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Bar News - February 17, 2012

Book Review: The Essential Attorney Handbook for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Website Development Optimization By Jeffrey W. Lantz


I must confess that sometimes I type "nh special education law attorney" on Google to see if my website comes up. My website is listed all right, but only on the second page, after seven other lawyers. How did those guys get ahead of me? What do I need to do to get into the front row? In my mindís eye I can see and hear their phones ringing with calls from fresh new clients, while my phone sits silent, cobwebs forming.

To compound my misery, I open up one or more of my competitorís websites. Immediately I am afflicted with a bad case of "Webpage Envy". These sites are gleaming lures for site visitors to explore, with rich photos of the attorneys in their lairs, most sitting at their desks, draped in Armani, integrity and brilliance beaming forth from the screen. Beautiful text describes the qualifications of the attorney, with words like "seasoned," "trustworthy" and "affordable" in bold.

Then I open my website. It is feeble in comparison, with no great photos and just a meager description of my practice areas accompanied by my phone number and location. In the realm of the webpage world, my site is a Yugo surrounded by virtual Cadillacs. No wonder I am broke.

But take heart, web-challenged colleagues. Jeffrey W. Lantz has come to the rescue with his book, The Essential Attorney Handbook for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Website Development. Lantz, who practiced corporate law 1991 to 2004, and has been an internet entrepreneur since. Lantzís value proposition in this 260 page book is that the changing communication landscape is an important area that must be addressed by law firms, not only to communicate with current clients, but to reach prospective clients as well.

As an acknowledged internent duffer and solo-practitioner, I was most interested in the chapters covering webpage design and development, and search engine optimization. These sections describe what constitutes the "client centered website", as opposed to the "attorney centered website". The client is looking at your webpage not to see your pretty face, but to find out if and how you can assist them NOW.

The book describes in detail the steps your firm can take to get your webpage high powered search engine listings, and how to maintain such visibility. Apparently this involves things like "algorithms", "bots", "spiders" and "algorithms". In addition, for you mid-size and large law firms, you can pay fees to the search engines for preferred placement. Like everywhere else, money talks on the world-wide-web.

Once your webpage is launched and running, the book assists lawyers in developing metrics to gauge the amount of traffic to the page, drafting and posting e-newsletters and writing a blog. It suggests both appropriate and inappropriate topics for e-newsletters and blogs.

Lantz also recommends how lawyers and law firms can use the myriad of social network tools which have sprung up on the web, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The book is very helpful in providing tips on how to network all of these tools to consistently spread your marketing message.

In summary, The Essential Attorney Handbook for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Website Development by Jeffrey W. Lantz. contains something for lawyers of all sizes and shapes. I learned a lot about how to develop and launch a website, while the inhabitants of larger firms will find lots of more in-depth material to aid them in the development of their internet marketing efforts. While it has no music to dance to (sorry, Dick Clark), I give it a grade of 95.

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