Changes in Attitudes: A Quick Guide to Web Design

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Changes in Attitudes: A Quick Guide to Web Design

Ahh…the summer months are upon us. Time to vacation, relax, listen to Jimmy Buffet and bask in our glory. By now if you have followed our informative newsletters, your web site should be bringing in at least one new inquiry per week. If it is not, then you need to read below, while the rest of us sip on our Margaritas on South Beach.

Step One: Visualize and Attack
Can your web site generate business? Yes. However, you must throw away the notion that your web site is simply an advertising expense and an “online brochure.” According to a recent legal marketing study titled “Best Practices in Legal Marketing: Effective Use of Web Sites,” a law firm can generate nine new clients per year from its web site. ‘Nuff said. If you view your web site as a client generator and build a web site to attract clients, you will. If you use an outdated FrontPage template and paste your boring legal text from a brochure you wrote back in 1988 on your Windows 3.1 computer, your web site will fail.

Step Two: Marketing Budget
Web sites for law firms can range from $300 to over $100,000. The first question you have to ask is do you want a template web site or a custom web site? Also, do you want fries with that? A solo practitioner you can expect to pay between $300 and $1500 for a template based design. Of course, your web site will look like 100-200 other web sites on the Internet. If you want your web site to be original, a solo practitioner can expect to pay between $5000 and $10,000 for a custom design depending upon the artistic talent of the designer and complexity of the web site. These rates grow exponentially as you hit different milestones, such as the number of attorneys and the overall technical complexity of the web site. Remember that some large law firms spend over $100,000 per year on their internet marketing and still generate a positive cash flow from the web site!

Step Three: Plan
Is you goal to have the best immigration law portal? Is your goal to promote your web site in San Francisco, California? Before you hire any designer or click the first button on your mouse, you need to figure out what you want to say and want you want to accomplish. Most web sites will start with the basics,” providing information about the firm, its practice areas, its attorneys, and throwing in a few articles. More advanced web sites dedicate a major portion of their web site to being THE portal of information on a specific legal topic.

Step Four: To Design or Not to Design
As stated above, you have the initial choice of hiring a web designer or going it alone. If you do not have a background in design or think that a futon in your living room might look spiffy, I would hire a designer. Your tastes and ability are already compromised. Most likely you will not be able to design a professional web site. However, do not fret. There are several solid templates available for sale at a low cost. They are easily customizable and look fairly decent. Of course, you will need to make the choice of whether you want your web site looking just like your competitors. If you want to brand your firm as being unique, you will probably need to hire a qualified designer who can guide you through the process.

Step Five: Write Something
Typical brochures and marketing concepts do not translate well online. Web content should always be edited, shortened, and be more to the point than your beautiful client inquiry letter. People that come to your web site want information quickly. Make it easy for them to contact you and answer their questions. Of course, you should answer their questions in a way that they still need your advice (i.e. give them some information and urge them to contact you for a full disclosure or explanation). In addition, place every single law article or law note on the web site. You never know when someone will be wondering about “Fiduciary Benefits: Maryland’s Landmark Case and the Legal Ramifications.”

Step Six: Optimize. Optimize. Optimize
What is all this nonsense about search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is the relatively new field of expertise. Basically, SEO specialists edit your web sites code, modify your existing text, and create new content in order to increase your web sites rankings for various keyword phrases. Does this work? Yes. A properly optimized site will see an increase of web site traffic, a boost in inquiries, and of course more client contact. Moreover, if you are the first to optimize your web site correctly in your practice field or geographic area, you could have a major advantage over your competitors!

Step Seven: Edit and Revamp
Once your site is launched, you need to maintain it every month. Update it with news, articles, and events. This will make your web site seem fresh and up-to-date. If you do not have time to update the web site, outsource the work. In addition, throw in a fancy e-newsletter and start collecting email addresses of potential clients. I guarantee that every time you send your email newsletter you will probably have a 2-5% response rate. Nothing beats receiving inquiries simply from providing potential clients about breaking news, notable victories, or upcoming events.

If you follow these easy steps, in no time you to can be relaxing on a sunny beach and emailing clients from your new Wi-Fi laptop.

How We Can Help

PaperStreet Web Design has extensive experience developing, redesigning and optimizing law-related web sites. We also are adept at creating and executing entire Internet Marketing campaigns that include various advertising options and individualized newsletters.

Our expertise can save you time and money while increasing your firm’s business traffic. Contact us and we can easily redesign your web site to impress clients and get profitable results.

Feel free to contact Peter Boyd at PaperStreet Web Design, or 954.523.2181.

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