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Law Firm Internet Marketing An Executive Summary Using The Q&A Format ' Part IV - Articles Surfing
You mentioned 'marketing packages'. How much should I be spending on a marketing budget on my website in law firm Internet marketing.
This is an 'it depends' question. It depends on your particular market place (are you in Peoria or Manhattan), your competitors (your keyword competitors I mean) and how fast you want to see results (slow build of traffic or faster build of traffic) with your law firm Internet marketing. I can say this definitely ' don't buy an Internet marketing website unless you are prepared to market it at some decent monthly level right out of the gate. Lets move on to the 'it depends' part a bit more in depth. If you want fast results out of the gate then you need to do Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is a unique skill set in itself - people do this exclusively as a profession so it can get complex. That said being that complex is unlikely to be the case for a solo or small firm particularly in a less then major market (major being Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, etc.). If you are in a medium to small market you can handle this I am sure on your own with maybe a little coaching since once you set it up you can leave it alone for weeks or even months before tweaking it. Your keyword research tells you what keywords you will be bidding on with PPC law firm Internet marketing. . You can read a couple of books on the subject from http://Amazon.com and read all about it at Google, MSN, Yahoo and ASK that all have sections of their site to explain how PPC works on their site. You can begin ads at the either MSN, Yahoo or http://ASK.com to get an idea of what you are dealing with first since if you make mistakes there you won't lose much money like you can on Google. Google has almost half of the traffic so you want to be on Google with your PPC law firm Internet marketing but go to the minor leagues first is my advice then go to Google. You can learn how to do this yourself or give it to a trusted assistant to master. The only proviso is if you are billing over $100 per hour your time is better spent doing billable hours or better still managing other aspect of the marketing process since you almost certainly can farm this task out to someone with expertise for $100 per hour or less. Now there is more to law firm Internet marketing of course than doing PPC ads. You will need someone to submit your site to secondary search engines/directories with Google Page Ranks over 4. Never, ever buy a software package that promises to submit you to hundreds or thousands of secondary search engines ' this can lead to the kiss of death from a search engine that bans you for doing that. You are not doing this primarily for the traffic but for high quality links to your site that raises your page rank. You will want to write articles and submit those to high page rank article sites - again for the high quality links. Lastly, you will want to put out press releases at press release sites as well for the quality links. Never, ever buy links or get into reciprocal link plans since this also can be the kiss of death for your site from search engines. So there is more you can do to market your site that would cost some time and/or money. It all depends on how fast you want to build your law firm Internet marketing systems is my take. Overall you need to take a long-term view and build consistently, persistently over time and you will reap the reward. Once you have built your page rank you can cut back or stop all of your PPC ads. Think like a manager and entrepreneur here since a website is an investment that will produce a return on that investment if you do it well over time plus pay you again when you sell it like a house is sold at a profit.
You said something about ''tell you that you also need a blog with your website'. What is a blog and do I need a blog in law firm Internet marketing?
A blog is defined by http://wikipedia.com as:
'A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a website where regular entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and presented in reverse chronological order. Blogs often offer commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries.'
The ABA reports there are 70,000 new blogs posted online each day and that about 6% of lawyers have a blog. They do have advantages of course in law firm Internet marketing. They are cheap to build with little tech skills needed to write to a blog. They are even free or low fee to host. Free is available at http://blogger.com and a fee site is available at http://typepad.com for $5 to $15 per month. If you are going to have a blog you need to own the domain name, get a host and get blogging software. From a law firm Internet marketing perspective most blogs do not provide that much of a benefit in support of a website (the main support is having a link from your blog to your website ' also you would not want a link from your blog to your website if the blog had a lower page rank than your website anyway) and they do not replace a website. Additionally, if you are going to have a blog that has high page rank be prepared to submit something of quality to it at least 2 or 3 times per week. Yes, per week. Blogging experts say you should expect to spend 2 to 4 hours per week on writing for the blog. I don't think this is marketing time well spent for most lawyers. You could do much better building your referral network with this time. Thus my answer is 'no' to the blog idea unless you are in a larger firm where several attorneys are dividing the writing duties or you have associates who are good at this type of writing work and have no other way to contribute to the marketing process or even better still some talented paralegals who could do the major blog writing ghosting for you that you add the finishing touches. You will need to buy some books on blogging for business purposes to learn more about what is required in a successful business blog which I am sure you can find on http://Amazon.com. Additionally, blogs have more issues from an ethical perspective so do check your state bar rules. Finally, you might want to check out http://www.blawg.org. No I did not misspell 'blog' I intended 'blawg' that is a way of putting 'law' inside 'blog' to designate blogs that focus on lawyers and legal issues. This site is a 'search engine' for blawgs and legal sites of all types. You could also check out http://www.blawgrepublic.com/ as well.
What do I need to be concerned about around websites/blogs with respect to bar rules and ethical considerations?
Yes indeed and it is all very confusing since it varies by state. One of the Internet's authorities (and an attorney) Dennis Kennedy at http://www.DennisKennedy.com says the rules for law firm Internet marketing are 'impossibly confusing'. Mainly you need to find out from your bar if the advertising rules apply to websites or blogs and if there are specific rules for websites or blogs. Finally, some states might even require very specific disclaimers on the site. Bottom line you need to check in your state. If you want to see a specific disclaimer for a blog site go to Dennis's blog at http://DennisKennedy.com/blog/.
Where else can I read about implementing law firm Internet marketing?
One place to look to learn more about implementing law firm Internet marketing is at Google itself. Search engines do not tell us all of the factors or details (called their algorithm) they look at in determining page ranks on their search engine. This is proprietary information for them. Google does tell us in general what they are looking for in page ranking. If you read what they say at: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters you will see what I have been talking about is indeed what Google is looking for and if you do what Google wants you will be right with all of the others almost certainly with your law firm Internet marketing.
OK, we have made it to the end of our executive briefing. If you follow what you find here your law firm Internet marketing will get you new clients at a reasonable cost. Who could want more than that? If you want to know more I found the following books to be of value for 'newbies' to the law firm Internet marketing game:
The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing for Small Business by Tom Antion
Call To Action by Bryan Eisenberg and Jeffrey Eisenberg
Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing For Dummies by Peter Kent
Blogging for Business: Everything You Need to Know and Why You Should Care by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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