Thursday, October 05, 2006

Legal Blogs

Legal Blogs are a great way to get exposure of your practice on the web. A blog is sort of an online journal that everyone can see. A blog is an informal way to communicate with your clients or potential clients. If you can use a word processor you can use a blog.

You can see a great example of a criminal blog by clicking on criminal law blog.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Consumers looking for legal info online

According to a recent Harris Poll sponsored by,

"Other than family and friends (31%), the Internet is now the single
biggest source for legal information, outpacing books and
newspaper/magazine articles, which came in at just 12%. In fact, the
percentage of consumers who rely on the Internet for legal counsel has
nearly tripled in recent years (10% in 2000 vs. 27% in 2006), while the
percentage that rely on friends and family has declined by about a third
(49% in 2000 vs. 31% in 2006)."

The study also states that:
" Majority of U.S. Adults Using Lawyers; Top Reason is for Estate
Two out of three U.S. adults today have used a lawyer at least once in
their lives, about the same percent as in 2000 (65% in 2006 vs. 68% in
2000). As was the case six years ago, the single biggest reason lawyers are
hired today is to handle estate planning, like creating wills. Forty-six
percent of those U.S. adults who have hired a lawyer say that is what drove
them there, a similar percent as in 2000 (51%)."

You can see the press release at:

So do you think you might need that legal website...See a good Genvea New York Estate Planning Website

Donald Imm

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Template or Custom website?

Law firm web sites fall into two categories:
1. Custom designed websites (where the design is from "scratch")
2. Templated design websites (pre-fabricated website)

Template websites can work if:
1. Your firm only needs a "brochure" style website. Name of firm, attorney names, phone number, practice areas etc. Attracting new business or competing for referred business is not that important to your firm.
2. Cost is a major issue. Custom designed lawyer web sites are generally 2-3 times more expensive than templated websites.
3. Time is a factor. Once the content for you site is completed, your web designer plugs the information into a preexisting template.

Your firm should consider a custom website if:
1. You are looking for new business and/or want to impress current clients with a great design.
2. Your firm has any type of preexisting branding (letterhead, newsletters, television ads). A custom designed website can bring those elements in.
3. You want the best looking website in your geographical area and practice area.
4. You like to be involved with design and or appearance.
5. You want to convey an important aspect or advantage of your firm.

You can check out a great example of a custom law firm website

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Do you get referrals? If "yes", your firm needs a website

Virtually every lawyer and law firm I speak to tells me that the biggest source of new clients are referrals. I don't disagree. Even firms with phenomenal web sites and web dominance still get a significant portion of their business from referral sources.

Having a good referral source is the best reason to have an effective website. Sounds counterintuitive doesn't it? Here's why a lawyer website is important:
1. Validation - potential clients that are referred to you want to make sure that you are a legitimate attorney and handle their particular issue. There is only one way for a lay person to do this, using the internet to search your name.
2. First Impression. If you don't have a website or have an ugly one, it is hard to recover from that initial impression.
3. Competition. You think you are the only attorney or firm this prospect was referred to? All things being equal the lawyer with the best website wins.

Some examples of nice referral sites:
Elkton Criminal Attorney
Geneva NY Real Estate Attorney

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pay per Click and what you should know

Pay Per Click

First a couple of quick definitions:

Pay per click in a nutshell is the "Sponsored Links" portion of Google, Yahoo, MSN etc search engines. The Sponsored Links are usually on top and to the right hand side of the search results. Companies and people bid (pay money) to get their website and tagline listed. How much they bid determines how high up on the search result page their ad shows up.

Organic Results are the listings that are presented to you when you do a web search (sans the Sponsored Links). Google, Yahoo, and MSN etc have algorithms to rank sites according to the terms you type into the search box. You do not pay to rate in these rankings. Making your website search engine optimized helps you gain in the rankings. This is a subject for another posting.

Is pay per click worth the investment? Yes, with the caveat you do some research and spend some time managing it and you have a website that has been search engine optimized. Pay per click is a nice shortcut to get your law firm some exposure and traffic on the web. You can also increase and decrease your budget according your caseload and budget. Google and Yahoo make it fairly easy to set up an account and get started. Some suggestions:

1. Start small. Google suggests that a minimum of $30/month is needed to see any results. I would say this is a good starting point.
2. Plan. What type of business are you looking for? If Family Law is what you are looking for is it Divorce, Child Custody, Adoption? The terms you want should not be too specific or too broad. "Car Accidents" is far too broad of a term to bid on. However "Car Accident St. Louis" will be more effective and cheaper
3. Measure. Track how many visitors come to your website from the pay per click campaign. Your current website should have traffic reports that allow you to do this.

Until next time,

Monday, July 24, 2006

How do I know my law firm website is working?

This question is asked early and often from my lawyer website clients. Here are some basic criteria to gauge how your website is doing:
1. If I search for my name (and lawyer or attorney or firm name) does my website come up on the first page of Google and Yahoo? This is critical, because if someone searches for you by name, that is most likely a referral from one of your existing clients or another attorney. You want these referrals to find you quickly, otherwise they may go to one of your competitors
2. Do your clients comment that you have a nice website. This may seem a little trivial, but impressing clients via your website helps give you practice validation.
3. Look at your web traffic. Unlike the Yellow Pages, you can see exactly how many people visit your website, how they got to your site, how long they stayed, and even what the most popular pages were. If your current provider does not give web metrics, you may want to find a new web vendor.
4. Have you obtained any business from your website? This is often a tough one to measure. I recommend you ask your new clients if they saw your website and was it influential in choosing to hire you.

There are many more criteria to measure your website and overall internet marketing strategy, but these four checks should give you a baseline of how your website is doing.

Until next time,


You can check out a recent website we released at

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Email Marketing for Law Firms?

I am often asked should attorneys send out emails for marketing purposes. Email can be a great way to market. There are some things to consider:
1. Do I have the time and expertise to create a nice, professional email message?
2. Do I have a lot of email addresses to make it worth sending?
3. Do I have permission to send to these emails (very important)
4. Is the email going to be a newsletter, announcement
5. Will I be able to send out an email at least 1 month?
6. Do I have a website where people can find out more about me.
7. Should I hire someone to help? - probably a "yes". A good firm to use is Blue Sky Factory
8. The response rate is not dissimilar to direct mail. So you may only get about 2-5% actually "do something" from your email.

Until next time.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Websites for Transactional, Corporate, and Defense Law Firms

This is a very interested survey conducted by Alyn-Weiss & Associates ( The gist of the article is that these types of firms do obtain business from their websites. Most defense/corporate firms I speak with have a hard time believing that a website will bring them business. Maybe more surveys like this will help them "see the light"

FIRM WEBSITES ARE BEST BUSINESS-DEVELOPMENT SOURCE Eighty-two percent of corporate, transactional and defense law firms received work through their websites, according to a recently released survey by Alyn-Weiss & Associates that asked firms nationwide about their marketing strategies. That’s a hefty increase over the 51 percent rate reported in the biannual survey in 2004

Donald Imm

Monday, June 26, 2006

Every Family/Domestic attorney should have a website

If you are a family lawyer or law firm without a website, get one fast. Every family attorney I speak to has success from obtaining clients from the internet, even with unattractive and rudimentary sites.
Think about it. If a wife is going is thinking about divorcing her husband (and vice versa), is she going to ask for an attorney referral from her friends? Her family? Her work peers? She's going to go to the internet looking for information and help.
I spoke with a lawyer the other day who said that 50% of all cases heard in his county are family related. Only 25% are criminal. The other 25% is for "other".

Until next time.


Friday, June 09, 2006

The internet is number 1 for Media at work

As you might imagine, the internet is the top media used at work. The internet is the number 2 media for homes.

You can see a breakdown in the study below:

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

77% of Americans are online according to a Harris Poll

I ran across this recent Harris Poll. Some interesting facts:
In 1995 only 9% of adults were online.
In 2000 57% of adults were online.
Now 77% if adults are online.

What does this mean to a law firm? More and more adults are using the internet for shopping, communicating, and most importantly researching information. I think it is logical that consumers will be looking at and searching for legal related websites. Why wouldn't they? They research everything else online.

Having a well crafted, findable, and attractive website is more important than ever for attorneys.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Direct Mail marketing by attorneys

Direct mail has been around since the Pony Express. The question whether Direct Mail is effective is almost as old. Dose it work for attorneys and law firms? As I like to always answer most questions "it depends".
Some critical things to look at are:
1. What type of clients are you trying to attract? Small business owners, affluent individuals, people charged with a crime, etc... This is the most important question you ask yourself because it directly effects the most critical factor of your campaign...
2. The mailing list. If your list is poor, you results will be poor, no matter how pretty or compelling your copy and design are.
3. Outsource or Inhouse? Most mailing houses only want large mailings (50,000 +) Your law firm may not need that large of list. If you do it inhouse, that is a lot of manhours stuffing envelopes, printing labels, putting postage on.
4. Cost. With an average of a 1% client acquisition, I suggest that you really look at the bottom line. Postage, design, and your time can add up fast.
5. Goals. What are your goals for a direct mail piece? To have the phone ring? to announce your services in a new practice area? To acquire transactional clients? How many?
6. Testing. This is the most ignored aspect of direct mail campaigns I see. Track your results for each direct mail piece. Compare list results. Compare copy/design results. With a little testing you can see what the most cost effective combination is.
7. Leverage other marketing efforts with your direct mail. For example, put your website address on your direct mail piece. Email a version of the direct piece to your clients. Speaking of email marketing..stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Google gains a little over Yahoo and MSN in searches

Google remains the top dog of online searches with 42.7 percent of all searches for the month of April. Yahoo declined a little from 30.7 percent to 28% as you can see in the article below

What does this mean? Google still remains the dominant player for searches (and we can assume legal related searches). However, Google still owns less than half of all searches. Don't focus only on Google when you search for your firm on the internet.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New look for Yahoo! Homepage

If you have not already check out the Yahoo! new home page,
In my opinion, there is not a whole lot of improvement from the old Yahoo! Home page.

What this means to your legal website? Probably not a lot, except Yahoo! may get some more people using it for searches with this new publicity. Google still owns about 50% of all internet searches, but Yahoo holds on to the 2nd most popular search engine.

If you have a legal website and are concerned about search engine marketing, do not forget to test Yahoo as well as MSN and Google. I see too many law firms and attorneys only worry about how they show up on Google which again, only handles 50% of all searches.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Do People Actually Look for Attorneys on the Internet?

I am often asked this question. The short answer is yes. The long answer is, "It depends". A few factors determine this listed below in no particular order.
1. Practice Area. Does the average internet user need an Insurance Defense/General Litigation attorney? Most likely not. Internet surfers may however need a lawyer in practice areas of family, divorce, criminal, small business incorporation, construction/home improvement, immigration, real estate, bankruptcy, consumer protection, personal injury, medical malpractice, estate planning etc. You get the picture.
2. Geographical area. For instance, if you are in a very rural part of the country with little internet access, then do not expect to have thousands of web hits per month.
3. Demographics. Younger folks tend to be online more than older folks.

My advice. If you are unsure if your area of practice and geographic situation will result in prospective clients looking for you via the internet, start small. Get a basic website and see what happens.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yellow Page Listings

Most attorneys I speak to see diminishing returns with their hard copy Yellow Pages/telephone book but are afraid of stopping their listing due to "losing their place" in the order of the book or not being found at all.

So what is a law firm to do? Here is what I recommend:
1. Make a comprehensive list of all marketing dollars and where they are going. This includes the basic telephone book listing in your town all the way to that $500/month website.
2. Determine what each advertising dollar you spent brought in as far as net profit for the year(you are tracking how clients are aquired aren't you?).
3. Find your top advertising mediums and invest more in them. Consider dropping the non producers.

For instance, is it really worth it to keep just your name in a local book for say $175/month? This listing says nothing of what type of lawyer you are and what kind of law you practice. If by chance someone were to call you, they would ask basic questions on whether you can help then with their legal issue.
That money could be better served in a mini website that targets a particular area of practice you are trying to promote. The mini website could be crafted to attract visitors from a specific geographic area such as "Bucks County PA". The prospective client who finds your through this medium already knows what areas of practice your firm covers, where you are located, and a little about your firm's profile.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Online Legal Directories, are they worth it?

There are hundreds of online directories specifically targeting lawyers and law firms. They range from the behemoths of Findlaw and to the more practice specific ones of Divorcenet and LegalPointer.

There are two main reason to be listed in any online directory listing attorneys.
1. Visitors will come to the directory and find you
2. Your website will be listed in the directory giving your website an incoming link (having incoming links to your websites from reputable sources helps increase your exposure on the web).

The problem with reason #1, is that the directory listing is often priced to market demand not how many qualified prospects you will receive. For instance, Personal Injury often will cost 5-10 times more than a Divorce listing only because the PI attorneys are more likely to pay a high price. My advice, take a good hard look at the directory spot. Ask hard questions like "how many visitors and/or prospects should I expect to obtain from this listing?" Ask to see web traffic reports and ask some other lawyers that have that listing their opinions.

If you can get the lowest cost listing on a particular directory, then reason #2 would be a good move. Having an incoming link to your website for $10-$50/month from a legal directory is probably worth the positive effect on your firm's search rankings.

In conclusion, I would be very wary of spending big money on directory spots. If you want to spend big money, use it for more web content or look into pay per click.

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Articles and Newsletters on your law firm's website

Both articles and newsletter type content can help your site's ranking in the major search engines. In addition, your visitors will be engaged and impressed by your knowledge in their legal issue
Just a few pointers:
1. Ideally, the articles and newsletters should be HTML pages (normal web format) not files that your visitors have to download. HTML is the most search engine friendly format available.
2. If you do not have the ability or time to transfer your articles or newsletters, then chose a popular file type such as Word or Adobe's PDF. The first page or so will be indexed by the search engines.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Web Sites for Law Firms

I am amazed how many law firms and solo attorneys do not have web sites. 2 out of 3 consumers expect the business they are looking for has a web site.

For good looking websites check out:
Altman & Associates
Bromberg Rosenthal