Have You Looked at Your Website Lately?

January 16, 2013

As professionals, we may not like to think about marketing, except as a necessary evil.  If you have a website, and you should, don’t ignore it.  Because websites can be changed at any time, the information there tends to be more time sensitive and may go out-of-date if you’re not paying attention.  It’s not only a good idea to pay attention to your website from a marketing perspective, but also from an ethics perspective.  A poor website (think unprofessional looking) can damage your on-line reputation but a website that is ignored may run afoul of the ever-changing advertising rules.  Here are some tips:

  • Fix out-of-date information.  This gives the impression that you do not pay attention to detail.  It may also get you in trouble with the State Bar.  For example, if you had your only Board Certified Specialist leave your firm, but your website continues to say that a certified specialist can help you, then you just violated Rule 7.5, even if it was inadvertent.
  • Fix ethics issues. The advertising ethics opinions are ever changing.  Know how to use testimonials and what disclaimers are required. 2012 FEO 1. There are also very specific rules about disclaimers when you discuss verdicts and settlements, or anytime you discuss being “successful” on your website. 2009 FEO 16.  Embedded videos should comply with TV advertising rules.  Familiarize yourself with the Rules and ethics opinions pertaining to advertising and keep abreast of new developments.
  • Make a good first impression.  Your website is your first impression for the vast majority of your client base.  It’s the first place people go to see who you are.  Have your website done by a professional. Use professional photos or videos. Spend the money upfront, because you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
  • Plan to invest time in your website.  Once your website is launched, don’t just forget about it.  Ask yourself what you want your website to do for you.  Perhaps you should link to social media platforms.  Should you start a blog? Think about search engine optimization. Ask how you can better attract clients to your site, and having done that, ask what your website can do to bring those clients to your door.

Here’s one more piece of advice.  Give away information on your website.  Tell about your practice area.  If you’re a real estate attorney, give an overview of the closing process, list the things a buyer or seller need to think about, list common mistakes or assumptions people make, and of course, tell why it is a good idea to hire an attorney.  By giving away this information, you let people know that you know your stuff, and you give them greater insight about why they not only need an attorney, but why they need you.

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