Attorneys and related professions often worry about competition on the web. I am here to tell you there is none. Well, I will backtrack a little and say there are a lot of websites and non-updated blogs, but that there is very little competent web competition. The field is still wide open for you.
I have spent some time on the Internet looking at the websites of title companies and real estate attorneys in my part of Texas, and what I have gathered is pretty interesting. Title agencies and real estate attorneys, as with most all attorneys, just have terrible websites. Their web presence, if it exist at all, stinks.
Many do not have a website set up. Of those that do, many have glitches in clicking through to the site. The links to their sites on websites of professional organizations to which they belong are dead. When you do click through, almost all are just a repository for some banal text that would not interest a rock, an apparent stock photo or two that does not represent their office, lawyers or staff, and information that is at best dated.
What is shocking to me about it is not the graphic design issues, because that is not the most important thing. It is that the one industry or practice area that appeals directly with a web-savvy referral base just does not get it. It is not that some do not get it, but that virtually (pun intended) none of them get it.
Oh, I have my pet peeves. For example, if there are three lawyers in a firm and each has been in practice for three years, and you hired a well seasoned paralegal, quit telling me that added up the firm has over 20 years of experience. You do not. That is like saying that there are six people in a room, five are homeless and one is Bill Gates, and based on that analysis there are six billionaires in the room. And stop, please stop, with the plastic references to dependable, you work directly with an attorney, how hard you work, and all of the dumb, everyday, mundane, uninteresting, vanilla, uninspiring, humdrum, ordinary, B.S. that you let your cheap designer steal off of every other website in the world. ENOUGH!!! Nobody cares. It just takes a little more work and thought to consider, just for a moment, what your prospective clients want, and try to present that to them in a fresh, distinctive, and original fashion. Title companies, I do not care who your underwriters might be. Consumer lawyers, I could care less about your exaggerated yet undistinguished law school career. For goodness sake, focus on the positive things that people care about. What can you do or want to do to help me! It is a pretty easy focus. So why does most everyone fail at it so miserably.
The same is true for most of the legal profession. Sites range from gimmicky to non-existent. Of those that do exist, the sites are just plain schlocky.
If you have a desire to use legalese on your consumer basis site, just shoot yourself. And, why does it seem that the websites of attorneys that want to practice virtually are the worst? They seem to spend all of their time on graphics and no time telling readers how they can help other than you can contact them online. I actually viewed one in which nearly the entire site read something like this - "The Law Office Of John Smith (hereinafter referred to as 'Smith'). A website is not suppose to read like the definitions and explanations preceding a set of interrogatories.
My rant about what I do not like might not be helpful. I understand that taste vary. But, what is evident is that forgetting about all of those that have websites of any kind, or social media pages, there is no serious competition for a lawyer who has some patience, some diligence, and some endurance to do the Internet right.
Part of it has to be not knowing what to do. Most of it is not wanting to face up to what needs to be done. It is not a matter of money because, although this activity is time consuming, it is cheap to execute. So, it is mainly a matter of laziness? A lack of intellectual curiosity? I do not know, but most fail at it miserably.
This is to your advantage, however, because who online is your real competition? Not many, I would say. Lawyers are still stuck in the age of yellow pages and TV. They want to pay someone else to design a print ad or a 30 second spot that they will rarely have to change. They want to pay for it and forget about it. In this day and age, this is a waste of money. Yet, they carry this philosophy over to their websites.
There are any number of online suggestions about what a website needs. I will not repeat these here. You can find this stuff easily enough.
What lawyers forget, however, is that websites, helped by blogs, really need to be content rich. This is because good, effective marketing is all about educating your clients, potential clients, and referral sources.
Education is a big part of marketing, and a website and blog offer the best way to present yourself. But, it is more than this. It is all about creating awareness about you, your legal services, and your positioning in the legal market place. It teaches your potential clients and your referral sources what it is you do that benefits them. This is what eventually turns potential clients into actual paying clients. This is what results in referrals. This is how you feed your family and put shoes on the kids' feet.
The strategy should be pretty clear. It might take some time for your site to be discovered, but you will reach more potential clients and referral sources, on a regular basis, with a content rich site.