Similar to its refractive defect of the eye cousin, website myopia limits our vision. However, instead of requiring us to press our noses to our monitors, myopia of the website limits our ability realize the full benefits of web-based professional reputation development.
Carolyn Elefant explains the need to make your website more inviting on Nolo's Legal Marketing Blawg:
"We may be living in a Web 2.0 world characterized by interactivity and user-generated content, but you'd never know it, looking at many lawyer websites and blogs. Most lawyer sites are decidedly first generation, serving either as glorified online brochures or a skeleton for SEO- keywords rather than offering a robust and multi-dimensional user experience. Though admittedly, adding interactive features as recently as four or five years ago required special programming skills and cost a pretty penny, today, free and low cost tools abound. And most of these tools are simple enough so that lawyers with average tech skills can install them on their own, or delegate the work for minimal cost to a virtual assistant or college student."
You don't have to search very far to recognize the truth of these words. Even today, the overwhelming majority of law firm websites truly are nothing more than online brochures (and in most cases, they're not even glorified).
With regard to the, the Seo-keletons, the irony is that, in most cases, the search engine optimization techniques employed (usually keyword stuffing) are completely useless, if not harmful, to the site's search engine visibility.
Legal Website Myopia
Here's my Google Health entry for Website Myopia:
Website myopia occurs when you place incorrect focus on your website marketing strategy, causing your site to be ineffective.
- Static pages
- Lack of blog
- High bounce rate
- Low search visibility
Luckily, as Carolyn points out, there are several relatively easy and affordable ways to cure website myopia.
For my part, if you're not already on one, the first step is to get onto a content management system. It sounds high-tech, fancy, and complicated, but it can actually be extremely easy and cost around, well some come free.
Next, ditch your standard static pages for a blog.
Finally, budget some time to build your reputation. Wait, you didn't expect it to go away on its own, did you?
There are many different causes of website myopia. It may be from a lack of attention to one's web presence (sometimes these sites haven't been touched since 1990). It may develop from drinking the snake oil of an unscroupulous web marketing salesperson.
Most often it is caused by a failure to appreciate the very nature of the Internet. The web is a tool for connecting. Too many are stuck in the "look at me" paradigm.
Tests & Diagnosis
A general website evaluation, or competitive analysis may include:
- Evaluation of your site architecture.
- Analysis of your content.
- Examination of various search engine optimization components.
- A review of your web analytics data.
Early prognosis of website myopia is important because your online professional reputation may be harmed.
The best way to avoid website myopia is to stay involved. Get active in your Google Reader. Set up alerts. Participate in blog and social media discussions. Build relationships with other professionals. Share your expertise.
Complications can occur when you take the wrong approach. These complications most often result in spam.
In some cases, these complications can lead to serious harm to your professional reputation, or even ethics violations.
When To Contact A Professional
While contacting a web marketing professional MIGHT help you cure your myopia, as of yet, there are no magic pills.
However, if the in-house remedies and over-the-counter techniques have failed, it might be time to consider professional assistance. Look for experienced, transparent, and accountable advice.
Here are some legal web/marketing/technology professionals who, in my humble opinion, are worth following/connecting with (NOT all inclusive):
I encourage you to add to the list.