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