Updates on Online Marketing Efforts

A few months ago, I wrote some articles here about efforts to market my law practice online through Yahoo and Google search advertising.  Here are some preliminary results on the efforts and plans to improve my marketing efforts.

More Content = More Visitors

One of the essential rules of web site design is that the more content on your site, the more chances you have of being indexed against keywords that internet users may be using to search.  Therefore, you increase the number of people that visit your site when you have more indexed content, which increases the chances of picking up a new client through the site or impressing one of your colleagues with your knowledge such that they refer you a prospective customer or two.

Of course, adding content is a time-intensive kind of thing, even if you write blog articles day and night.  One of the good things about google and yahoo is that the search engines will come back and visit your site for new content on a regular basis (google checks my site more than once per week, and you can pay for priority indexing by yahoo so they visit your site at least weekly for content changes and indexing).

Pushing Out Newsletters

Pushing out newsletters to subscribers, with links to return users to your site that receive and wish to read the newsletter’s full content also helps to drive users to your site (and adds content directly to your site for the hungry search engines).  Over time, I definitely see spikes in activity on my site around the times that I send out newsletters via email to subscribers.

Watch What Keywords Bring Users to Your Site

Google’s Analytics keeps track (for the web site pages that you embed the javascript needed to collect data on site visitors) of the keywords that bring users to your web site.  These keyword statistics help to determine what brought a user to the site, and may lead you to change your site content to either encourage or discourage the kinds of visitors that are reaching your site.  For example, I had written a newsletter about the new Massachusetts law that is aimed at protecting consumer data collected by businesses in that state.  (See 201 CMR § 17.00).  A number of users have found my site because of this newsletter, particularly in their searches by citation to the statute itself.

On the other hand, some users looking for a bankruptcy or divorce attorney have also landed on my web site, which suggests that my site has been indexed under overly general keywords related to law, or the advertisements that I have running on yahoo or google (if the source of some of these visitors) are not specific enough in their focus (again, based on their keywords).  For example, my web site does show up in the third page of search results when searching with google for “disaster recovery table top exercise,” but I would be happier if my site was closer to the first page of results.

Related to this are the web sites that refer visitors to the web site.  Interestingly, facebook is my top referring web site, followed by linkedin (where I have a professional profile), and then some web sites that I don’t recognize but apparently have indexed my site into their search results for one reason or another.  Same question of whether to encourage or discourage such links based on the content of your own site.

Twitter and Tweeting

So far, I haven’t done much tweeting out in the world of twitter.  I guess as an attorney, 140 characters is just too restrictive.  Perhaps if I start writing haikus, twitter would be the place to publish them!  I see that Iran’s election results are being tracked by twitterers in Iran, so maybe if I was at a live event like Apple’s annual trade show or another large meeting, I’d be more prone to twitter away (which I can do from my iPhone if I were so inclined).  WordPress does support integration with twitter via a plugin, so if you want to be able to put your tweets into a digest form and load them automatically to your blog, you can.  Time will tell if twitter ends up being useful to market a law firm.

Most Importantly…

Keep working at it and don’t be afraid to try new things.  Google Analytics (or a similar web tracking software package that you can use on your web site logs) will help you to figure out why people come to your site and what they spend time looking at on it.  And be patient – online marketing is a fair amount like fishing.  Some days you come home with nothing, and other days, you find a place pre-stocked with your favorite fish and you come home fat and happy!

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Maryland technology attorney and college professor.

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