There aren’t too many law firms out there that don’t at least have a website. But if you ask a lot of lawyers they will say they aren’t on the web. The truth is, you are whether you are controlling it or not.
Even if you never learned how to turn on a computer, you and your company have a web presence. But if you aren’t managing your online reputation your clients, competitors, and the companies trying to profit off your business are the ones calling the shots. That’s why, even if you don’t plan on doing any web marketing you absolutely have to be aware of your presence online.
There is a big business out there for online professional directories. In the legal world, one of the biggest directories is Avvo.com. These directories don’t wait for you to get on board. If you have a P number, then you also have an Avvo directory. Your directory listing includes where you practice, how long you have been practicing, and whether there have been any grievances against you.
If you register for Avvo or any similar directory, you can do far more. You can list practice areas, hours of operation, professional awards, feature cases, and more. Maybe most importantly, you can put a face to your name. Potential clients browsing the directory will see your face and your practice areas and know immediately whether you are someone they want to meet.
Without you lifting a finger, your clients are building an online reputation for you. They are posting reviews on professional review sites like Angie’s List so others will know whether to trust you or stay away.
If you receive a negative report, many review sites will allow you to contact the reviewer and correct the problem. This can help repair your reputation and can show your audience that you are responsive to your clients’ needs. But you will never know the critique is out there unless you look.
The single fastest way to find out what people are saying about you on the web is to simply go to Google.com and type in your own name. If you have a common name like Lisa Schmidt, you’ll have to weed out your doppelgangers by adding words like attorney or your city, but when you are done you’ll have a list of everything anyone is saying about you, good or bad.
If you are into web marketing, Googling yourself can be a great way to test how successful your efforts are turning out to be. But even if you “aren’t on the web” you will probably still find more than you would expect. No one can afford to ignore their web presence anymore. If you are not cultivating it, your clients are, and you may not like what they have to say.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist. She provides blogging and web content services to law firms to help them manage their web presence. If you need to take control of your online reputation, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.