Thursday, February 16, 2012
When we give presentations to attorneys, we inevitably hear one or two say, “I get most of my business through referrals, I don’t need a good website (or a website at all for that matter).” What these attorneys fail to realize is that a firm’s website is not only a business development tool but also a big part of the firm’s overall appearance and reputation. Even firms bursting at the seams with new clients need to have a good website. Here’s why:
Referrals will Google You
Sure, the accountant down the street may refer all of his clients to you but, in many cases, his endorsement alone is not enough to seal the deal. After hearing your name, prospective clients will Google you. They’re looking for your credentials and your contact information, and if they’re not able to find any of this information easily, the likelihood of them contacting you decreases.
Colleagues and Opposing Counsel Will Google You
When your name comes up at a business meeting or when you are first introduced to your opposing counsel, they will Google you. First impressions are everything. By not having a website or having a poorly developed, or horribly outdated website, your firm may appear less professional. An effective online presence helps to assert you as the expert that you are.
Referral Sources Also Use Google
By this point in the post, you should know everyone uses Google. Okay, maybe not everyone but a few hundred million people last year. Prospective referral sources are also using the web to find local attorneys who they might refer clients to. Without a website, it’s more difficult to connect with new referral sources that can drive business to your firm.
Your Site Should Be a Real Resource for Your Current Clients
So you’re not looking for new clients on the web? That doesn’t mean that your current clients shouldn’t have access to firm resources online. As competition stiffens and technology advances, firms are delivering more value to their clients through online tools such as document storage, article libraries and interactive calculators. By not offering these online resources, you may eventually lose clients to competitors who are.
Online Reputation Management
Even if your firm is not fully embracing the web, other businesses and individuals are utilizing its many benefits. Each day there are new sites on the web devoted to local reviews so consumers can make the best decision when hiring a service provider. You have no control over whether you firm is reviewed and more importantly what reviewers say about your work. You do, however, have control of the online presence that you create. A well-optimized site will help to ensure that Google users are led to a place that you’ve created with accurate information about you as an attorney and your practice as a whole.
Not wanting to attract new clients is no excuse for not having a good site. An experienced website developer can help you create a site that showcases your experience and practice without soliciting new business.