How Design & User Experience Affects a Law Firm Website

What makes a law firm site successful? Most will say it’s optimization, some will say design, and a few will say usability. The answer is all three. Individuals are often shocked to learn that both design and usability play a substantial role in how a website ranks on search engines. When designing a website for your law firm, it is important to keep this in mind and not prioritize one of these aspects at the expense of the others.

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“The Times” Is Changing: Study Shows Increasing Role of Social Media in News Delivery

Social Media Is Shifting News SourcesWhere do you get your news? If this question were asked forty or even twenty years ago, the most common responses would have included radio, television and good old-fashioned newspapers. But the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently released a study on news and social media, and the findings reveal a significant demographic shift over the past few years.

Shifting News Sources

The big statistic revealed from this study is that 44% of American adults get their news via Facebook. Yes, 44% of all adult Americans stay informed through the world’s most popular social networking platform. This number represents two-thirds of all adult Facebook users, up from 47% of Facebook users in 2013.

Some other figures from this study are worth mentioning as well. The total percentage of American adults who get their news from any social media network (including Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, and more) is 62%, and almost two-thirds of those usually get it from just one social media network. For journalists and marketers alike, this represents a paradigm shift. While news consumers of a previous generation might have read the day’s headlines in the morning paper, heard additional news on the radio during their commute to work and returned home to catch the six o’clock news on TV, today’s consumers are increasingly likely to get their updates from just one source—most often Facebook. Today, information and advertising are still delivered on a screen, but the screen can be found more and more on consumers’ desks or in their hands rather than in their living rooms.

Shifting Attitudes

Another important statistic: Among Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube users who get their news online, about 60% report that they merely see the headlines while they’re doing other things online; only 40% specifically search the web for it. The Internet has made it easier than ever before for information and advertising to reach consumers wherever they are, even if they don’t intentionally seek it out.

It is impossible to predict whether social platforms will ever completely crowd out the “traditional” media of newspapers, radio, and TV. But in regard to marketing and public relations, organizations can gain valuable information about consumers’ shifting news sources from last month’s report. A thoughtful, relationship-driven approach to advertising is essential to navigating the complex avenues of social media successfully.

If you have questions about how best to promote your organization across social media, PR4Lawyers is happy to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-866-PR4LAWYERS or at johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com.

Bringing Traffic to Your Website: On-page, On-site, and Off-site Optimization Strategies

seo for lawyers and attorneys

These days, it’s not enough to have a beautiful, user-friendly website. It’s also important to consider the site’s existence on, and interaction with, search engines. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to initiate and funnel traffic to your website, and a well-performing website utilizes the right combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization strategies.

On-page optimization ensures the optimal mix and frequency of well-researched keyword phrases.  This typically consists of measuring relevancy across items such as page title tags, meta descriptions, header (h1, h2) tags, image alt tags, link title attributes and paragraph text on a single web page.  On-page optimization also focuses on including keyword phrases in the right locations of a web page.  Search engines will prioritize the importance of a keyword phrase that’s physically higher up on the page and tagged correctly, and give that particular phrase more weight when categorizing and ranking your website in organic search results.

On-site optimization focuses on the importance of relevancy across many pages of a website, or the entire site.   An example of this would be a website for a law firm where all topics (including practice areas, blog pages, articles etc.) focus on law-related issues, or anything relevant to the business.  Typical on-site optimization strategies include a rich link structure that connects keywords or phrases to other related pages that may more clearly define the specified keyword phrase.  Ensuring that the anchor text used in a hyperlink is rich with keywords that clearly define what the subject of the destination page is about gives a search engine a better idea as to what the overall site’s theme and category is.  A good example of this would be avoiding a phrase like “click here” as a means to link to another page.  Other on-site strategies would include having a current XML sitemap to help search engines crawl and identify the location of all of your website pages without missing any, using schema markup to better translate information about your organization to search engines (location, hours, type of business), identifying and removing duplicate content to avoid penalties, and using DRY (don’t repeat yourself), lean, compressed (minified) code so that your site loads quickly, giving visitors an optimal experience.

Off-site optimization techniques primarily focus on aspects that can increase the visibility of a website in organic search results by way of factors that are external to the website itself.  This would include social media strategies set to drive traffic and inbound links, obtaining backlinks by use of credible online directories, and ensuring that URLs, address listings, and phone numbers are precise and accurate across all locations on the web.  Also, writing compelling, original, quality content like press releases or blogs that authoritative sites like news sites and thought-leading blogs may want to link to, can help increase your organic search rankings.

A healthy combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization is the best approach to increasing visibility for your website. PR4Lawyers is both knowledgeable and experienced in creating successful optimization strategies for lawyers’ websites. Call now for a consultation at 631-207-1057 or email us at info@pr4lawyers.com.

 

Blogging Best Practices for Attorneys

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Most attorneys include a blog on their website as a great way to entice current and prospective clients to visit your website and to read what you have to say. In order to make your firm’s blog as successful as possible, it is important to understand a few key best practices so you can ensure you get the best possible results.

Content Quality

When writing or reviewing your blog posts, think about your audience: are you writing for prospects or are you writing for referrals? Your answer will dictate whether your blog posts should be more informative and written in an easily comprehensible language or legally written to appeal to other lawyers and law journals. Also, keep in mind that the more useful your content’s information is, the more likely your blog will convince readers to call your firm. No matter what the topic is that you’re writing about, the primary objective should always be to write a useful, informative and timely post. For example, if you are a traffic law attorney and there is a new speed limit going into effect in your neighborhood, it would be better to post this information sooner rather than later, making your firm the most informative.

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Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

Wrapped presents and computer mouse

The fourth financial quarter and the holiday season are approaching. How can your firm capitalize on the holiday rush? Start planning your holiday marketing efforts now! Use your firm’s social media sites, online marketing, and public relations efforts to build a comprehensive holiday marketing plan.

Social Media Marketing

As each holiday season comes and goes, we are becoming more engulfed in our social media accounts. Therefore, it is beneficial to use social media as a way to directly influence your client base. First, grab their attention by adding fun and festive elements to your usual marketing strategies.

The holiday season means that consumers want a good value for their dollar. By offering a promotion on social media sites (whether it is “Take 10% off your consultation” or “$50 off services provided”), you are giving existing and prospective clients alike a reason to visit your firm. Even visitors who were not previously considering your goods or services may be enticed to do so. Continue reading “Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing”

9 SEO Metrics and Terms that Law Firms Need to Understand

SEO Analysis
In today’s digital world, search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! have become powerful tools that play a large role in the success or failure of many companies in various industries. Ranking high in search engine results can help a law firm gain new clients and strengthen their brand. When a law firm appears on the first page of search results for key terms, whether the consumer is actively searching for the firm or not, it can directly result in leads and sales. The consumer will start to recognize the firm’s name and build perceptions of the firm just by seeing their name at the top of the page. Having low results in search engine queries can hurt your law firm as much as good results can help. No matter the circumstances, all law firms should be on the first page for a certain term, such as their firm’s or attorneys’ names.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website so that it appears higher in search engine results. Improving such results can be a lengthy process that requires much effort. In order to improve results, one needs to pay close attention to key performance indicators associated with SEO. Tools such as Google Analytics allow developers of a website to track metrics vital to a website’s SEO success. However, none of these statistics will help if one does not truly understand them. Below are nine metrics and terms that one needs to know in order to improve their SEO: Continue reading “9 SEO Metrics and Terms that Law Firms Need to Understand”

Anatomy of a Mobile Website

By John Zaher

According to a study by Nielsen Media Research, mobile Internet usage is growing at a rate of 30 percent each year. With more people surfing the Web using their smartphones, businesses and law firms must recognize the need for their websites to be compatible with these devices. By creating a separate site for mobile users, you are enabling them to experience faster browsing speeds, easy navigation and an overall improved user experience. Having a mobile website can also provide strong search engine optimization (SEO) benefits since it will boost your rankings on mobile-friendly search engines, such as Google and Yahoo. This article will explain why your law firm needs a mobile website, what your mobile website should look like and how you can convert your existing website into a mobile site.

 

Why Does Your Firm Need a Mobile Website? — With the variety of mobile devices to choose from, such as iPhones, iPads and Androids, the mobile Web is rapidly replacing traditional desktop browsers. As an increasing amount of people use smart phones to browse websites, law firms should not hesitate to reach this important mobile audience. Often, potential clients do not realize they will need an attorney until something unexpected happens (a car accident, an injury, etc.), and some of them may try to find one right away with the ease of their smartphone.

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5 Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them

By John Zaher

Blogging

 

Anyone can create a blog but at the end of the day, the question is whether or not your blog is getting results and generating leads for your law firm. If the answer is no, you may be committing one of the following blogging sins. This article will provide an overview of five common mistakes businesses and law firms make when blogging, including not understanding their target audience, not providing any contact information, inconsistent updating, bad writing and not including multimedia.

 

1. Not Understanding Your Target Audience — One of the most common blogging mistakes is when a firm doesn’t understand the needs of its audience. The key to successful blogging is focusing every post on what your prospective clients would find most valuable or interesting. Readers are looking for information and news that can directly benefit them. Readers are also looking for personality, and blogs (whether ghost-written or written by the attorney) should be professional, but with a personal voice. Law firms should place an emphasis on creating interesting, helpful and engaging content rather than pure self-promotion.

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What You Need To Know About SEO

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By John Zaher

Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely critical to modern marketing. With millions of new Web pages flooding the Internet every day, search engines are forced to sift through the clutter and develop a ranking system to prioritize websites. In the most basic sense, SEO is everything that helps your business get ranked higher and receive optimal exposure from these search engines. This is so important because your position on organic search engine results correlates with the number of leads generated by your website. For those who are new to SEO, this article will explain the most important factors that affect these rankings.

1. Content — Compelling content is perhaps the most important and influential factor of search engine optimization. Every Web page you create should contain unique content and keywords that are fresh and relevant to your area of law. Strong content is quickly picked up by the major search engines and pushed to the top of the search results. When writing your Web copy, see if you’ve answered the needs of your clients. What kind of content are they looking for? Depending on your area of law, you may offer guidebooks, downloads, a FAQ section, multimedia and other pages that are of value to your audience. It’s also important to ask yourself (even if your content meets the needs of your audience): What makes your website stand out from those of similar organizations? The more valuable and unique your website, the more traffic it will receive.

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