A few of my clients are attorneys and struggling with a big decision…to keep or ditch FindLaw. They have a decent website through FindLaw, traffic is good, but the cost is exorbitant – $2,000 – $4,000 a month, yes…per month. Just to have FindLaw set-up a blog on your website is an additional $245 per month. Attorneys can certainly afford that cost, but really wonder if it necessary. As each one has come on board with me they have each asked “should I keep FindLaw?”
FindLaw, like most other big website developers, claims that they have propriety coding and systems behind your website. And there is some “deep linking” (that is a direct quote) within the massive FindLaw website to you. I have checked around with many coders, and yes, this all can help and rough estimates attribute 20% of your website traffic to that magic. (However, you can easily make-up for that magic with great content, read on…)
For large firms, attempting to take over an entire state or push out a national presence, I think you do need that powerhouse behind you. But honestly, unless you are attempting world domination, a majority of your SEO comes from four places:
1. Great content written to educate, entertain, and inform. NOTHING IS BETTER THAN GREAT CONTENT. You put geolocators into your content with your keywords and speak directly to your clients and potential customers. You solve problems, add in some humor where appropriate, and show them your expertise. Speak to them in simple language.
2. Linking – both to and from your website. In each website article and blog post link to one credible outside resource and then to one of your own website articles or blog posts. It is important to also have others linking to you (think guest blogging). You also want to be set-up in the major directories with links back to your website.
3. Then there are a few factors related to stats and age. The age of your URL, the more pages you have, the lower your bounce rate, the more visitors to your website, good meta tags and catetories, title tags, no duplicate content anywhere on the web, and a few other things. You can find out more about these tech details from Moz (see, that was my one link to a credible outside source).
4. Google+: If you are not playing on Google+ you are missing out on a golden opportunity to boost your SEO. People, it is in the Google sandbox – we play with their toys! You should have a Google My Business page which is optimized and active, as well as a substantial personal presence.
Now, for the average small business, especially the lawyers, what do you need to do if you want to break away from FindLaw (once your iron clad contract is up of course)? I recommend a WordPress website. It can be designed to look exactly like your FindLaw site, has all the same bells and whistles, you can have a blog (for free no less), and can add all the content your fingers can type or you purchase. The SEO capabilities are outstanding…and once it is up and running it will cost you no more than $20 per month to host. Certainly beats that hefty FindLaw tag.
If you have questions about any of this please feel free to reach out to me. I can help you put a team in place to build and support a healthier website that you control and functions optimally for your business goals.