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Your Online Presence - Taking Care of Business

TCOBAs mentioned in my last post I gave a presentation to the Connect2Law conference at Gleneagles last week on how law firms can leverage the opportunities presented by the internet for generating new business.

Speaking immediately before me was Forbes Bryce of Freshwater Business Coaching. Forbes gave a fascinating talk highlighting the fact that just being a good lawyer isn’t enough - in the new legal paradigm it’s vital to be a good business person, to be a good sales person.

Forbes highlighted the importance of “taking care” of all aspects of your business, as the areas you lose focus on will quickly turn to “cr*p”.

Forbes used the analogy of what would happen if he didn’t take care of his garden (“it would turn to cr*p”) and what would happen if he didn’t maintain his golf swing (“it would turn to cr*p”).

Forbes’ talk got me thinking about what we would encourage our clients to take care off to ensure their online presence doesn’t turn to, well, you get the picture.

Your online presence is an ongoing process that does indeed require ongoing care. Not keeping your website, social profiles etc. current can do as much damage to your personal and company brand as having no presence at all.

10 tips for maintaining your online presence

10 things to consider for maintaing a healthy, up-to-date website:

  • Latest news items – when was the last time this was updated? If it was 12 months ago then it’s not latest news.
  • Bios – Is your photograph current? Does your picture look like you? If you are meeting a prospective client whose only previous experience of you comes from your website bio, then you don’t want to be giving them any nasty surprises! (if you require a photographer we can help)
  • Ensure your People pages are up to date (and if somebody is leaving remind them to update their Linkedin profile as nobody else can do it for them, at least not without the login details).
  • Trust Icons - If you won the Law Firm of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards in 2009 and proudly displayed your winners badge on your home page that is great. It doesn’t look so great if it’s still there in now though. The same goes for any type of membership or accreditation. Make sure these trust icons are up to date.
  • Content – it sounds obvious, but ensure that your content is up to date and aligned with current accepted best practice and that you have kept pace with regulatory changes and changes to the legal landscape.
  • Responsive – more and more people are searching on the go. Your website need to be optimised for mobile and tablet. Unless your site was created or updated in the last couple of years the chances are that it’s not responsive.
  • Imagery – has your website had the same homepage image for the last five years? This (along with old content) gives the impression of your website (and business) being static. Google doesn’t love static websites, neither will visitors.
  • Contact details – again, this sounds obvious, but make sure your contact details are up to date. If you had to close a satellite office during the credit crunch but didn’t remove it from your website and a prospective client pitches up there for a meeting and finds a Betfred instead, well, you can imagine.*
  • Calls to action – are you providing your target audience with the means with which to contact you that is most appropriate to them. Does your website have, for example, a free phone number, an online enquiry form, a dedicated email address? You know your audience better than anybody, make sure you make contacting you easy for them.
  • Testimonials – it’s important to keep adding new testimonials to your site as this is a great way to build trust with prospective clients. If a visitor comes to your site after a six month lapse and views the same testimonials as the last time they visited then that can look lazy, or worse still, give off the impression that you haven’t completed any work worthy of a testimonial in the past 6 months!

And that’s just your website, never mind social media. That’s for another day.

Be active. Be current. Be successful

I could have provided another 10 tips covering the importance of ensuring your website optimisation takes into consideration what Google perceives as being current best practice. Much like the point covering responsive design, if your site was optimised for search 12 months ago, it’s very possible that some of the activity undertaken to make your site attractive to Google could now be doing more harm than good.

It’s easy to take your eye off the ball when it comes to your online presence, but, if taken care of, your online presence will help you generate business.

Call us today. We can help.

*Based on a true story.

Your online presence. An investment, not an expens
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