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The Internet was alive this past month with lots of law firm website-related news. Among the most noticeable trends: the decline of home page traffic, the need for constantly new content and the importance of personalizing your social media messages. Ready to rev up your own content-creation machine? In this month’s Friday Five Trending, Kandy Hopkins points to the links you’ll need.
1. Redesign it. Thanks to the upswing in sharing content via social media, only 39 percent of web traffic enters a law firm’s site through the home page — and that’s down 17 percent from last year, according to a recent study. Due to the increase of content-driven traffic, “Law firms will have an increasingly difficult time marketing their law firms through websites as designed today,” Kevin O’Keefe wrote for Above the Law. Perhaps that’s why 85 percent of law firms updated or redesigned their website in the last three years.
2. Own it. O’Keefe also noted that lawyers are increasingly networking online with clients outside of the firm’s website through blogs, LinkedIn and other social media. “Lawyer bios, long one of the most trafficked areas of law firm websites, are taking a back seat to LinkedIn profiles,” he wrote. In fact, Greedy Associates believes associates should have a professional website of their own that’s separate from their firm’s site.
3. Blog it. Thanks to new Google search algorithms, “firms need to publish original, meaningful content on a regular basis” to keep bringing in traffic from potential clients, according to an ABA Journal piece. Blogging is probably the fastest and easiest way to do this, but not everyone wants to — or should — blog. It’s a lot of hard (and unbillable) work. But if you do decide to bite that particular bullet, Copyblogger offers “35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business,” and Real Lawyers Have Blogs has “five recommendations for attorneys before they start blogging.” National Law Review even offers an infographic on how to get your posts shared.
4. Personalize it. While an optimistic 84 percent of firms say they’ll produce more content this year than last, only 29 percent have a plan in place about how to best capitalize on that content. The key? Make it personal to the consumer. “If you really make your content about your audience, it will be higher quality and others will be more likely to recommend it,” Greentarget’s John Corey tells InsideCounsel. Others agree; not only should you write ads from the client’s perspective, but you should also personally handcraft the text for your tweets and Facebook updates, since “the ideal wording for a headline … isn’t necessarily the same as the ideal wording for a tweet or other social post.”
5. Proofread it. Okay, so there wasn’t a story about the importance of proofreading, but as I searched the web for trends I saw several typos. And let’s face it: It’s easy to leave out that skinny letter “l” in “public” or transpose the letters “i” and “t” so “marital law” becomes “martial law.” Spell-checkers only catch bad spelling, not an accidentally used (but correctly spelled) wrong word. So proofread everything that appears on your site — not just the main copy, but tags, page titles, text in graphics and alternative text for graphics. Typos can seriously undermine your message and credibility — and could do so for years, since once the typo is on the Internet it’s often there to stay. Case in point: Three years ago Law Firm Publicity posted “Old School Values in an Internet Era,” which is tagged “law firm pubic relations.”
Kandy Hopkins is a Contributing Editor at Attorney at Work. A Chicago-based freelance writer and copy editor, she specializes in legal and healthcare topics, formerly blogging for the Thomson Reuters-affiliated Hildebrandt Blog. Whenever she’s asked, “So, what do you do?” she always replies, “Whatever I think I can get away with.” Most people think she’s joking.
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