How To Write Good Web Content

According to Jakob Nielsen you can double the useability of your website by following simple guidelines for writing web content. Reading from the web is very different from writing for print:

* 79% of users scan the page instead of reading word-for-word

* Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper

* Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent

To Neilsen's comments I would add some Google-friendly tips:

* Hyperlink on keywords wherever possible. Click here hyperlinks are meaningless, and have no value from a Google point-of-view.

* Get good content on external sites linking (on keywords) back to your site. Blogging, forums, reciprocal links all work.

* Think about keyword density. Relative word frequency is important.

Essentially though Google optimization means simply producing legitimate, interesting content for your target audience. If it's useful, and it's well presented, it will be indexed.


Spanish Web Sites...Why??

Is any part of your web site in Spanish? You are probably asking yourself why you would even bother? That's not my target market. Or you might be saying that your Spanish speaking clients do not go online. Guess again!
Prospective Spanish-speaking clients such as real estate foreign investors, those wishing to migrate to this country, or individuals who have been indicted by the U.S justice system for drug related offenses may begin their search for legal help outside the country. By translating your current Web site, or any portion of it, into Spanish, you increase your chances of reaching individuals who are searching for U.S. attorneys.
FindLaw has just launched a new line of three Spanish-language content products that not only are translated in Spanish, but also are optimized in Spanish search terms so they rank well in search engines.
Not only that but the translation is actually done by a person instead of a software program which is proven to be extremely flawed and unreliable.


Web Site Check List

  • * All attorneys need to complete attorney profile data form. This form is important because the best profiles are found by the major search engines. Coordinate with everyone so that they are more uniform.
    * Compile a list of websites that the firm or the firm’s attorney’s have a listing. (http://www.cobar.org/, ctla, etc.) We need to get a link from these listings to your site, and a link from your site to these listings.
  • *What other helpful websites can we link to from your site?
  • * What verdicts/cases do we want to highlight on the site?
  • * What forms does the firm want on the site; we can have them in PDF, etc.
  • * What geographic areas (cities, counties) does the firm want to focus on?
  • * What practice areas do you want covered on the site?
  • * Which attorneys are going to be interviewed for each different practice area.
  • * Determine the tone of the website (first person, third person), formal, more casual, who is your audience.
  • * Get photos of all attorneys taken for their profiles. Do you want any building photos on the site? Staff photos? Local landmarks, or geographical landmarks? Illustrations from trial exhibits?
  • * What published works does the firm want on the site? Articles? Seminar information?
  • * Select one or two people as the point of contact on this project.

Please call me with any questions. I am easy to contact via my cell phone at 303-947-1737.


Make The Most of Your Web Site!

Are You Making the Most of Your Website?
Your website can be a Powerful Tool for your firm and for your clients.Make your Web address visible at every opportunity!
Your Web site can serve as an effective vehicle to keep clients and prospects informed.Make the most of your FirmSite by routinely including your Web address every time your firm name, mailing address and phone number appears in print. Check off each item as you accomplish them.

____ E-mail – add your Web address every time you sign off on e-mail.

____ Answering machine or voice mail greeting – offer an alternative to a phone call. Perhaps the information your caller wants is on your firm’s Web site?

____ Message on hold – if your firm’s phone system has message on hold capability, use it to tell your clients about the information on your Web site.

____ Brochures – use brochures to direct clients to even more information on your Web site.

____ Stationery and business cards – list your Web address with your telephone, fax and address.

____ Fax cover sheets – take advantage of every client communications point.

____ Advertising and marketing pieces – present another route to go beyond a brochure to an interactive experience with your firm.

____ Yellow page ads – use your Web site to help demonstrate that your firm is the right one for a potential client’s legal issue.

____ Directory listings – expand your reach from directory listings to offer even more information about your firm.

____ Signage and posters – never miss an opportunity. Sponsoring a seminar? Speaking to a professional group? Include your Web address when you communicate your firm’s identity.

____ Bar Associations – Contact your local & state bar associations and ask them if they will provide a link from their web site to your web site.

I hope this information helps your online presence whether you are with FindLaw or not. If you have any questions or would just like to speak with me on how to improve your web presence please don't hesitate to call me at 303-947-1737

Sincerely, Jon Reiter - Legal Marketing Consultant


Why FindLaw??

Why FindLaw? What do you offer that no other company does? I get this question every day so I thought it was time to post a blog on why FindLaw and what makes us unique in the market place and how we can benefit your practice.

Anyone can say anything which is why I like to demonstrate FindLaw's effectiveness and domination live on the Internet. I know I always feel better about spending money when I have a reasonable assurance that the money being spent is being spent wisely. Doing live searches in person shows how the web sites designed and developed by FindLaw do show up on the first page of many of the most popular search engines like Google and Yahoo (combined: almost 75% of the entire search engine market) Typically, a number of the web sites that show up "organically" on the first page in these searches are web sites put out by FindLaw. No other attorney web site design firm can claim that.

Listed below are many of the reasons why you should, at a minimum, consider FindLaw.

FindLaw Audience Quality

FindLaw attracts clientele from every economic class

FindLaw visitors have a Median Income that is twice the national average

FindLaw’s traffic is over five times greater than its nearest competitor with over 4 million unique visitors every month (nationwide)

Nearly one million FindLaw visitors contact an attorney every month

FindLaw visitors spent almost 10 billion dollars with law firms in 2004

65% of the FindLaw audience are non-attorneys while 35% are attorneys

FindLaw.com has over 1 million pages of content


  • Directory Products linked directly to your website with exclusive arrangements with online companies like AOL and Yahoo! No other company can offer this service
  • We provide our clients with multiple ways to be found on the Internet, not just having to come up first on a search through Google or Yahoo or the multitude of other search
  • engines out there. We do this through exclusive arrangements with companies like Yahoo! and AOL as well as hundreds of other online news orgs nationwide
  • FindLaw has come up on the first page in every search (I’ve done) for an attorney. They will then be directed to your website. Ask me how!
  • Local and national online News organization
    Denver 7 News, CNN, USA Today, NY Times, etc
    Optimized with the top search engines
  • Search Engine Rankings
    Google - 53%, Yahoo - 25%, MSN - 15%, AOL - 5% Ask.com - 6%

FindLaw Websites: Content & Design

  • Quickly shows your firms strengths and provides a compelling image
  • FindLaw’s attorney/authors writing all the custom content
  • 1000 relevant inbound links (critical for ranking)
  • Practice area specific intake firms
  • Directory products which are unique to FindLaw
  • All design, development, updates, maintenance, optimization, hosting and 24/7 real time reporting and tracking included in monthly fee. No “extra” costs.
  • Website content changing at a minimum once a month with:
    e-newsletters (changes once per month with 12 months prior newsletters archived)
    Frequently Asked Questions (changes once per month with 12 months prior F.A.Q.’s archived)
  • News & Resource Packs (daily news feeds change daily)

Thank you for reading my blog. Please don't hesitate to call me with any questions. ~Jon Reiter~ 303-947-1737~ jon.reiter@thomson.com


Something Old, Something New

You might think that Harvey & Battey, P.A., is the kind of law firm that doesn’t need an Internet presence. Founded in 1922, it is the oldest firm in the city and county of Beaufort, South Carolina. The senior partner, W. Brantley Harvey, Jr., served as a state legislator for 16 years, and after that, as lieutenant governor. His son, William B. Harvey III, is the Beaufort city attorney and carries the legal tradition to the third generation.
Given this legacy, does Harvey & Battey really need a Web site?

When asked this question, Lee Perry laughed. “Do you think we wouldn’t need any advertising?”

Perry, who serves as assistant to William Harvey, notes that “even a well-known, well-established firm needs to keep its name out there.” This is especially true given the influx of military personnel, retirees, and others who make the Hilton Head area the fastest-growing region in the state. “We’ve decided to establish a site to keep pace with the growing community,” she says.

The FirmSite has been a useful tool for staff and the public alike. “You don’t have to go into huge detail about who we are and what we are about when you talk to someone. We can say ‘You can go to our Web site,’ and people are happy to have that resource. It’s an additional avenue of acquainting people with the firm.”

It was important, Perry says, for the tone of the firm and of the region to be reflected in the site. “We’re an old southern, water community; there’s a heritage of gracious southern living here. We wanted that to come through on the site. We’ve tried to bring that out on the home page, and with the water photos on all the pages. We tried to make it a little more narrative, and not hard edge. I think it’s appreciated here.”

The legacy of southern hospitality is evident throughout the site. Visitors have no difficulty finding a way to contact the firm; its address, phone number, and email address are placed at the bottom of every page. The section offering external links is unusually comprehensive in its inclusion of local tourist, residential, and news sources. The real estate practice area has a wealth of helpful information, as does the estate and probate practice.

In addition to placing the site’s address on letterhead and business cards, the firm asked West to optimize its positioning with search engines. As a result, “there was a huge difference in traffic over time,” Perry says. “At first, I couldn’t find us. But now, you do a search, and we’re right there. I’m quite satisfied.”

Traffic to the site has been steadily increasing; within the most recent six month period, for example, traffic has risen by over two and one-half times.

Even the most prominent of firms rely on a FirmSite by West to stay in the public eye.


Three reasons FirmSites attract more new clients.

Not all law firm Web sites are created equal. While many sites reside passively on the Internet, FindLaw FirmSites have been extremely successful to winning more new clients.

What makes them so successful at growing their firms via the Web? In essence, FirmSites excel in these three key areas:

Visibility: First rule of the Web: be seen! FirmSites consistently appear to the right people at the right time – while they are actively searching for your type of legal help in your geographic area. High visibility simply means you get more and better traffic to a site.

Design: Once all that traffic is driven to your site, the design component needs to rise to the challenge, giving your visitors a positive first and lasting impression. FirmSites use design to distinguish your firm from competitors instantly, by highlighting a key point of difference and positioning your website so it can’t be missed. The design has to make your site easy to navigate, top to bottom. The instant it becomes difficult is the instant visitors hit the Back button.

Content: Visibility drives customers to your site, design keeps them interested. Content is how you win them over and get them to call. Compelling, useful content gives your firm a commanding Web presence, showcasing your talent, your successes, your expertise to new and existing clients.
Content is also the piece that closes the loop. Web sites with relevant, frequently updated content are rated higher by search engines – which often means placing higher on their results lists.

FirmSites have been at the forefront of doing all three functions exceptionally well. To leave any one component out would make your site far less effective. Design and content without traffic lead to a great-looking site that no one visits. Visibility and content with no design mean visitors get to your site and quickly leave. In this continuous loop, all three factors are equally important, and interdependent.

BLOGS For a law firm interested in communicating expertise, connecting with an audience through frequently updated content, and ultimately generating business, a Blog is a crucial marketing tool. Easy to maintain and update, a law firm Blog from FindLaw is easy to operate, fully featured, and an excellent vehicle for exposure on the World Wide Web. FindLaw Blogs include:

Professional design
Optional news feed
Ability to create topics and post content
Easy to use and maintain via web-based user interface
RSS subscription
Links section
Archive of entries
Contact form

You can find more qualified clients online when you provide practice-specific Intake Forms and multiple opportunities for contact. Simple or customized Intake Forms collect general information from prospective clients, while topical Intake Forms drill down and capture more specific information.
You can use Intake Forms to gather details as simple as name, phone number and e-mail address, or you can gather in-depth data relating to a visitor’s legal problem. The more specific your data request, the more information you have to evaluate the prospect’s situation and its applicability to your firm.

Landing Pages increase qualified traffic to your FirmSite or Web site by attracting a targeted audience seeking specific information. While keyword searches drive potential clients to a FirmSite or Web site, Landing Pages—part of FindLaw’s Search Engine Marketing service—offer much more. They provide a unique domain, an optional contact form for prospective clients, search engine submission, and up to 500 words of optimized content specific to a practice area, region or legal matter.

All FirmSites include the FindLaw Reporting System, powered by industry leader WebSideStory. This state-of-the-art traffic reporting system enables you to track the top search engines and keywords used to find your site, the most popular pages and content, the top referring Web sites, and much more—all in real time and available 24/7.

Thank you for reading my blog posting.

Jonathan Reiter