February 2005
Volume 1, Number 2
Table of Contents

Great Content Helps Create Website Success

The single most important aspect of creating a superior website that will retain an audience is providing good information - fresh, compelling, credible content. In fact, according to a Forrester Research report, 75% of respondents said the main reason why they return to their favorite sites is high-quality content. This statistic highlights the fact that superior content is an important aspect of creating a successful internet site. Websites that post useful information will help attract attention and build a following.

Although there are many different types of website content, for purposes of this article we will focus on two specific source possibilities.

The Firm E-Newsletter

There are several key points to consider when creating a successful online newsletter…

Be sure to write for your audience . What topics are important and relevant to your clients and potential clients? Take care not to write over their heads. Your clients and prospects want to believe in your capabilities and look to you as an expert in your given practice area, but they also need to know that you can communicate on their level. The fact that you have the ability to take complex legal matters and break them down into digestible portions for your key audience will go a long way toward building a greater level of trust in your services.

Keep your newsletter format consistent. Your newsletter structure should have a few lead stories, some current-event news (that also supports your practice), and an introductory message or perhaps some personal commentary. As you continue to develop your web presence, you may also want to include an ongoing editorial section, firm news, and even a page on recent court decisions in your jurisdiction.

Your newsletter must be sustainable. Make sure you can produce content for your newsletter on a regular basis and treat the deadlines you set for yourself as non-negotiable. Your readership will come to have certain expectations based on the frequency of your updates and will only be disappointed by an undependable schedule.

Informative, engaging content should stand on its own. Concern yourself with how your newsletter reads before you begin to consider graphic issues. Too much emphasis on graphics can actually work to detract from the value of the content you are providing.

Research and edit your content carefully. Always be sure to read, re-read, and even ask a third party to proof your work before publishing. Running spell check simply does not offer enough protection against potential mistakes and making even minor typographical errors in your website content will produce unnecessary credibility issues that are most likely preventable with just a little extra care.

E-mail your newsletter. Send out an announcement about the launch of your online newsletter. Include one of the articles in your e-mail, as well as a link back to your website, where they will discover additional newsletter information. You should consider incorporating an “opt out” feature and even if you are only delivering the e-mail to your current client base, you may also want to include an “opt in” feature to completely avoid potential spam issues.

News Feeds

External links should be given the same consideration as other content on your site. Use only the best news sites with reliable information that supports your practice, and make sure you update the information frequently. Many news organizations on the web today kill the links to their stories or require you to subscribe in order to access an article after they initially post the story for a short period of time. News links are an engaging tool but you must actively manage your news postings in order to keep your website from quickly becoming out dated. There are few things that will drive traffic away from your website faster than dead or unavailable links – and your readership will probably not give your site a second chance.

While offering your visitors an aesthetically pleasing and well-organized website is important, ultimately there are still just two reasons why people will visit your site:

  • They want information about you and your practice
  • You offer information that compels them to return

So, if you are not satisfied with the level of interest your website is currently generating, consider adding more relevant and substantive content in order to help draw people back. By providing information that your clients and potential clients find useful, you will be ensuring that your visitors spend more time thinking about you and the legal services you provide.

About NextClient.com

Founded in 2000, NextClient.com provides law firms with unique and effective online marketing solutions. The on-demand website development service Custom WebExpress™ provides exclusive, attractive, and substantive websites at an affordable price, while Web Content for Lawyers™ automatically places private-labeled, consumer-oriented, practice-specific e-newsletters on existing law firm websites.

 

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