Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Website Design and Marketing for Attorneys, Doctors, and Other Professionals

Below are some questions many clients have when they first contact Foster Web Marketing about the online marketing world.

The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find your answers here, you should contact us for answers to any questions specific to your firm.

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  • How do the links on my attorney website affect my Google ranking?

    This is a great question! The links on your attorney website definitely affect your Google ranking—but there’s a lot to know about what those links are, what they do for you, and how to use them. 

    There are a ton of elements that go into Google’s special sauce for ranking websites, and links are an often-overlooked piece of that puzzle. If you’re at all in doubt, you just have to keep in mind that the original Google “PageRank” algorithm looked almost solely at the way websites linked together—and that’s the foundation for the much more complex algorithms and ranking elements Google uses today! 

    In short, we might not always know exactly what goes into Google’s secret ranking algorithms, but we DO know that links matter—and they matter a LOT. 

    Getting Started: Three Types of Links That Affect Page Ranking

    Since this is a big question that calls for a big answer, let’s get started with a simple breakdown of what we mean by “links.” There are essentially three types of links that you need to think about for your website:

    1. Internal links. These are the links on your website that link to other pages on your website. 
    2. External links. In this context, external links are the links on your website that link to outside websites. 
    3. Backlinks. These are the links to your website that come from other websites. You can’t totally control what sites choose to link to yours, but these kinds of links still have an impact on your rankings!  

    How you handle your internal links, backlinks, and external links can make a surprisingly big difference in your rankings—and each type affects the user experience on your attorney website in its own way, too.

    So, with the basics out of the way, let’s get to it! Below, let’s break it down further by type of link and talk more about how each type affects your rankings. 

    1. What Internal Links Do on Your Attorney Website

    Internal links are the links on your website that link to other pages on your website. For example, we might link internally from this FAQ to our attorney SEO services page—just in case this FAQ is motivating you to get on top of your link management! 

    Search engine crawlers can learn a lot about your site through your internal links, so it’s an important place to focus your attention if you’re concerned about your rankings. Internal links essentially point search engine crawlers to the rest of the pages on your site for indexing. They help crawlers establish a general structure and theme for the content on your website, and they help readers get to other pages that interest them. If you use relevant keywords as the anchor text for those links, it boosts that understanding even more. 

    With truly savvy internal linking, you can direct potential clients and search engine crawlers toward the most important landing pages on your website, as well as maintain a logical flow of traffic through all your individual pages.  

    And, if you get a really good link structure going, each internal link on your website that links back to a practice area page will give that practice area page a little more “ranking juice” in Google’s eyes. You’ll also constantly point readers back to top-level, action-oriented pages, which is great for garnering more leads and conversions.  

    Building a solid strategy for internal links on your attorney website isn’t easy, though. Some of it is in how your website’s basic navigation is designed and organized. Some of it is in how you use internal links in your blog posts, articles, FAQs, and other pages. 

    However, the guiding idea behind the strategy is relatively simple. You just want your internal links to make it as easy as possible for readers and search engines to understand and move through your website.

    2. What External Links Do on Your Attorney Website

    Unlike your internal links, which link to other areas of your website, an external link is a link to an outside website or page. For example, we might link to this definition of external link from PCMag’s encyclopedia.  

    Generally, you don’t want to overwhelm readers with a million links to websites you don’t own. If you already have—or can create—a piece of content that covers it, it’s typically better for you to link internally. However, sometimes someone else really has said it best, and there’s no reason not to send your readers there to check it out. 

    A lot of lawyers think that external links will encourage people to leave their law firm’s website or otherwise detract from what their website has to offer. However, there isn’t any real need to worry. Sure, you probably don’t want to link to a competitor’s website or some kind of spammy, sketchy page. But, as long as you choose external links with care and intention, it’s unlikely to harm you at all. In fact, using external links can help you by: 

    • Enhancing the user experience for your readers
    • Encouraging links back to your content
    • Possibly sending more positive ranking signals to Google about the quality of your website and content

    But, again, you need to use those external links with purpose. Your main goal with external links is to enrich your readers’ understanding of a topic, issue, or term and improve the experience they have on your website. Any “ranking juice” you might get from doing so is just a bonus! 

    We’ll talk even more about this below, but we should also make it clear that you should never try to “game” Google by adding more external links to your site, and you should NEVER buy or sell links. 

    It’s also worth mentioning that, for external links, it’s much more important that the anchor text provides some context for the link and accurately describes what people will see if they click through. You don’t really need to worry as much about keywords here as long as the anchor text makes sense. 

    Again, everything about using external links well really comes back to providing a great experience for YOUR perfect clients! If you aim for natural, informative links to authoritative outside websites, and if you use them sparingly, it’s tough to go wrong.  

    3. What You Should Know About Backlinks From Others to Your Attorney Website

    A backlink is a link to your attorney website from another website. For example, when we linked to PCMag in the section above, we gave them a backlink! 

    Updates to the Google algorithm over time have placed more importance on the quality of your backlinks. Google’s thinking is essentially that, if other great websites think your website is worth linking to, then it’s probably a quality website that’s worth sending searchers to. So, a great profile of backlinks from authoritative sites can have a positive effect on your rankings. 

    There’s nothing new about backlinks—they’ve been around for a long time. You might even remember when the process of obtaining and maintaining the backlinks to your website was called “link building” in marketing speak, but that term is a little out of vogue these days. 

    Instead, it’s better to think of it more as “link earning.” And, sometimes, it really does feel like you have to work to earn them!

    You have to understand that Google isn’t looking for a certain number of links back to your website. In fact, going after backlinks too aggressively can backfire by actually harming your rankings AND your relationships with outside organizations and entities. You don’t want to engage in link schemes with other sites that are solely for the backlink, and you NEVER want to buy backlinks to your website. Ultimately, Google wants to see a backlink profile full of natural links from quality websites—and using link schemes or cheats clearly violates Google’s quality guidelines.   

    So, the real question is, how do you get great backlinks if you don’t control the pages that link to you and you can’t buy or trade links? 

    The key to earning great backlinks is really content, especially content that is written for your perfect client. Blog posts, FAQs, articles, and videos capture the attention of other content creators when they are fresh, unique, valuable, and highly relevant to your audience. You really just want to create content and videos that other people WANT to link to! If it’s compelling enough, and if people are seeing it, then those great backlinks will happen naturally. 

    If you really want to rev up your backlinks, you can also try just asking for them when it’s appropriate or you have an existing relationship—for example, check out these 9 ways to leverage PR for better backlinks and visibility.  

    The other side of the coin, though, is that any website out there can link to yours, and you don’t have much control over which websites do. A lot of lawyers see a bunch of junky websites linking to their pages, and that can wreck their nice, clean backlink profile—even though they had no choice in the matter! 

    However, while you can’t control who chooses to link back to your website, you can disavow links that are spammy, unnatural, or otherwise don’t belong there. If you try for great backlinks, and check in regularly to clean up low-quality links, you can build a backlink profile that shows Google that you have real authority.  

    Get Better Website Performance by Getting on Top of Your Links 

    There is no set number of internal links, external links, or backlinks you should use on your website—and there’s a good reason for that. Instead of asking “how many,” you really should be asking “why.” Is there a reason that link is there? Does it help your perfect client in some way? Does it direct people toward relevant information that clarifies or expands on what they’re already reading? If not, it probably doesn’t need to be there. 

    We’ll absolutely admit that getting the links on your attorney website “just right” is another one of those things that’s equal parts art and science—so don’t feel bad if it feels like there’s a bit of a learning curve! It’s worth it. 

    A solid linking strategy means that you’re not only giving off “good vibes” for Google, but also for your perfect clients. 

    And, of course, links and rankings aren’t the only things you should be thinking about. There are all kinds of ways that websites can be optimized for search engines and search engine users—and you need all those pieces to work together!

    Don’t see your question answered here? Need a hand cleaning up your backlink profile or an expert opinion on how well your marketing strategy is working for you? Give the friendly FWM team a call at 888.886.0939, or join us for a legal website analysis that will give you HUGE insight into how to move forward. 

  • How can I get more people to read my attorney website content?

    A man sits at a desk looking at his laptop.

    No matter how good your law firm’s website looks, it is almost useless if visitors aren’t sticking around to read and view what you have to say. So, it’s important to look beyond an attractive design and into something a little deeper. 

    The truth is that lots of lawyers have trouble getting people to read the articles, blogs, FAQs, and other posts on their websites. Even if they’re able to attract great traffic to a page, an analysis of their performance data will often show worrying signs, like:

    • People quickly “bounce” away once they’ve landed on a content page. 
    • People don’t dig deeper or visit other pages on your website while they’re there. 
    • People don’t engage with, comment on, or respond to the content you post. 
    • People aren’t motivated to call you or request more information when they’re done. 

    If you want to attract more potential clients with your attorney website content and encourage them to read more, your content needs to go a little above and beyond. So, as you write and post new content, make sure you’re ticking all the boxes below. 

    1. Optimize Your Content 

    People can’t read your attorney website content if they can’t find it! So, if you want to attract more readers to the content you write, you have to optimize that content for search. This is basic stuff for digital marketing—and it’s something that you don’t necessarily have to write a lot of fresh content to accomplish. 

    For example, find out how to perform a content audit to get on top of old articles on your website. 

    The best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) change all the time. However, at its most basic, the idea is to seed relevant keywords in your content and give search engines all the other signals they need to match related queries to your content. 

    In the past, lawyers would “stuff” their content with keywords, often to the point that it was awkward to read or understand. Now, the focus is on incorporating keywords naturally in your content, headlines, page titles, and section headers—and, really, you should stick to one keyword (or a handful of very similar keywords) per page to avoid confusion. 

    Don’t sweat it too much, though. If you’re writing truly relevant content, then it’s likely that those keywords will almost put themselves into what you write!   

    Of course, SEO is about more than keywords. There are elements of your website’s code that have an impact. How your content pages link together has an impact. Once you start following the thread of content optimization, there can be a lot to unravel.  

    So much so that optimizing content often feels more like an art than a science! 

    While we could try to cover every single thing you need to know RIGHT NOW to optimize your content to attract, convert, and retain more readers, this is really an area where you want some advice from a current expert. The best blend of keywords and optimization strategies for your law firm is very unique, and it’s also very difficult to determine on your own.  

    There’s a lot of bad, outdated advice out there. So, don’t be afraid to get an expert opinion before you do it yourself. A bad optimization strategy can drive away readers and get you in trouble with search engines—exactly the opposite of what you want to accomplish. 

    Need a hand getting your on-page optimization just right? Learn more about our SEO services for lawyers

    However, it’s not necessarily all about keywords and SEO. There are lots of ways to optimize and promote your content to get it in front of more readers. Have we piqued your interest? Take a few minutes to find out how to promote your website content and drive more traffic.  

    2. Create Content Your Potential Clients WANT to Read 

    It’s not really about attracting just any reader—you want to attract readers that are also potential clients. So, it only makes sense that your content should be relevant and meaningful to the type of client you’d like to attract. 

    This sounds pretty simple, but hear us out before you rush on to the next section. This is where SO MUCH attorney website content goes wrong. 

    People use search engines because they want answers and information. When they type something into the search bar, they want the results they see to match their question and give them the substantive answers they need in that moment. 

    Google talks a lot about catering to the “micro-moment,” and we think that’s a great focus for your content strategy. What questions are people asking Google just before they hire a lawyer? What answers do people need to make a decision about their legal situations? What kinds of search terms do YOU use when you have a question? Those are the kinds of thoughts that should be guiding your content strategy. 

    After all, if you want readers, you have to produce content those readers want to read! And you can’t drown them with jargon—it has to be content they can understand!

    If you’re only interested in seeding keywords to “game” readers into clicking onto your site, then you’re playing this game all wrong. You won’t fool anyone with thin content that doesn’t offer any value, and your potential readers will know it the second they visit your page.  

    3. Update the Content on Your Attorney Website Regularly

    We wager that about half of what makes the internet so great is that it allows access to constantly fresh, constantly updated content. If nothing on the internet had been updated in all the time it’s been in our lives, very few people would have any reason at all to use it in 2020! 

    Of course, that’s an extreme example, but freshness does matter. If people visit your website and only see content from a few years ago, they’ll notice—and they’ll wonder if you’re still in business. If people are led astray by outdated answers in your content, they won’t come back the next time they have questions. Instead, they’ll turn to someone that can give them current information.

    Even Google, when determining your rankings, looks at how often you add new stuff and update old stuff. So, if you think content can be a “one and done” deal, you’re dead wrong.  

    Fresh content gives people a reason to keep coming back to your attorney website and reading your content. It lets them know that you are engaged and care about giving them the answers and information they need. It shows search engines that your website is fresh, and it keeps your content working in harmony with your current campaigns, messages, and services.

    In short, keeping your content fresh is all benefit, with no downsides! 

    Not sure what “regular” means here? Have questions about how much is really enough? Find out how often you should update your attorney website content.

    4. Edit All Content Before You Post

    No matter how informative or interesting your content is, it WILL drive away readers if it’s full of misspelled words and formatting errors. 

    Poor grammar and bad formatting are things that most users of your law firm’s website will associate with spam, scams, and scummy ads. As a result, readers will tend to trust you less, and they probably won’t put in the time to decipher what you were really trying to say. 

    So, don’t sow that seed of doubt with your visitors. Always edit and proofread all the content that’s posted on your website. Look at the live page after you’ve posted it to make sure that everything looks right, every time. If you notice a lot of people bouncing away from what should be a great page, pull it up to look for broken images, confusing grammar, or other little “oopsies” that drive people away.  

    If you have a lot of old content on your website that could use a once-over, don’t be afraid to go back and edit or correct it now. Just like we said in the section above, freshness matters—even if it’s just a fresh coat of paint. Find out how to make great content look even better

    5. Offer Suggestions for the Next Move

    Have you ever run into a great article somewhere online—only to never visit that site again? There are a lot of choices out there, so your piece of great content needs to also be the “hook” that draws readers further into your website and brand.

    As you write new content, think of ways that you can link to other content on your site. For example, you might link to a blog post that clarifies a term you’re using. You might suggest some articles for further reading. You might show other recent posts in a sidebar or panel. You might illustrate a topic by linking it to a related video or case result.  

    When you can connect each piece of content you write to other relevant content on your site, you keep readers engaged longer. They get more familiar with your brand and personality, and they start building a sense of trust in your authority on legal topics. And, when you make it easy for them, more people will take that step from one-time reader to brand follower. 

    While you’re at it, don’t forget to add a “call to action” to every page of content you post. People are often reading content on attorney websites because they have questions about their own legal issues. It’s helpful to the reader—and just good customer service—to let them know how to call you, contact you, or request more information if they liked the content they read. 

    This is important because, in the end, it’s not just readers you want—it’s readers that become new cases and clients.  

    Not sure what a call to action is or how to use it? Get some answers and find out how to avoid the 4 biggest mistakes lawyers make with calls to action.

    Great Content Is the Foundation of an Effective Law Firm Marketing Strategy

    Attracting tons of readers to your online content is tough, but it’s really just about giving them what they want and making sure they can find it. And, if you’re successful, you’ll be rewarded with more traffic, more leads, more interest in your brand, and—ideally—more cases and clients for your law firm. 

    Fresh, relevant content is the cornerstone of some of the most effective law firm marketing strategies out there. If you ignore it, or if you cut corners, it’s easy to get trampled by competitors that are on top of it. 

    Need a hand getting the upper hand over your attorney website content? Reach out to FWM at 888.886.0939 to talk about our law firm content services.

  • Can I cut and paste content from other sources to my attorney website?

    Never cut and paste content from other sites to your own

    No! This is a huge problem with attorney websites—and with the greater Internet at large! 

    There are several big reasons that you should never, ever put duplicate content on your website—either content you find on other websites or content you’re recycling from your own pages. 

    We’ll get into both issues below, but let’s start with why you should leave other sources’ content right where you found it. 

    NEVER Cut Content From Other Websites and Paste It Into Yours

    Consistently producing engaging, original website content—for months and years on end—can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s tempting to find a shortcut, and there’s no lack of legal content on the Web. So, you might think that all that content out there is ripe for the picking.  

    However, before you click “cut” and paste someone else’s content to your law firm’s website, here are some reasons to stop RIGHT NOW before you mess up big time:

    • You’re probably stealing. Taking content from other pages is not an ethical move—that content was researched and written by someone else. Plagiarizing isn’t good for business or, we would argue, in general. If you’re found out, you can get in trouble with the people you took it from. You can wreck your reputation with potential clients really fast. It looks TERRIBLE for a lawyer to use another lawyer’s content—or a doctor to use another doctor’s content. It’s just not worth the risk of doing that much damage to your brand and reputation!
    • You are gravely harming your SEO. Google and other search engines can spot duplicate copy from a mile away—and they do not like finding it. Search engines want original content. If you steal someone else’s content to post on your own website, the search engine crawlers will notice that there is more than one copy of the same (or very similar) content out there. It’s usually not an official penalty because search engines can’t determine who owns the content. However, it can still severely impact your search rankings and water down the visibility for both your website and the website you swiped it from. It can also wreak havoc on your backlinks and other authority indicators, creating a “ripple effect” that drags the rest of your site down with it. 
    • You could be passing on bad information. Blindly using content means losing control over what you’re posting. If you create content yourself or hire others, you can be sure that you are providing accurate information to potential clients. You have control over the “voice” of your brand. You have control over what topics you cover. Ultimately, you wouldn’t let a stranger on the Internet run your business, so don’t let them write your content, either. You, your team, and your hired writers should be the only source of YOUR content.  
    • You want to give your readers unique content. The success of your website depends on your ability to stand out from the crowd. If you are using other people’s tired, generic material, then you’re not giving your visitors anything new. People come to your website because they’re looking for information they can trust—and, ultimately, for an attorney they can trust with their sensitive legal issues. Every time you try to pass off the same, boring stuff everyone else is doing, you’ve missed an opportunity to create a buzz and be the trusted authority. 

    Having trouble coming up with your own ideas for unique content? Check out these resources to brush up on your skills: 

    Of course, if you really run into something unique that you want to share with your visitors, there’s nothing wrong with quoting that content with appropriate attributions, or even sharing the link on social media. Just be sure you’re linking to the original site and author, not claiming it as your own!

    NEVER Put Multiple Copies of Your Own Content on Your Website

    The content on your website is yours, so you can do what you want with it! Right? This is the other issue we see with cut-and-paste content on websites. 

    Although you and your team created the original content, you still need to be careful about how you use and copy it. You can’t really “steal” from yourself, and hopefully, you’ve long ago checked the original content for accuracy. However, the other two issues we talked about above still apply in this case:

    • Your SEO. Everything we said above about this applies here, only it’s even worse because you’ll be diluting the power of both the copy of the content and your own original. It’s even obvious that you did it to yourself. It’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot—twice. 
    • Your readers. Your visitors will notice if all your blog posts seem to sound the same or cover the same information. It’s a waste of your time and theirs! A better alternative is to combine all that similar content into a big, comprehensive article—or maybe even a series of shorter articles that really hone in on different sub-topics and details. Remember, you always want to aim for content that is helpful to your “perfect clients” and original enough to hold their attention. Writing fewer, higher-quality pieces is always going to be better for your business than stealing content to keep up an unrealistic pace. 

    Keep in mind that the content doesn’t even have to be an “exact” match to trigger these issues! So, if you have multiple copies of the same or similar content on your website, it’s time to clean it up. 

    Are you feeling so overwhelmed by content production for your website that you’re thinking about stooping low? Don’t make that mistake. FWM’s incredible team of content writers and strategists has you covered. Learn more about our content writing services, or give us a call at 888.886.0939.

  • What Is Responsive Web Design?

    Multiple devices display the same website in the proper format for the device.

    While some web design strategies come and go, there are a handful that revolutionize the game and elevate the standards of greatness. Responsive web design is one of them. This is something that used to be the “next biggest trend,” but it has now become a staple of modern website builds.

    If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll want to get familiar. A responsive design can improve the experience users have on your site by a TON, while modernizing the look, feel, and function of your “virtual office.”

    What Makes a Website “Responsive”

    When we talk about “responsive web design,” we’re talking about designing websites that recognize the device a site is being viewed on and deliver a compatible user experience. So, when potential clients view your website on a phone, they automatically see a mobile-friendly version of your site. If they pull up your site on a desktop or laptop, they will see the more traditional version of your site.

    And responsive design goes deeper than just how your website looks to users. Responsive designs take into account screen size, screen orientation, input methods (like clicks, taps, and swipes), screen resolution, privacy settings, and more. Each person that visits your website automatically gets an experience that’s customized to the type of mobile device they’re using.

    How cool is that?

    Before responsive web design was a “thing,” you’d have to essentially create a different copy of your website for every device on the market, and then you’d have to add new versions every time a new device came out. With the current prevalence of mobile devices, it would be impossible to keep up!

    It was extra horrible for tablet users because tablets typically fall somewhere in between laptops and smartphones. Users accessing your site on a larger tablet usually want a more traditional website experience, while users on smaller tablets usually want a more mobile-optimized experience. It was a nightmare for tablet users to get a good experience when browsing! Now, responsive designs have resolved all that.  

    So, that should give you an idea of why responsive design has become the industry standard—and a mobile marketing must-have. Now, let’s talk about why it really matters to you.   

    What Makes a Responsive Website Matter to Lawyers and Doctors

    Everything about your website should support your goal of bringing in new cases and clients or patients—so the user experience on your website is key. Trying to navigate a traditional website with a smartphone is very difficult. It usually involves a lot of zooming in, scrolling around, and frustration, which most modern web users aren’t going to put up with. If it’s tough to even minimally read and navigate your website, it doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in your ability to provide a great experience in person. It also makes it a lot easier to give up, click away, and visit your competitors’ websites, instead.

    In a service-focused business, like doctoring or lawyering, this is HUGE.

    And the truth is that even Google prefers responsive websites! A responsive design makes it easier for search engines to index and apply their algorithms to your website. Plus, the device-optimized experience is great for the search-engine users that Google wants to keep happy. The outcome is that, overall, responsive websites rank higher than sites using the old “separate mobile site” model, and they are crawled more efficiently by search engines.

    In short, what we’re saying is that responsive web design can improve both your search rankings AND the user experience for your leads and contacts.

    You can’t beat that benefit combo!  

    How to Get a Mobile-Responsive Website for Your Practice

    It’s no longer a trend; it’s the standard. If your website isn’t seamlessly responsive to mobile devices, you’re probably already losing leads.

    A responsive website design shows potential clients and referral sources that you’re sensitive to the needs of all the users who find you—and it builds confidence that they’ll have the same great experience when they call your office or meet with you about a legal matter. 

    Ready to embrace a mobile-responsive website design? Want to automatically give people what they want without having to think about it? Schedule a design consultation with our award-winning team, or call us at 888.886.0939. Let’s start building a website that works hard for your practice and your visitors.

  • What Makes a Great Client Testimonial?

    Great Client Testimonials for Your Website

    While it isn't likely that a visit to your site will trigger a full-blown panic attack, people usually experience some level of anxiety when contacting an attorney or a doctor. They come to you because they need help or have sensitive questions, and they’re often worried that they won't make the right decisions.

    If your website and marketing do nothing to soothe this anxiety, nervous visitors will quickly leave your site in search of someone who CAN assure them that they’re making a safe choice.

    To calm clients’ fears, I suggest utilizing the best “anti-anxiety pill” for websites that I know of: testimonials. When incorporated into your design and used strategically, testimonials from your past clients and partners have the power to effectively soothe any anxiety clients, patients, and referral sources might feel when they visit you online.

    However, while you might appreciate every positive testimonial you receive, not all testimonials are created equal. The truth of the matter is that some of your testimonials are more powerful “trust signals” than others. But how do you figure out what your best testimonials are?

    7 Qualities to Look for in a Great Client Testimonial

    When deciding which client testimonials to feature on your site, look for the ones that hit all the right notes:

    1. Specificity. Look for client testimonials that address the specific practice areas and services you offer. These kinds of testimonials can create a stronger connection with potential clients because they more clearly show that you have resolved specific problems for past clients—the kinds of specific problems that your potential clients are actively concerned about.
      How to use it: Sort your testimonials into categories, just like you do with your blogs and other content. (This is super easy to do in DSS!) Once they’ve been sorted into the right categories, it’s quick and easy to apply them to the most relevant pages on your website.
    2. Length. Shorter testimonials aren’t necessarily “bad,” but the more details that are provided, the better. A few one-sentence statements won’t hurt you at all, but you may want to look for more in-depth testimonials to feature on your website. Look for the ones that tell a story and really get into the client’s experience with your practice.
      How to use it: When most of the testimonials you feature on your site are short and generic, it looks a little fake. Use a mix of short and long testimonials, with a preference for the testimonials that tell the most compelling stories.
    3. Objections. Here’s a little advice from marketing master Dave Frees: get testimonials that address objections. Ask clients what they were worried about before they saw you, and what the main sources of their anxiety were about choosing you. These kinds of testimonials assure potential clients that they’re making a good choice—and that your services or goods are worth the cost.
      How to use it: Use testimonials that address objections on the pages with your most important calls to action, where they’ll have the most relevant impact.
    4. Proximity. Look again at the advice above because it leads into something really smart and effective. Where you use your testimonials on your website can be as important as which testimonials you choose to feature. To adequately assuage anxiety, potential clients and visitors should see relevant testimonials at every stage of their “customer journey.”
      How to use it: Like we said above, a “cost-justification” testimonial should be positioned on your contact page. Doing so says, "Don't worry about the cost, this attorney/doctor/service is worth every penny!" However, don’t forget to place similarly relevant and assuring testimonials on other pages, too. Visitors should see them on your homepage, on your landing pages, and even in your email campaigns and other marketing materials. You want to start building a relationship with the potential client by featuring the most relevant trust signals at every critical step of their “customer journey”—from visitor to client.  
    5. Intensity. You need to decide just how intense anxiety about purchasing your services really is. If this is a high-stress decision for many of your clients or contacts, you need to take care that the intensity of the testimonial matches the intensity of the page.
      How to use it: Are your testimonials powerful enough to over-correct for anxiety and address the substance and perception of potential clients’ fears? Does the tone of the testimonial match the tone of the page it's featured on? For example, a light-hearted testimonial might be totally appropriate on some pages, but it could be jarring on a serious page about brain injury or wrongful death. Likewise, a very serious or emotional testimonial might distract from the main point or message on a less intense page.
    6. Authority. Any testimonials you include should carry a certain amount of authority. While all well-written—or well-spoken—testimonials are good, a review from a recognizable name is even better.
      How to use it: A testimonial from a local celebrity or government figure can carry a lot of weight, especially when it’s someone that your perfect clients would recognize. However, you don’t have to get a celebrity to sing your praises. You can increase the authority of your testimonials by using clients’ names or initials (with their permission, of course!) or adding a location. For example, your testimonial might look like this: “Smith Law Firm solved all my problems!”—Bob S., Atlanta, Georgia. This can humanize your testimonials and make them more convincing.
    7. Video. If your client or another testimonial source is comfortable doing so, a video testimonial can be extremely powerful. Video gives a personal feel and conveys emotions that a written testimonial cannot.
      How to use it: Make sure your website supports video, and make sure that it’s easy to add and categorize them. Testimonial videos are a powerful feature on homepages and practice-area landing pages, and they’re compelling when you pepper them throughout your blog content and social media posts. These can be the highlight of your website design or just a little more supporting “oomph.”

    Keep in mind, of course, that state bar associations have different rules and regulations regarding client testimonials on law firm websites, and websites for medical practices always need to be sensitive to patient privacy regulations. The good news is that most lawyers and doctors are allowed to use testimonials on their websites, as long as they are truthful. NEVER buy testimonials or reviews, and make sure you look into the requirements in your state to see if you need to add appropriate disclaimers or take another action to adhere to best practices.

    We’re happy to work with you to identify limitations and incorporate testimonials ethically on your website. While we’re not experts in every state’s rules and regulations for every type of business, we do have a lot of experience with other law firms and medical practices around the nation. If you have a question, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll either have the answer or know where to start looking.

    Build More Trust Into Your Website Design

    You may have a degree from Harvard and an impressive professional background, but those things don’t matter to most potential clients. Instead, people want to know that you’re good at what you do and that you can help them solve their problems. They also want to know that they’ll have a good experience working with you and your team.

    So, let your testimonials from past clients and partners explain how great you are. It is far more powerful, and it shows potential clients that you’re someone they can trust. Even just a handful of sincere testimonials from satisfied clients will go a long toward putting the visitors to your website at ease.

    Need to add more “trust” to your brand message and website design? Contact us at 888.886.0939, or start talking with our award-winning team about your ideas in a website design consultation.

  • How many pages should I have on my website?

    How Many Pages Are Needed for a Website

    Gone are the days of single page “homepages,” and here are the days of multi-page, multimedia websites! But how many pages are enough to make your website a winner?

    It’s a tough question! Unfortunately, there’s no magic number of pages on your website that will secure you the number-one spot on all the search engines or bring in all the clients and cases of your dreams. You’ve heard us say it before, and we’ll say it again: there are no “magic purple pills” or guaranteed Page One results in marketing!

    While there’s no upper limit to how many pages you can have, there are some guidelines and formulas that we know work well as part of our award-winning web design services. If you’re in doubt, follow the guidelines below to build a website that has the right number of pages to best position you for getting new visitors, clients, and contacts.

    The Core “Building Block” Pages of an Effective Website

    Attorneys, doctors, and similar service-based professionals often have similar-looking websites because they need essentially the same things out of their websites. While you don’t want a cookie-cutter site that looks exactly like everyone else’s, you do want to follow a basic formula that’ll meet your users’ basic expectations for a “doctor website” or a “lawyer website.” Once you have those “building block” pages in place, you can inject your own personal flair or “break” the formula to better fit your perfect clients’ needs. 

    In your first web design meeting with the FWM team, we’ll start discussing what types of core pages we will create for you and how many. These pages become the foundational “skeleton” of your website, and usually consist of:

    • A homepage
    • Several practice area pages
    • An “About Us” page 
    • A “Contact Us” page
    • A testimonials page
    • A video page
    • A blog page
    • Several library article pages 

    There can be a little variance in the core pages we create for your website, depending on your needs and desires. We also work with clients to add custom pages—like referral pages or community involvement pages—that might make sense for their businesses. 

    While this foundation of pages is designed to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and be compelling to your perfect clients, we also give our clients the tools to add as many additional pages as they please through our Dynamic Self-Syndication (DSS) web content management system. 

    During the process of creating your website, we will teach you how to use DSS to quickly and easily add your own pages to your website. Whether you’re adding blog entries and articles or uploading videos, testimonials, and recent case results, this supporting content is going to be the key to your website’s long-term success, as we’ll explain below. 

    Supporting Pages Flesh Out Your Website and Build Up the User Experience 

    When we launch your new website, it will have all your core pages in place. Now, it’s up to you (or our friendly internet marketing services team) to flesh out what you’ve started with. There is no limit to the number of pages you can have on your website, so don’t be afraid to really stock it up with excellent content and relevant pages. 

    Put yourself in your perfect clients’ shoes, and think about what you would want to see on a doctor’s or attorney’s website—or why you might be Googling for those services in your area. Then, add pages to your website that meet those needs and answer those questions. 

    Not sure where to get started? Here are some examples of what we recommend:

    • FAQs. Articles that answer frequently asked questions are always popular—it’s the most obvious place to look if you have a question! Think about the real questions clients ask you in person or through email and answer those questions thoroughly on your website. Having those answers right there improves the user experience, and it can save you time in the long run!
    • Library articles. Library articles typically focus on presenting more in-depth topics in a digestible way. Potential clients in the “research phase” will love these kinds of articles, and they’re often the pages that bring in a sizeable amount of your new traffic from search. Think about what motivates your perfect clients to seek your help and what kinds of questions they ask before they’re ready to come see you about a problem—these will be your best topics!
    • Blog posts. Your FWM website is designed to include an on-site blog, so make use of it! Blog posts are generally more casual than library articles, but they should still answer questions or offer some tidbits of value for your potential clients. This is a great place to show your personality, whether you’re explaining a change in the law or talking about a local charity drive. 
    • Case stories. The stories of your cases and clients show your website’s visitors exactly how you have solved problems that are similar to their own. Case stories also create an emotional connection that can stick with potential clients, even long after they log out. Find out more about how to write compelling case stories

    Google loves authoritative sites that are chock-full of relevant information. However, don’t try to add so many pages that your quality takes a dip. Always make certain that each page you add is relevant to your practice, contains accurate information, and offers your readers something new and thoughtful. Repeating the same information on multiple pages, using duplicate content, or resorting to keyword stuffing WILL end up harming your search rankings and online reputation.

    Add More Pages as You Go to Keep Up the Momentum

    You should never be “done” adding pages to your website. Over time, your website should sustainably grow into a rich, compelling, and relevant resource for the people your business serves. 

    Never let your website go stale!

    Develop an ongoing content strategy that works for you and that you can keep up with over time. At the barest minimum, that strategy should include at least four blog posts per month, which is one per week. Or, if you can manage it, do more!

    Don’t stop there, though. Along with your blog posts, keep adding library articles, FAQs, case stories, and testimonials. Shoot new videos. Add new landing pages and practice areas as your practice grows over time. Talk about current events and topical issues that matter to your clients. 

    These kinds of ongoing additions to your website have a huge impact on your success. When you keep your website fresh and well-stocked, it lets potential clients—and search engines—know that you care about what you do and are passionate about sharing it with others. You’re always putting out fresh “bait” for the kinds of clients you want to see!

    Work With an Award-Winning Design Team to Build a Website That Works on Every Level

    At Foster Web Marketing, we love working with attorneys and doctors around the country to develop new, effective websites. We also love partnering with our clients to support them as they learn how to improve and update those websites—and grow their practices—in the months and years to come. 

    Ready to partner with an award-winning team to build the website of your dreams? Schedule a design consultation with FWM, or give us a call at 888.886.0939 today. 

  • Motivate More Conversions by Creating Great Calls to Action

    Web Marketing Calls to Action

    A lot of attorneys and doctors find it easy to attract traffic and visibility with their marketing. Conversion, though, is often a different story. Without a little prompting or direction, most people won’t reach out to your business on their own. They may enjoy your website. They may read your email and direct mail. They may even see your ads.

    But, if they don’t know what to do next, they probably won’t do anything at all.

    So, how do you get the people—especially the “perfect clients”—you’ve attracted to your website and marketing materials to convert into contacts and clients? The answer is simple: just ask them with a great call to action!

    What Is a Call to Action (CTA)?

    In marketing terms, a call to action (CTA) is what we call any kind of invitation for your visitor to take the next step. You might say it out loud in a video or write it into your content—if it asks your reader, viewer, or visitor to do something, then it’s a call to action.

    The whole idea of the CTA is to encourage visitors, readers, or viewers to make a move toward building a relationship with your business. That can be as simple as “click here,” “let us hear from you,” or posting your office phone number. It can also be as direct as “schedule an appointment” or “fill out our contact form.”

    Hard or soft, there are all kinds of CTAs out there. But, if you really want to push that conversion power, you’ll find that how you choose and handle your CTAs is a big part of it.

    What Does an Effective CTA Look Like?

    The best calls to action are tailored to the goal you want to accomplish and what will be most relevant to readers or viewers. For example, depending on your goals, an effective CTA might ask people to:

    • Call your office
    • Schedule a consultation
    • Fill out a contact form on your website
    • Subscribe to your newsletter
    • Share a story or leave a comment
    • Download your free book
    • Follow you on social media
    • Chat with an online representative
    • Click through to a relevant landing page on your website
    • Sign up for an event
    • Take a quiz
    • Enter a contest
    • Rate or review your business

    And the list goes on! Essentially, a good CTA matches your goals and message, while giving people a clear idea of what the next step is and how to get there.

    Keep in mind that an effective CTA needs to make sense where and when people see it. For example, it probably doesn’t make sense to ask people to visit your estate planning page in a video about personal injury insurance. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense to ask people to download your book about child custody laws in a blog about work injuries. If you want people to contribute to your goals, you need to draw a clear connection between the content that attracted them to you and the step you’re asking them to take.

    Where Should I Use Calls to Action in My Marketing Materials?

    You should include a call to action in nearly all your marketing materials, including:

    • Your homepage and landing pages. Your website design should include prominent contact information, contact forms, and other ways to skip straight to the action. However, you should reinforce your CTAs in the text on the page, too. Remember, this isn’t about shouting, “Buy, buy, buy!” You should naturally connect each CTA with the potential clients’ needs and concerns.
    • Individual content pages on your website. For your blogs, FAQs, and other written content, you don’t have to always stick the CTA at the end. Try to incorporate CTAs where they make natural sense in the text, then reinforce the same CTA at the end. 
    • Videos. Videos are great because you can just ask out loud for viewers to contact you. This works even better with overlay text on the screen that can show your name, phone number, and web address.
    • Emails and newsletters. Your contact list might love your emails and email newsletters. However, the work you put into them is going to waste if you don’t tell your readers how to learn more, what to do now, or how to contact your business.
    • Books, guides, and other print materials. People often get around to reading print materials hours or days after they request or receive them. This is why it’s so important to include your contact information, remind readers of what you do, and invite them to take action, even in books and direct mail. 
    • Ads. This should be a no-brainer! You always want to get the very most out of your paid advertising, so calls to action are essential. CTAs in your ads need to be extra focused on your goals and highly compelling to your target audience, whether they see them online, on tv, or in print.
    • Directories and profiles. Some directories and local profiles allow you to link back to your website or include text or video about your business. This is great for driving people back to your business and your brand, but you always want to make sure that you’re following the profile rules for each site.
    • Contact forms and stylized buttons. Built-in elements, like customized contact forms and stylized buttons, can really catch the eye, so try to include customized text that makes it extra enticing to take action. 

    Don’t try to confuse people with too many CTAs in one place. Instead, focus on your goals for each page or campaign. For example, having several different CTAs on your homepage makes sense and can move people toward the information that is most relevant to them. On an AdWords landing page, though, you will want to drive visitors toward a single, clear CTA.

    It’s also very important that you don’t use the exact same CTA all the time. It’s easy to just add your phone number in and ask people to call, but it’s much better to mix it up with invitations to download your book, use your contact form, subscribe to your newsletter, etc. You should never cut and paste CTAs from old content into your new content, either. Instead, try to phrase what you’re asking readers to do a little differently each time. CTAs work best when they’re fresh, not stale and repetitive.

    While getting tons of web traffic is great, the real, final purpose of your website is to connect with great new clients. Does your lawyer website lack strong calls to action? Are you having trouble turning visitors and viewers into contacts and clients?

    You can get more information about the performance of your current website—and how to improve it—by requesting an FWM website analysis with our team or calling us at 888.886.0939. Just let us know that you’re especially interested in improving your CTAs and conversions!

  • How should I follow up with a new website contact?

    How to follow up with website contacts

    A big part of the point of your website and marketing is to get potential new clients to contact you. But what do you do once the initial contact is made? You can’t let those valuable contacts fall through the cracks!

    Before you do anything, though, you should know that how you choose to follow up is a big factor in how well you can turn those contacts into clients and fans of your brand. If you aren’t ready to meet them—the right way—at this critical stage in their “customer journey,” then they’re likely to turn around and move on. 

    So, how should you follow up after someone contacts you through your website? Here are our seven best tips for getting it just right for your potential clients.    

    #1 Tip: Choose Marketing Software That Makes it Easy to Follow Up With Contacts

    Before we get into our other tips for following up with your contacts, we need to talk about your marketing software. Why? The very best tip we can give you is that the software you choose has a huge impact on how easily you’re able to collect information about your contacts and follow up with them. 

    For example, all our websites are built and maintained using DSS (Dynamic Self-Syndication), which gives our clients a lot of options. 

    With DSS, you create the contact forms that encourage people on your website to reach out, and you choose what kind of information is automatically collected from those forms. You are notified when people contact you, and you set up the follow-up emails that they receive when they do. You never lose the contact information that people share with you, and you can quickly tag and manage your contact list as it grows. It’s even easy to add dynamic call-tracking numbers! 

    You are still in control of the strategy and the message, but your website and DSS automate all the routine tasks and moving parts to give your follow-up strategy a pro-level polish.  

    Imagine trying to do all those tasks manually, before you even get the strategy, content, and messaging going! When your website and software are already built with follow-up strategies in mind, you save yourself a ton of time and frustration. 

    6 More Ways to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Follow-Up 

    Whether your website automates some of your follow-up tasks with contacts, or you do it manually, you still need to:

    1. Act fast. Some attorneys and doctors wait a week or more to follow up with potential clients after they’ve reached out, which gives contacts plenty of time to go elsewhere, get frustrated, or forget about you. In general, you should return contact within 24 hours of an email or phone call—and you should aim for immediately wherever you can! This is why automated follow-up sequences make such a difference in conversion. When people reach out to you, they immediately get a response and know that you got the message—even if you plan to also respond personally later.   
    2. Be specific. When you write your follow-up emails or direct-mail letters, don’t write a generic form letter or general “thank you” response. Instead, use that content to talk specifically about your contacts’ concerns. It shows them that you are listening and have thought about their issues during the time between contacts. Want to nail this? Check out Dave Frees’ tips for creating powerful follow-up content.  
    3. Send helpful information. The purpose of a follow-up strategy isn’t exactly to try to pitch the benefits of your law firm or medical practice over and over again. Instead, you want to give your potential clients something of value that creates a link between what they need and what you offer. When you send them helpful information that’s relevant to their problems, you show them that you have the knowledge and experience to help.
    4. Establish your credibility. The first few interactions your potential clients have with your law firm or medical practice are critical. This is the point where they come to a decision about whether they really want to work with you! Sending contacts your book and other helpful information goes a long way, but this is also a great time to build your credibility in their minds by including some testimonials, case stories, and reviews in your follow-up materials.  
    5. Tell them what to expect. Your follow-up campaigns work best when they tell people what to expect next. Is this the only contact they will receive? When should they expect to hear from you? What do they need to do? What happens next? This can also include information about how to take the next step toward becoming a client. For example, if they requested your book through your website, the next step might be to come in for a free consultation with you. 
    6. Include your contact information. A lot of the follow-up you do with potential clients happens off your website, where your name, phone number, and other contact information isn’t in view. As simple as it sounds, just remembering to include that kind of information in your follow-up content makes it much easier for contacts to take the next step or reach out with questions. Consistency matters here! The customizable email templates in DSS make it easy to make sure you include the right contact information, every time. 

    Getting new contacts to come to your website and reach out to you is tough, so you need to be sure that you’re ready to nurture them into leads and clients when they do take action. 

    Want to step up your follow-up game? Want to save time and energy while doing follow-up better? Request a DSS demo to see our powerful software in action, or give us a call at 888.886.0939. Just mention that you’re interested in what you can do with follow-up campaigns!

  • How do I choose good topics for my website videos?

    How to find website video topics

    Putting almost any kind of video on your attorney website, social media sites, and YouTube can potentially add power to your marketing strategy. However, the real magic of video marketing comes into play when your videos compel people to watch, connect, take away something of value, and share your video content with their friends and families.

    When done right, even one great video can go a long way to spread the word about your law firm!

    Do you hit a roadblock when you try to think of topics? Are you having trouble figuring out what people are interested in or why they would care what you have to say? The trick is to step outside yourself and explore what's going on around you and what's of interest to your clients.

    Ready to get started?

    14 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Website Videos

    1. Look at your existing content. You have already put the time and effort into blogs and articles for your website, so why not expand on that same information for a video? You could summarize a longer article, share a relevant anecdote, answer a relevant question, or explore one aspect of the article topic. 
    2. Ask your staff. Few resources are as good as the people who work directly with your clients, day after day. Even if you’re stumped for ideas, your paralegals, legal assistants, and other staff members are probably harboring a wealth of ideas for video topics that would be helpful to your new and potential clients.
    3. Ask your clients. The people you serve are often overlooked as potential resources for video and content ideas. Since you are trying to go after people exactly like the clients you already help, who better to ask an opinion of than your existing clients? They will be able to give you insight on what they were looking for in a law firm and what they think would interest potential viewers. They can also tell you what they think would not work, which could end up saving you time and money in the long run.
    4. Check out your competitors. We aren't saying you should shoot word-for-word copies of your competitors’ videos, but it doesn’t hurt to look at what they’re doing to attract new clients. The bonus is that, by browsing through what has been tried by others in your region and industry, you are bound to come up with your own ideas or angles for compelling videos.
    5. Check out the news. Current news stories are great bases for videos, especially when you can easily make a connection between the cases your firm handles and what is going on in the world today. Done properly, that connection will position you in your viewers' minds as an authority in your field. Video is also easily picked up by news outlets, giving you a chance to really expand your reach.
    6. Answer and explain. This is one of the most basic and foundational ways to come up with video ideas that will connect you with more great clients and cases. Think about the most frequent questions you hear from your clients and potential clients, then try answering those questions on video. You could also explain a common legal issue in layman’s terms, talk about an important change in the law, or share clear information that will help potential clients with their concerns. 
    7. Brainstorm from magazine headlines. Catchy magazine titles and stories can give you tons of ideas, as long as you are thinking far enough outside of the box to apply it to your own practice. For example, the headline, “Top 10 Must-Have Beauty Products to Use This Summer” can easily be transformed into, “Top 10 Must-Have Insurance Tips for Your Summer Vacation Home.”
    8. Debunk a myth. When researching a legal issue, many potential clients land on your website with common misconceptions about what attorneys are like, how much their case is worth, how the legal system works, etc. By using video to debunk these myths and inform your viewers, you save your visitor time and erase common doubts. These kinds of videos not only give vital information to your viewers, they also establish you as someone who has vital information to give in the first place.
    9. Give a tour. When you welcome guests into your home, you show them around. Welcoming online visitors to your website should be no different. Create a video that is a tour of the most useful pages on your attorney website or give them a behind-the-scenes tour of your office.
    10. Introduce yourself. Unlike text, video is instantly personal: viewers will see what you look like, how you sound, and what your personality is like. Take a few minutes to tell your viewers about yourself, why you became an attorney, and why you love being a lawyer. Share a few facts about your law office. Talk about your mission and mindset, or simply spend a moment welcoming your visitors and letting them know what you’re about.
    11. Try a series. Create a series of short videos that all address facets of a particular topic or that continue a popular discussion that started on your website or social media pages. If you really love making videos for your law firm, you might even consider starting a video blog. You can address current events that relate to your clients, talk about upcoming events, or just answer a weekly or monthly question!
    12. Connect with others and deepen relationships. Web users love to share videos that help them connect with others, and they love to watch videos from people and brands that they feel a connection with. Think about how your information and expertise can help your users reach out to other people with similar issues, and let your personality and passion show while you do it. When you think about your audience and are willing to share what you do best, you can make a lasting personal connection with your viewers.
    13. Create emotional impact and/or raise awareness. The stories of your past cases and clients help people connect emotionally with the information you share. Showing your dedication to raising awareness about the issues that are important to both you and your clients makes an impact that brings people together. While people sometimes have trouble retaining technical or complex information, they will usually remember the emotional impact of what you shared—and come back for more.
    14. Call your viewers to action! Don’t forget to include “calls to action” in your videos, just like you do in your written content and emails. For example, use your videos to let your viewers know that they can give your office a call anytime with questions, that they can check out your new book, or that they can use your contact form to schedule an appointment.

    Need more ideas on how to come up with effective website video content? Call Foster Web Marketing at 888.886.0939 to start a conversation with our team—or choose your on-site video shoot package, and let’s get started right now.

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