Bar News - March 21, 2008
Procrastinate No More: Create a Web Site for Your Law Firm Now
By: Anthony E. Kalikas
Each year, many of us jot down a few things we would all like to achieve in the calendar year. The perennial favorites are…lose a few extra pounds, spend more time with our families and less time in the office, earn more money, take a vacation, etc. Some of us are able to meet the goals we set; many of us fall a bit short.
| Web Site Content Tips|
Make sure content is easy to read
In the online world, less is nearly always more. Write your copy for the impatient, online reader. Here are some guidelines for the length of your content:
Headings: 8 words or less
Sentences: 15 - 20 words
Paragraphs: 40 - 70 words
Words on any page: No more than approx. 250 words
Eliminate pompous words and fancy phrases. Use short, simple words. Get to the point. And then stop. Write from me to you
The most powerful word in the English language is "YOU." Write for your reader, in a conversational tone, not for your ego. Stress the benefits of using your law firm, rather than describing your firm.
Provide links and connections
The Web is about linking information. Make sure your site links your reader to other information and other sites link to you. Some search engines, including Google, are based, in part, on their ability to find you from links on other sites
From marketing expert Julia Hyde at Julia@juliahyde.com.
Would you like to know a resolution you can complete in less than ten minutes? Give up? It’s setting up a website for your law firm, and here are five reasons why a Web site should be working for you:
1. A Web site adds credibility to your firm: The Internet has come of age. The percentage of internet users grows by leaps and bounds daily. Today, more and more potential clients look for their lawyers on the Internet. Will they find your firm? Even if you come recommended by word-of-mouth – if your potential clients can’t locate you through an Internet search, it may reflect negatively on their perception of you.
2. Provides easily updated information in an unlimited format: Once a potential client locates your Web site, they will have an opportunity to find out more about you, at their leisure. Many solo and small firm practitioners practice in more than one area of law. Suppose you have a practice which services clients with domestic as well as criminal matters. A former client whom you assisted with a divorce may have a need for other types of legal services and may seek you out first to find out what other areas of law you are familiar with.
3. A Web site is always there: Advertising comes and goes. Brochures don’t do much good unless you have a way to put them in a potential client’s hands, which is easier said than done. A Web site provides a continuous marketing presence for your law firm.
4. Web sites can cost less than you think. There are a number of providers, including my company, ESQ Sites123.com, that offer customizable templates and comprehensive, low-priced solutions for creating and hosting web sites for small-firms and solo lawyers. Our service allows you to create a basic three-page Web site for as little as a $149 initial setup fee (less a 25 percent discount for NHBA members, bringing the cost to less than $112). After that, you merely pay a $19.95 monthly hosting and maintenance fee. That three-page Web site will provide you with a home page to introduce your firm, a profile page that more fully details the capabilities of individual attorneys and staff, and a contact form for clients. And you get an e-mail account specific to your law firm, and the ability to add pictures and change the text through an easy-to-use interface.
5. Overcome potential clients’ anxiety: A law firm Web site allows an individual to learn about your firm in the comfort and safety of their own home at 2:00 a.m. in their pajamas, if they choose. In short, the anxiety clients sometimes experience about approaching a lawyer can be reduced because they are able to learn information about you when they want, how they want and in the safe haven of their own home.
Anthony Kalikas, a California attorney since 1991, is founder and president of ESQSites123. He is the former chair of the solo and small firm practice section of the State Bar of California. In 2005, he formed EsqSites123.com, an Internet company that provides attorneys the ability to create and edit their own Web sites using "practice specific" templates. He has partnered with a number of bar associations to provide member discounts for affordable attorney websites. For more information visit www.esqsites123.com. Use "NHBA" when prompted for a discount code. NHBA members receive a 25 percent discount on the one-time setup fees.