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Digital Business Card Options are Expanding

Depending upon who you ask, business cards are either an essential professional tool or a dinosaur left over from the old days of print. The reality is probably somewhere in between; you will not win new clients through the sheer brilliance of your business card design, but a good card can help keep you in touch with valuable connections.

Truly tech-savvy early adopters have been searching for ways to digitize the business card for some time. LinkedIn offers an app called CardMunch, which lets you take a picture of a physical business card with your iPhone and then convert the information to a contact in your address book. This may be good for storing other people’s information, but it does not address your ability to share your own digital card. Other apps, like Cardcloud do allow you to create and share a digital business card via phone or email. Unlike some card (more…)

Creating a Sitemap for Your Law Firm’s Website

Since content is one of the most important aspects of your website, it is time to do some planning. For the sake of this demonstration, we are going to use the fictional law firm of Smith & White, divorce lawyers in Boston.

Decide on the type of general overview page you want to use – for example, “About Us,” “Attorney Profile,” or “Firm Profile.” The “About Us” or “Firm Overview” page is a general overview of your law firm. If you are a solo practitioner, you will want to substitute this page for an “Attorney Profile” page. If you have more than one attorney, it is appropriate to include an “About Us/Firm Profile” page as well as individual attorney profile pages.

Like anything else, your website needs a plan. So let’s start by creating a preliminary content sitemap. The list is organized by the level of importance, as if it was going to (more…)

Create the right impression with your profile picture

Even if you are consistently posting the most prescient, insightful information on your social media profiles, people will likely notice your picture before they start paying attention to what you have to say. First impressions matter, and they are almost always visual.

Like it or not, you need a good profile picture – a picture of you, not your dog or your child or your favorite beach. And you need a quality picture – one that does not look like it was taken in a cave with a camera phone. If the first thing people see on your profiles is a turn-off, then they may never recognize the value that you have to offer through your professional activity and services.

Why put time into your profile picture?

You want to portray an accurate professional image. A good profile picture should achieve a balance between being eye-catching and appropriate for your industry and (more…)

Good Social Network Protocol is Really a Matter of Common Sense

NPR’s Talk of the Nation produced a program this week about the social media habits of employees in an era when a person’s online activity may cost them their job. A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) changes the rules slightly about what can be deemed a fireable offense, but employers continue to use a person’s social network habits as a grounds for terminating them or as a reason not to hire them in the first place. The NLRB’s policy update may protect some new activities, such as using social networks as a forum for discussions about discrimination or unfair workplace practices, but much of what gets employees in trouble will not be protected activity.

One thing an employer (or firm) can to do combat inappropriate online activity is to institute a social media use policy. Use policies are an especially good idea for larger firms at which multiple (more…)

Facebook’s Search Engine Facebook Graph May Affect Law Firm Rankings – Podcast

Facebook’s news about their new search engine in beta development, Facebook Graph, has left many law firms with questions about how to make sure their site is well-positioned when it is launched.

Yes, you should pay attention to your law firm tagline

Law firms have more considerations than other service providers and retail businesses when it comes to choosing a name. Traditionally, a firm’s name is made up of the name of its partner or partners. In cases where there are too many partners to list, the firm’s name may contain only the names of senior partners or founders.

The past few years have seen a trend toward shortening firm names as one piece of branding and marketing efforts. Shorter, branded names are easier to remember and may help set a firm apart in more competitive markets. Not all firms are able to move away from traditional partner naming, however, and not all firms wish to. Some state bar associations require firm names to contain the names of partners. And some firms, especially those that are older or more well-established, understand that their client base is not interested in a new or shorter (more…)

Is your firm developing its own voice online?

Most law firms understand that regular online activity helps with marketing efforts. But the formula for success can seem elusive, and frequent changes to search algorithms frustrate some firm’s efforts. Your ranking may bounce about unpredictably, making it difficult to determine what is working and what is not. It is clear that blogging and social media can be a force for good, but they may also backfire, harming your reputation among clients and peers.

Google claims to be waging a war against unoriginal, robotic and repetitive content. Over the past several years, the search engine has targeted and taken out one technique after another that it considers to be cheating or in some way unethical. Some of these changes have succeeded while others have been less effective, and adapting is challenging enough. You must also factor in the additional weight that is now being given to social cues such as (more…)

How your law firm can dominate Google for hundreds of keyphrases

Your search engine optimization strategy is often centered around high-traffic, targeted keywords. These keywords are generally based on a city and practice area, like “New York personal injury lawyer” or “San Francisco business attorney” or “Divorce lawyer in Seattle.” But many law firms have learned how to dominate hundreds of keyphrases simply by answering questions.

To do this, consider all of the questions prospective clients have asked during consultations. A family law attorney could consider the following:

How long does a divorce take?
Will a divorce ruin my credit?
What happens to my house in a divorce?
What happens to my business in a divorce?

While a question like “What happens to my business in a divorce?” gets very few searches in Google, the individuals searching for that answer will probably be larger clients.

But what above the first question, the one about the time it takes to get a divorce? Here are some variations of that (more…)

Explore the possibilities of interactive website design

Static brochure websites are quickly becoming a thing of the past. People now expect frequently updated, current content and interactive design elements, even from an attorney website. Dated sites with links to old articles from your law school days do not connect with potential clients. As attorneys, you have a wealth of knowledge built from years of experience that you can harness to speak directly to the needs of the people visiting your site. The challenge is to merge useful content, responsive elements, social updates and modern design in a thoughtful way – a way that avoids throwing in fancy effects just for the sake of saying you can. When trying to come up with the right balance for your site, consider the following:

Function is a critical design element. A website’s design is more than just the colors, pictures and words on the page. These things all add to (more…)

Naming your law firm for the right clientele

Determining your law firm’s name goes hand-in-hand with determining your market. If you are a personal injury lawyer, a personal bankruptcy lawyer, a divorce lawyer, or some other consumer-oriented attorney, you are going to require aggressive marketing. However, large corporate bankruptcy, business litigation, and niche, specialty areas may require a more traditional look.

For the specialty practices, the classic law firm style will probably be best. Many of your clients will have traditional ideas about working with attorneys, and a clever name may make your firm appear inexperienced.

If you’re in one of the more aggressive areas of law, you have a lot more to consider — especially if you work in personal injury.

Personal injury lawyers are advertising everywhere: billboards, television, radio — even via direct mail based on accident report lists (in states where that’s legal). Branding yourself in the competitive personal injury market is going to be a (more…)