New Video on Canceling FindLaw

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New Video – Take Ownership of Your Website

I just published a new video that is just under two minutes and explains a little bit about how a law firm can go about canceling their FindLaw subscriptions and taking ownership of their website.  I have been helping people move their websites away from FindLaw since 2008.  If you have questions about where you traffic is coming from, how moving your site will effect your Google rankings, or any other questions about law firm marketing, don’t hesitate to contact me by calling 651-271.8845 or click here to email me.

Moving a WordPress Blog…

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Well, I’m too busy living it right now to really write about it, so this is gonna be short.  I am in the process of moving away from GoDaddy and over to Bluehost for my hosting.  There are a lot of reasons, mainly cost and that GoDaddy is just on my last nerve.  Right now there are two version of my Blog up.  The temporary one (that I just got up) and the old one (that I’m in the process of taking down).

Thing is, I need to be able to tell which is which, hence the purpose of this particular post at this time.  : ).

More to come…

When the Remarketing Kicks in

Remarketing your law firm website

If you’ve seen my posts lately, you know I’m on a little bit of a remarketing kick.  At the risk of using words that seem confusing next to one another, I think remarketing is remarkable.  I’ve already done a basic write up and short video about remarketing and how it works, which you can see here.

Remarketing-resultThis morning I was looking for a recipe for turkey.  At the bottom of the article was my advertisement.  I was pretty pleased.  Not because I’m so simple that it makes me happy to see my logo, but because I knew that other people, specifically my potential clients who have been to my website in the past, were probably seeing the same ad.  A lot of what I do is work with lawyers who want to cancel their FindLaw website.  Just like a potential client for bankruptcy, or divorce, or even criminal defense, my potential clients have a problem that needs to be solved; specifically, that they’re paying too much for their website.  It’s something they’ve been meaning to deal with, but procrastination and full schedules are real things, so they have not.

I get that for most people, hiring a lawyer is something that’s going to come with more urgency than buying a new law firm website, but I think that’s even more of a reason to keep your ads in front of your potential clients.  A lawyer who is paying too much for his site sees that Swell-Sites ad and at a minimum, is reminded “yeah, I have to deal with that thing”.  Same story for you.  “I need to get around to choosing a divorce lawyer”.  “I need to finally learn if bankruptcy is an option”.  “I need to be ready for my court date”.  Regardless of the specifics of who your potential client is, staying in front of them is key.

Remarketing is also VERY affordableremarketing-chart

I charge $750 for the set up on remarketing, and I understand that probably sounds like a lot.  Two things that I want to make clear; first, there is a good amount of work that goes into creating all of the different sized ads, which you need.  More importantly, once your remarketing is set up, it’s going to cost you very little to keep it going.  My remarketing campaign is very new, but I’ll point out a few things from the screenshot.  First, my ads have been seen 1,068 times.  These are all people who have been to my website before, and now they’re seeing my ads again.  Second, only four people have actually clicked on my ads.  Now this is clearly not that amazing of a clickthrough rate, but I sort of think of the impressions without clicks as free advertising.  They’re seeing my ad, it’s reminding them of my message, and if they haven’t taken care of their problem, it might spur them to action.  If you can’t see, my average cost per click has been $1.76.  So over the course of 4 days, I spent less than $2 a day, and over 1,000 people saw my ad.

If you have questions about how remarketing can help your law firm marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to contact me today.

Do People Know What to Do At Your Home Page?

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Your Home Page

Is it set up to convert your visitors to clients?

I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about their websites.  So much time that I usually neglect my own website. Recently I re-did my home page to give the visitors that I believe I have the best chance of converting an easy path to the information that I hope is most helpful to them.  Conversion rates on websites are low.  Even the best websites convert only 3 or 4% of their total traffic.  So instead of thinking that your home page is going to appeal to every possible visitor, just speak directly to the people you consider to be your best potential clients.

swell-sitesMost of my business is working with lawyers on moving away from FindLaw or building new websites.  I also work with people who want to improve their existing sites and drive more traffic.  So, made four key areas in large buttons at the top of the home page.   Take a look:  www.swell-sites.com.
hobson-homeThe idea was that I’d rather have people just jump into the page that is most relevant to them.  This makes even MORE sense if you’re talking about a law firm website, especially if you have more than one area of practice.  The home page can be challenging if you practice both, for instance, family law and criminal defense.  There are very few things that you can say that are relevant to both of these audiences.  So, it makes sense to try to get people right to the pages that are most relevant to them, or even split the page in two, like we did here at www.thehobsonlawfirm.com.

The key is just to take some time to think about how to arrange a few visual elements on the home page to help your potential client find the things they are looking for.  You don’t want someone relying on understanding that “Practice Areas” is the button that they’re looking for.

If you have questions about how to improve how your website is performing, check out some additional information at the links below or contact me today.

 

Remarketing with Google Adwords

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One of the best ways to improve the conversion rate on your law firm website is to give people the chance to come back to your website a second time.  This has never been easier with Google Adwords’ Remarketing program.  If you have ever shopped online, you have very likely seen a remarketing campaign.  It starts when you look at a specific product, and then leave that site without making a purchase.  Then you’ll quickly notice that seemingly everywhere else you go on the web, there’s that pair of shoes or that set of golf clubs you were looking.

How Can Remarketing Help Law Firms?

Most prospective legal clients look for information in stages.  There are visits that you’re likely already getting to your website of people who will one day hire a lawyer, but not today.   Traditionally, without remarketing, once they were gone, they’re return was more or less left to chance.  Hopefully they would remember your name.   Maybe they would remember the search they did that lead them to your website in the first place.  Remarketing keeps your name and an easy means to return to the law firm website in front of your prospective client after they leave.

How Much Does it Cost?

Most law firms can safely budget $200 a month, and will likely never get near that number.  I charge $750 for the initial set up and ad creation.  After that, I  can provide additional guidance towards fine tuning the campaign if needed, but for the most part you can leave it be.  You can get really advanced campaigns where you’re showing specific ads to people who saw specific pages, but for the most part simply keeping your logo and a simple message in front of them works well.  My law firms who are doing this now are getting about 7 to 10% of their traffic from the past 30 days back to their website through the remarketing campaign.

If you’re interested in talking more about how remarketing could help your law firm marketing efforts, call or text me at 651-271-8845 or contact me via email.  

Google Mobile Update – Are You Ready?

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Well, here comes another Google update; time to panic, right?  Well, hopefully not.  Like a lot of Google updates, this one is doing something fairly predictable; shuffling results around a little bit based on their updated ideas of what makes a website good.  This time, how you look on a tablet or phone is part of their criteria for “good”.

How Do I know if My Website is Mobile Friendly?

One easy way to test is simply to see what it looks like when your browser window gets very small.  I have embedded a small video that shows what the home page of swell-sites.com looks like. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the lower right hand corner of your browser, and then clicking and dragging it to resize.  (This is roughly the same thing that you should be seeing in the animation above).

Responsive vs. Mobile Friendly

If you watched the video, and then tried it on your site and it didn’t work, don’t panic.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your site isn’t mobile friendly.  I always suggest that people use responsive design, which is what you’re seeing in the video above.  But there are also a lot of providers who “redirect” to a mobile version.

Two Other ways to see if you’re Mobile Friendly

1. Use this Google Tool
In preparation for the Google Mobile Update, Google has actually provided some tools to help measure how mobile friendly your website is.  You can enter the domain of your law firm website here and get a result fairly quickly that says if you are mobile-friendly or not.

2. Check Yourself (this is probably the best way)
This may seem simple, but have you ever looked at your law firm website on your phone?  What did it look like?  Was the text hard to read?   Was it just a squished up version of the full website?  How about on an iPad?  Now, turn it, because sometimes the display when holding the phone landscape is different than when you hold it in the portrait position.

Does it Matter?

In a word, yes.  For two reasons; first, because when Google finally says “hey, we’re going to punish / reward you based on this new criteria” you need to pay attention.  Especially when that criteria is one that you probably should have taken into consideration years ago.  Secondly, if you’ve looked at your Google Analytics in the past year or two, you’re probably seeing that more and more mobile users are coming on your site.

If you have questions about getting your site up to date, what it would cost and how it can help your overall marketing plan, contact me today.

Driving Traffic to Your Law Firm Website

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I wanted to put together a guide that talked about some of the issues that can help your websites show up on Google.  If you are considering leaving FindLaw, these are the types of things that you want to keep an eye on, because when kept in place, you can transition away from FindLaw and not worry about losing whatever positioning you have already achieved.

There are currently eight pages, but I’ll be adding more soon:

 

Google Adwords Overview – Pay Per Click Advertising

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Google Adwords Advertising for Law Firms

What is It?  How Much Does it Cost?  Is it Worth it?

Google Adwords – What is It?

kansas-injury-lawyerGoogle Adwords is Google’s paid advertising program.  For the purpose of legal marketing, it usually refers to the paid ads on any given search results page.  In the graphic, you can see the paid ad areas highlighted.

How Much Does It Cost?

The price of Adwords is based on your budget and how you bid for keywords and phrases.  The system is fairly easy to set up and get going, but some of the keys to being successful are found in the more complex options.

Does it Work?

Well, that really depends on who you ask.  I think that there is very likely an Adwords strategy that would work for almost every type of law firm, but figuring out exactly what that winning strategy is for your specific firm can require a lot of trial and error.

Should I set up Adwords?  Or Buy it From a Service?

That is a very complex question; if you decide to buy it from a company or consultant, it’s important that you understand exactly how they get paid.  Marketing companies like to sell you “paid placement” but then don’t give you any real details on where or when you’ll appear.  So their incentive is ultimately to keep as much of your money as possible by spending as little as they can on the actual ads.  Transparency is key, just understand how you’re paying.  To read more on Adwords administrative fees, click here.

Is your Law Firm ready to set up Adwords?

A lot of the attorneys I talk to want to jump into Adwords immediately and hope to see those new clients and strong marketing returns start rolling in.  Adwords isn’t going to magically fill your waiting room or checking account.  It’s important to have every other element of your online presence handled first.  All Adwords does is drive targeted traffic to your site;  your website is still doing all the heavy lifting.  If you haven’t already addressed every potential issue on your website that can help convert a visit into someone who is taking the first step in the process to hire a lawyer, that needs to be done first.  Every potential leak in your online marketing plan needs to be plugged before you start driving what can be very expensive traffic at it.

Once everything else has been addressed, I suggest that you start slow, with a few key words and a relatively conservative budget.  A lot of the adwords system is actually set up to optimize itself.  For example, if you write copy for multiple ads, Google will start by rotating them fairly evenly, and then based on how they perform, will eventually start to display the more effective ads more often.

Questions about Adwords?  Contact Me

I offer customized Adwords set up and maintenance packages for law firms based on your specific goals.  Whether you want a few simple ads to show up within 10 or 15 minutes of your office, or want to set up an on-going campaign that will target a specific market, I can walk you through your options.  To set up a time to talk, or to just email me a few questions, see my contact info here.

Your Phone Number & Your Google Plus Profile

Google plus for lawyers

Your Google Plus Profile, Social Media Marketing Products & Your Phone Number

Why it’s really important that a third party isn’t in control of your online identity.

This week I got an email from a client that I’ve worked with for a long time.  We have a fairly regular lunch meeting and it’s someone I would consider a friend.  This lawyer, like a lot of lawyers I work with, also works with other vendors, phone book reps, sales people of all types… That’s normal.  I’m always happy to help my clients work through the on-going nightmare / but also sometimes necessity of working with other marketing companies.  But when she asked me to forward the log-in to the Google plus profile I panicked.  Sneaky marketing companies like to tell you that they have a package to help with social media.  It’s very important to understand exactly what they are doing.

Never, Ever Let another Company put their Tracking Number on Your Google Plus Profile

It’s somewhat common practice for third party marketing companies to want to “manage your online identify”.  In many cases, this can involve them plugging a tracking number in on your Google+ profile; this is problematic for a number of reasons.  First, they are more or less taking credit for traffic and exposure that you very likely would have received regardless of their overpriced efforts.  What’s even more troubling, it could have a negative effect on your overall SEO efforts.  Google looks for citations of your business online to confirm who you are.  Having a consistant phone number across as many platforms as possible is important to your SEO.

Don’t Let Marketing Companies Take Credit For the Exposure You Already Have

One of the most common tactics by online marketing companies is to try to take credit for organic exposure that you already have.  This can get fairly confusing, since there are a lot of companies that charge you for “organic” results.  True organic results have to do with your business and how Google views your business.  While this does require some set-up to work correctly, it should not be treated as part of your marketing program, and it certainly should not have any phone number other than your permanent business line.

The Illusion of Success

SUCCESS

The Illusion of Success

Are you attributing more business than you should to your FindLaw website?

I wrote an article for my website, and now I’m making a blog post about it.  It’s tricky to know what should be on your website vs. what should be on your blog.  I have decided that since this concept (of the Illusion of Success with your law firm website) isn’t going anywhere to put it on the website.  But, then again, my blog is starving for content, so I figured I’d at least mention it here.

What is the Illusion of Success?

More or less, what I’m referring to is law firms attributing business or success in general to their website when it doesn’t deserve it.  Look, I love it when people get business from the websites that I build, and I would love for people to think that every client they get from their website is because of what an attractive and usable design I created, and what compelling content I put on the site, and how the design leads people to look at the contact form, and projects a professional and experienced law firm.  But what if it was just a referral?  Then do I get all of that credit?  I mean, they DID go to the site, right?   In short, the Illusion of Success is the idea that people are giving their websites too much credit, which in and of itself maybe isn’t so bad.  What’s bad is if you’re using that illusion to justify paying thousands to keep your site up.

To read more about the “Illusion of Success” on my main website, click here.