Five Mistakes Lawyers Make Online
Here’s the problem: You’re an attorney, which means you’re busy. Between your time in court, the endless amounts of paperwork, and your client meetings, you barely have time to eat lunch. However, if you’re looking for continued growth and concerned about your future, you absolutely cannot afford to neglect your website and your digital presence.
Maybe time isn’t the only issue. Maybe you don’t even know:
- Why a digital presence is so important
- Where to start
- That the price of a new website (or just a facelift) is actually affordable
On the surface, these reasons for ignoring a digital presence may seem valid to you and your team, but in reality, they are all moot points. In this day and age, websites are easy to create, relatively inexpensive, and your new target audience (millennials) demands instant answers and results, so you need to be at the forefront of their search.
Whatever your reasons are for making these five mistakes, you need to fix them:
- Mistake #1: Your website is from 2005. So much has changed over the last ten years that your flash-animated, scrolling marquee, non-mobile-friendly website just won’t cut it anymore. It’s not just because design elements have changed; it’s also because search engine parameters have changed. Google and Bing give preferential treatment to high-quality sites. They want you to keep up to date with their algorithm. They want a safer and faster web. They want users to have a good experience. They want you to have a “good website.”At a very high level, there are some basic things that make a “good website”:
-Innovative design. First and foremost, you should be focused on user experience, because no matter how many people visit your site, if your site doesn’t function properly, doesn’t load fast enough, or is not designed the way the user would expect it to be, they will leave. So, design is critical. Second, you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive. Users need to have the same experience on their mobile phones and tablets that they have on their desktops. This is true now more than ever, as Google announced last year that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than desktop computers. Find out here if your site is mobile friendly.-Unique and authoritative content. What does that mean? The content on your site has to be original — it can’t be copied from anywhere. Additionally, each page needs to be focused on a specific topic, answer the searcher’s query, and written in a tone that appeals to your target audience. Also, remember not to stuff your content with keywords and links; #SPAM.
-Technical elements. This may not be as easy to grasp as the previous two points, but it deals with the “stuff” that goes on behind the scenes that is nevertheless important. When you decide it’s time for a new site, make it a point to have your webmaster/marketer focus on these three things: site speed, site security & technical SEO (title tags, heading tags, schema markup, etc). All are integral parts to a successful website and should not be overlooked.
- Mistake #2: You haven’t verified your Google business listing. Do you have ten minutes? This is one of the easiest things you can do to help your chances of ranking locally for your practice area. It also happens to be a free service that Google offers, so there is no excuse to have an unverified business listing out there. Additionally, on Google, you literally won’t be able to rank for in local searches without a verified Google business listing. When a qualified local search is performed, (i.e. “injury lawyer Oxnard, CA”), Google will display three business listings and a map, in what we call a “3-pack”:
This information is pulled from verified Google business listings only.Now, just because you have a verified listing doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically appear here, because there are a bunch of other factors that influence the local rankings, and you have competitors in the area. BUT, if you don’t have a verified listing, you absolutely won’t show up. So, why not take ten minutes and get your business verified on Google?To get your business listing verified on Google is simple:
-Create a Google My Business account.
-Search for your listing on Google Maps.
-Claim your listing on Google Maps.
-Optimize your listing.
-Verify the listing either by phone or by post (Google will provide you with the available options).
Tip: Multiple Listings Troubleshooting: If you have been in business for a long time, have recently moved, have changed phone numbers, or updated your firm name, make sure to perform multiple searches on Google Maps to find all of the available listings out there. If any of the above are true, there will most likely be multiple listings, and you will need to figure out which one is best for your business and claim that one. Then, you will need to decide what you want to do with all of the other listings (claim, delete, mark as duplicate, etc).
Additional Support: Once you have verified your business listing, you can get advice on how to “clean up” your local listings through Google My Business support in your dashboard — or you can email or call us at (866) 925-2802 for advice on SEO services to support your firm.
- Mistake #3: You are not getting reviews. Reviews are crucial for your business. They can be the deciding factor in whether a potential client chooses your services or the guy’s down the street. If your competition has ten positive reviews and you have zero, no matter how great your website might be or how great you think your reputation is, you aren’t getting that business. Why would you want to give someone else a competitive advantage like that? You wouldn’t.
Once you get your business verified on Google, you’ll be able to collect reviews. I encourage you to reach out to clients that you’ve developed a great rapport with, those that have been very satisfied with your representation. Ask them to leave you a review on Google. Also include a link to your Google business listing on your website and in your email signature, so others can easily find it. Now, the way to get reviews has changed a bit over the last few months, so make sure you are up to date: Getting Google Reviews For Your Business Just Got HarderTip: DO NOT GET FAKE REVIEWS. You should only be soliciting reviews from real people, who were (or are) real clients of yours. Google can detect reviews that are spam, self-advertising, off-topic, or impersonations.Additionally, other Google users can actually flag your reviews if they feel they violate Google’s policies. In both scenarios, the reviews will be removed from your business listing, and if this continues to happen, your listing will be removed from Google. Unless you actually represented Aunt Sally in her divorce, don’t have her leave you a review. Plain and simple.
- Mistake #4: You are not utilizing the power of social media. Whether you don’t understand how it can impact your business or you don’t have the time, avoiding social media is one of your biggest mistakes. You should be actively involved in supplementing your website and optimization efforts with blogging and social media. However, the harsh reality of it is that the legal vertical is a tough, and sometimes boring niche (sorry).Sharing is caring. You’re probably thinking, how many pieces of shareable content could there possibly be? Well, if that’s the case, you need to change your mindset. Creating shareable content and being “social” isn’t always about you or the letter of the law.
Social Media allows you to:
-Showcase your personality
-Start a conversation about passionate or controversial topics
-Connect with your community, which may include potential clients as well as local and business networks
-Share current events
-Share someone else’s successYou should make sure that what you are writing about and sharing on social media is something that falls into those categories. You need to find a way to connect with them, not vice versa. If you find a way to do that, you’ll be successful on social media.There are many lawyers and firms you can learn from. The idea here is not to copy what they’ve done, but to create your own voice based on similar ideas. Here are some examples:
Showcasing your personality: James Riotto shares photos and statuses on his firm’s Facebook page that are light and funny, but still finds a way to connect them back to his practice. People really seem to enjoy them, and that’s why he’s seen a great increase in followers.
Being controversial: John Morgan has a cult following on Twitter because of his firm’s stance on the current laws surrounding medical marijuana. The firm shares their passion about this topic through photos, infographics and petitions, which resonates with people. Every time someone retweets, the firm gets more and more visibility.
Being memorable: Bryan Wilson, the self-proclaimed “Texas Law Hawk,” creates YouTube videos that leverage a commanding presence and an aggressive tone delivered persuasively, which have earned millions of views on YouTube. Even though his commercials have slim to nothing to do with law, this markets him with a unique persona and a memorable brand that people love to share. I mean, who doesn’t want to see an attorney doing wheelies on a motorbike or sprinting down main street with an over-sized American flag? Because of his immense popularity on YouTube, he earned himself a spot in Taco Bell’s Super Bowl commercial…just think about the visibility he got from that.
Connecting with your community: David Karp, of Karp & Iancu, S.C., blogs at least once a week on current events and frequently asked questions, which is why hundreds of people a month visit their blog. He talks about real-life situations —and people like that.
- Mistake #5: You have no idea what “Ask A Lawyer” is. What if I told you, that on average, close to 300 questions go unanswered every single day on Lawyers.com — and those questions are coming from REAL people who are seeking ACTUAL legal advice? What if I also told you that, as an attorney, you could answer those questions for free, and that the majority of these answered questions actually turn into leads. Would you believe me?
Well you better, because this is real. Ask A Lawyer is one of the most powerful lead generation tools out there. Ask A Lawyer is a question-and-answer forum on Lawyers.com that is visited by 28 million people per year seeking legal assistance. What’s even better about this service is that you can set up email alerts for your specific location and practice area, and those questions can be delivered right to your inbox in real time without the noise.
You want more? Ok, here’s more: Lawyers.com features the most recently answered questions on their homepage, with the attorney’s face plastered right next to the answer. So, you can get a ton of increased visibility here if you actively answer questions. Visitors can also click through to your Lawyers.com profile and get your contact information. Take a look:
Hang on, there’s even more. When someone lands on the Ask A Lawyer page, there’s even a section at the top that displays the Top Contributing Lawyers, so you can get even more visibility:
You are missing out by not using the Ask A Lawyer feature. Seriously, go try it today and see the results.
Five Key Takeaways:
- Get a “good website.”
- Optimize and verify your Google Business listing.
- Get reviews.
- Go social.
- Answer questions on Ask a Lawyer.
Most importantly, get help. Don’t be the guy who is stuck in their old ways, the guy who’s satisfied with their current marketing plan, or the guy who’s not thinking about the future. Stop missing out on all the opportunities that you may not even have known existed. To attract potential clients, get ahead of your competition by better marketing your firm online.