If you purchased a website from Lawyers.com, FindLaw, Dex or YellowPages.com you’re certainly paying a monthly invoice, but you might not be sure what you’re getting from it. You know that your website stays up and running, but the actual benefit you receive from an SEO package can be difficult to measure. If you want to be effective in a competitive market, an on-going plan is very likely necessary. The key is understanding what you are buying and what is a reasonable expectation of what that on-going package will do for you.
I do sell packages or solutions or bundles or predetermined levels of service. If you want on-going service to your website, we talk about how to make that as effective as possible for you given your geography, target market, what you currently have on your website and your marketing goals. Most of the time it’s some combination of four key elements:
I’ll break down those four categories at the end of this article. The thing that’s important at this point is that I do not treat those four elements the same for any two law firms. We’re going to make a package based on your current situation and goals that addresses each element appropriately.
Because this package is completely customized, it’s hard to make blanket statements, but that said, let’s take a look at what’s good and what’s bad:
The benefits of an on-going package SHOULD be fairly easy to see. You should not only be seeing an overall good result from your website, but you should also have at least some notion of what it is your provider is doing to grow / stabilize / protect those results.
Obviously there is a cost, in my case usually between $200 and $1,000 a month. I build websites to be successful on their own, but on-going attention for a website will produce better results. That said, I also have sites that I’ve built two and even three years ago that have just been sitting there, but producing a good result the whole time….for free.
Content Creation & On-Going SEO
Most of my on-going plans would include new content where appropriate. If you are striving for better organic placement on Google, slowly adding original content over time is likely the best approach. On-Going SEO can mean a lot of different things, but at a minimum should include an understanding of where the site is showing up, and how the users are interacting with the site.
Updates & General Website Health
If you’re paying someone to manage your website on an on-going basis, you shouldn’t have to learn how to update the site. You also should have someone looking over your traffic from time to time to ensure that nothing strange is happening. This is really just the most basic level of service you’d expect at any price, but it’s relevant because in a lot of cases it’s the ONLY thing that FindLaw clients are receiving.
Advertising on Google
You’re heard of Google Adwords and know that it’s very competitive, and therefore very expensive. However, what you might not know is that there is a tool available through Google Adwords (called Remarketing) that allows you to stay in front of potential clients who have accessed your website in the past 30 or 45 days. This is a great strategy for practice areas where there is a longer, drawn-out decision making process like in bankruptcy or family law. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, but when someone does click on your ad, it’s someone who has seen your site before. The fact that they’re coming BACK to your site would suggest that they are more likely to convert or take the next step than other users.
Staying Connected with Social Media
I have a lot of opinions about lawyers and how they should use Social Media, and if you want to, we can get into all of that another time. However, there’s no denying that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ are four of the highest trafficked websites on the web, and having your basic business information accessible through them makes a lot of sense. I don’t encourage law firms to post to social media outside of maybe linking to a new page of content or sending out a quick message every now and again. You could make the case that it's separate, but ratings sites like Avvo and Yelp! are also important. I would always encourage my clients to review me on Google+ first and foremost, but having your profile set up on review sites is helpful and keeps you informed of any reviews that show up.
If you are interested in transitioning your website away from FindLaw or a similar company and would like to hear about how I can customize an on-going package for you, email, text or call me with any questions.