I m Graydon Trusler and I ve been doing all the Marketing for my wife s divorce law firm in Austin for 8 years or so.

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1 I m Graydon Trusler and I ve been doing all the Marketing for my wife s divorce law firm in Austin for 8 years or so. I m going to take the same approach with you that I have with our marketing aimed at people going through a divorce, and that is education I m going to show you what you need to know so that you can either do it yourself or make an educated decision about who to hire and what to have them do for you. I know most of you don t have time for this stuff, so I know that being able to evaluate a proposal from someone. 1

2 I m not going to spend much time convincing you that you need to be focusing online, but I wanted to give you a couple of quick stats. 70% of people used the Internet to find a local business in the last 12 months 2

3 69% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and these percentages are just going to increase. I found lots of other statistics, but I just wanted to show those 2 to you. I asked my doctor for a recommendation to an allergist the other day. Before I called him, I went to his website. That doctor had an opportunity to make a first impression on me with his website. People are doing the same thing with lawyers. 3

4 For some of you, parts of what I m going to be covering will be obvious. But as far as I m concerned, most people screw up the basics. I m not going to tell you 1 or 2 big things that are going to make all the difference for you. I m going to tell you several little things. They all add up. Let s start by talking about your website itself. What s important when it comes to your site? The look and feel of it, or the design The content on your site The software platform The domain name 4

5 You have approximately 8 seconds to make a first impression on a typical visitor from the search engines. Let s test it. 5

6 These are just some examples of lawyer websites I found. Not all of them are divorce lawyers. I didn t necessarily try to go find the worst examples I could, but these certainly aren t unusual examples. 6

7 Each one is showing for 8 seconds, so that s about how long a normal visitor is taking to evaluate your site and you. 7

8 In that 8 seconds, a visitor is trying to decide whether or not your site is worth spending more time on. 8

9 This one is my favorite. I get a totally different first impression from this than I do from the others. This is a site that I would spend more time on. 9

10 You are a professional. Does the look of your website reinforce that? 10

11 Use a professional design This doesn t necessarily mean a professional designer. There are a ton of inexpensive high quality templates that you can find online. And if you do want to use a designer, you can try sites like elance.com to get bids from designers all over the world. Simple is better I m not sure how to elaborate on this. White space is your friend This continues the simple is better point. Don t feel the need to fill every bit of space on the page. It s easy to overwhelm people and most people facing a divorce are overwhelmed enough already. Use larger fonts It just makes your site easier to read. Use dark text, light background It s been proven over and over again that it s the easiest for people to read. Make your site scannable What I mean by this is to use meaningful headlines and subheadlines that stand out from the page. This helps during that 8 seconds when a visitor is trying to decide whether or not to spend more time on your site. If they can scan the headlines and subheadlines on your site to get an idea of what information is available, it will help them make that decision. The bottom line is that if your site isn t easy to read and navigate, people will spend less time on it. The less time they spend on your site, the less likely they are to hire you. 11

12 Let s talk about content. 12

13 Give really useful information to your prospects and they will be more likely to hire you. Don t hold back. I ve heard some lawyers say, If I give this information away, I can t charge for it. That s very old school thinking. We give a ton of information away for free and we don t run out of things to charge for. 13

14 This is the first question people ask when I tell them to put more information on their website. Did your clients ask you any questions this week? That s some content. Answer those questions on your website. Even the stupid ones. In fact, especiallly the stupid questions. I tell the staff at our office over and over again that there is no reason for people to know anything about the intracacies of a divorce if they haven t been through one before. I ve never had a root canal, so why would I want to go learn about it unless I need one? 14

15 How do you create compelling content? Short, simple sentences and paragraphs Write like you re having a conversation not a conversation with a lawyer. I m talking about a conversation with a family member or a friend. Try to speak to the prospect s emotions. People respond more to emotions more than they do to logic. Video is very powerful I could spend a lot of time talking about video, but I m just going to tell you that if you can, you should be using video. In 30 seconds, a video can communicate, This is someone that seems professional and competent and I think I could talk to them about very personal issues. 15

16 Now we can talk a little bit about software platforms. 16

17 You should use a CMS or Content Management System. A CMS is just a piece of software that makes it easier for you to maintain and update your site. The nice thing about using a CMS is that it s easy for you to add new content or make simple changes to your site without having to involve your web developer every time. Wordpress.org is the most popular blog or CMS package on the Internet. Every web developer should be familiar with it. If they re not, then you may want to shop around for a different one. Best of all, it s free. There are also a ton of professional templates or themes for WordPress for very little money. WordPress.org: SquareSpace.com is what I recommend to most people that want to try to do some of this stuff themselves. Their out of the box designs are beautiful and the software is very easy to use. There is a very inexpensive monthly charge that includes your hosting, but you can try it for free for 2 weeks without even giving them your credit card. SquareSpace.com: 17

18 I just want to tell you one thing about your domain name. 18

19 If your web developer registered your domain for you, get them to transfer it to you. It s easy and most of the time it s very cheap to do. If they registered it with Godaddy for example, you can create an account on Godaddy and your developer can simply transfer the domain over to your account. It shouldn t change anything, but at that point you will be in control of your domain name. For that matter, you should have a developer send you a copy of everything they do for you and also send you a periodic backup of your site. 19

20 There are 2 basic ways to get found on Google. Pay Per Click Ads (PPC) in red Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in green About 35% of searchers click on the ads (in red) and about 65% click on the organic listings (in green.) But, before you can talk about where you want your site to show up, you need to know what people are actually searching for. It doesn t do any good to show up for a search term that no one uses. 20

21 I pulled some numbers for the common search phrases here in Dallas because I thought it was important for you guys to see this. Dallas divorce lawyer/lawyers, and Dallas divorce attorney/attorneys get a fair number of searches a day. I only found 2 search phrases related to Dallas collaborative divorce. Dallas collaborative law and collaborative divorce Dallas are both searched about once a day. I m not telling you this to discourage you about collaborative. I want you to understand what people are looking for so you can focus your efforts. The strategy should be to focus on general local divorce terms and make sure that you liberally sprinkle information about collaborative on your site. So now that we know what people are looking for, how does Google determine which sites show up for a given search phrase? 21

22 It s a secret, but we can make some educated guesses. The first set of factors are called On Page factors. This is basically what the text on your site says, what the title of your websites pages are, etc. I m not going to spend any time on this because it s the less important of the two factors. 22

23 The first set of factors are called On Page factors. Who links to you and what it says. For example, This is a screenshot of an article online. The blue underline text is a link. In this case, that link points to DerbyMonkeyGarage.com and it says Pinewood Derby Car. So when google sees this link, it s going to think that the site DerbyMonkeyGarage.com is about Pinewood Derby Cars. Just to be clear, this link is not on the DerbyMonkeyGarage.com site. It s on a completely different site. The link just points to DerbyMonkeyGarage.com. I m oversimplfying here, but when Google is trying to decide which site should rank first for the phrase Pinewood Derby Car, the site that shows up first is the one that has the most links pointing to it that say Pinewood Derby Car in the blue underlined text. The next question is, how do you get these links? 23

24 Here are 85 different ways The point is that there are a ton of ways to get links. But I m going to talk about 2 of them. 24

25 Article distribution is the first method of getting links. You can go to a site like EzineArticles.com and post an article that you have written. 25

26 And at the bottom of the article you can include a resource box that includes links back to your site. The links can have whatever link text or anchor text you want. You can see he has chosen to link to his site once with his URL and once with the keyword phrase fast Pinewood Derby Cars Other website owners that are looking for content will go to EzineArticles.com and post a copy of your article to their site. The understanding is that they will leave the resouce box and the links intact so that will link back to your site. 26

27 Blog commenting is link building tactic I ll cover. I am going to post a video showing you exactly how to do this at this url. 1. Go to 2. Search for divorce, law, relationships or some other keyword that is loosely related to your site 3. Go to some of the sites in the results 4. Read some of the posts and find one that you can comment on Here s an example, in the name field, you might put something like Dallas divorce lawyer Joe Smith and then your website. That s what the person did for the Virginia divorce lawyers site in the example. Make sure your comment adds value. Otherwise, when the blog owner sees your comment they'll just delete it. It takes a little bit longer, but it will increase the value of your link building campaign because more of your links will stick around. 27

28 When it comes to SEO, you want to keep one thing in mind and that is to try and look natural. Google doesn t really like people doing things to artificially boost their rankings. For the record, what I m telling you are widely accepted practice. Google tries to look for things that seem unnatural or that would indicate that someone is trying to manipulate the rankings. Here are 3 things you want to avoid. 28

29 If you have a website, then you get the s that ask you to link to a website in exchange for a link back. This is an outdated SEO technique and Google has publicly stated that they will ignore these links. In all fairness, this tactic may still work in less competitive markets, but do you want to spend time and money on an activity that Google will eventually invalidate? 29

30 Normal sites don t get 1,000 backlinks in a month and then 0 links for the next several months. Try to make backlinking plans that are steady and ongoing. 30

31 If you want your site to rank for the phrase, Dallas divorce lawyer, don t try to put that phrase in every other sentence on the page. It looks ridiculous to Google and to your visitors. Try to keep it to 2 or 3 times per page max. 31

32 20% of Google s searches are local, so it s obviously important to for your site to appear when someone searches for something divorce related in your in your area. As with everything related to Google searches, Google doesn t tell us exactly what they take into consideration when determining what sites show up first for a given search phrase. All we can do is make some educated assumptions. The information in red is from Google Places. It shows up for some searches and it doesn t for others. Part of the ranking criteria is where you office is physically located, but I m going to tell you a few other things that can help you show up. 32

33 You need to add local information to your site. Include address in text not a graphic. Google can t read graphics yet. Include the name of your city Don t go crazy, but mention the name of the city or county that you practice in periodically. You can also add geotags to your site. Google says they don t use them, but a few other sites do. If you go to this website, you can generate geotags for your site: 33

34 Create profiles or claim your existing ones on local directories. Many sites will create a profile or listing for you based on information they find in phone databases. Go to each site and "claim" these listings and verify that the information listed is correct. If you re not listed on them, add yourself. Try to fill out the profiles as completely as possible. In particular with Google Places. Completeness of the profile seems to be a ranking factor. Google Places: Yahoo Local: Bing Local: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/listingcenter.aspx Facebook Places: CitySearch: Yelp: Avvo: 34

35 One of the things that comes with most of these local directories and sites is online reviews. If they re not already, people will start talking about you And some of them will not have nice things to say. 35

36 So, how do you deal with negative reviews? I can tell you what we ve done. Think before you respond It may surprise you to know that some people going through a divorce are unstable. If someone gets online and starts ranting about you online they may be looking for a fight. Read the Terms of Service Bury them with love ask your normal clients to review you. Give them direct links to your profiles. Monitor them with Google Alerts Video: 36

37 How Do You Market With Social Networking Sites? You don t. Social networks aren t about selling products or services. They re about making friends and making connections. 37

38 I like to think of a social network like it s a party. You wouldn t walk into a party and immediately start asking people if they knew anyone that needed a divorce would you? I m sure you ve seen people on Facebook that are trying hard to pitch whatever they happen to be selling. It s obnoxious. You should use the sites like Facebook like they were intended to be used. Talk about what s going on in your life and make connections with people. It s OK (and a good idea) to mix in an occasional update related to work so people know what you do for a living. If someone mentions something related to divorce and you can contribute to the conversation, by all means, do it. 38

39 Here s an example of what I m talking about. You could post a comment to Facebook about being at this conference. Cristi posted this comment to Facebook last night. She told me last night that a couple of people had already commented on it. The idea is to gently remind them periodically about what you do for a living. You can use the same strategy with Twitter, but remember that there s no privacy whatsoever. Anyone can see everything you Tweet. 39

40 LinkedIn is a site that was created for business networking. Most people on it are looking for was to increase their own business, so it s kind of expected from everyone. LinkedIn is best used for making connections with other professionals. If you ve identified other professionals that might be good sources for referrals, LinkedIn can be a good way to make an initial contact. To be honest, we haven t been using LinkedIn much, but I mentioned it because I m starting to see more lawyers use it. I think our plan is going to be to start posting more firm related updates on it and trying to connect with counselors in particular. 40

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