Cracking the Code: Web Design and how it affects Your Firm’s Digital Footprint
Tips and Practices for understanding your digital footprint
The creation and marketing of a Web Site for a Law Firm’s is a unique type of undertaking. Law firms unfortunately are restricted as I am sure most of you are well aware of when it comes to advertising, endorsements and discussing cases. This does not make marketing a law firm services and identity an easy task.
And now you have to contend with your firm’s digital footprint and brand identity that has been released out into cyberspace, people are constantly dreaming up new ways to hijack your brand and siphon off its value. From phishing attacks to counterfeit domains and bogus Facebook accounts, each new digital channel quickly attracts its share of “black hat” operators. In conjunction your firm has to combat anonymous complaints because of your firm’s web site and its content.
(Note: This situation will get more complicated in the coming years due to the gTLD program which will create 1800 new domain name extensions.)
So how do you establish your firm’s digital footprint while still adhering to the rules?
The expansion of social interaction, email, web sites, smart phones, tablets, and e-blast have driven down cost, but in-turn created a global audience and have given multiple ways to reach clients.
So how do you as marketing professionals measure and develop a digital reputation for your law firm that shares excellent resources and presents a compelling narrative for learning more so a client or potential client can make an informed decision about who your law firm is and what services your law firm offers.
Which you hope will prompt them to perform a call to action, that creates business for your firm. That is quantifiable.
So, what is your firm’s digital footprint and what is the message your firm’s digital footprint is conveying?
How big is your brand’s digital footprint? Likely bigger than you think Geographic or country domains, email addresses, Twitter handles, Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages, mobile apps, blogs—many brands have all of these and more.
Here are some basic tools you can use to get a better understanding of your firm’s digital footprint.
- Google Your Company (I know that is easy, but there are several ways to Google)
- Google Alerts (Monitors what other are saying and Alerts you)
- Spezify (Show you a large numbers of website and images)
- Marketing Grader (Grade’s your website)
- Google Analytics (Show social interaction with site)
- Twitter Search (Show tweets about your company even if you don’t have a twitter account)
- Salesforce Radian6 (Will listen to the entire web for information $$$$)
- Page RankChecker
So now you have an understanding of your digital footprint.
- You may have a footprint
- You may have a partial footprint
- Your footprint may belong to someone else
- Your footprint maybe small
- Your potential footprint maybe extremely large
Depending upon whether your firm’s digital footprint is easy to find, difficult to find or there was nothing to find, gets back to how you market your firm’s web site and its digital presence.
Social Media is one of the most effective ways to manage and promote your digital footprint as well as increase business. Using the following tools can make your firm’s digital footprint easier to manage and maintain. You can also manage your firm’s overall message while making sure to stay within the rules and keep your disclaimer easily accessible.
Search Engine Optimization and Registration the ongoing battle
One of the most overlooked or under-utilized tools for sharing a part of your firm’s digital footprint is search engine optimization and search engine registration. Good and effective SEO is not done only once but is a constant ongoing battle. You have to wage a word WAR in order to accomplish effective SEO placement.
Here is a list of correct common practices that all web site should do for effective optimization
- Content Creation with Keyword Strategy
- Google Keyword Planner Tool
- Deep Linking
- Alt Tags
- Title Tags
- H1 Tags
- Meta Tags
- Robots.txt file
- SEO Plugins and Modules
- Wikipedia Page
Once you have completed optimization of your site; you need to be sure to register your site every 30 to 90 days with all 30,000 search engines and link directories.
- GPS Navigation
- Map Listings
- Business Listings
- Free PR Posting
- Universal Business Listing
Be sure to continue the battle for your digital footprint (Initial Keyword Strategy)
- Blog Post
- Social Post
- New Page Creation
- All Digital Content
Analytics and what it means to your firms marketing efforts
Now you have all of this incoming traffic from multiple sources all being directed back to your firm’s web site. You NOW have all of this great analytical data, but what does it mean to you and how can you show the benefit to the rest of the firm.
(Slide 15 Analytics Logos)
Make sure that you have some type of tracking software installed into your site. We prefer Google Analytics because it is free and it offers so much analytical information. There are other analytical engines out there. Suggested analytics tracking programs that can be installed on your web site.
Looking at Statistics can make your head swim and it is easy to get confused when looking at Google Analytics. There is so much analytical data to sort through that it can seem overwhelming.
Understanding and discerning the statistical information in Google Analytics can be simplified, by breaking it down into the 5 main categories:
Real time, tracks actual visitors on your site, live in real time. You can break that information down into locations, traffic sources, content, events, and conversions.
The audience section will break down the demographics, interest, geo, behavior, technology, mobile, custom and visitors flow. The last two categories have been newly added in the last 6 months. Each one of these sub categories can be broken down even further. The main statistical sections you want to look at are the Overview and Mobile.
- Visitors Flow
This section will tell you where your traffic is coming from, whether it is organic, direct, ad words, social, ad word campaigns, or paid search. It is broken into the following sub sections:
- All Traffic*
- All Referrals*
- Cost Analysis
- Ad Words
- Search Engine Optimization
Behavior is another main section that has a great amount of statistical data, however there are only a couple of sub sections, which are important in helping you determining your traffics behavior. Understanding which pages are attracting traffic to your site and what pages your traffic is leaving your web site. This is critical to the continued health of your firm’s web site.
Conversions are combined user interaction information with Google Ad words. This section can be extremely important if you are running a Google Ad word campaign and spending ad dollars with Google. This metric will show you conversions from your ad word campaign to a quantifiable action on your web site.
Bringing this all together… Getting a clear view of your digital footprint and taking the necessary steps to optimize your site along with analysis can seem daunting, not least of all because the digital landscape is changing so quickly. However, with the right partner you can ensure that you are prioritizing the actions best suited for your law firm’s digital footprint.