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Hello, World
By Bob Matthews

Your website is your public face to the world. Does it make the best case to represent your practice? The overall impression should be one of compassion, competence, relevant content and reputation. The goal is a clear, compelling site giving potential clients a good reason to call.

For the past 8 years, I have designed two major workers' compensation informational sites and sites for workers' compensation law firms. I have done branding work, designed cards, brochures and other materials for the WC industry.

Legal firms and medical services companies spend years cultivating a reputation helping clients succeed – so why do so many sites look uninviting, light on details and end up on the lower end of web searches? Quick answer: It takes a little time to hone the right message, time to create a compelling user interface and understanding search engine optimization.

Good web design companies can generally understand your target audience, but they do need help to define company strengths and differences with competitors to be successful. It is best to work with one point person to gather the information to lessen confusion and keep the job flow going.

The visitors going to your site are most likely injured persons looking for answers about how to get treatment and compensation for the time lost now and in the future. They're generally in pain and probably frustrated – getting conflicting advice from co-workers, family and friends. When developing a site for this category, the overall impression should be one of compassion, competence, relevant content and reputation. Also your visitors may or may not be web savvy, so it should not be cluttered with many text boxes and arrows everywhere with a hard to follow navigation. The goal is a clear, compelling site giving potential clients a good reason to call.

Another piece of the puzzle is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s a quickly evolving web tool helping to drive more traffic your site. A simple definition is, “The process of affecting the visibility of a website or a page in a search engine's natural or unpaid organic search results.” Using this optimization, someone looking for “Worker's Compensation injury” in your area would have a better chance of finding your site in the top search listings. Social media also helps to develop more page listings. The cost for this service varies depending on the level of work. See list of vendors.

These are all good tips to know when starting a new site, but if you already have a site, periodic review is necessary to update information. In some cases a redesign is needed. Over time sites can look dated or the direction of the company can change. If you’ve had the same site for 7+ years it might be time for a facelift at least.

So, take a little time, pay a little more and maximize the power of the Internet. It will pay dividends. Contact me for a free estimate for improving your practice's image on the Internet and in the materials that represent your firm, such as cards, brochures, logos, stationery.

In future columns I will talk about specific ideas for getting your name and message out there and attracting the kinds of clients you want to your practice.

Bob Matthews
Matthews Design Group
(408) 378-0878
www.MatthewsDesignGroup.com

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