“Vetting Technology: A Herculean Task” by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson and John Simek was recently featured in Practice 2.0. Practice 2.0 is the free, confidential practice management advice program of the State Bar of Arizona.
Excerpt: There are thousands of stories of lawyers who ill-advisedly purchased technology or technology services. Let’s start with one such story – starring a very successful and highly respected lawyer who we will dub “Joe.”
Joe noted correctly that his website traffic was falling off a bit and determined that he would find a new website designer who could redo his site and take care of his search engine optimization (SEO). Off he went to a legal conference in Florida where he ran into a very personable salesman who worked for a website design/SEO company.
The salesman promised him the sun, the moon and the stars. Joe knew nothing about website design or SEO, but he really liked this fellow and he believed his promises. He signed an expensive contract and waited. It wasn’t long before his website, which had declined in Google searches under the previous vendor, absolutely hit rock bottom. Joe was losing the steady stream of clients previously provided by his website. Though we never investigated the reason, we suspect that “black hat” SEO may have been used – and that Google (which scans for prohibited SEO tactics) therefore punished Joe’s firm by dropping him in its rankings.
That’s when we got a call. Joe knew we didn’t do website design/SEO, but he knew we had a lot of knowledge about it. And by this time, his law firm was really suffering. So he contracted for a few hours of consulting work to locate a local firm (outsourcing to India for these services is usually a really bad idea).
We knew of a good local web design firm known for high quality SEO which had previously done such work for a number of law firms. We set a meeting with Joe and the web design company and attended the meeting as well. Why? We were there to ask the hard questions, to understand the technology being employed, to nail down the pricing and services offered and (always important) to act as a bulls*** filter.
The meeting went well. The firm made good on its promises and Joe’s website began soaring in the Google rankings. His stream of clients from the website increased steadily – and Joe was soon looking for new lawyers.