Have you really thought about what you want out of your website? Following are the four important aspects of a law firm website with information to help you decide which of these you desire to achieve and tips to help you accomplish your goals.  A website may employ any of the following aspects:

  • Online Brochure. This is where your website is used as an online brochure for your law firm.  It serves the function of providing information about your law firm not only to prospective clients with whom you are communicating and unknown potential clients, but also to existing clients who may visit your website from time to time. The purpose is to create a positive image of your law firm and fortify your relationship with existing clients so they feel comfortable staying with you and to enhance the probability of retaining a new client. The law firm brochure should brand a professional and successful image in the mind of your clients.  It is better not to have a website, than to convey a bad image.
  • Off-Line Advertising. This involves advertising your domain name anywhere off-line, such as TV, radio, print, business cards and letterhead.  After viewing your off-line advertising, potential clients will either land on your home page or on a specially created landing page. If your homepage is not used as a landing page, a separate domain name should be used for off-line advertising. Landing pages versus the homepage is a lengthy discussion which will be addressed elsewhere on LawFirm911™.  A little-known fact is that most large Internet companies spend as much as 95% of their advertising budget on off-line advertising.
  • Keyword Bidding/PPC (Pay per Click). This is online advertising where you bid against other advertisers for a keyword or phrase.  The highest bidders will have a text link ad and description appear in one of the sections on the search page for “sponsored” listings.  The three highest bidders get the widest distribution of their advertising.  A specially created landing page where potential clients first land on your website is usually used for keyword bidding so that it closely conforms to what the person is looking for.
  • Search Engine Results. This is where your website appears on the search results page in the section of organic or “natural” search results.  This type of listing is free and is considered to have a higher degree of credibility.  Appearing in the top four listings of the first page of search results is the “holy grail” that law firms pay large sums of money to SEO companies to achieve.

Online Brochure

While printed brochures still have their place, they should be utilized for law firms with larger marketing budgets. As bigger is usually better, more is always better when it comes to advertising and marketing. Consequently, printed brochures are still useful, but a website used as an online brochure has become much more important than the printed version. Additionally, while a website can cost big money, a professional looking website used as an online brochure can cost a fraction of the amount needed to print a professional looking brochure.

All law firms and lawyers with a solo practice, regardless of the amount of money available in their marketing budget, must have a website as an online brochure and it must have some useful, informative content besides your name, address, telephone number and areas of practice.

Your website address also known as a domain name must be printed on all of your letterhead, business cards, invoices, marketing materials such as giveaways, and advertising.

If you do not yet have a website to use as your online brochure or if you do not have a website which you can honestly look at as a potential client and feel that this lawyer knows what he is talking about after reading some of the material, you need to create a website for your law practice right now. You can effortlessly create your website in seconds, then spend one hour a day to work on your website. After two months, you’ll have a professional looking website you can be proud of and the work you do will get your website into the top search engine results. Believe it or not, you can do that better than if you hire a company to do it for you. I’ll get into that later in the next topic below.

This is what you have to do:

  1. Create a website for your law firm (takes a few seconds of your time)
  2. Log in to your control panel and choose a design for your law firm website (don’t worry yet about what the graphics look like)
  3. Spend 20 minutes to view the video tutorials showing you how to use your control panel to create your new website.
  4. Create your first page or article (don’t worry about making mistakes because they are easily corrected and that’s how you will learn to use your new website)
  5. After a couple of hours of playing around in your control panel and writing some pages and articles, you may consider if you want to pay a very small amount of money to have a graphic designer create a custom header image for your website or if you want to change the entire design of your website to one of the other free designs or upgrade to a fancy design. Changing the header image is extremely simple. Even changing the entire look of your website to another design is also extremely simple and done with just three clicks of your mouse button.  See the “How To…” section to see him to do that.

Create Pages & Articles

At this time you may be asking why should I write all this content when I can pay a company to provide the content for me? After all, I can afford it and I can make more money practicing law and let someone else write the content. The answer to this question goes back to what your goals for your website are.

If you are only interested in using your website as a law firm brochure and not interested in having your website appear in top search engine results, then you will be better off paying a company for the content. If appearing in the top search engine search results is a goal for you, then you must write your own content. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself. If you have an associate attorney working in your law office, you can have your attorney write some of the content.

I said I would show you in the next topic why your work can get you in the top search results far better than hiring a company to create a website for you complete with all the content you need.

Do I really have to write my own content? Yes. Why? Because if you buy content from a website company it will be sold to many other law firms. It’s very expensive for a website company to hire a lawyer to sit down and write content. Do you really think they will give their fancy website design with pages and pages and pages of articles and information, which was written by a lawyer, for only $5,000? No, it’s not financially feasible. It only becomes feasible when they sell similar designs and the same content to many lawyers.

What’s the problem with that? Again, it’s not a problem if you want a law firm brochure. It is only a problem with search engine optimization. Search engines, especially Google, ignore duplicate content. This means that the content you buy will be ignored. After spending thousands of dollars, your website will not be in the top search results unless you write your own content.

I don’t want to. I don’t have the time. Do I really have to do it? Only if you don’t have lawyers working for you who you can assign the work to, but guess what?

It really is easy, quick and fun to write your own content!
To make it real easy and fun, I recommend dictating all your content with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate everything on LawFirm911™.

Here are several important tips to get incredible accuracy from Dragon NaturallySpeaking:

  1. Buy the latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (accuracy keeps improving).
  2. Instead of using the analog headset that comes with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, buy a USB headset.  Most computers do not have a good quality sound card, which causes most of the accuracy problems people experience with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  A USB headset will bypass the soundcard.  I use the Parrott Talk Pro USB-100 from vxicorp.
  3. Always make sure that you have the little foam microphone cover.  These often fall off and get lost.  A missing microphone foam cover will seriously degrade your voice quality and consequently, the accuracy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  You can get extra ones from vxicorp or RadioShack.
  4. Extra RAM makes a huge difference.  I just upgraded from 1 GB of RAM to 2 GB of RAM and immediately noticed that Dragon NaturallySpeaking was much faster and became much more accurate.  Previously, I experienced approximately 1 error per sentence and now I’m typing entire paragraphs without an error.

While other website companies don’t let you create new pages without paying a fee, LawFirm911™ lets you create as many pages as you want for free. Of course, you can also upload articles all day long, but just write one article per week and you’ll be in the top search engine results in a few months.