We spend a lot of our time on the phones talking with attorneys about website design and search engine optimization. Over the years, many of the attorneys that we work with called us initially to discuss building a new website, not about managing their search engine optimization or pay-per-click advertising. A great website is essential to high conversions, but, it is not the most important aspect of online marketing. I would even go a step further, and really irritate all of the website designers out there…..
It is not even the second most important part of online marketing!
We have spent thousands of hours on the phone with DUI attorneys, Bankruptcy lawyers, personal injury firms, sex crime attorneys, and every other form of law you can think about. We say the same thing over, and over, and over again. Don’t worry about building a brand new website until you have some traffic to your site. You can’t measure or gauge how your online visitors are interacting with your site if you don’t have any traffic. It is the chicken or the egg all over again, except, in this case, we know which one is supposed to come first. You must first optimize your site and get a little traffic flowing before you spend big bucks on that new site with all of the bells and whistles. Here are five things every attorney should know prior to building that brand new website.
1) Drive Traffic To Your Site And Monitor Behavior
Most attorneys don’t realize that you can use Google analytics and other software to trace the path visitors take on their website. You can see what information is most important to the visitors, and see how much they care. If you have 100 people coming to the website, and 80% of those people “bounce” off of the website within the first 30 to 60 seconds, you will know that there is nothing of value on the home page of the website. They are not connecting with the information that is on the page. Your goal should be to provide users with exactly what they searched for. So if you are a DUI attorney in Tallahassee, Florida, the information on the page should be targeting those arrested for DUI in Tallahassee. You want to relate with people when they arrive on a page, and reviewing the metrics in Google Analytics is something that can easily improve your conversions, or another way to say this is…..You will make more money!
2) You Need To Connect With Your Visitors
Almost every attorney we talk to has the same information on their site. It is like the third year of law school is devoted to setting up your website like every other attorney. While it is important to talk about your qualifications and your awards, it is not the main reason people are searching on your website. In the case of a DUI, visitors are scared, and they are trying to figure out what options are available to them. They want to know if they are going to go to jail, or if they are going to lose their job, and want to know how long they will be without a license. They are looking for answers to very specific questions, yet most DUI attorneys ignore this completely.
Instead, we read:
“Joe Lawyer has been in practice for 30 years”
“Jane Attorney will work tirelessly to get you the results you want”
“Smooth Talking DUI Guy takes the time to know his clients and provides a high level of service to each and every one”.
BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!
Tell me that you know I am scared. Explain the process to me and express how YOU can help me avoid jail time, or get me a reduced sentence, or something to make me believe that YOU are the answer to my problems. Tell me about your qualifications on another page of your website, and if I care, I will read it later. But right now, when I just got to your website, tell me WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR ME!
3) Local Traffic Follows Pareto’s Principal
You have probably heard of Pareto’s Principal. The 80/20 rule! 80% of your business is going to come from your backyard. Local business is where most attorneys make at least 80% of their business. With that being said, why not have a killer Google + Page? This used to be Google Places or Google Maps, but it has evolved over time to Google Plus. If you are a Baltimore DUI attorney, with a Baltimore address, then your name should show up every time someone does a search for a DUI attorney in Baltimore. This is crucial, yet most attorneys treat their Google + page as an after thought. Little Hint: If your Google Plus page is optimized properly, all of the other phrases and terms you target will rank much better.
4) Invest In Traffic
Yes, you need to buy traffic. Huh? Google Adwords is a great place to get traffic to your site, and you should spend some money up front driving targeted traffic to your site. Spend the money upfront, and see how people interact with your site. Once you have this data, you can make adjustments to your site, move contact forms around, change pictures, and everything else you would like. By using Google Adwords, you can target just your main phrases or terms, and drive the exact targeted customer you want. Going back to our Baltimore DUI attorney…
You could spend $50 a day for two weeks, and target Baltimore DUI Attorneys in exact match form. That means that the only time your ad will show up is when someone types in the phrase Baltimore DUI attorneys in Google. You can then see exactly the visitor path people take on your site. You spend a few hundred up front, but save thousands in the long run, and……You will increase your conversion rates immensely in the months and years to come. To see how technically sound your website is, you can test your site here.
5) Stop Managing Your Pay Per Click Account
I don’t have an exact percentage, but I would estimate 98.367% of attorneys waste a ton of money on PPC. Maybe it was the last year of law school again? Why do you want to manage your Adwords Account? To Save Money? Oh, if that is the case…..
Your wasting more money on your own!!!
So many attorneys come to us and tell us they are managing their own PPC account, only to see how much money they waste each and every month. Like a recent bankruptcy attorney who was spending $8,000 per month on PPC, and we found that $3,000 of that budget each month was going to the search phrase “What is a Chapter 7?”.
Is this really your target audience? Do you think maybe, just maybe, that some kid heard this phrase on television, and typed those words into Google? Maybe, someone is trying to find out the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. They are not looking for a bankruptcy attorney when they type that search string into Google. They want information, and they are not ready to buy from you. Take that wasted budget and starting bidding on the phrases:
Best Bankruptcy Attorney in Maryland
Hire A Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney
Find The Top Chapter 7 Lawyer
These are buying phrases, and your money will be better spent going after these keywords. Do yourself a favor, and hire a professional to manage your PPC. Just like someone arrested for DUI would not have their Mom who watches a lot of Law and Order represent them in the court of law, you shouldn’t be trying to manage your PPC campaign and also practicing law.
These are just 5 things you need to know prior to building your website. If you want more, contact the professionals at Hit Me SEO in Laytonsville, MD. We specialize in online marketing for attorneys, and would love to speak with you.