Follow Up Webinar Questions:
You Asked, Mary Answered! (Part 1)

During our most recent webinar, “Kickstart Your Legal Marketing in One Hour,” we learned how to step up your legal marketing from Mary Wenzel, the founder of Write Law and legal marketing master.

If you missed it, you can watch a recording of the webinar and view the slide deck here to learn all about steps you can take to market your law firm like a pro.

During the webinar, there were a number of great questions asked by attendees that Mary didn’t have sufficient time to answer. Fortunately, she was kind enough to provide us with her answers. The first round of answers can be found below. Tomorrow we’ll post her answers to the remaining questions.

Blogging

I was told by an SEO specialist that a blog should be placed on a separate website because the best way to increase SEO is to have as many websites as possible which link to your main website.  Is this true?

Link building is an important part of increasing your search engine rankings, however, most search engines are focusing more and more on quality content rather than link building or other SEO tricks.

If your goal is to convert more blog and website visitors into clients, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they want and need. Each time you require a user to click on something to get the information they want, you run the risk of losing them. If you want to learn more about our thoughts on keeping your blog on your website, you can check out our recent blog on the topic

I have heard that you should keep your blog separate from your firm’s website so that you can build links and go into more detail about the different practice areas. The rationale is that your different practice areas may lead to a cluttered website.

Building off my answer to the previous question, I think you should always keep your blog on your firm’s site. If you are concerned about confusing your audience because your practice areas are very different, let’s say IP and family law for instance, I would encourage you to set up two different websites and blog about the appropriate topics on the appropriate site.

Any suggestions as to how to make sure the blog that you write is actually being picked up by Google? I have close to 64 blogs but I don’t see that anyone actually visits or reads it other than Google spiders.  Are updates treated more favorably by spiders than blogs?  I was told that blogs should provide substantive information rather than war stories because the Google analytic spiders are looking for useful information.

When it comes to websites and blogs, the quality of the content is key and second is the consistency with which you update your blog. Quantity is important but sheer numbers don’t win when it comes to natural language search results. Google and the other search engines are looking to provide the best experience for their users, which means they want content that matches their searches and answers their questions. Without looking at your site and the Google Analytics reporting, it is hard to say what you should do to improve visibility.

If you haven’t done so already, you can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to identify some keywords to focus your writing on (look for higher search frequency and lower competition). In terms of content beyond the keywords, think of what your perfect client wants to know when they come to your blog and write for them. If you are a legal malpractice attorney maybe your clients will want the war stories as examples of your success but most often people are looking for answers to questions about their type of case, how to work with an attorney, or questions about things tangentially related to your practice areas.

Who should write the blog, the legal team or the marketing team? What kind of information should we publish on the blog?

The simplest answer is whoever will write consistently, will create a plan, and can write in a way that your target audience will respond to. In terms of blog content and subject matter some easy topics are:

FAQs – You probably get the same 8 – 12 questions from every client you meet with. Answer a question each week on your blog.

Practice Areas – Pick four and rotate through them on a monthly basis or focus on one practice area for 4 – 8 weeks at a time.

Resources – Share resources that are useful to your clients and tangentially related to your practice areas.

How effective is blogging for lead generation? How much time does it really take?

Blogging can be extremely effective in lead generation if your blog is written consistently (at least once a week), is supported by an editorial calendar, targets your perfect clients, and is written for them. In fact according to hubspot.com, 46% of people read blogs more than once per day. 

But creating content for successful placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) is a long game, for most firms it will take 6 – 9 months to really see results. It can happen more quickly but it is dependent on a number of factors including your current website and blog traffic, how you are going to share your blog posts once you write them (are they being shared on social media, via an email campaign, through other websites etc.), and how well your posts are written.

What can I do to help boost my search engine optimization other than blogging? 

Blogging is just one way to improve your SEO. A couple of other ways to improve your search engine rankings include:

  • Creating strong website content
  • Using a logical site structure
  • Using pictures and video (with accurate descriptions or summaries)
  • Ensuring that your firm name, address, and phone number are consistent every place they appear online.

Websites

I struggle with calls to action on my webpages and in my blogs. Do you have any pointers on writing calls to action that inspire urgency?

Calls to action can feel a little tricky but really, good calls to action boil down to three main components:

  • They create a sense of urgency
  • They tell the reader what to do – click, call, leave a comment etc.
  • They eliminate a sense of obligation with a statement that the action is free, or low risk.

Why would I want stock photos for my website?  Do you really think that a stock photo of a gavel or a courthouse is good marketing?

Great question. I certainly don’t encourage using cheesy stock images of a judge or a gavel or a courthouse in your marketing, but not all stock imagery is cheesy. And if you don’t have the budget to hire someone to take an original picture for every page on your website (which you should have on most pages to create visual interest), stock imagery can be a great option. Check out depositphotos.com for some great pricing on stock photos.

I have been asking clients fill out a survey on services. Is it appropriate to put the cumulative results on the website?

Generally speaking, yes, but it does depend on the type of survey and the questions you’ve asked. So, be sure to check with your state bar to see if there are any opinions on using surveys or recommendations. When in doubt, disclose the nature of the survey and then share the results.

Do you have any suggestions on how to increase conversions from my website?

It’s hard to say without knowing what you are currently doing. But in terms of measuring and improving conversions generally, I am happy to make some suggestions:

  • Install and use Google Analytics
  • Ensure that you have a bounce rate lower than 25%
  • Identify the ways people move through your website and improve where you see them dropping off
  • End each page on your website with a strong call to action
  • Make it easy for your potential clients to connect with you. Display your phone number, intake forms, live chat or email prominently on each page of your site.

Do you recommend a particular provider for hosting?

  • I have been using wpengine.com for several of my websites and am extremely happy with them. Great speeds, great customer support, no issues with our sites being down.

What do you do regarding SEO?

I am not quite sure what you mean by this question so I will answer it in two ways.

In terms of promoting Write Law, we haven’t hired an SEO company to help us establish our presence online, we’ve done it all through creating good content, using keywords appropriately and building an easy to use website.

For our clients, we don’t specifically provide SEO services, we provide marketing consultations, ghostwritten marketing content and we teach attorneys and legal support staff how to make smart marketing decisions and write awesome website content and blogs.

Why can’t we post case results as long as they are true?  Or, explain why we need to be careful.

Sharing case results on your website can generally be done, however, each state bar association has designated rules about marketing and many have issued opinions on how to permissibly advertise prior case results. The concern for most bar associations is that they do not want potential clients to see previous results and assume that those results are a guarantee or even an indication of the potential result in their case.

I own multiple domains and use Intuit Sitebuilder. Is it OK to copy content and use it on all of my domains?

No. The search engines don’t like companies dominating a certain topic by purchasing multiple domains and republishing the same content. Every site needs to have unique content or you risk having your sites penalized or, even worse, blacklisted by the search engines.

If you are worried that you’ve accidently used duplicate content on your site, or think someone is using your content, check out Copyscape Premium. It is a great resource for ensuring your content is original. 

You mentioned that a web redesign can cost $1,500-$10,000 professionally. Have you heard of companies charging closer to $35,000-$50,000?

Yes, I have definitely seen companies charge $35,000 – $50,000 for websites. However, those are most often for large, complex sites. I can’t really think of any reason why a smaller firm would need a site that cost anywhere near that, unless the price included a lot of training, maintenance and support.

That’s it for now, but check back tomorrow for more of Mary’s answers to your questions! 

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