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Before you start using Google Drive for your law practice, read this new post on Legal Marketing Hub about an issue with Google's Terms of Service that will cause you to violate attorney-client confidentiality.
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This is not new, but a reiteration of its policies by Google. But how does it affect your law firm website?

"If a free hosting service begins to show patterns of spam, we make a strong effort to be granular and tackle only spammy pages or sites. However, in some cases, when the spammers have pretty much taken over the free web hosting service or a large fraction of the service, we may be forced to take more decisive steps to protect our users and remove the entire free web hosting service from our search results."

The bold part basically means that if you host your website with a hosting company who's known to host spammy sites, you will be blacklisted from Google search results. While there's no easy way to evaluate this as much of the data you seek is confidential to the hosting company, there's one smell test: FREE.

Spammers love FREE. If it's FREE (or very close to FREE), they'll come. Are you on a FREE or an all you can eat hosting plan for $2.99/mo? And your site never ever shows up on Google search results regardless of how hard to try at creating good content? Your host might be the problem.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and sells supplemental insurance on TV...
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Every lawyer deserves a G+ badge.
 
Today we are launching a set of great improvements to help the over a million sites who use +1 button and badges for Pages better connect with their users.

We’re launching a personal G+ badge to help influential individuals grow their follower audiences. We’re making it easier to share from +1 by automatically expanding it into share mode on click. And, we’re making it easier for users to follow a brand by making it a one click action from page badges.

Blog: http://googleplusplatform.blogspot.com/2012/02/improving-google-plugins-across-web.html
Personal badge: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/personal-config
Page badge: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/config
+1 Button: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/
G+ Developer Forum: https://groups.google.com/group/google-plus-developers/
Check it out, let us know what you think, and let us know what else you want on the Google+ Developer Forum! #googleplusupdate
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Thinking about advertising on LinkedIn? Read on...

The bottom line is this: Travis Ketchum (the author) was able to generate roughly $213,000 in revenue for a service by spending about $8,600 (at a cost of $2.78/click). So the cost of revenue generated from LinkedIn campaigns is roughly 4%. (As a side note, this is roughly the same percentage spent on marketing activities for major law firms.)

The revenue number depends on three assumptions at three different stages of the funnel: 50% of the people who signed up actually show up; of those, 13% purchase the less expensive service ($3,000); and 35% of those who purchased the less expensive service purchase the premium service ($15,000).

As they as on the web, YMMV. The important part is to track conversion rates and optimize them.

Now, a deeper look at the numbers:

The campaigns generated 3,094 clicks over 5,385,200 impressions, which equates to 0.057% click-through-rate. (Side note: Facebook, on the other hand, generates about 0.051% CTR for ads and about 0.14% CTR for brand page updates.) This CTR is as a result of careful optimization of: (a) targeting; (b) ad title; (c) ad picture; and (d) ad copy. In other words, you have you babysit your ads and continually optimize in order to improve results.

The signup conversion rate is largely dependent on targeting, landing page content, and to some extent, your overall website content. Every single visitor who clicked on the ad and lands on your landing page costs several dollars. Keep this in mind when you're deciding where to invest money, time, and effort for your website.

The show-up conversion rate depends on even more factors, such as weather, value proposition of the service, schedule of the attendees, whether there's a good show/game/event on TV at that time, etc.,. Basically, there's going to be very large variations of this number. (For some types of free events, though, I've seen conversion rates well over 70%. One technique of improving this conversion rate is charging a nominal fee so the attendees have some skin in the game.)

The closing rate of the people who actually show up is 100% dependent on you. You will have to convince these people that you're competent, trustworthy, providing good value, etc.,. at the meeting. This is where some sales training will come in handy in using various closing techniques. (btw, ABC is not an appropriate closing technique for legal services for you fans of Glengarry Glen Ross.)

So, there you have it, a fairly straightforward model to use to think about and evaluate your LinkedIn ad campaigns. Start with the bottom of the funnel, i.e., the number of paying clients you would like to generate from advertising, then work your way up the funnel, do the math, and optimize for conversion rates.
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+Travis Ketchum Thanks. Happy to share a good article. Looking forward to reading more.
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Ever wondered what StumbleUpon can do for your law firm website? Wonder no more. SU traffic contributes practically zero value. Read to understand why.
Thomas Baekdal originally shared:
 
Debunking StumbleUpon - it is completely useless at creating value!
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Pretty important policy change regarding whether you should show your address in Google Places listing. If you do not serve customers at your business location, do not show the address. But if you have a B&M location and do meet clients there, then show it.
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As applicable to law firm domain names, this study suggests that exact match domain names are becoming less correlative to search rankings. Basically, unless your firm is highly specialized in a particular practice area, it's better to get a branded domain name. Let's say your firm name is Smith & Jones, LLP, and you're highly specialized in constructions law, then your best bet is SmithJonesConstructionsLaw.com. (One down side to this is it's longer than the 15-character username that Twitter currently allows.) But if you have several practice areas, then stick to SmithJones.com or SmithJonesLaw.com. Of course, if it's available and you have the resources to back it up, SmithJonesConstructionsLaw.com would make a nice micro-site that's targeted to clients in that practice area.

On a related note, while having a geographically-relevant domain name could be helpful, its influence is limited since both Google and Bing serves results that are geographically-relevant anyway. So, MassachusettsConstructionsLaw.com might not be as good of an idea as SmithJonesConstructionsLaw.com if you also serve clients from New Hampshire and Connecticut. On the other hand, if you're highly specialized in constructions law and has no plan to ever expand your practice beyond Massachusetts, then by all means go for MassachusettsConstructionsLaw.com.

Finally, .com domain names are still the most influential among the top level domains. .net and .org are less influential than .com; but never ever get a .info domain name. The last is largely considered to be a spam kingdom by search engines.

Hope this helps you decide on your name law firm domain name.
 
Some new correlation research from the Open Algorithm project shows domain names are slightly less well correlated with rankings in Google than previous SEOmoz studies (which makes sense given Google's public statements on the matter). Lots of other fascinating data in here, too.
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Important developments in legal ethics from the ABA Commision on Ethics 20/20 regarding attorney advertising. In summary, the Commission rejected the following proposals from the ABA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services:

1. amend Model Rule 7.1 so that the prohibition against making false and misleading statements about a lawyer or his services applies only to communications to a potential client;

2. eliminate Model Rule 7.2(b), which prohibits lawyers from paying others to recommend them except in a few circumstances; and

3. change the commentary in Model Rule 7.3 to make clear that “solicitation” means “direct contact with a potential client.”

Some other noteworthy items:

Re: information security, the Commission "envisions a website that could provide information about what precautions are needed," but it can't offer detailed guidance on technology as it would become outdated quickly.

Re: a proposal to require lawyers to use vendors that will comply with lawyers' obligations of confidentiality, the Commission didn't embrace the idea and a Commissioner thought it was a bit odd to put the word "vendor" in a rule.

Re: admission on motion, the Commission decided that it would recommend that lawyers be admitted on motion if they meet certain requirements and have practiced law for three of the past seven years.
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This is fundamentally how social media works. You have to put yourself out there in order to be found and to connect with others. People don't just care about what you have to say, but also who you really are. Social media provides context to you as a person and as a lawyer.

If you're using social media for business development, you need to embrace this principle. Period.
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Some basic SEO that you can do yourself. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to improved search engine rankings.
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Legal Marketing 2.0
Introduction

Legal Marketing Hub brings the latest and most effective marketing techniques to solo lawyers and small law firms. We cover legal marketing topics such as marketing plan, website design, SEO, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, inbound marketing, conversion optimization, analytics and, of course, how to do it all ethically.

Legal Marketing Hub is published by the team at LawNovo. We're building the next generation web marketing platform that enables solos and small law firms to connect with prospective clients.