Watch this video to learn how a paid search advertising campaign can provide the broad online visibility you need to quickly generate high-quality leads for your law firm.
Do you care about how Google’s search engine works? If not you should because search engine optimization (SEO) is something you our your web guru must understand to get high search rankings and traffic. Google just announced that it created a website aptly called “How Search Works” to educate us on how Google’s search engine works! Spend some time on the site and educate yourself.
The site lets you follow the entire life of a search query, from the web, to crawling and indexing, to algorithmic ranking and serving, to fighting webspam. The site complements existing resources, the help center, user forums, Webmaster Tools, and in-depth research papers.
A few things you’ll find:
How to Search is intended to illuminate the split-second journey from algorithms to answers.
I absolutely love Time Matters. I cannot imagine practicing law without Time Matters, which I have used since 1998. Legal Loudspeaker, Business & Technology Tips for Law Firms, created a number of educational videos and white papers on using Time Matters.
Blind Five Year Old: “The idea behind AuthorRank is that your reputation as a content creator will influence the ranking of search results. Here’s the specific language from Google’s Agent Rank patent.
Agent? Agent is Google-speak for an author. This excerpt states that verified content by an author will be graded and it is that grade that influences the rank of content in search results. . . . AuthorRank won’t replace PageRank it’ll just make it more accurate. This is one of the more powerful applications of AuthorRank. In essence, Google identifies authors who can help curate the link graph.”
LawWebMarketing.com: “Google Authorship gives you the ability to identify yourself as the writer of Web content, as well as to boost your law firm’s marketing efforts and online presence. . . . One of the many benefits of a Google+ profile is the Google Authorship capability; with Google Authorship, you can claim all the content you create – no matter where it is published. Google Authorship markup works by connecting the pages where your content is published back to your Google+ profile.”
The following is a January 7, 2013, Fujitsu press release:
ScanSnap iX500 Desktop Scanner Incorporates “PC-Less” Scanning to Mobile Device Functionality
Control and Access Documents From the Palm of Your Hand With Your Smartphones and Tablets; Instantly Send Documents to the Cloud for Easy Organizing and Sharing
Fujitsu, the market leader in document imaging scanners, today introduced the newest addition to its award-winning ScanSnap product lineup – the next generation ScanSnap iX500 featuring built-in Wi-Fi connectivity giving customers the ability to scan directly to their Android™ and iOS compatible devices 1. Additionally, the ScanSnap iX500, for PC and Mac users, is enhanced with faster scanning speeds, a new advanced feeding system, an intelligent and customizable Quick Menu, and functionality allowing users to easily scan to cloud-based services such as Evernote, Google Docs™, Dropbox, SugarSync and Salesforce.
Equipped with a revolutionary “GI” image processer 2 inside the scanner, the ScanSnap iX500 is now empowered for today’s ever-increasing on-the-go lifestyle and mobile professional. Now, users can instantly scan and transmit PDF or JPEG files, such as contracts, receipts, bills, invoices and business cards, to their mobile devices without the use of a computer.
Utilizing the free “ScanSnap Connect” app on their mobile device or tablet, ScanSnap users achieve a whole new level of convenience in scanning; literally from the palm of their hand. With a simple push of a button, documents are scanned and saved to their mobile device ready to view, share or send to their favorite cloud service. The “ScanSnap Connect” app can be downloaded in the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store and can be used with Android compatible tablets and smartphones running OS 2.23 and both the iPad and iPhone running iOS 4.3 or later.
“There’s a simple reason why ScanSnap is the top selling personal scanner on the market today – it continues to offer the most intelligent, powerful scanning tools to keep up with the growing demands of our customers,” said Scott Francis, senior vice president of marketing, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. “The ScanSnap iX500’s built-in GI processor allows you to scan and save optimized PDFs to your mobile device without the need for a PC, while its advanced productivity features allow consumers and business professionals to be even more productive and paperless anywhere, anytime. All of this functionality provides customers with the highest performance personal scanning experience combined with extremely easy operation. The iX500 truly pushes the performance bar to a new level.”
Powerful, Intelligent and Fast
The ScanSnap iX500, enhanced with USB 3.0 connectivity, provides the same easy-to-use one-button scanning and advanced imaging technology that customers have come to expect with ScanSnap, while also providing consumers and business professionals additional intuitive productivity features that no other document management company offers. New and innovative features of the ScanSnap iX500 include:
Additional Productivity Features
The ScanSnap iX500 comes with software for PC and software for Mac so users who use both can optimize their ScanSnap for either platform. In-box software includes: Continue reading Fujitsu Announces Its Next Generation ScanSnap iX500 Desktop Scanner
Real Lawyers Have Blogs: “Traditional advertising is rapidly losing out as marketing professionals begin to realize the effectiveness and advantages of content marketing. . . . The number of businesses blogging jumped 29% in the last year, going from 51% of businesses to 65% of businesses blogging. Blogging not only helped businesses gain trust, credibility, and authority, but companies that blog receive 55% more web traffic. Blogs are also increasingly being viewed as effective in marketing with 58% of businesses believing blogs are an effctive marketing vehicle. Belief in Social media effectiveness jumped 61% from 31% in 2011 to 50% in 2012.
Remarkablogger has an excellent blog post about how to get traffic to your website or blog. The post states the following fundamental traffic facts of life:
Read about the 3 Ps: People, Problem & Product.
Law Marketing Blog: “LexisNexis® Legal & Professional ( www.lexisnexis.com ), a leading provider of content and technology solutions, last Thursday announced results from the latest LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® study on how international B2B law firms are using their websites as part of their marketing programs. . . . When asked about the most popular content on their website, lawyer biographies are the most visited pages (85% of respondents), followed by information about practice area/sector expertise (52%) and thought leadership articles, case histories, etc. (50%).”
This article misses the point. You don’t need a study to know that if a person stumbles on a lawyer’s website he/she is probably looking for a lawyer and so it follows the website visitor will probably check the lawyer’s biography page. The missed point is that the number one purpose of a law firm web site should be to attract visitors. The firm’s goal should be to create a website or blog that gets a lot of traffic. Bio pages do not generate traffic to your website. People who know you may Google your name and find your bio page, but that is not how people who do not know you are going to find you after doing a Google search.
If you want website traffic you must have good content and a lot of it. There is no secret to getting traffic to a website. Traffic is the result of tons of content. Years ago I noticed that my search engine word tracker said that people searched the phrase “Arizona dog bite” over 900 times in a single month. Although I did not litigate or do dog bite cases I wrote an article on Arizona’s dog bite law solely because I wanted to increase the traffic to my site. It worked. The image below shows a Google search result I did today for the phrase “arizona dog bite law.”
When I first started my website twelve years ago I used to write articles just to increase the traffic to my site. It worked. Another important fact of search engine optimization life is that sites that have a lot of traffic will have higher search engine rankings. Now I only write articles with the primary purpose to inform people about an area of law that I practice. It works. My Arizona LLC Law website had 9,911 visitors the month of September 2012. The bottom line is more traffic means more new clients.
Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs wrote a great article on Twitter lingo for lawyers. It is very informative. He starts “One of the most difficult parts of using twitter is condensing your thoughts into 140-chracters or less. Although often complained about, the 140-character limit is Twitter’s core feature and differentiates it from other social networking sites. On top of the character limit, Twitter has a language of it’s own. The abbreviations and lingo are helpful in fitting your thoughts into one simple and powerful tweet, but can be confusing to beginners.”
Google+ is an important marketing tool for lawyers and law firms. We are just at the beginning of this relatively new Google feature. Google+ has the potential to pay off big time, but there is a steep learning curve. To learn more about it I recommend an excellent article by Gyi Tsakalakis called “Google+ Pages for Law Firms.” There are a lot of good links in the article to other important sources of information about Google+.
An Infusionsoft consultant wrote an excellent article that starts “A client recently asked about my personal best practices for Infusionsoft. So I’ve decided to organize them into what I’m calling my ‘10 Infusionsoft Commandments.’ I’m pretty sure this list isn’t exhaustive but will provide you with a nice little perspective on how I approach marketing automation with the app.” His commandments are:
Read the article to learn about the details of each commandment.
This week I have been talking to my summer law clerk about her recent selection to be a staff member of the Arizona State University Law Journal. She is a very bright young lady who just finished her first year of law school at ASU. Her selection reminded me of my experience as a staff member and the associate managing editor of the Pacific Law Journal at my law school, the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.
Before my law review experience I hated writing. It was very difficult for me to write my article, but the article was selected for publication in the law journal. My year as the associate managing editor taught me about writing and to overcome my fear and reluctance to write. The managing editor and I were responsible for reading and editing every word of the two hard copy editions of the journal that were published during my tenure.
Law review is a nice feather in the cap of young law school grads seeking jobs early in their career, but the experience itself has intangible benefits.
An article in Forbes called “Abolish the Law Reviews!Abolish the Law Reviews!” contains the following true statement about law reviews:
The article makes a point with which I agree. The print version of law reviews should be abolished. The Harvard Law Review had 1,896 subscibers in 2010-11. I suspect that most law reviews have a lot fewer subscribers. Law reviews should be online only.
I’ve spent six plus hours trying to get a handle on how to configure my websites and my Google profile so that my picture will appear next to Google search results that show a link to a web page that contains content I wrote. Everybody in the know says that having your photo appear next to your Google search results increases the number of clicks to your web site or blog. That’s my goal, but to say the process is confusing and complex is an understatement.
I think that my efforts today will ultimately give me the desired result, i.e, my picture next to Google search results when one one my pages or posts comes up. I think I am good to go because when I run tests using Googles’ rich shippets tester I do not get any error messages. However, based on what I have researched it can take some time, even months, before the author’s photo appears in the search results. I’ll update this post when I see my picture in a search result, assuming it ever happens.
For those of you who want your picture to appear with search results, I recommend you read an excellent how to article called “Rel=Author Step By Step Tutorial For WordPress” and watch the author’s demo video.
Martindale-Hubbell: “In what has become an all too familiar refrain, a major New York law firm was recently informed by the FBI that all of the firm’s client files had been discovered on a server in a foreign country. Those files were then sent from that foreign server to China. . . . How do law firms come into the picture? The Chinese are just as likely, if not more likely, to steal the data they want from the foreign company’s attorneys and consultants as from the company itself. In fact, it is widely known that attorneys’ files are not well-protected from cyberattacks, and it is usually much easier for the Chinese to hack into the law firms’ files to steal the client data than it is to hack into the company’s files directly.”
I’d like to point out the need to set up a protocol to check what’s on the backups since there are common errors. Obviously, you should have backups both on-site, for fast local restore, and backups off-site, for ‘geo-redundant’ safety. Sometime the data files you need to backup are not really where you think they are.
1.1 SQL databases aren’t being properly backed-up – sometimes there is no .bak file available. If you just copy files when backing up, the file may not be there to backup. A SQL script is necessary to write the secure data inside the SQL database to an external .bak file.
1.2 The SQL backup (.bak files) are stored on the same disk drive as the SQL database. When the drive fails you also loose the backup.
2. Archived data is taken off of the cloud. For example, even though email may be hosted ‘ in the cloud’ it may have substantial archived data located only on the local user PC. Last week we know where a firm had five PC’s stolen including a user whose PC had 9GB of email and attachments archived i.e. only stored on her local PC.
Maybe the formula for backup is best expressed as: DD + I = S@N (Where DD is Due Diligence, I is + Insurance = S@N is Sleep at Night)
Here are some best practice suggestions for your backups:
Designate one person to check for the presence of a reasonable quantity of files, monitor total GB being backed up, look for the critical .bak for SQL databases and keep several recent backups plus monthly and yearly backups in case to go back to a prior point in time. If possible, have your backup protocol include the forwarding of a daily email status report to a designated individual(s).
For additional peace of mind ‘image’ PC’s and the file server(s). Software to do this includes use of of Microsoft’s VSS (volume shadow service), or Apple’s Time Machine. I know the Windows image approach only stores the same file one time, even if it is on ten PC’s, so it is very efficient. An advantage of imaging is if for example a hard drive failed the image can be used to restore data and it will actually re-install all of your programs too. That can save a ton of time. (Note: Imaging should not be used as a replacement of on and off site backups.)
Some practice management programs let you create a clone file or an automatically synchronized second database that replicates all of your critical calendar, contacts, matters, and related records including email, notes, documents, phone and billing records and related files (such as .pdf, .xls and .anx).
Check your insurance to see how much coverage you have for the next time you have an event – fire, flood, theft, malware, malcontent, solar flare etc.
When it comes to backups you really do need a plan a, plan b and maybe a plan c. Hopefully these suggestions will help you identify what the right backup protocol should be for your office.
Yesterday I saw the following on a lawyer list serve:
I responded to this message with this text:
A retired USAF guy answered me with:
The guy’s response kind of rubbed me the wrong way so I responded:
What do you think? Leave a comment.
“The value of legal education is higher than ever, unfortunately so is the price. But with the relaunch of its website, Lawline.com has set out on a mission to provide legal education to all those eager to learn, for free. With over 1,000 hours of content available, Lawline has recently enabled users to have free access to its entire course library. What started as free mobile-phone access and the original free content website Learn.Lawline.com, has evolved into a completely new education tool for attorneys, professionals and avid learners everywhere.
While those who seek CLE and CPE credits must pay for the certification, every course can be viewed, with full access to written materials, course notes and discussions, without purchase. Viewers are given the easy option to view for free or purchase for credit.
One of the most beneficial tools of Lawline.com’s new website launch includes a completely revamped course center, allowing attorneys and other users to make the most of their easy learning experience. CEO David Schnurman emphasizes the best aspect of the course catalog, “SmartNotes” as a crucial tool in Lawline’s educational reach. “SmartNotes” enables the user to enter and record notes at any point during the course. The notes are archived and can be later accessed bringing the viewer to the same point in the course at which the note was taken.
Schnurman’s overall goal is to cater to the “lifelong learner.” By opening access to Lawline’s courses and even making it a point to continuously add non-CE courses, he has begun to do just that.
This article was written by Stephanie Paeprer. Contact her at email@example.com
Facebook recently created a WordPress plugin that allows your WordPress website or blog to interface smoothly with Facebook. I recently installed this free plug in and it looks great. I had been using a third party plugin to send content from my websites to my Facebook business page, but for some reason Facebook terminated that plugin’s interface with Facebook, which caused all content put on my Facebook page by that plugin to disappear. The experience soured my on using a third party WordPress plugin for Facebook.
Now problem solved with the new Facebook WordPress plugin. It looks great and I can’t wait to get it up and running after reading “How to Use the New Facebook WordPress Plugin: A Complete Guide.” The article begins with:
The article linked to below discusses a topic I have been preaching for years. I tell all my lawyer friends, especially young lawyers, that technology has changed and will continue to change the practice of law and you must embrace it and use it to your advantage or your revenue will decrease. What do you think?
The Atlantic: “After decades of killing low-end jobs in retail, software is finally doing the people’s bidding by creating a world with fewer lawyers. In the end, after you’ve stripped away their six-figure degrees, their state bar memberships, and their proclivity for capitalizing Odd Words, lawyers are just another breed of knowledge worker. They’re paid to research, analyze, write, and argue — not unlike an academic, a journalist, or an accountant. So when software comes along that’s smarter or more efficient at those tasks than a human with a JD, it spells trouble. That’s one of the issues the Wall Street Journal raised yesterday in an article on the ways computer algorithms are slowly replacing human eyes when it comes to handling certain pieces of large, high-stakes litigation.”
Kissmetrics: “Social media brings us free traffic, scales well, and requires zero up-front investment. There’s just one problem: tracking social media would make a coal miner weep. I’ve got good news. Tracking social media just got a LOT easier. Recently, Google Analytics received a whole new batch of social reports that break down your social traffic so you know whether or not your social media marketing is working. I’m going to walk you through each new report so you know how to use these puppies. By the end of this post, you’ll be completely comfortable using the new Google Analytics social reports.”
Law Web Marketing: “Google has once again changed the rules for law firm marketers. What does that mean for your Web strategy? Google+ and Google profiles are a must for collecting positive reviews that show up in Google’s local listings. In the latest change from the online search engine giant, Google accounts and reviews from clients are now firmly linked. Anyone who wants to leave a review for your law firm must have a Google+ account.”
The Attorney Marketing Center has a good article on follow up marketing plan for prospective clients. The article is important for the following reasons:
Legal Marketing Mavens: “Are you driving regular traffic but it feels like no one is taking the next step to pick up the phone and call? . . . A great way to neutralize the overwhelm and capture a prospect’s information anyway–even if they aren’t quite ready to call–is to implement a strategy of lead generation. Effective lead generation is the process of offering something of value to the prospect in exchange for their contact information.”
Great news for people like me who use Time Matters for contact management and Infusionsoft for collecting leads off the internet and doing automatic follow up marketing. Time Matters consultant Tom Caffery has an API that will integrate these two great programs. I’ve got to get it!