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Published by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog

Are law firm websites where you want to spend your time and money?

February 16, 2012

law firm website meeting Chicken-Caesar-SaladWith it being the beginning of the year I’m seeing a flurry of blog posts and articles on law firm websites.

  • Best way to portray your industry groups and attorney bio’s.
  • How to improve your websites SEO.
  • How to watch out for the unscrupulous law firm SEO companies.
  • How to make sure your website is ethically compliant in North Carolina.
  • How to make sure your website doesn’t look like it was built in 1995.

Having so many law firm marketing professionals and business development people following what I share on Twitter, I’ve felt compelled to share these type of articles and blog posts with them. I also felt I needed to help the people and companies who wrote these articles and posts, who are good folks, get their word out. But man, websites are not where good lawyers and law firms get their work. At the same time, the Internet presents law firms and attorneys a golden opportunity to get work. Law firms and their attorneys need to get over the fact that a website is not the only way to do marketing and business development on the Internet. Heck, it’s not even in the top 3 or 4 best ways to get work. Lawyers and law firms get their work via relationships and word of mouth. Period. If you’re too lazy to build relationships and don’t believe you can create a a positive word of mouth reputation, then go for it, pour your money into websites. You may also want to pour your money into signs at airports, billboards on the sides of busses, and late night television. But if you’re concerned about relationships and word of mouth, ask yourself if upgrading your law firm website does that. Be honest. Ask yourself if your time and marketing and business development money would be better spent on educating your firm’s attorneys and business developing/marketing professionals on some of the following things?

  • To understand that the Internet did not change a darn thing when it came to getting work – the Internet just accelerated relationship building and reputation enhancement.
  • That LinkedIn, used well, enables networking and builds relationships. And how that’s done.
  • That listening, via a RSS reader, comes first when building relationships and a reputation on the Internet. And how that’s done.
  • That short form social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and now Pinterest, alone, is not going to cut it for good attorneys. Heck, you pitch those things first and you’re going to lose the interest of attorneys who have an once of common sense when it comes to bringing in work.
  • That personal blogging by individual attorneys on their own or group blog outside the law firm’s website is gold for building relationships and enhancing their reputations. And teaching them how to do it.
  • That Twitter and other short form social media are gold for learning (professional growth), building relationships, and reputation enhancement once you’ve laid a foundation for business development on the net through the above items.

Sure, continue down the website path if you’re looking for an easy way out.

  • You set a date for having a new website.
  • You approve the design at luncheon meetings with caesar salads topped with grilled chicken.
  • You put ‘milk toast’ blogs on the website because the website developer said it would be a good way to get more traffic.
  • You send out a press release and a letter all clients that you’ve got an innovative website.
  • You watch web analytics monitoring traffic to the website, foolishly believing that’s a measure of relationship building and reputation enhancement.
  • You look back on a year well done, by revamping our website before we get to the ‘thorny issues’ of teaching our firm’s attorneys and marketing professionals how the Internet is really used to get work.

Perhaps I am being too cynical. Perhaps I am taking this position because LexBlog only does websites for clients committed to using the Internet for building relationships and enhancing their reputations and with whom we have good relationship. I don’t know. One thing I do know is that I care about helping attorneys and law firms use the Internet effectively. And that does not begin nor end with a website.

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