Marketing Malpractice Means Not Having a Website

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marketing malpractice111 Marketing Malpractice Means Not Having a WebsiteI still meet some lawyers, especially solos, who insist they do not need a website. “I have more than enough business” is the common push back to any suggestion that they should have one. Well, they may have “enough business,” but there would definitely be more business with a web presence.

Without a website, you are leaving money on the table.

Why you need a website

There are two reasons why one needs a web presence. One applies to all lawyers; the other to only some.

First, a website validates you and provides you with credibility. Many lawyers get their work by referrals. If someone is nice enough to give out your name, in this day and age, the first thing that person will do is google you. If they cannot find you on the web, they may think you do not exist or that you are not a credible lawyer, and they will move on to the next name.

In short, lawyers without websites have no idea how many referrals they may have missed out on.

Second, for lawyers primarily serving individuals in practice areas such as family law, criminal law, bankruptcy, and personal injury, the web is replacing the phone book for those potential clients. People—including potential clients’ family and friends—do google searches all of the time to find these types of lawyers.

No more excuses

The old excuse, “it is too complicated and too expensive” no longer flies. You can do it yourself if you have the time and interest, or you can hire a reasonably-priced vendor.

Just do it.

(photo: leetlegreenman)

  • http://www.therelief.com Danielle Keister

    Besides marketing, a website can (and I would say, should) also be used as an automation tool in your practice and a resource center for your clients. Done well, it can act as an extra “employee” in your business and help streamline some of your processes and systems, leaving you to provide more high quality, personal service.

  • http://www.yodle.com Mike DeLuca

    A website is a great idea for anyone who doesn’t have one but it is only one piece of the puzzle. You have to drive traffic (and ultimately new clients) to it and you want to make sure it is optimized for conversion, ie, landing pages, relevant content, calls to action, etc. Having a business card with your website on it is nice but the only people who see it are people you already know. Having a website without any strategy to drive traffic to it is like buying a billboard in putting it in the middle of the woods!

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/karinconroy/ Karin Conroy

    Great post!
    Mike – I couldn’t agree more. However, without a website to support your brand you’re really missing the potential to influence a potential client’s impression of your reputation. Great content and traffic are goals for any business to aim for, but even before the traffic starts arriving you have to be prepared to present yourself.

  • http://www.andrewflusche.com/ Andrew Flusche

    I’ve stopped encouraging local colleagues to get a website. I feel like it’s wasting my breath.

  • Karalyn Eckerle

    Your points are on target. The first thing most folks do these days is check the internet for a website. I often do it while talking to prospective new clients! But attorneys without a web presence are missing another great advantage —- I call it the “warm fuzzy factor.”

    Let’s face it — most folks feel about lawyers the way they feel about dentists. They hope they never need you and probably won’t trust you if they do.

    Having a good website gives them a chance to see your face — to learn a bit about you and to feel comfortable with you before they meet you. It’s one reason I encourage attorneys to design a unique website — one that is less sterile than those used by banks and most large law firms.

    A website also gives you an opportunity to set forth how someone should prepare for that first consultation — what information/paperwork should they bring with them. Often the first consultation is largely a waste of time because the prospective clients don’t bring with them the information necessary for the attorney to give an educated evaluation of the situation being dealt with.

    In short, a good website is cheap insurance. In my book it’s certainly a better use of money than an ad in the Yellow Pages.

  • http://jakubowitzchuang.com/ William Chuang

    I bet most solo attorneys don’t have websites because they believe it’s really difficult or expensive to create one. However, you can use WordPress to cheaply create a professional-looking website that lets you post articles and updates about your practice. I spent two days to create my firm’s web site at jakubowitzchuang.com, and the only out-of-pocket expense involved was the domain registration fee (ten bucks) and the hosting for a year (seventy five bucks). There’s really no reason not to have a website.

    A website is not going to get business for you by itself. But when you finally do get a client through other means, your website will let you set the tone when someone Google searches you. In other words, it’s a good tool to prep others about your practice. On two occasions already, opposing counsel have read my website—while talking on the phone, they referred to my former firm and the law school I attended.

    Lastly, when I take out a newspaper ad, I will not have enough space to exhaustively list my credentials. So I will provide a link, my specialties, and hope for my website to speak for itself.

  • http://www.experthub.com Lisha Fabris

    I agree with Mike. A website is nice to have but not if no one sees it. So a good internet strategic to grow organic traffic to your site is necessary. Consider a mix of directories, blogging, social media, and adwords.

    My second point is that if you have a website, be sure to keep if fresh. You wouldn’t let the paint fade from the front of your building. In the same sense, don’t let your website go stale with out of date information.

  • Kameron Barnett

    I have a website but there is not much to it. I used Intuit to create the site and it is very bland. I don’t know much about creating/working with/editing a website. What would you recommend for someone with little knowledge in this area or what companies can help with this at a reasonable rate. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • Craig Janis

    Kameron,

    I would recommend hiring either myself (http://www.craigjanis.com) or Zach Pendleton (http://www.zachpendleton.com) to do your site. We are both law students, and we both make pretty and functional websites.

    Good luck!

    - Craig

  • http://www.themodernfirm.com Brendan C.

    @Kameron Barnett: would love for you to have a look at our offerings as well (http://www.themodernfirm.com).

    @William Chung: Great point, a website is a terrific way to augment traditional advertising. Not only does listing a URL convey a certain amount of professionalism, it gets visitors to a place where you can deliver the whole story

    @all: Before thinking about a traffic/exposure strategy don’t forget to cover all the basics. Have your web address (and phone number) in your e-mail signatures and put it on any document that leaves your office (letterhead, checks, biz cards, sticky notes etc). Most firms agree that their best clients come from referrals, so make sure those referral sources are always seeing your website address.