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Lawyers on the Web – 3 Big Tips on Internet Marketing and Advertising for Attorneys


Lawyers have struggled with advertising for decades now. Advertising can be both expensive and frustrating. One of the most annoying aspects is the difficulty of measuring how effective your advertising is, and thus how to determine if you’re getting your money’s worth. The web offers a wide variety of new advertising opportunities. It also offers the promise of better measurement. You never really know how many people saw your ad on TV, radio or a newspaper. On the web, with the right tools you can know not only how many people came to your website, but a tremendous amount of further detail.

With all that in mind, here are three tips for attorneys about the web:

    1. Build at least a minimal web presence in your own name

If you have any prospective clients at all, some of them will look you up on the internet. The best way to control what they see about you is by building your own website in your own name. If your name is Joe Lawyer, see if you can get, and make sure the page talks about Joe Lawyer. If you have a common name like John Smith, this will be difficult, but you can still make a page about John Smith, Attorney in Topeka, Kansas, and it makes it more likely people will find you if they search for you in your location.

If you don’t do this, prospective clients may find things about you that you don’t want them to see. Some time ago a lawyer contacted me. I looked him up and the first thing I found was a disclipinary proceeding against him in another state. Most of us won’t have that problem, but there still could be pages where people are complaining about you, or simply pages that say very little of use about you. With a good web presence, people who search for you will find what you want them to read about you.

You don’t have to have a 50-page website. At least build a simple page or blog. Google offers free web pages at Google Page Creator, and free blogs are available at Blogger. There are plenty of other choices.

    2. Follow the ethical rules

There are a lot of websites out there that don’t follow the ethical rules. You will never make enough money on the web to make up for the consequences of ethics charges against you. Make sure you know your state’s ethical rules regarding attorney web activities, and follow them. This applies not just to your own web presence, but also to anywhere your ads appear.

    3. Don’t fall for advertising sales pitches

I get solicited all the time by people who say their websites will generate business for me. At least 90 percent of them are terrible. Many violate the ethical rules. Others get little traffic and will generate very little business. Some make unenforceable guarantees. It is very difficult to know which site will really generate business for you.

There are things you can do to deal with this. First, ask them about how much traffic their websites get. But don’t just take their word for it. Make them show you.

I sell advertising to attorneys on our traffic court website. When I want to show them how much traffic a particular county gets, I run a report from Google Analytics. This shows a tremendous amount of detail. If I can provide that level of detail, they should be able to do so also. The truth is that they can show you that level of detail, and they don’t want to because it will show how little business you will get.

If they refuse to provide that information, offer an alternative — insist on a free month. I provide that as well to attorneys interested in advertising on our site. I do it because I know what I’m offering is worth the money (I’m an advertiser on the site as well), and I know the best way to show someone is by giving them a taste. I’m hoping the advertiser will stay with me for years. The cost to me of providing a free month is negligible.

Think about it. If they won’t provide you with verifiable data, and they won’t give you a free month trial, then it means they don’t really believe in what they’re selling.


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