Monday, August 09, 2010

Twitter and Facebook Accounts Getting Hacked

If you are on Twitter or Facebook, invariably, you see one our your friend's/contact's account get hacked. You see your friend suddenly espousing how to get "Free Flash Games" or "Walmart Gift Cards at 50% Off".

Doesn't really give you a strong opinion of that person, even though you know it's not their fault. Subliminally, we project a certain amount of carelessness to this user for letting their account get hacked. Don't they check their accounts on a frequent basis?

I have a confession to make, my Twitter account was recently hacked. I "Tweeted" about free games, diet pills, and cheap health care. Needless to say, it was very embarrassing as I often give professionals such as attorneys advice on lawyer marketing. I have since stopped this breach.

Some ways to avoid your law firm or individual account from being hacked:
1. Use hard to guess passwords
2. Change your password frequently
3. Log in to your account at least on a weekly basis and look at your posts
4. Listen to your followers who tell you when you been hacked

With these simple steps, you have a good chance of keeping your Facebook and Twitter account from being hacked.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Twitter Directory, Twellow

As a quasi frequent Twitter person, I have found Twellow to be a great directory. You can search for interesting people to follow by category. You can see how many followers a particular person has too.

In addition you can create an extended profile of yourself, which can be very useful in describing your focus areas (ala practice areas and locations).

If you haven't checked out and you are on Twitter, then you maybe missing out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Targetlaw New Release

Targetlaw has a new look and feel. It has morphed from a Lawyer Search Engine to a full blown online legal directory. There is also a legal article submission section.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Secret of Search Engine Optimization (Shhhhh, don't tell anyone)

If you are like most lawyers, you are constantly being barraged by offers from SEO "experts" who know the secrets of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here is the biggest secret about SEO that I am going to share with you....

There is no secret. Despite what all the experts say, Google, Yahoo, MSN and every other search engine out there do not want a website to show better in their search results because of superior SEO. These search engines make their living by bringing back relevant websites to a particular query. If these results are skewed and not relevant, then the searcher will look elsewhere and not continue to use the search engine.
This creates a cat and mouse game between the SEO Experts (mostly Spammers) and the search engines. I would suggest you do not get caught up with all this.

Remember from my last post, above all, Content is King. If you are adding relevant content, have a Google Site Map (table of contents for Google), and are listed in a few good web directories then your lawyer website or blawg will do just fine. Stay away from trying to guess "keyword density" and other SEO methods. These strategies come and go. Trying to keep up with them will be frustrating, complicated, and in the end, not beneficial to your overall web traffic.

If your hobby is to SEO your law firm website on a frequent basis and the art of SEO interests you, then go ahead. Otherwise, put your head down, and refresh your relevant content. If you build it, they will come.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Relevant Content Trumps Everything for Websites

What do Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines want to see on a website above all else? A pretty picture? Repeating key words? Great search engine optimization?
The title of this post is a hint...Yes, it is Relevant Content. What I mean by this is that your website needs to contain information that is relevant to a search engine query. Search engines do not want to bring back poor results to their searchers. Search engines make their money by having searchers return and continue to do web searches. Google is a multi billion dollar company because more folks on the internet use Google which drives up Google's pay per click (think "Sponsored Links" when you do a search) revenue. If the results Google brought back to the public where not relevant, then searchers would stop using Google and use another search engine.

So what does this have to do with you attorney or law firm website? If you want to capture web searchers that don't know you or your firm, you need to have content on your site that is similar to what they are searching for. An example of this might be a description of your criminal practice or an article on bankruptcy. The more information you have on your site that is relevant to various web queries, the more likely you will be found on the search engines.

How do you get content on your site? Write articles, describe your practice in great detail, or post frequently on your blog. Write about your practice and what you know about. If you don't have time, "make time". Content is king when it comes to search engine optimization. Incoming links are great (if done correctly) but content will usually trump any SEO tweaking.

I would recommend that you avoid:
1. Posting duplicate content. Search engines will penalize your website if they find the same content somewhere else (ala article submission site)
2. Steal content from another website. I'm stating the obvious here
3. Write content with too much emphasis on "key words" that your potential clients may use. Write in an informative manner in whatever tone your clients would want to see.

If you commit to adding a few pages to your website a month, and publish a blog post weekly, you will be ahead of the game.

Remember, Content is King on the internet. If you don't believe me, check out Wikipedia.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Attorney referral or lead services

Attorney/Client lead and referral services claim that they take away the labor, analysis, confusion, and qualification of pay per click campaigns. A law firm pays the service and the service provides the law firm with leads it acquires through pay per click campaigns or organic capture.
In investigating a few of these services, including AttorneySync, LegalMatch, and LegalConnection, I found some good and not some good features.

All three did a good job of showing up on pay per click campaigns.

Legal Match and Legal Connection have a very detailed and long intake form which is good and bad. It is good that any referral or lead that gets to you has a lot of information and is more qualified than a typical web inquiry. It is bad that many potential clients will not have the patience to fill out the form.

The AttorneySync form was more intuitive and less lengthy than LegalMatch and LegalConnection. As you can imagine this is good and bad as I described before.

Once the form is filled, LegalMatch informs the user that an appropriate attorney will be in contact. AttorneySync actually shows the attorney that has meets the practice and location criteria. Legal Connection shows up to 3 possible attorneys that meet the criteria. Which one of these is better? I think all three have their merits.

Ok, so do I like the idea of this lead/referral service? I'll give my generic answer of "it depends". The upside is that these services take the grunt work out of SEO and Pay Per Click. These services have the ability to ratchet up their ad campaign to get your firm a certain amount of leads. These firms do all the research and heavy lifting for the right keywords. The downside is the uncertainty of the quality of the leads. No matter how long an intake form is, the lead may not be what the you are looking for. I especially hear this with Real Estate lawyers who complain they receive far too many Landlord/Tenant leads. DUI/DWI inquiries tend to be a lot more cut and dry. Either the potential lead was arrested for DUI or not.

So should you try one of these services? I would say giving one a shot would not be a bad idea as a compliment to your Law Firm website and Blawg (lawyer blog). You also need the time and the ability to respond quickly to one of these potential leads as these potential clients are in the market and want immediate feedback. I would also be wary to accept any promises of great leads and would be hesitant to commit to a long term contract.

Also, consult your state bar association on the ethics of these services. Some state rules are strict about referral services.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

A downturn economy, time to evaulate your lawyer marketing

We have all seen the news, listened to the radio, read the paper, seen blogs, read Tweets (Twitter), and have had discussions with our friends and colleagues. Yes, the economy is bad, ad nauseaum. In my personal opinion, focusing on the negative has helped worsen the recession. People buy newspapers and listen to talk radio to hear about negative news more than positive news. I'll get off my soapbox.

So, perhaps there are a few less clients walking into your law firm at the moment. That can be painful. One valuable thing you can do is to reexamine your marketing strategy and budget. If you keep forms asking new clients how they found you, now would be a good time to tabulate the results. Put the results into a spreadsheet with the advertising sources, approximate fee revenue created, cost of advertising, profit, and any other metric that might be important to your practice. Why do this? I think you may be surprised by some of the sources of clients for your firm. As I mentioned in my previous post, you may have to cross reference the source that clients write down with your web analytics tool. Either way you should get a baseline to determine what sources are working and what aren't. Perhaps you don't need that 1/2 page add in the Yellow Pages when it come time to renew. That top listing in Findlaw may be doing very well for you. Either way you should know and plan on making marketing changes that make fiscal sense.

One key investment you can make is on your website. Create new, relevant, and valuable content on your web pages. Once you create content on your website, it is there forever, so any time investment you make in writing will have long term residual effects. If you happen to write an article on bankruptcy strategies to avoid disclosure, you are creating search engine friendly content that can lead to visitors being led to your site for answers and possibly help. In addition, the more relevant content you have on a particular subject, the more authoritative you become to your potential audience.

The same can be said about your blog (blawg = lawyer blog). Recommit to writing at least weekly posts regarding points of law. For the same reason as your website, new content has search engine residual value and establishes your expertise.

Every hour you invest on marketing analysis and web content will yield tangible results in improved client acquisition and marketing spending.