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Spec work: Free up front but bad for your bottom line

Spec work is the practice of performing a task for free – in this case design work – with the expectation that the initial offering will eventually lead to some sort of payment. It may or may not. People who request spec work are asking to receive materials, such as website layouts or logos, with the understanding that they will pay for the designs only if they are happy with the work.

Some sites specialize in convincing designers to perform spec work by offering “contests” in which some lucky winner will be chosen to be paid for their logo or other design. Every unlucky non-winner simply gave away their time and expertise for free.

Asking for spec work is like walking into a bakery, eating five different pastries and then deciding whether or not you want to pay for any of them. The proprietor would not allow it. Or, to make (more…)

Social may be trendy but search brings home the leads – SPECIAL REPORT

Social marketing is a popular topic on blogs, in lawyer magazines, and at conferences. This attention is certainly well deserved. Just look at the audience:

  • Facebook – 1 billion+ users
  • Google+ – 500 million+ users
  • Twitter – 500 million+ users
  • LinkedIn- 200 million+ users
  • Pinterest – 48 million+ users

Those audiences should not be ignored, however when looking at what drives leads into your office, we see that search is still the driving force.

Source of leads for law firms from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter - Copyright 2013 SEO | Law Firm, an Adviatech company

Online lead sources for law firms:
Search engines

  • Google – 77.09%
  • Yahoo! – 8.93%
  • Bing – 8.01%

Social Networks

  • Facebook – 2.51%
  • Twitter – 0.13%
  • Google+ – 0.27%

Other – 2.97%

How We Conducted the Study

Multiple locations and practices – We sampled a variety of websites belonging to law firms in various regions in the U.S. practicing a variety of areas of law.

No name searches – Search traffic was not calculated for law firm name searches. For example, if someone searched for “Law Office of John Smith” in Google, we did not record that (more…)

To Keep or not to Keep: Google Launches Note Taking App

Earlier this week, Google officially launched Keep, a new Android-based note taking app. Keep addresses a substantial absence within the operating system – the lack of a native notepad or similar notes application. The interface is very simple and is designed to make it easy to make lists, snatch pictures, record thoughts (with voice) or type notes.

Reviews are mixed, with some questioning whether or not it is worth getting attached to another Google app considering the recent demise of Google Reader. For attorneys on the go, Keep has both pros and cons. It may work as a an easy, quick way to jot down ideas, but it does not appear to be ready to replace more heavyweight apps like Evernote.

Here are some of the things Keep is good (and not so good) at.

Pros:

Ease of use. Google Keep is very, very simple. By default, the app displays (more…)

Beat the crowd: Tips for rising above the competition in a saturated market

The Am Law Daily announced last week that early numbers show only modest growth for a prestigious group of New York’s largest law firms last year. Within the study is the admission from several partners that persistent pressure to lower rates is cutting into profitability, even with a rise in some types of litigation work. The push for firms to lower their rates or pursue alternative billing agreements is growing as law schools continue to graduate more students than the market can absorb. Not only is the market saturated, but too many young attorneys are graduating ill-prepared to meed the demands of both employers and clients. Some are responding by attempting to cut rates even further.

The problem is becoming so pervasive that some law schools are considering opening their own firms to better prepare students for the real world of the legal profession. Arizona State, for (more…)

How Your Law Firm Can Dominate Google for Hundreds of Keyphrases – Podcast

your SEO strategy is often centered around high-traffic, targeted keywords. However, there is another way to make use of variations on the theme. Check it out here.

New York Times Offers a Preview of its Revamped Website Design

The New York Times has announced it will be rolling out a new website over the coming year. On Tuesday, the Times provided a sneak peek, complete with animated examples of the new home page, sections and comments. The paper claims that the updated layout will give users easier access to areas of their interest and provide a more intuitive reading experience.

Access to the beta version of the new site is being provided to a limited number of randomly chosen individuals who request it from the demo page. But everyone can check out the preview, and it is worth doing. Some good lessons can be learned from examining what the new site is doing right.

Simplicity. In its current incarnation, the Times website suffers from the same clutter that afflicts many high-information sites. Upon first glance, it is difficult to determine what to do – very (more…)

Set your firm apart in a way that matters to clients

One difficulty confronting firms that are operating in an undeniably saturated market is the ability to effectively communicate what sets them apart from all the other firms competing for the same clients. Many attorneys have begun to recognize that they must define themselves in a way that is distinct from their competition. And this is correct. One key to successful marketing is showing clients how you are different from (and better than) all of their other options.

Unfortunately, many attorneys identify and promote the wrong things – things that clients do not find relevant or helpful. These things can be categorized as “features” of a firm, like having 20 years more experience or boasting a larger network of non-lawyer collaborative partnerships. That is not to say that these thing don’t matter; it is simply that they matter to people searching for a lawyer only insofar as they provide a real advantage to (more…)

Google’s How Search Works site outlines the search process and offers live spam screenshots

Google has launched a website called How Search Works, which takes users through the process of search from crawling and indexing to displaying results. From a purely design standpoint, the site is a beautiful example of how modern coding techniques can create a completely interactive, animated and Flash-free website. It uses plenty of white space, large text and simple graphics to explain the indexing and search process.

The information contained on the site’s landing page is pretty basic; anyone who spends a lot of time online is probably already familiar with the concepts. However, each of the steps has its own dedicated, in-depth page that explains the process more thoroughly. The site also offers plenty of links to more comprehensive information, including a download of their search quality evaluation precision guidelines, links to answers in their knowledge base, a video that describes ways in which they try to improve search and (more…)

Paying Attention to Your Law Firm Tagline – Podcast

Law firms have more considerations than other service providers and retail businesses when it come to choosing a name. Like it long or short? Here are a few things to consider.

Six tips for building your blog readership

Lawyers blog for a variety of reasons, marketing often being chief among them. Blogging and other online social activity can be both rewarding and frustrating. Every regular blogger has wondered if there is really anyone out there reading their tips and insights. For your professional advancement (and peace of mind), it is good to know that your blog readership is growing. More readers mean more interaction, more prominence online, more opportunities to build trust with visitors and ultimately more chances to secure a new client. Try some of these tips for making your blog more active and productive.

1. Be a good reader. Good writers read. Regularly. Writing in a void without exploring examples of the skilled writing of others can result in poor quality material. Reading helps strengthen your own writing and critical thinking skills, particularly if you read material that comes from a point (more…)