Ssf.2009

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My Recent CLE Presentation on Websites for Lawyers...a/k/a If You Build it, Will They Come?

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Ssf.2009

  1. 1. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Our Objectives/Take-Away Points </li></ul><ul><li>Ways to build a Web presence without a Website. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn 5 ‘Must Have’ Basic Website Components. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Lessen Attorney/Staff work by moving repetitive tasks to your Website. </li></ul><ul><li>Find-out how to turn Website Visitors into Clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Discover Cheap & Easy Offline/Online Traffic Techniques. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Do you NEED a Website? No, but… </li></ul><ul><li>There’s little or no downside to having a quality Website ( Example : Nordlaw.net ). </li></ul><ul><li>If no Website, make sure you can still be found via various lawyer-specific and small business indexing sites (Findlaw, Justia, Lawyers.com ( Alan Press ), Avvo.com ( Erik Swanson ), Yellowpages.com, MerchantCircle.com, Yelp.com, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>Although client lawyer selection often starts offline (personal referral, another professional, bar referral service), the process frequently migrates online (Google?) prior to attorney retention (further research). </li></ul>
  3. 3. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site: Guiding Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Does your site clear the basic quality/professional competency bar (first, do no harm)? </li></ul><ul><li>Does your site help you “connect” with potential clients (photographs, biography)? </li></ul><ul><li>Can non-lawyers viewing the site understand what you do and how you can potentially help them? </li></ul><ul><li>Simply, how might I/we help a site visitor with a legal matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Common Mistakes : site under construction (for months!), impersonal, too much ‘lawyer-speak.’ </li></ul>
  4. 4. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site: From Good to Great </li></ul><ul><li>The Full Spectrum of Lawyer Websites: </li></ul><ul><li>Level I (Beginner): A professional, personalized brochure (Looks nice but few or no interactive features). </li></ul><ul><li>Level II (Intermediate): All of the above + Move Work/Tasks to the Web (Move repetitive tasks to the Web…save $$). </li></ul><ul><li>Level III (Advanced): All of the above + Easy to Find (S.E.O.) + Encourage visitors to ‘Start a Relationship.’ </li></ul>
  5. 5. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site (Level I): Basic ‘Must Have’ Components </li></ul><ul><li>Professional/personal biography & photographs (Create client connections, not just court admissions and bar memberships). </li></ul><ul><li>Practice area listing or better yet a concise explanation of the real world problems that you help clients solve (Client not lawyer perspective). </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently Asked Questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Client Testimonials. </li></ul><ul><li>A Call-to-Action up front & Contact information. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site (Level I): Quality Beginner Site Examples </li></ul><ul><li>~The Williams Law Firm (Carbondale): Hughwilliamslaw.com . </li></ul><ul><li>~Cutler & Associates, Ltd. (Skokie): 847debt.com . </li></ul>
  7. 7. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site (Level II): From Brochure to Legal Secretary </li></ul><ul><li>Lessen your/staff’s workload by moving repetitive tasks to your Website. </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate (or lower): postage costs, lost letters, constant ‘client update’ calls/e-mails. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples : Client files (all written client communication), Client intake forms, client articles/newsletters, office locations/directions, appointment form, client payment module. </li></ul><ul><li>Software : mycaseinfo.com , basecamphq.com , clctechnology.com /attorney . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your (Level II): Quality Intermediate Site Examples </li></ul><ul><li>~The Elder Law Office of Steven C. Perlis & Associates (Arlington Heights): Perliselderlaw.com . </li></ul><ul><li>~The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan (Arlington Heights): WendyMorgan.com . </li></ul><ul><li>~The Family Law Office of Peter R. Olson (Chicago): Olsonlawfirm.net . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site (Level III): Convert Web Visitors to Clients </li></ul><ul><li>You need to ‘capture’ Website visitors while they’re at your site. </li></ul><ul><li>The best Websites are interactive and encourage visitors to start a relationship with your Firm…capture eyeballs & contact information. </li></ul><ul><li>Because no matter how good the site, it’s just a start …your goals should be: capture contact information for telephone/e-mail follow-up that leads to e-mail/telephone conference, in-person meeting and client retention (add to Firm mailing list, at a minimum). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site (Level III): Convert Web Visitors to Clients </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive Tools: </li></ul><ul><li>Include an obvious Question/Contact Us form. </li></ul><ul><li>Easy law firm newsletter mailing list opt-in. </li></ul><ul><li>Live help/chat feature…immediate interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Blog integration (like a newsletter, RSS feed, or a reason to return to your site). </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking “relationship” tools… Facebook fan page , Twitter followers, LinkedIn profile . </li></ul>
  11. 11. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Building Your Site: Advanced Lawyer Site Examples </li></ul><ul><li>~The Witt Law Firm, P.C. (Chicago): Thewittlawfirm.com . </li></ul><ul><li>~Vetstein Law Group, P.C. (Framingham, MA): Vetsteinlawgroup.com . </li></ul><ul><li>~Traverse Legal PLC (Traverse City, MI): Traverselegal.com . </li></ul>
  12. 12. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Cheap & Easy Traffic Techniques: Offline </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure every piece of paper has your Web address on it : Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, client newsletters, e-mail signatures, ect. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you have a domain name that conveys what you do and is easily remembered. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a separate business card or post card with your Web address and some reasons to visit your site…send to mailing list or use as seminar/conference give-away. </li></ul><ul><li>Advertise reasons to go to your site in mailings or e-mail signature lines such as: Checklists, how-to videos, FAQs, or a special white paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Enter your site in law firm Web site contests. Legal Marketing Association, others. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Cheap & Easy Traffic Techniques: Online </li></ul><ul><li>Big 3 : Links, content, and update frequency. </li></ul><ul><li>Links : Twitter / Facebook /Google profiles, Avvo, lawyer index sites: Lawlink.com , Lawyersearchguide.com , other. </li></ul><ul><li>Update frequency : Integrated blog, legal news headlines, latest developments & legal advisories. </li></ul><ul><li>Content : Web crawlers seek out content. </li></ul><ul><li>Redirect sites : Chicagolandfamilylaw.net, Chicagolandelderlaw.net, Chicagolandrealestatelaw.net  Olsonlawfirm.net. </li></ul><ul><li>Or just pay for traffic! Google AdWords, local directories ( Reachlocal.com ). </li></ul><ul><li>** Good Article: Tips to Drive Traffic to your Website, The Legal Intelligencer , August 20, 2009 (access via Law.com).** </li></ul>
  14. 14. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>SEO: A Final Personal Example (9/09) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>So… </li></ul><ul><li>If I Build it, Will They Come? </li></ul><ul><li>Can Websites Really Help My Practice? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s an Ideal, Small Law Firm Website? Design. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Websites : If I Build It, Will They Come? Can Websites Really Help My Practice? <ul><li>Peter R. Olson </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>P.312.629.9900 </li></ul><ul><li>F.312.276.4135 </li></ul><ul><li>Olsonlawfirm.net </li></ul><ul><li>Erik G. Swanson </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>P.847-892-4730 </li></ul><ul><li>F.847-391-8820 </li></ul><ul><li>Theswansonfirm.com </li></ul>

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