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.
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.
Stephen Fairley of the Rainmaker Institute: “Websites are an essential part of a law firm’s success when it comes to reaching and converting prospective clients. If you don’t market your law firm, few will know you exist. Your law firm relies on quality prospects and returning clients. Let’s get clear about the challenges we all face. As you know, the legal industry is evolving more rapidly than ever before. Competition, technology and consumerism seem to be taking huge bites out of our business possibilities. Not to mention the challenges of not being able to reach our desired prospects. We’re working harder, feeling more stressed, and not yet seeing the results we want. We are afraid the old answers to building and sustaining our law firms just don’t seem to be working any more. Whether we like it or not, it’s time to take action and re-engineer our marketing efforts and our law practice – or risk our futures. With this in mind, let’s talk about the most common law firm marketing mistakes many lawyers make on their websites and how to correct them.”
I believe that I need to redesign my websites. I have a lot of great information on my sites, but I need to increase my conversion ratio. I want more visitors to become paying clients. I think two of my problems are my sites are too busy and they do not have good calls to action. I am researching what I can do to solve these two problems and came across a good visual summary on effective home page design. It’s not written specifically for law office web design, but what works for typical commercial websites should work for the law firm website.
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Source: The Anatomy of an Effective Homepage Infographic
Larry Bodine of LexisNexis and the Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com wrote an article that should get the attention of attorneys who do not know that the internet is an untapped goldmine of potential new clients. In his article called “Most Consumers Go Online to Look for an Attorney” he says:
“The way consumers look for a lawyer has changed in today’s digital age. The advent of social media, smart phones and search engines has dramatically affected the way consumers find lawyers. . . . For lawyers, it is essential to have a website and blog that discuss the legal problems of consumers. An attorney’s online presence should feature FAQs, white papers and checklists to be found by consumers conducing online research. . . . For lawyers who want to get leads and find clients, it means having a robust directory profile, activity on social media and client-friendly websites. Lawyers can join the conversation – or miss many opportunities to find consumer clients.”
Kissmetrics posted an excellent article that examines what websites need to do to convert more visitors into paying customers (aka clients for us lawyers). This is a topic that I need to spend more time understanding. My Arizona Limited Liability Company website has 9,627 visitors during April of 2012, but I only formed 41 new Arizona LLCs. That’s an awful conversion rate of .004. I would have loved to convert 1%, which would have been 96 new LLCs.
Understanding the best ways to convert traffic to paying clients is important for all attorneys who have websites and who want more revenue. Remember this important fact: Your goal is not merely to have a blog or a website – it is to make more money. To accomplish that goal you must do more than have a static site/blog. Take some time and learn from Kissmetrics’ article that begins:
“In this post we’re going to go over what the highest converting websites do differently. But before we get into the details, we want to highlight a few points to get you thinking first:
- You have 0-8 seconds to make a compelling headline and landing page. After 8 seconds, the majority of visitors leave.
- Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.
- The more landing pages you have, the more leads you are likely to get.
- Product videos can increase purchases of the product by 144%.
- A 1 second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- A/B testing is becoming the preferred method that has brought a lot of the companies the most success.”
Note the statistic that 96% of the visitors who come to your website are not ready to purchase your services. This fact is why it is so important that you have a system like Infusionsoft to collect visitors’ names and email addresses from your blog or website and do automatic email followup marketing. Your site must offer visitors a free report that they get only in exchange for giving you their name and email address. Once you have the prospect’s name and email address you want your system to automatically send the prospect one or more email messages with content designed to:
- Give the prospect some useful information about the topic in which the prospect expressed an interest.
- Keep your name in the mind of the prospect.
Marketing experts say that you need an average of 7 – 9 touches (contacts) with a prospect before the prospect becomes a customer/client. If you don’t keep your name and contact information in the mind of a prospect that prospect is not likely to remember your name or how to contact you weeks or months after the prospect visited your site/blog when the prospect is ready to buy.
I have used Infusionsoft for five years to collect leads from my websites and do automatic followup marketing. To learn more about Infusionsoft and how I use it to make more money in my law practice read my “Infusionsoft Review: The Cheapest & Best 24/7/365 Marketing Department.”
Do you have your own law blog? Does your law firm have a blog? Do you want to get more clients? Do you want to make more money? Does a bear . . . oh never mind. I am a big advocate of the attorney law blog. It works for me. It can work for you.
The term “blog” is short for web log. In the early days of blogging a blog was a series of posts displayed on a website in reverse chronological order. People typically created a blog with content about a specific topic because they wanted to provide a source of information about their topic of interest. You can find many blogs on any topic you can imagine. The quality of each blog depends on the creative talent, knowledge and writing ability of the blog’s creator. Nobody know how many blogs exist, but there are millions of them.
Here is my list of some of the reasons a lawyer should have a blog:
- Blogging is a learning experience. Writing good articles (called “posts” in blogese) helps you to know your topic better and increases your legal knowledge. When you write something that can be viewed by the entire world it has a tendency to cause most people to invest time in making sure the don’t say something that is not true or that is misleading. It is very common for me to spend time researching a statute or reading one or more cases to make sure that what I say in my post is correct. Writing about a topic also helps me understand that topic better.
- Blogging brings traffic to your website/blog. An important goal in having a website/blog is to attract a lot of visitors to your site. The best way to get visitors is to have large quantities of good content on your site. One of the best and easiest ways to create content is the blog. With good blog software like WordPress is it extremely easy to write an article and post it on your site. No need to send the article to your web designer and wait a week for the article to be up on your site. With WordPress adding an article to your site is as simple as writing the article, giving it a title, adding it to one or more categories and clicking the upload icon. Read “Why I Love WordPress for My Law Firm.”
- Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your area of law practice. Over time as you add more and more content about your specific area of law (widget law for example) your blog becomes clear evidence to visitors that you are an expert in widget law. When deciding on who to hire a prospective client is more likely to hire the lawyer that has tangible (ok technically it is intangible) proof of expertise than the lawyer who has no blog or website about widget law. Consider for example my blog called “U.S. Real Estate Law.” This blog is about a single topic, i.e., nonU.S. citizens investing in U.S. real estate. I form a lot of new Arizona LLCs for people all over the world who want to purchase U.S. real estate.
- Blogging helps you convince propects to hire you. Several times a day I talk to prospects on the phone who are interviewing me for the purpose of deciding whether or not to hire me. Prospects frequently ask about a subject that is an article or post on one of my websites. When that happens I tell the prospect I have an article on the subject and if he/she will give me his or her email address I will send a link to the article. I then use Macro Express to zap canned text with the link to the article into an email message and send it to the prospect. For example, people frequently ask me about dissolving their Arizona LLC. When I get a call on that topic I send the prospect the following message:
Thanks for contacting me about terminating your Arizona limited liability company. To hire us to prepare the documents to terminate an LLC, complete our service agreement found here:
For more information on terminating an Arizona LLC, see my article on this subject found here:
- Blogging is fun. Yes it is. I enjoy the writing and creative aspects of blogging. I also get personal satisfaction in knowing that people are reading my posts and learning from the results of my investment in time.
A great way to get ideas for blog posts is to listen to questions prospects and clients ask you in email messages and over the phone. I am sure you have the same experience I have with people who ask the same common questions about widget law (ok maybe questions about your area of practice, not widget law). These commonly asked questions make great blog posts. Turn these questions into a post you can email to prospects and clients to show your expertise. See for example a blog category on my Arizona Limited Liability Company Law website called “How Do I.” When I get a call or email message from somebody that asks me a question I’ve answered on my blog I send the person a link to the blog post.
An very important fact of blog life and the key to a successful client generating blog is that you must create good content. This means you need to invest the time to create posts. This leads me to Keyt’s Technology Rule #5, which is call the Website Content Equation. The equation is:
more posts = more content = higher search engine rankings = higher web traffic = more new clients = more revenue
Schedule times for content creation and set a goal for a minimum number of posts every week. Over time your content quantity will grow and the Website Content Equation will put more money in your pocket.
Copyblogger is a great website for learning about blogging and website building using WordPress. It’s tag line is “Content Marketing Solutions for WordPress that Work.” I bookmarked this site a few years ago and recommend it for those who want to learn more about using WordPress and getting more traffic to their website or blog. The site contains a ton of articles on creating good content. For example, here are some Copyblogger posts just on the subject of the importance of writing good eye-catching headlines:
- Why You Should Always Write Your Headline First
- The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Great Headlines
- Do Key Words in Post Titles Really Matter?
- How to Write a Killer “How To” Post That Gets Attention
- 7 Reasons Why List Posts Will Always Work
- Why Some People Almost Always Write Great Post Titles
- 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
- 9 Proven Headline Formulas That Sell Like Crazy
- 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work
- Warning: Use These 5 Headline Templates at Your Own Risk
- The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines
The secret to getting a lot of traffic to your website is not really a secret. For those of you who do not know the single most important thing you must do to get lots of visitors to come to your website here it is:
Put lots of high quality content on your blog/website!
The reason my law firm website averaged 163,000 visitors/month during 2012 is because the site has thousands of pages of content. Yes thousands. My site is 11 years old and includes eleven separate websites all of which have content and bring visitors to keytlaw.com.
Keyt’s Technology Rule #4 is “If you build it they will not come.” Yes, your law firm should have a website or blog, but do not be discouraged if it has little traffic in the beginning. It takes time to create good content. Your goal should be to add original content on a regular basis – daily is best, but several times a week is better than once a week. Set a time every day to write content. I like to get up at 6:15 everyday and spend the first two hours of the day working on my websites. Over time a regular plan of creating content and adding it to your site will add up to a lot of content, higher search engine rankings, more traffic to your blog or website and more new clients.
To learn more about creating content, read an excellent article published by Kissmetrics called “44 Must Read Resources on Content Marketing.”
We work hard and invest time and money to get visitors to our law firm website or blog and we want them to stay for a while when they stop by. Does your website or blog unintentionally turn off visitors and encourage them to leave immediately? This visual aid may alert you to one or more things your site may be doing to send visitors away faster than you can say Mark Zuckerberg.
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Source: What Makes Someone Leave A Website?
A panel of presenters at the 2012 ABA Tech Show gave a list of 60 websites for lawyers. Here are some I liked:
- Thinkstock – low priced images.
- 99Designs – name a price and designers will submit logos for you to purchase at your price. The higher the price the more designers will submit designs.
- Very Funny Ads – the name says it all.
- Monk-e-maker – Its just fun.