Are You Using Keywords Strategically on Your Website?

Are you using keywords strageically on your law firm website?

Keywords are words that your potential clients would use to search the internet for a lawyer who does what you do.

The golden rule of writing website copy is to write for human beings first, and search engines second. So you should never force or “stuff” keywords into your site. But as you are writing your web copy, you should think about using keywords strategically in a way that flows naturally on the page.

What do I mean by using keywords strategically? Well, did you know that each page on your website should target a different set of keywords?

And did you know that there are certain “power positions” on each webpage that Google and other search engines pay more attention to?

tiles spelling out SEO

When reading your web pages, search engines use algorithms, or specific sets of rules to determine what the page is about and to decide whether to return that page as a result in a search query. And they give more importance to certain elements on your web page, because the search engines assume that the copy that is used in those elements is likely a good indicator of what the page is about.

There are 5 power positions on your web pages where you should consider including your targeted keywords:

  • Headlines – especially the main (H1) headline on the page
  • Subheads
  • Bold text
  • Link text
  • Captions

If your keywords are incorporated into those power positions, your web page will rank higher in search for those keywords.

As I’ve mentioned in other videos, to be most effective, keywords also should be incorporated in your site’s meta-data, the behind the scenes code for the page that search engines see, but visitors don’t.

See more videos about law firm websites:

3 C’s of Strong Websites

Did you know that 75% of people judge a business by their website?

While lawyers may think this isn’t true for them, the fact is that, especially now, when many of our encounters are purely virtual, more and more potential clients will be judging you by your website.

A weak website can cost you up to 50% of your potential business.[i]

Let’s talk about three C’s for strong websites: clear, client-focused, and consistent. Let’s look at each one.

Clear

Attention spans are getting shorter by the day. Most people give your website only 8 seconds before they click away if they can’t find what they want or they aren’t sure they’re in the right place. I talked about this a bit in a previous video in relation to your Home page, but not every web visitor lands on your Home page first. Clarity is important on every page of your website.

That means that in the first 8 seconds, it should be clear to any visitor what your law firm does, who you do it for, where you are located, how to find what they are looking for, and what to do next.

[To keep your message clear, text should be easy to read – preferably dark text on a light background – and images should be related to the content of the site.]

Client-focused

Next, your website needs to be focused on your clients. Many law firm websites are weak because they focus more on the law firm than the client. Your website is about your firm, but it is for your clients.

To be client-focused, your website should speak to one client at a time, as if you’re having a conversation with them.

It should instantly solve a need for them; you want your ideal client to  land on your site and immediately think that you’re the solution for them because you understand their problem and know how to solve it.

And it should answer their most common questions.

To do all of that, you need to know your potential clients, their needs, and how best to speak to them.

Consistent

The third C is consistent – your website needs to have a consistent voice in the copy throughout the site, and it should flow logically.

The look and feel needs to be consistent throughout the site as well. Page layouts, headers, footers, and navigation should be consistent. [If navigation is at the top of the page on the Home page, that’s where it should be elsewhere on the site.] You want your potential clients to stay engaged and to be sure that they haven’t accidentally navigated to a different site.

Is your law firm website clear, client-focused and consistent?


[i] https://www.business.com/articles/7-website-design-mistakes-that-can-hurt-conversion/

See more of my videos about law firm websites:

Pronunciation Problems? LinkedIn Can Help

Are you tired of people mispronouncing your name? Or are you one of those people who’s horrible about figuring out how to pronounce a name just by looking at it? If so, LinkedIn can help.

Hi, I’m Allison Shields Johs, President of Legal Ease Consulting, where I help lawyers create more productive, more profitable, and more enjoyable law practices. I’m also the co-author of Make LinkedIn Work for You: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals. But whether you are a lawyer or not, this tip will come in handy for you.

LinkedIn has added a handy new feature to its profiles – you can now add a recording of your name and display its pronunciation on your Profile. This feature is not available on the desktop version of LinkedIn – you can only do it on the mobile version of LinkedIn on your iPhone or Android phone.

To record and display the pronunciation of your name on your LinkedIn profile, click on the icon to edit in your introduction card, which is at the very top of your profile – the area where your picture appears. Tap the plus sign next to record name pronunciation, then press and hold the record button while you record yourself saying your name slowly and clearly. Make sure you are recording in a place with no background noise; you can redo the recording as many times as you like until you’re satisfied. Don’t forget to press save!

I would encourage everyone to do this as soon as possible, even if you think your name is easy to pronounce. LinkedIn is a world-wide program, and although your name might be common in your country, it may not be common to everyone – or even to those living in your country who are not native to your country. To me, this is a game-changer, since I am terrible at figuring out how to pronounce people’s names, which can make for awkward calls or conversations.

If you want more information about how to improve your LinkedIn presence, get a copy of my free printable LinkedIn tips sheet here.

More LinkedIn videos:

Introducing LinkedIn Essentials Online Course for Lawyers [video]

Is 2021 the year you finally learn how to make LinkedIn work for you?

Hi, I’m Allison Shields Johs, President of Legal Ease Consulting and co-author of Make LinkedIn Work for You, A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals. This is the third LinkedIn book my co-author, Dennis Kennedy and I have written, and we’ve taught hundreds of seminars and webinars on LinkedIn over the past 10 years. We’re excited to announce our latest project – our brand-new online course, LinkedIn Essentials.

The course was developed based on the book and on the many questions we’ve received over the years in speaking about and training lawyers and other legal professionals on how to use LinkedIn, but it’s more in-depth than any webinar or training we’ve done before, and it’s geared specifically for the legal profession.

The course was designed to show legal professionals how to use LinkedIn effectively to:

  • Expand their networks
  • Build their reputation, and
  • Accomplish their business goals,

Ethically and effectively.

Here’s what is included in the course:

9 video lessons based on the 3 building blocks of LinkedIn: Profiles, Connections, and Participation.

We’ll show you:

  • Exactly what to do with your Profile to improve your visibility
  • How to make meaningful connections on LinkedIn and leverage those connections for your practice and your career
  • What and how to post and participate on LinkedIn to maximize your results.

We’ll cover the FAQs we receive most often from legal professionals on LinkedIn.

We wrap up with a action plan for you to follow that tells you exactly what steps to take over the next three months on LinkedIn.

Each lesson has an accompanying worksheet to help you reinforce what you’ve learned and show you how to tailor it to your goals.

The course handouts also include a free chapter from our book, as well as our 47 LinkedIn tips.

You can take this course at your own pace and ask questions in our private network as you go along.

To learn more about LinkedIn Essentials, contact me at Allison@LegalEaseConsulting, or click on the link below.

Again, I’m Allison Shields Johs, and I look forward to seeing you inside our LinkedIn Essentials course!

LinkedIn Essentials: https://kennedy-idea-propulsion-laboratory.mn.co/landing/plans/106740

3 Ways to Make Your Website More Competitive

Is your law firm website competitive? In other words, does it help you stand out from your competition and rank well in the search engines? Here are three ways to make your law firm website more competitive.

Why us?
First, ensure that your website answers the question, “Why us?”

Why should a potential client choose you or your law firm over other lawyers or law firms that do what you do? Why are you the best solution for them?

Talk about what’s different about your experience, about the services that you provide, the way you provide those services, or even the way you charge your fees. But make sure that your website answers that question, why.

Use keywords or keyphrases strategically

Second, include keywords and key phrases in the content on your website that your potential clients would use to search on the internet for a lawyer who does what you do.

What words and phrases do they use to describe their problems or challenges? What would they actually type into Google if they were looking for a lawyer who does what you do? Incorporate those keywords and key phrases in the content on your site, but make sure that you’re doing it in a natural way that flows conversationally in your content, don’t just shove those words in for the sake of putting them on to the website – you’ll actually get penalized by Google for doing that.

Pay attention to your site’s metadata

Third, make sure that the metadata on your site signals Google and other search engines what your site and each page on that site is about.

Metadata is code that your web visitors don’t see, but that search engines use to return the most relevant results to any search query. That means those keywords and key phrases that those clients are searching for should be incorporated not just in your body content, but also in your site’s metadata.

Two big places to make sure that they’re included in your metadata on every page, are (1) the title of your page, and (2) the meta description. Those two things together are what make up the search results. When you type something into Google and you see a result, what you’re seeing is the page title, and the meta description.

To recap, use keywords and phrases in both the content and the metadata on your website.

If you’d like to chat about how your website is working for you and how I can help it become more competitive, please email me.

See more videos:

3 Ways Video Can Help Your Law Practice

Are you still not using video in your law practice? Here are three easy ways to incorporate video into your law practice.

Marketing
The first one is marketing. And it’s probably the most obvious.

People do business with people they know like, and trust. But these days, we’re not getting to spend too much time with people. We can’t go to big events, and we’re not doing in-person networking. For many of us, we’re not even seeing our family and friends, so it’s that much harder to get the word out and to meet new people. It’s all virtual.

That means video is now more than ever, a really important tool for you to help people get to know you. When they watch a video. It’s like talking to you; they feel like they know you before they even pick up the phone or send you an email.

Answer Clients’ Frequently Asked Questions
The second way that you can use video in your law practice is by answering clients’ frequently asked questions.

I often talk to my clients about putting frequently asked questions on their website for potential clients. But the same thing is true for your existing clients.

You’ve probably answered the same questions over and over from clients – and it’s time-consuming. If you create a video library to answer clients frequently asked questions, you can send them there first and free up some more time for you to do important client work. It’s a great reference tool for them.

Onboarding and Training New Employees
The third way to use video is to onboard and train new employees.

A lot of my solo and small firm lawyers tell me that it’s really time-consuming to train. And they often don’t want to hire somebody because they don’t have the time to spend training – they need help.

If you create training videos or videos that explain what your firm does, how you do things, and who your clients are, and give them training on the specific ways that you do things differently than other firms might, you only have to create the vidoes once. That takes some of the burden of training off of you. And it also creates a place that your employees can go back to for reference if they have questions or if they’re not sure how to do something.

I’m sure you can come up with even more ways that you can use video in your practice. Video doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming to produce. For example, I’m creating this video on a Videosocials call. (I highly recommend Videosocials – if you decide to try them out, let them know I sent you!)

Want more tips about how I can help your practice? Contact me – or watch more of my videos:

Is Your Website Turning Off Potential Clients?

In today’s video, I talk about three common mistakes that I see lawyers make on their websites. Or if you prefer, scroll down to read about these three mistakes.

It’s not easy to find what I’m looking for

The first one is that it’s not so easy to find what you’re looking for on the website. That might be because the navigation is hidden; your main menu should ideally be on the top or on the left side of your website.

Or it could be that the navigation buttons just aren’t clear – maybe you’re using legalese – using terms that lawyers use for what you do, instead of using the terms that your clients would use.

Or perhaps your navigation menus are just too big, and you have drop-down menus that continue off the page, making it very difficult to click through to find what you’re looking for.

You’re wasting prime real estate “above the fold”

The second mistake that I see a lot of lawyers making on their websites is that they waste the real estate above the fold, which is what you see when you first arrive on that very first screen on the website.

Too many lawyers put huge images above the fold and don’t leave enough room for copy to explain what they do and who they do it for. And it’s even worse when the image has absolutely nothing to do with what the lawyer actually does, or the image doesn’t mean anything at all to their web visitor.

The Home page is so cluttered, it’s distracting

The third mistake is there are just too many distractions on the website. There are a lot of ways that this can happen:

  • Using chat bots that constantly interrupt the web visitor and messing up their experience or getting in the way so they can’t find what they’re looking for.
  • Pop-ups that appear on every page, again, getting in the way of letting the web visitor find the information that they’re really seeking.
  • Big carousels with scrolling images or text that goes by so fast that you can’t even read it.
  • Poorly done video. Video is a great tool if used properly, but it can also be a distraction. Don’t post a video that will automatically play as soon as somebody comes on the website.

If you’d like to know how I can help you improve the user experience on your website, and turn your potential clients on instead of turning them off, please email me.

Watch more videos here:

Does Your Law Firm Website’s Home Page Drive Business?

Is your law firm website helping to bring you business? If not, this video is for you.

During this time of stay at home orders, with canceled events, limited or no ability to network or meet clients, prospects or referral sources in person, you my have started to recognize that your website isn’t performing as well as you would like it to. That is not likely to change even as businesses open up – now that people are used to working virtually, a lot more of your business and your networking is likely to be done online. And that makes your law firm website more important than ever.

When I talk to lawyers about their websites, especially solo and small to mid-sized firm lawyers, they often tell me that clients don’t find them on the web – that their business comes from word of mouth. But whether that is true or not – and I’d argue that it’s less true than most lawyers think it is – you can bet that a potential client or referral source is going to do an online search for you, and they will probably be checking out your website.

Three Basic Mistakes Your Law Firm Website Home Page is Making

What they find there can either actively work to help convince them that you’re the lawyer or law firm they’re looking for and get them to contact you, or not.

While not all web visitors will come to your website through the Home page, let’s start there. Here are three big, very basic mistakes lawyers make on their website home pages:

1. Doesn’t adequately orient the visitor

Studies have shown that you have only 8 seconds when a visitor first arrives on your home page to provide crucial information that orients the visitor to whether they’re in the right place. That means you need to put the most important information “above the fold” on a laptop, tablet, or desktop screen so the web visitor doesn’t have to scroll or search around to find it.

When a visitor arrives on your site, they should be able to tell in 8 seconds:

  • who you are
  • what you do – not just that you’re a lawyer, but what are your practice areas?
  • how you are different from other lawyers and why you’re the right solution for them
  • how to find the information they are looking for

2.  Firm information not easily available

I’m amazed at how many times I go to a solo or small firm lawyer’s website and can’t easily find contact information. This should also be easy to locate within the first eight seconds. In the industry, this is called NAP – name, address, phone number. Don’t make me search for your phone number! If you serve a local area, as most solo and small firm attorneys do, make sure it is easy to find your address – clients and referral sources want to know if you actually practice in their local area. If you don’t want to include your address above the fold, make sure it is easily found in the footer on every page of the site.

3. What should I do next?

Your website Home page should include a clear call to action to let web visitors know what to do next. Do you want them to download an article, contact you for a free consultation, fill out a contact form? The call to action should be clear, concise, and prominent on your Home page.

If you want to learn more about how I can help you improve your law firm’s website, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Get More Mileage From Great Client Testimonials and Recommendations

In my last several videos, I’ve talked about client recommendations – specifically on LinkedIn, but also on other sites – we’ve covered the mechanics of asking for them, as well as the best way to ask, and also talked about what makes a great recommendation.

So what do you do after you get a great client review or recommendation? How can you get the most from it? Watch the video below, or read on to learn how.

The first thing you should always do after you get a great client review or recommendation is to say thank you! You can do it on the same platform where the client left the recommendation – by sending a thank you on LinkedIn, for example, or you can send them a thank you email or even a snail mail thank you card (hardly anyone sends those any more!)

But to really get the most out of a great client review or recommendation, when you thank the client, ask them if you can use their review or recommendation as a testimonial on your website. If you’re a lawyer or law firm, you’ll want to retain a copy of their consent, so it is best to get it in writing. Even better, ask if you can use their photo to accompany their testimonial on your website.

Testimonials are all about trust, and a website testimonial that is accompanied by a photograph of the client gives your web visitors a level of comfort that the testimonial is from a real client and isn’t just made up by you.

If you already have reviews or recommendations from clients that you haven’t added as testimonials to your law firm website, consider adding links to your reviews on other sites from your websites by saying something like, “see my other reviews on my Google Business page here.”

You can add reviews and recommendations as testimonials to your law firm website in several places – you can create a testimonials or client stories page where you collect all of your testimonials. You can also add testimonials throughout your site where it is relevant. Add testimonials that refer to a specific practice area on that practice area’s page. Put testimonials that talk about your stellar service to the page on your site that discusses how you work. Testimonials that refer to a specific lawyer in the firm can be added to the firm’s bio page.

Check out my other videos:

What Makes a Great Testimonial or Recommendation?

In my last couple of videos, I talked about LinkedIn Recommendations and testimonials – why you need them and how to ask for them.

But what makes for a good client recommendation or testimonial? Watch the video below and/or read on to find out!

The purpose of a testimonial is to help overcome client objections and to help your ideal clients to recognize themselves and see that you are a good choice for them.

You’ve probably heard testimonials on television commercials for lawyers that say something like, “I was injured in a truck accident. The insurance company only offered me $7500 to settle my case, but my attorneys got me $1 million.”

That kind of testimonial tells you what the lawyer does – plaintiff’s personal injury, but I don’t think it quite goes far enough, and it’s a little one-dimensional, focusing only on outcome.

But clients care about a lot more than outcome when they are working with an attorney. They care about what it is like to work with you, how easy you made it for them to navigate the process, whether they felt like you really cared about them and their problems, and more.

You may have also seen testimonials on lawyer websites that said something like, “Allison was great to work with on my estate plan. I highly recommend her.”

This tells you what the lawyer does and says something about the client experience, but it still doesn’t go quite far enough.

The best client testimonials tell a story about the experience – and it’s that story that the potential client reading your website will relate to. Even better would be if the testimonial demonstrates a before and after – what objections or concerns did the client have before retaining you? How did you address those concerns or objections? How does the client feel now?

You’ll want to include a number of different testimonials on your website and recommendations on LinkedIn that talk about various aspects of your service or that address the most common objections that clients have when hiring a lawyer in your practice area.

For example, look at the difference between the following two testimonials:

  1. “Mary was wonderful! She was so responsive, and we really felt that she had our best interests at heart.”
  • “Mary was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time. I was a bit skeptical at first that mediation would be able to help us resolve all of our divorce and custody issues, but Mary took the time to listen not just to what we were saying, but to dig deeper to find out what was really important to each of us and to develop a financial and custody plan that would work for our family. Mary walked us through the process and was patient, even when we got emotional during our mediation sessions. She answered our questions, no matter how trivial and found a compromise that is fair to everyone and enabled us to move on with our lives.”

A good recommendation tells a story and gives potential clients a good picture of what it is like to work with you.

As always, don’t forget to check the rules of professional responsibility in your jurisdiction to ensure that a recommendation or testimonial complies with the rules before posting it; if it doesn’t comply, you may need to ask the client for a quick revision.

For more video tips see below:

How to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation

 In my last video, I talked about why LinkedIn Recommendations are useful for lawyers and covered the mechanics of asking for them. But I know that some lawyers are just uncomfortable asking for recommendations. They don’t want to appear to “salesy” or to diminish their professionalism.

There are ways to approach clients for recommendations or testimonials that aren’t pushy or overly promotional. The most important thing is to be genuine. If you truly believe that you have helped this client and that you can provide value to others with the services you provide, and you approach asking for recommendations with that attitude, it may be less uncomfortable.

By far the easiest way to ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation is to do it when a client says thank you or otherwise expresses appreciation for what you have done for them. An appreciative client will always be happy to spread the word about the good work that you do.

Tell the client you were happy to help them, and then ask if they can help you reach others in a similar situation by writing a Recommendation for you on LinkedIn. You can send them a link in an email or simply tell them that you’ll send a recommendation request and that they should look out for it in their LinkedIn account.

But you don’t have to wait for a client to say thank you before you ask for a recommendation. Y ou can make recommendations a part of your regular process. Build a procedure that automatically triggers a request for a recommendation at the end of every client engagement. You can make it a part of your closing documents or email including the link and instructions, or just add to your file closing checklist to hop on LinkedIn and send that recommendation request.

If the client is an ongoing client with no specific end to their engagement, such as a client you perform outside general counsel services for, you could ask for a recommendation every so often, for example at the end of the year, at the completion of a big project, or in conjunction with a certain event every year.

Say something like, “It was a pleasure working with you. Thank you for choosing me to help you with … I have found that potential clients like to read about what it was like to work with me, so I would be grateful if you would be willing to leave a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.” You can leave instructions right then and there about how to do so and tell them you’ll be sending a request, or wait for the client to respond that they are willing to do it and then send them a recommendation request.

As always, you’ll want to check your jurisdiction’s ethical rules with respect to recommendations and testimonials, and review any LinkedIn recommendations you receive before you post them to make sure that they do not contain prohibited language. If they do, you can always ask your client to revise the recommendation before you post it. And if your practice area doesn’t lend itself to client recommendations with a name attached, you can use these techniques to ask a client for a testimonial that you can post on your website without their name attached.

Be sure to follow up with a thank you after the client leaves you a recommendation!

For more LinkedIn video tips see below:

What to Post on LinkedIn (Part 1)

In my last video, we addressed some fears about posting on LinkedIn and ended with the idea that if you approach posting on LinkedIn as a way to help your audience, rather than a way simply to promote yourself it might be more comfortable for you.

But what, exactly, do you post? Well, keep your audience, their needs, wants, and problems, and challenges it becomes much easier. And if you already create your own content, it’s even easier.

For example, post the title and a link to your article, maybe with a short description or teaser question to add some interest for your audience.

Mention an important announcement or news item about you or your firm (this also can be a great cross-selling tool) or your clients.

Link to an event or industry conference you are attending (or simply include the fact of your attendance).

Announce a presentation you are giving and/or provide a link to a copy of your slides after a presentation (this is especially effective if you’ve uploaded your presentation to LinkedIn Slideshare).

Watch more LinkedIn videos here:

Email Tips: Don’t Let Email Be A Distraction!

Email can be a great productivity tool or it can be a huge distraction that puts others’ priorities ahead of your own and prevents you from getting important work done. This short video includes a few quick tips for keeping email from being a distraction.

Email can be a real productivity tool or a productivity killer. So, let’s talk about four ways that  you can combat email as a productivity killer.

The first way is by turning off all of your email notifications. That includes the little pop-up on your desktop or laptop, as well as the alert sound that you get from your email, and also turning off those notifications on your smartphone, especially during the work day.

Second, I recommend for most people that you don’t check your email first thing in the morning. What that does, again, is put others’ priorities ahead of your own. So what I recommend you do instead is work on the item or task that you have identified to be your highest priority for the day and do that first, before checking your email. That might mean that you work on it only for an hour, and at least make some progress, and then take a break and check your email. But at least you’ll feel at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished something on your own priority list before putting those priorities of others ahead of your own.

And then schedule some time throughout the day to check your email again periodically instead of constantly checking it,  maybe check it at 10 a.m. after you’ve worked for an hour, and then before lunch, maybe at 3 in the afternoon, and again before you leave for the day. This makes sure that you’re checking your email and responding to things appropriately, but also not getting distracted throughout your day.

And then finally, you want to set expectations with those who you communicate regularly, and clients. So, for example, when you first meet with a client, you might tell them that you communicate by email with clients, but you’ll get back to them within the day or within a few hours – whatever works for you – so that they know in advance that you’re not going to be always available and that they can’t expect as soon as they send you an email that you’re going to send them a response.

To recap:

  • Turn off those email notifications
  • Don’t check email first thing in the morning
  • Make sure you’re scheduling time throughout the day to check your email
  • Set expectations with clients and others

More productivity videos and articles: