There are only two reasons people use the Internet. Lawyers especially need to understand this because it can properly guide their decisions regarding content. Content is the driver of everything on the Internet. Great content gets results; poor content gets largely ignored. Of course, beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder as the saying goes, but the beholder can be identified as a target market. This is another aspect of creating content in harmony with the two things people use the Internet for which must be understood by webmasters.
What are the ONLY Two things people use the Internet for?
This may come as a shock to many reading this, but the only two reasons we surf the web is to be
In other words, we only use the Internet for fun or information, often both. You likely already know that the most common pastime in the world is reading. No matter the culture, the race, or nationality, people like to read. Jeff Bezos knew this and built an empire that is today the envy of all…Amazon. Amazon was built on the premise that we like to read and do so as much for entertainment as for education. From there, they expanded, but reading…books was the core of their early business and remains so today. I myself have had several best-sellers on Amazon and continue to add books when I can.
That said, think of any website you can imagine. Educational? Informational? Same thing, right? Entertaining? Maybe. But the simple fact is that we are either looking to enjoy ourselves on a website or looking for information, to learn, to grow, or simply to find out where the next big sale is taking place or where the latest restaurant is to open. It’s all information, which is education.
To Best Educate or Entertain (or Both), You Must Know Your Target Market and Speak Their Language
Three things come to mind here which must be mentioned.
First, most websites we evaluate which are poorly performing have one glaring problem: They do not know their target market. How can a target that does not exist ever be hit?
It seems that most website owners fail to recognize that a website is a marketing tool. Whether a person is building the site to inform the public about the dangers of Drinking and Driving or wanting to sell them the latest intoxicant, the website is a marketing tool. It does not matter whether the goal is entertainment or education, it is marketing. Many website owners fail to use their website as such and end up wasting both time and money trying to accomplish…what? They do not know. They do not have a marketing plan for their website. Which brings us to…
The Second reason most websites perform poorly. We have seen this most readily with Law Firms. Lawyers are, by and large, excellent writers. Their writing is exact and well-articulated…provided the reader is another lawyer, or judge, or law student. Trouble is, those are not their clients. Their clients speak (and read) differently. Their clients are the general population in need of legal counsel and representation. Let me rephrase that. Their clients are people who need a lawyer. See the difference? A lawyer will often write their website pages such that
A lawyer will often write their website pages as if speaking to other lawyers and judges. Of course, after years of successful practice, they would. But their target market speaks differently. This means too that they look up information in the search engines differently. If a law firm is writing formally, they will only be found by those NOT seeking their services.
This is seen most readily in searching for legal facts when preparing web pages for clients. When using proper, legal expressions to locate laws and precedent in the search engines, the only websites that should appear are Nolo, Justia, FindLaw, Columbia.edu and the like. Yet, time and again, law firm websites appear mixed in with the results. On checking those sites, the pages are written such that no common man would ever find them.
In fact, I have personally tested this by changing the search terms to common vernacular and just as expected, the previous law firm sites failed to appear. In fact, these terms most often provided me with results for Wikipedia, CriminalJusticeLaw.org, and a plethora of hodge-podge websites written by basement bloggers living with their mother.
Point Number Three and I’ll Leave you Be
On this last point, because searches using language common to the average person return results which are far from authoritative (other than CriminalJusticeLaw.org), this means that there is plenty of room for law firms everywhere to gain traction in their market. In other words, start writing in the language of your target market and you will see results.
That is overstating it a little, for there is more to be done to a website to properly build traffic. This is especially so if the website has been in place for years and already gained a reputation with Google, but these tips should help. To learn more about how reputation affects website traffic, read Does Your Law Firm Website Have a Good Reputation with Google?
To learn more about how your website can reach your target market, contact Oakes Writing Website Services at 337-660-4774, by email at CJOakes@OakesWriting.com, or by completing our simple online form below.