costs and payoff, we started playing with numbers.

Hosting Costs:

While his hosting charges were a bit lower, neither did he receive detailed reports about visitors, nor search engine ranking reports. He also had to log into his control panel to set up his emails.
There was no spam protection offered when displaying his email address as a link.

Search Engine Visibility:

Talking about search engines – we searched for his website on Google, Yahoo and Bing, also tested similar websites of law firms built with this type of website builders:
As a first attempt we searched for a combination of city and practice area, then several combinations of city, county plus service. The shocking result was that although his city was relatively small (90,000) his website was not listed for any term amongst the first 1000 results. Although the domain name included the lawyer’s name, searching for his name showed him on page eight of Google’s result (to be exact, number 76).

We tried the same with a $900 website we built for of a client of ours. Although the site was launched only five weeks ago, the site already had one Google first page listing,  four Google 2nd page listings, and several results around #40-70. The lawyer’s name showed on the first results page of Google.

Traffic:

The lawyer’s website was visited about 10 times per month.  There was no data available, where the visitors came from, how long they stayed on the site, which pages they visited and where they left. No regional information was provided. There was no distinction between new and returning visitors.

The site we built for our client received steadily an average of 160 visitors per month, about 120 of those visitors belonged were searching on Google’s organic search. Due to our automatically created traffic reports, we now know which keywords are the most called for and can use the data to improve his search engine listing.

Design:

The design of the website builder was basic from a template — images that the lawyer had  inserted looked too crisp – an effect that occurs when a large image is scaled down. The size of fonts was not balanced.
Our website looked unique and easy to navigate, images were clear, related to the content and inserted with drop shadow and a  15px padding towards the text.

Price:

Our lawyer- friend spent around 5 hours figuring out the design and learning the website builder, 7 hours collecting his content, and another 5 hours to assemble his site. If we calculate his hourly rate at $250 and give him a 50% discount, this brings him to $2,125 + $100=2,225.00.
Our website client  paid $900 to us and used 7 hrs =$875 of his time for collecting his content (remember, we gave him 50% discount). Total $1775.00.

Result: He invested his time and money into a product that gives him a far less chance of acquiring a client through his site.

 

Matt Schaefer
awebsiteforlawyers.com