The reputation of website owners often depends on the reputation of their website. With tens of thousands of new attorneys graduating in 2012 and hundreds of thousands already working, you need to keep your website reputation great to stay competitive. But how do you maintain a great reputation in website listings? Keep reading this guide to find out 8 simple rules for protecting the website reputation you've worked so hard to build.
Rule #1: Think Like a Client
Your reputation for website quality depends largely on your ability to give clients what they need, when they need it, in an easy to understand format. If you want a great website reputation, you can't spend a lot of time with jargon and posturing. Instead, a reputation for website quality will come from having quality narrative and good information that helps potential clients come to a decision to talk to an attorney for the first time.
Thinking like a client also means that you should avoid risking your reputation of website quality just to get some extra links. If clients find that your links are posted all over the web like spam, your website reputation will undoubtedly suffer and you may see your search rankings take a plunge.
Rule #2: Skip Out on Shortcuts
It's easy to automate the linking coming in to your website, but how will it impact your website reputation if you do? The reputation of website quality you're trying to build isn't based on fooling people, it's based on being able to give real, quality information. Forget trying to use automation to game the system. Google will find out, and you'll end up wishing that you had tried to secure a reputation for website quality in some other way.
Rule #3: Accept Responsibility
At some time, every website and every business makes a mistake. The thing that will determine whether your reputation of website quality remains the same or takes a nosedive is how you respond to that initial mistake once you learn about it. The worst website reputation you can get is as a company that lies and fabricates new data. Some people give up on any pretense of a reputation for website quality by using “astroturfed” comments and blogs to make it look like their position is stronger than it really is.
Instead of hiding from your mistakes, embrace them as learning opportunities. If you show that you are sincerely sorry for the mistake, the reputation of website quality you've built will not just stay—it might even improve. Website reputation tends to be quite high when companies take decisive responsibility for their actions and are honest about the factors that led them into making the initial error.
Rule #4: Know Your Marketing Contractors
Your reputation for website quality can be tanked faster by a bad web marketing contractor than just about anybody. If even one of the companies you're outsourcing marketing services to decides to use a spammy marketing tactic, you could find that your website is suddenly being penalized and you're in a lot of trouble.
Make sure that any contractor you're using for marketing is reputable and comes with several firm recommendations from other professional organizations. Law firms simply can't afford to risk their website reputation on an unproven contractor. To maintain a reputation for website quality, you'll need to get people on your account who are understanding about your need for consistently high quality content and inbound links.
Rule #5: Go With the Flow
If you're trying to maintain your website reputation with a website that is basically doing things in the same way you did them ten years ago, you're barking up the wrong tree. The web is changing from year to year, and a reputation for website quality is much easier to build when you change along with it.
For example, in 2012 and 2013, the mobile web is really coming into its own. If you're not watching your website reputation for mobile customers as well as desktop ones, you may be missing out on a big target market that is ready for conversions. If you're not going with the flow, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Rule #6: Have Good Hosting
One of the fastest ways to lose a reputation for website authority is to have your website start failing to load. If your hosting provider is inconsistent or has been having too many technical difficulties, it may be time to migrate to a new hosting provider who can give you the service you need.
Google actually bases some of its rankings and quality ratings on the speed at which your website is served to viewers. Because of this, it's absolutely critical for you to make your speed fast if you want to be on the first page of search results.
Rule #7: Update Your Links
Periodically, in order to make sure your website reputation stays good, you should check the outbound links that lead away from your website and the inbound links that bring people to it. If any of these links aren't working, you can update them with redirect pages or by changing the URL your outbound link is directing to.
Having outdated or missing links looks very amateur hour to seasoned web users, so be aware that poor linking practices can be one of the easiest ways to give yourself a poor website reputation.
Rule #8: Keep Content Fresh
You won't maintain a great reputation for website quality if your site maintains the same content year after year with no meaningful changes. A constant flow of fresh content that uses links and sources from across the web will make it much easier for you to build a website reputation with authority.
Consider adding new content to your website at least on a weekly basis—two or three times a week may be an even better target if you're wanting the very best for your website reputation.