By Ian M. Bardorf
You’ve heard the phrase “content is king” but what does that mean when it comes to your website? It means that good content – news, testimonials, articles, blog posts and more — is the most important element of a successful website.
In fact, last April Google released its latest algorithmic change, called Panda, specifically designed to weed out low quality sites and give priority to good ones on the search engine results page. On its blog, Google urges website owners to “focus on delivering the best possible user experience” by asking themselves if their content is trustworthy, appropriate and well written.
Creating content that is meaningful to your prospects and clients and updating it regularly will improve your website’s rankings and help you promote your expertise, reach prospects and stay connected with clients.
Boost trust and rankings.
Well-written, original, relevant, updated content serves two purposes. First, it presents you and your services in a clear and compelling way that allows potential clients to find what they’re looking for easily and creates a sense of trust, credibility and professionalism. Well-written content can position you as an expert and help engage your prospects so that they choose to do business with you rather than the competition.
Second, Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines rank websites based partly on the currency of the information – how recently it’s been updated – and the relevance of that information to what the searcher is looking for.
Search engines look for current information and like dynamic websites with original content. More recently posted content means a higher ranking in the search results, which translates to more visitors to your site. Worse, if your site does not mention the topic someone is searching for, it’s not going to show up in the results at all.
Here’s a dramatic example from my experience at Bardorf Legal Marketing that shows what a difference adding appropriate and targeted content to your site regularly can make.
Last year I launched many new attorney sites. Two of these sites, let’s call them Site A and Site B, worked in comparable practice areas. Site A added content at least once a week while Site B remained stagnant and had no new content. After six months, Site A had received double the traffic (visitors) as Site B, and by the first year mark had gotten quadruple the visitors.
Keep it simple.
Most legal concepts are complex for the average person. They don’t know the intricacies of the law. When they are faced with a legal issue, they simply want answers to their questions and guidance on how they should proceed.
When you are creating content for your website, you need to write in everyday language that most readers can understand and connect with. Use these tips to craft relevant, interesting, helpful content.
- Keep it simple. Focus on a few key points and invite them to contact you for more detailed information.
- Make it relatable. Use examples and stories from your past cases to illustrate your points.
- Keep it short. If you are writing an informative article, it should be no more than 500 words. Blog posts and news updates can be as short as 250 words.
- Break up the content. Since your prospects are likely reading the content on their computer screens, use bullet points and subheadings as much as possible.
- Give your prospects a reason to contact you. Every piece of content you write for your website should prompt the reader to contact your law firm.
- Make them an offer. If you have a free book or report, mention it at the end of your article.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Misspelled words and grammatical errors give clients – and search engines — the impression that you are careless or not credible.
You’re the Expert.
No one knows your practice area or community as well as you do. Remember this when writing for your site. Relax and write in a natural voice, similar to the way you would speak to a client in person. Answer the questions you regularly get from clients and prospects.
Here are a few ideas for generating content for your site:
- Share your knowledge. Jot down questions that your clients ask you throughout the week and turn them into FAQs for your site.
- Write about local events. Do you take burn cases? Write about a local fire. Auto accidents? Write about that DUI that happened the other night.
- Give an intern, paralegal or assistant your notes or ideas and let them turn them into website content. Even better, get them on a schedule so they add a set amount of content each week.
- Offer a mix of long articles and short FAQs, blog posts, or summaries of local news.
- Choose a topic from the recent news and write several pieces based on that. For example, if an accident was caused by a teenager texting and driving, you could write an article about the dangers of texting and driving, a news story about the actual accident, a blog post about what your state is doing about texting and driving laws, and an FAQ for people who suspect their accident was caused by a texter.
- Check other blogs for ideas for topics and updates.
Remember, according to Google, an effective website is interesting, informative, useful, attractive, organized, relevant, searchable, and usable. If your site does not meet those basic goals, then it will not meet your clients’ and prospects’ needs, which ultimately means that it will not meet your business objectives. To find out more about creating good website content, contact Ian Bardorf at www.BardorfMarketing.com.
Ian M. Bardorf is an Internet marketing and social media advisor to attorneys and law firms seeking to grow and advance their business via the web. This article is copyrighted as original content by Ian M. Bardorf and Bardorf Legal Marketing. This article may be reproduced or republished with appropriate attribution and credit.