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 I get more law firm leads?
Every law firm wants more leads. That’s probably why you’re here!
- The best way to get more leads for your law firm is to understand the leads you want to attract.
- Your best potential leads probably aren’t searching for the terms you think they are.
- Your best potential leads are looking for the right answer in the right moment.
- Your best potential leads are waiting for you to ask.
If you aren’t getting leads, you obviously want more leads. If you ARE getting leads, you probably still want more leads. And if the leads you’re getting aren’t good for your law firm, then you probably want more BETTER leads.
And it’s only natural—those leads turn into clients and keep your business growing!
Of course, if you do a Google search for “how to get more law firm leads,” you’re going to see all kinds of advice out there. Most of that advice comes in list form, and it covers all kinds of specific marketing modalities and things you can try—from emails to content to PPC.
And, sure, there are lots of little improvements and tweaks you can make to all those facets of your marketing that will help you get where you want to be. But, for all that overwhelming advice, what I want you to do is step back and look at the big picture. There’s really only one “perfect” way to get more “perfect” leads for your law firm:
You have to understand your leads and apply that knowledge strategically.
What Law Firms Think Their Best Leads Search for Versus What Leads ACTUALLY Search For
If you want to improve your law firm’s leads, take a look at the keywords you’re using to draw them in. As it turns out, people may not be searching for the kinds of words and phrases you THINK they’re searching for. For example, if you’re already a little savvy about digital marketing, you know that most people searching for a lawyer won’t type in terms like “atlanta personal injury lawyer” or “product liability attorney.” They’re a little too technical, and they’re terms that probably aren’t on your average new client’s radar.
The next piece of advice is usually to use simpler words and phrases to describe what you do. But here’s what might really surprise you—your potential clients probably aren’t searching for plain-language phrases, like “car accident lawyer” or “slip and fall lawyer” or “traumatic brain injury lawyer,” either.
Instead, you have to really get into the mind of your potential clients. You have to think about why they’re searching Google for answers. You have to think about what motivated them to do so. And you have to think about how they communicate those concerns BEFORE they know a lot about it.
And what are people REALLY searching for?
They are not searching for generic terms. They are not searching for neatly packed keywords. Instead, they’re searching in their own words for what they think they need at the stage they’re at. That means they are more likely to type in searches like “do I have whiplash” or “football helmet injury” or “bicycle head injury” or “fell in parking lot what to do.” In other words, they are searching for things that accurately describe the problem as they understand it.
So, it’s not really just about getting specific with the keywords you use in your content—it’s about getting specific in a way that your perfect client can understand and relate to. Remember, you can’t talk AT people; you have to talk TO them.
Think about it—lots of people don’t know the terms “TBI” or “traumatic brain injury” until AFTER they’ve received treatment and called an attorney. That means a fair number of the leads that do come from those keywords are likely people who have already started taking steps to solve their problems. They may even already be in communication with several other law offices! That’s why it’s almost always going to be better to capture those leads on their first search, not when they’re already 5 or 8 searches down the line.
Website content that speaks to your perfect client’s or first-time searcher’s needs will drive better leads than content that focuses on a generic keyword. And you’ll probably also find that kind of insightful and highly targeted content is much more likely to rank highly in search.
Make sense? Here are some other ways to get more readers for your law firm’s website content.
You don’t have to guess what people are searching for when they search for you. Instead, here’s a quick and easy way to see what kinds of search terms real people are using to find your business:
In your Google My Business console, go to Insights, and take a look at this:
On the left, you can see where viewers are coming from and if they got to you on desktop or mobile. This is great information that gives you more insight into how to create and structure your content.
On the right, you’ll see the top search terms real people have already used to find your business. (Just click on “see more” at the bottom to see more than five.)
Let me stress that these are real words and phrases that real people have already typed in! You know for sure that those search terms sent them to your business profile, and that means you know that they really work.
The only way to convert searchers into leads is to bring them to your website, and the only way to bring them to your site is to create content that speaks to them. So, don’t take wild guesses.
Instead, look at how people have found you already and make strategic decisions based on what you know.
Worry More About “Micro-Moments” and Less About Traffic
It’s great to get traffic to your website, but it’s not about just bringing in “more.” Ultimately, you’re not really trying to get lots of traffic with your website; you’re trying to speak to a micro-moment.
You want your website to resonate with that one person out there with a million-dollar case who needs your help. If you go too general or broad trying to capture a ton of clicks, you risk missing that one click out of all of them that actually matters. It’s the click that creates a relationship, makes another happy client, and increases your revenue. So, stop focusing so much on the hundreds of other clicks that don’t go anywhere.
When you look at your website traffic data, you need to take a hard look at what kinds of user behaviors those numbers represent. For example, you don’t necessarily just want a huge number of new visits. You want to see return visits, as well. Those return visits mean people are finding that page on your website and saving or bookmarking it to come back to later. That’s a good sign that you’re providing something useful to people that keeps them engaged and coming back for more.
It’s also worth looking at how many pages people go through when they visit your law firm’s website. The truth is that more isn’t necessarily better here, either. If people are digging through a lot of pages when they land on your website, it might mean they aren’t finding what they need on the first page they visit.
For example, if someone searches for “football helmet injury” and lands on your main TBI practice-area page, they’ll have to go digging on their own for a more specific answer. If someone searches for “football helmet injury” and lands on a blog post about football helmet injuries, then it immediately speaks to their needs, meets the micro-moment, and answers their questions in a relevant and specific way.
That’s a much more helpful and memorable experience!
Motivate Potential Law Firm Leads to Take Action Before You Lose Their Attention
You’ve probably heard that you should include “calls to action” (CTAs) in your content and on your website—and that’s absolutely true.
The catch here is that you can’t just copy and paste a generic blurb with your phone number at the bottom of every page. That’s not going to work well! Instead, all your CTAs need to be unique and robust. They should ask the reader or viewer to reach out. They should tell people how to take the next step. They should guide people along in their customer journey and move them toward a relevant goal.
Your CTAs should be just as interesting and compelling as the “meat” of your content!
Keep in mind that placement matters, too. You want your CTAs to be in front of people when they are ready to act or unsure what to do next. For example, you might want to put your CTA near the bottom of a whitepaper or long-form article because people tend to read that kind of content all the way to the end. However, on your shorter blogs or FAQs, you might want to put your CTA “above the fold” or at the halfway point because lots of people will quickly scan through that content and cherry-pick the bullet points. Go ahead and get the “ask” in before you lose their attention!
Ultimately, you can’t be afraid to ask people to take the next step. You can’t leave them hanging and wondering what to do at the critical points when they’re ready to act. You have to put it out there, and you have to try to make a connection.
Even if it’s just a well-placed contact form, people will appreciate the nudge in the right direction, at the right time.
Add a Little to a Little and You Get a Whole Lot
Understanding how your perfect clients find you and why will take you a long way, but only IF you use that understanding to adjust your law firm’s marketing strategy in smart ways. There is absolutely no silver bullet that will magically get your law firm more leads. Instead, there are just lots of different things you can and should do to move the needle ahead a little further.
If you can find a niche where you’re already doing well, boost it. Maximize what you’re getting out of your efforts BEFORE or ALONGSIDE doing something totally new. The more strategized each piece becomes, the more powerful your overall marketing machine will get at attracting the leads you want.
And, hey, if you want some pro insight into where you can lean in to get the most out of your efforts, schedule a free marketing analysis. You’ll get a quick breakdown of where you are, where you could be, and how you can get there—and that’s everything you need to get started on a path to success.
How important is loading time for law firm websites?
The “loading time” on your law firm’s website matters a lot more than you might think—and only a matter of seconds can make a HUGE difference. Research from Google as far back as 2016 shows that, as page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 90%. And it gets worse as load times get slower:
- 106% probability of bounce as loading time increases to 6 seconds
- 123% probability of bounce as loading time increases to 10 seconds
Does that give you an idea of how important loading time is for your law firm’s website? We’ll get into this a little deeper below, but you should know that it’s not JUST potential clients bouncing away from your website that you have to worry about.
At the end of 2020, Google announced that its new page speed criteria would go into effect in May of 2021. While Google has been interested in loading time for a long time, this shift makes it even more important for your website to load quickly. Fast websites will be favored in the ranking mix, and you’ll need to get your loading time under 3 seconds to avoid problems.
What does all that mean? While loading used to impact your rankings a little, it will soon impact your rankings A LOT. So, in terms of importance, it’s now up there with other major factors like backlink health and relevant content.
Loading time isn’t the only measure of your website’s success. Check out the 5 most important metrics for your law firm website, or give us a call at 888.886.0938 for more answers about your website’s performance.
Why Do Visitors to My Law Firm’s Website Care About Loading Times and Page Speed?
Most of us perform at least a handful of Google searches each day. And most of us have clicked on a result only to be met with a blank or broken page that seems to be hung up while it loads.
In that moment, how often do you wait for the page to load? How often do you instead click back to the search results to try a different page? Are you more or less patient with a page’s speed when you’re using your phone to view a website?
If you’re like most people, you probably click away pretty quickly. And, even if you don’t, you start your interaction with that website already frustrated.
Your website is the first impression many of your potential clients will have of your law firm. If it loads so slowly that they get impatient, then they won’t see the experience you worked so hard to create. They won’t see your homepage or click through your compelling content. Instead, they won’t see anything but the “back” button as they click away to a faster competitor’s site.
This is why your website’s loading time has such a big impact on your traffic, leads, and conversions. Even speeding it up by a second or two could have a dramatic effect!
Why Does Google Care About Page Speed?
Your potential clients aren’t the only ones paying attention to how fast your law firm website loads. Google wants to provide a good user experience for its own users, so it favors websites that will make users happy and helpfully answer their search queries. Law firms that provide a thoroughly excellent website user experience rise in the rankings; law firms that don’t will fall.
While there are lots of facets to that “user experience” in Google’s eyes, page speed or loading time is a part of it. And, just like your potential clients, Google wants you to serve up website pages that quickly load and become interactive for the user. Google doesn’t want to send its users to slow sites that people get frustrated with and “bounce” away from—it’s not good for their own business!
While page speed has been a part of the ranking algorithm for a while, Google is putting much more weight on it in 2021. Starting in May, slow loading times will have a much bigger impact on your overall ranking than ever before. So, you need to take the speed of your website seriously!
Get Back to the Basics With Your Ranking Factors
Ultimately, Google rewards the things that make your website better for your perfect clients—and you can’t really go wrong with that. After all, Google has access to a huge amount of data about user behaviors online, and they set the pace for all things search-related. It’s up to you to use what they know to your advantage!
Nailing the new page speed criteria set by Google has everything to do with the foundation your website runs on and how you use and optimize the heftier elements on each page. And, since page speed isn’t the ONLY thing Google is looking at it, it’s also an excellent time to improve other core ranking factors, too. Remember, it’s not just fast sites that rise to the top of search; the real winners are fast sites that go the extra mile to give their “perfect clients” exactly what they want.
Ready to get back to the basics and build a speedy site that delivers for YOUR perfect clients? Schedule a website design consultation with our team, or give us a call at 888.886.0939 with your questions.
How to Make the Most of the Thank You Pages on Your Law Firm’s Website
It’s polite to thank your potential clients when they download your book or reach out to your law firm. But, if your thank-you page is too simple, it can leave your potential clients hanging at a very critical moment.
And no one wants to disappoint a curious potential client right after they’ve taken the first step!
Sure, it might seem like a small thing. However, the thank-you pages on your website can be so much more, and they can do so much more for your business. The trick is to apply some smart strategy to the small details, which we’ll get into below.
With this advice and a little effort, you can maximize what your website’s thank-you pages can do and put more of your fresh leads in a hiring mood.
Hey, by the way, your thank-you pages aren’t the only little details that matter on your website. Check out these 7 small details that really pack a punch in law firm website design.
Wait! What’s a Thank-You Page?
On most websites, visitors are directed to a thank-you page directly after completing a goal, like requesting a book, signing up for a consultation, subscribing to a newsletter, or otherwise filling out a contact form. The thank-you page typically thanks the visitor for reaching out and delivers the offer requested (or tells the visitor when and how it will be delivered).
While that’s the most basic idea of what a thank-you page is, the reality is that it’s not quite enough. Keep in mind that this is the first thing that someone will see after deciding to reach out to you! They’ve taken their “customer journey” to the next level, which means it’s a perfect opportunity to really show them what you and your law firm are about.
So, don’t just use your thank-you pages to say thanks! Below, we’re going to talk about five ways to really make the most of the thank-you pages on your law firm’s website.
Tip 1: Link to the Best Content on Your Law Firm’s Website
If someone is interested enough in your law firm to fill out your contact form, then they’re probably going to be interested in your website’s best content. A thank-you page is the perfect place to suggest some further reading that might answer questions, inform, or otherwise be relevant to the requester’s needs.
Think about your very best blog posts, FAQs, and articles. Choose a few that are relevant to the offer the thank-you page is linked to. Thank your potential client on the page and point them toward those resources. You’ll increase engagement, build a stronger connection, and provide an awesome user experience—and all you did was add a few extra links to your standard thank-you page content!
Tip 2: Tell Them About Your Other Relevant Offers
You don’t have to stop with blogs, FAQs, and articles. The thank-you pages on your law firm’s website are also a great place to point to your books, offers, law firm newsletter, webinars, local speaking engagements, and other “extras.” Make sure the offer is relevant enough to make sense on the page, and make it clear if you will be sending them newsletters or emails in the future.
Pointing freshly converted visitors to another relevant offer on your thank-you page is like a little “upsell” that comes at just the right moment. Your potential client gets the heads up about other offers that might be helpful to them, and you get a stronger and more informed lead.
Tip 3: Ask for Feedback
People like it when you ask their opinions, and feedback from potential clients that are actually using your website and interested in your law firm is like gold. So, make the most of your thank-you page by including a survey or an invitation to submit comments.
You can make this even more powerful if you ask questions in your thank-you page content that encourage people to answer. For example, you might ask, “how was your experience on the website?” Or you might ask, “how do you feel about video consultations?” It just depends on what kinds of feedback and information from your potential clients is most valuable to you. Be sure to also let them know where to click or call to leave their comments!
Tip 4: Ask Them to Refer a Friend or Family Member
Lots of law firms get their best clients and cases from word-of-mouth referrals, but not a lot of law firms actually ask for those referrals. In the moments after someone has requested something from you, it’s more likely that they’ll be willing to:
- Do something that helps you, like sending a friend your way
- Tell their friends that you are offering something that might help them, too
So, it’s the right time to ask! You don’t have to get complicated with it or sound like you’re begging for clients. Instead, it can be as simple as saying, “If you found this offer helpful, share it with any friends or family members that could use it.”
Doing something like this on your thank-page is a truly easy way to multiply the power of each lead you get through your offer forms. Plus, it makes your potential clients feel good when they can share the “insider knowledge” they learned from you with other people they care about!
Tip 5: Link to Your Social Media Pages
Follow up your gratitude with links and buttons that welcome people to get involved with your social media pages. Make it easy for people to share your offer with their friends and family on the most popular sites, and invite people to “like and subscribe” with your brand around the Web.
Whether it’s YouTube or Facebook or Twitter, most Americans spend a big portion of their time each day on social media sites. Adding social media signals to your website reinforces the idea that your law firm is real and ready to help. Plus, it gives your freshest leads an easy way to get to know you better and get involved with your brand!
Create Thank-You Pages for Your Law Firm Website That Put Your Leads in a Hiring Mood
Thank-you pages are simple but very powerful. They constantly work for you in the background, while consistently multiplying the power of your campaigns and putting your leads in a hiring mood.
But keep it simple! Don’t bowl people over with thank-you pages packed with ALL the options above. Instead, test out one or two ideas at a time. You can track and measure what works best for the types of potential clients you attract, and you won’t overwhelm visitors with all your enthusiasm at once.
Need to create a thank-you page that rocks? Schedule a website design consultation with our award-winning team, and let’s start talking about your ideas.
How do I know if my law firm website is successful?
What makes a law firm website a success? Some people will tell you to look deep into all kinds of analytics data for your answers—especially your traffic and engagement numbers.
And, while all that analytics data can be legitimately helpful, there is really only one number that matters. Why did you build a website in the first place? Was it to get more people on the internet to come look at your website? Was it to bump up your traffic or get people to spend more time on the page before they leave? Absolutely not!
You built your website to bring in more cases and clients. Period.
If your law firm website converts visitors into leads, then it’s successful. If it doesn’t, then it’s really just a “pretty face” that isn’t doing much for your business.
You can have the prettiest website in the world. You can have a ton of traffic that you’ve paid for with your time or your money. However, if your law firm website’s design isn’t consistently converting that traffic into real cases and clients, it’s failing in its primary duty—and you need to get to the root of the problem.
Conversion is absolutely the most important thing to look at, but other metrics matter, too. Find out more about all the law firm website metrics that matter the most.
Why Isn’t Your Law Firm Website Successful?
Lawyers and law firm website designers often get overly focused on the wrong stuff and end up designing law firm websites that fail. Why? There are lots of reasons, but it’s often because they fall prey to a bunch of common misconceptions, like the four I’ll talk about below.
Misconception #1: My law firm website should be designed to get to Page One.
Too many websites are designed, developed, and written for search engines. However, law firm websites that are created to get to the top of Google’s Page One often give a disappointing performance after launch. People are not search engines, and they use Google searches to find answers to their questions. They don’t care that your website is seeded with keywords, and they don’t care how much you spent on pay-per-click (PPC) for stuff like “Texas product liability lawyers.” They aren’t searching for those kinds of keywords, anyway!
Your law firm website should be designed for your perfect clients and referral sources—not for search engines. Buying your way to Page One with PPC might get you more traffic, but it probably won’t get you more clients, at least not on its own. And you can try to calculate the perfect set of keywords for organic search, but it’s going to fall flat if people don’t find what they actually need on your website when they get there.
Ultimately, if you design your law firm website solely for search engines, you’re choosing search traffic over actual, valuable conversions.
Misconception #2: My homepage is my most important page.
Lawyers often put too much focus on the homepage of their websites. They assume that everyone will come in through the homepage, so that’s where they need to put all their effort.
The problem is that this really asks the homepage to do too much on its own! You need those supporting pages on your law firm’s website to be just as great.
A lot of your best potential leads will never even see your homepage. Instead, they’ll land on a supporting page and call you. So, you really have to think about how consumers find an attorney and what steps they take to get there.
For example, most people facing a legal problem will first ask their friends and family if they know a good lawyer. If they get a recommendation, they’ll type the attorney’s name or the law firm’s brand name into search. These are the people that will come in through your homepage. It’s where you want to concentrate on capturing those kinds of referrals, orienting them to your brand and personality, and helping them navigate to the right place for their concerns. In short, homepages are all about referrals and brand-name searches.
However, if friends and family don’t know any lawyers, then most people will turn to Google with their questions. They might type in something like, “lawyers near me” or “estate planning law firm” and land on one of your practice area pages. Or, even more likely, they might type in questions or long-tail keywords that lead them to your blog and content pages, like “what is probate,” “rights in PA after truck accident,” or “why do I need an attorney after work injury.”
The point is that there are at least three different ways people might find you online, but only one of those ways involves your homepage. So, if you want to succeed, you have to look at your website holistically and really strategize how it all works together to bring in all kinds of leads.
Misconception #3: Content doesn’t matter.
If your website isn’t converting, it’s probably because you’re not feeding it content—and I mean actively, frequently, and in a disciplined manner.
I touched on this a bit above, but the content you stock your website with matters. Some folks get so distracted by sleek designs and flashy widgets that they forget to stock their websites with videos, articles, blog posts, images, and other compelling content. The law firm’s website design LOOKS amazing. But, as people visit it and try to dig in, they don’t find enough substance to match what the style seems to promise.
If you want your website to convert visitors into clients and leads, then you have to create relevant, original content that answers questions and educates.
Need some tips for feeding your website the content your perfect clients crave? Find out how to think about content and write like an expert.
Misconception #4: People will figure it out on their own.
Some people will visit your website, get what they came for, and then call you or fill out your contact form without any prompting. However, you’re going to get a much better rate of conversion if you design your law firm’s website to take people on a logical journey that periodically ASKS them to reach out.
The organization of the content on your website—and the design of your navigation—should help people get to the specific kinds of answers they’re looking for. It should take them from the general to the specific and give them options for pursuing the information that is most relevant. Along with that, your design should also incorporate relevant “calls to action” on every page that let visitors know how to take the next step as soon as they’re ready.
Grow Your Success With a Law Firm Website Design That Converts
If you aren’t sure if your website is doing what you want it to do for your business, test it out for yourself. Do some searches that are relevant to your practice and see where you show up. Try to get to different kinds of information on your website. While you do it, don’t think like an attorney. Instead, think like the consumer—a.k.a. your perfect client. With that mindset, it’ll be easy to identify the areas where your website could use some work.
Is your website design getting in the way of your success? Are you ready to invest in a conversion-focused website that resonates with your perfect clients? Start with a fresh foundation that focuses on the things that actually bring you new clients and cases.
Join us for a website design consultation, or talk to my team at 888.886.0939.
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:
- Internal links. These are the links on your website that link to other pages on your website.
- External links. In this context, external links are the links on your website that link to outside websites.
- 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?
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?
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:
- How to write “viral” content
- How to choose topics for online content
- How to develop a digital content strategy
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?
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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