Website Development CycleThere’s a big misperception from lawyers who want to market their firms on the internet. This misperception leaves attorneys and law firms thinking that legal web marketing is already saturated, that “everyone is online,” and that establishing an online web presence is already “super-competitive.” This article explains why those beliefs are dead-wrong, why the web should be your primary marketing focus, and provides tips to building a strong online web presence.

I receive several calls a week from attorneys who either don’t have a website, have one that is almost completely undeveloped, or have a site that has been neglected for a decade. Think of how many attorneys you know who still don’t have a web presence and you realize that the number of attorneys not yet online, or are not taking their web presence seriously, is staggering.  This means that today is the time for you to leverage online marketing, because it is only going to become more competitive as time goes on.

Lawyers should make the web their primary marketing focus

I recently completed a series on how lawyers can improve their law firm in 30 days. In that discussion I stressed that lawyers should be investing in in marketing options that will provide long terms result. A key point to investing is to get in on the “ground floor” of an opportunity. By investing in an opportunity, before a market is saturated, you can stake out your claim and establish yourself in that market. While attorney internet marketing may not be on the “ground floor” anymore, it certainly is just starting its ascent and you can get in on the second floor of what is a high-rise building of opportunity.

Those who doubt that attorney web development is in the early stages just need to look at the statistics. Google has recently learned that a staggering 55 percent of small businesses (which include law firms) don’t have websites[i]. That statistic only deals with businesses that don’t have a site at all. Think of all the attorneys you know who don’t have a web page (who fall into the 55 percent) and then consider all the lawyers you know with an underdeveloped web presence (who would actually fall outside of the 55 percent) and you quickly realize that online legal marketing is in its infancy.

Matt Cutts of Google recently answered the question of “what’s the biggest SEO mistake?” Here’s the answer:

The fact that Google is taking the time to tell people to “get a website” shows how many small businesses aren’t yet online.

Tips for attorneys who want to develop a meaningful web presence

Having a web page is one thing. If you want to be competitive then there are some tips you need to follow to make sure you are investing wisely and not spending foolishly:

Make Sure Your Site Performs Well on Mobile Devices – The web is increasingly being viewed on mobile devices. Right now we are seeing that about 40 percent of the traffic coming to our clients’ websites are from a non-traditional PC.  Mobile devices will soon surpass the desktop as the medium on which people are searching for lawyers; the share of total internet traffic that was consumed on mobile devices increased by 72 percent from mid-2013 to mid-2014[ii]. Having a non-mobile friendly site is a dead end. The biggest piece of advice on this front is to make sure your site handles mobile devices through the use of a responsive design and not through a “.m” domain.

Blog Early And Often – How well your site performs in search will primarily rely on your content. While other factors are highly important, the necessity of great content is only going to increase. Attorneys who choose not to blog are going to be left behind. That being said, it’s not enough to blog for the sake of blogging. You need to make your content useful to prospective clients. I’ve written previously on how attorneys can make their blog content valuable. Blogging correctly will put you ahead of your competition.

Focus On The Speed Of Your Website – Attorneys often tell me initially that they’re not concerned about the speed of their website. Here’s a newsflash – Google is very concerned about it. Speed is one of the factors that the search engine considers in ranking sites. This is due to the fact that studies have shown that slowing a site down, by even one second, causes a massive drop-off in the willingness of people to engage with that site. So if you’re not worried about speed then you should be. I’ve previously explained how slow websites will cost an attorney clients, and this is an area that many attorneys ignore (which means more opportunity for you).

You have a golden opportunity to stake out a place for your firm’s long-term future by taking your online marketing seriously. I’m surprised at the extent to which firms still aren’t leveraging the internet. Feel free to chime in on the comment form below as to why you think this is.

[i] http://www.cnet.com/news/google-testing-custom-domain-registration-service/

[ii] Mary Meeker – 2014 Code Conference