Internet Marketing and Website Design for Criminal Defense Lawyers

After someone is arrested or finds out they are the target of a criminal investigation what is the first thing they do? Your ideal clients are turning to the internet to begin a search for information about fighting the criminal charges. After some basic research, they begin looking for an attorney.

  • For many of your ideal clients the internet is the only place they can turn because they are unwilling to talk about their criminal problems with family, friends or co-workers.
  • After an arrest, the family members that live out of state may start the search for an attorney and the internet may be the only way they have to find an attorney.
  • Even when a potential client is given the name of an attorney, the potential client will begin researching that attorney on-line often deciding whether to call the attorney based on what they find on the internet.

No other area of the law is more suited for internet marketing. Internet marketing for criminal defense attorneys has become more competitive. An entire ground shift has occurred within the last eighteen months alone. Some attorneys are paying more than $50 a click for competitive terms such as “Seattle DUI Attorney” or “Boston Criminal Lawyers.”

In larger cities, even small criminal defense firms with two or three attorneys are paying more than $10,000 a month just on pay per click ads. For a fraction of that price those attorneys could improve their website design and internet marketing strategy enough to dominate the search engines. Fortunately for you, these attorneys still don’t understand how.

Why pay-per-click when you can pay for better content?

Many criminal defense attorneys are learning through trial and error that pay-per-click is no longer worth the expense. The smart attorneys are beginning to shift away from pay-per-click and towards a website with the best content management system. Why pay-per-click when you can be at the top of Google Places and the organic listings just by having better content and a more comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy?

Instead of pay-per-click, the money spent on a criminal defense website should be targeted in these areas:

  1. Creating a visually stunning website design that is easy to navigate;
  2. Continually adding information and targeted content on specific areas within the criminal defense field;
  3. Harnessing the power of social media; and
  4. Continually adding informative and educational videos that provide general information requested by your ideal potential clients.

Spending money on an expensive pay-per-click campaign does nothing to enhance the long-term goals of the website. Although targeted pay-per-click marketing may be beneficial when the website is first launched, the primary focus of the attorney’s marketing dollars must be spent on improving the main website, building back links from other quality and relevant websites, adding general information on hundreds of topics within the criminal defense field, and producing short video clips that can be added to the website over time.

See Results Quickly for Niche Areas

While other attorneys throw money away on pay-per-click, you can slowing but surely build a powerful website seeing immediate results in your niche areas such as “Criminal Attorney for Aggravated Battery in Seattle.” After working with Internet Lava over the next six to twelve (6-12) months, you will begin to see your website show up in the vanity searches that you are targeting such as “Boston Criminal Defense Attorney.” Within the next six (6) months you will begin to dominate the search engines.

Does it sounds too good to be true? Look at your competitors currently at the top of Google. What do you notice? They have more informative content, more pictures, more videos and more back links. So what would it take for you to be at the top? You must provide more informative content then your competition. Your website must be bigger and better.

Examples of Niche Areas with in a Criminal Defense Practice

The best strategy for criminal defense websites requires determining your favorite niche areas. For instance, an entire website can be built around any one of the following areas:

  • Criminal Defense in State Court;
  • Criminal Defense in Federal Court;
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) / Driving While Intoxicated (DWI);
  • Marijuana Crimes – Possession, Cultivation, Grow Houses;
  • Drug Crimes – Possession of a Control Substance, Drug Trafficking, Prescription Drug Crimes;
  • White Collar Crimes – Fraud, Identity Theft, Embezzlement;
  • Theft Crimes – Shoplifting, Petit Theft, Grand Theft, Grand Larceny;
  • Criminal Appeals / Post Conviction Motions;
  • Violation of Probation / Early Termination of Probation;
  • Juvenile Crimes;
  • Traffic Crimes – Traffic Tickets, Suspended Driver License;
  • Criminal Record Sealing / Criminal Record Expunction;
  • Violent Crimes – Assault, Battery, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse;
  • Restraining Orders or Orders of Protection Against Domestic Violence;
  • Sex Crimes – Voyeurism, Solicitation, Sexual Battery, Aggravated Sexual Battery, Lewd Conduct, Rape, and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender; and
  • Firearm / Gun / Weapons Charges.

For criminal defense attorneys that want more than one of these practice areas, the website can be designed with separate sections to emphasis the qualifications of the attorney or attorneys at the firm to handle these types of case. Building sufficient content on each topic remains the most important step in dominating the search engines.

Instead of spending money on pay-per-click, you should work with an internet company that will do the hard work to get you to the top by adding hundreds of unique pages targeted to your ideal clients. At Internet Lava we pride ourselves on creating better content. The information the attorneys have at their fingertips often leads to the best content for the law firm’s website.

Adding Content to Websites for Criminal Defense Attorneys

The most effective criminal defense attorney websites answer you ideal client’s questions when they begin their search for an attorney. Think about it from the potential client’s perspective – they have just been arrested for a criminal offense. They may start by searching for their state’s laws on the particular charge pending against them. They want to know the maximum and minimum penalties, common defenses, possible collateral consequences and the sanctions routinely imposed with the judge assigned to their case. The first question may be – do I really need an attorney?

Searches conducted at this point for a criminal charge in state court tend to be centered around the law itself or a particular defense that might apply in that case. How many times has a potential client told you they would like to sue someone for “malicious prosecution?” How many times has a potential client said, “The police didn’t read me Miranda so I’m sure you can win my case.”

You already know the questions your potential client has before they pick up the phone. Why not capitalize on that knowledge and give them general answers to those questions on your website. Tell them what they want to know and then tell them what they need to know. By answering general questions that are most important to your ideal clients you gain their trust before they even call your office. When they do call, their first question will be “When can I meet with the attorney?”

An effective criminal defense attorney’s website can have a separate page on each of the most common types of criminal offenses. The website should also have separate pages on each of the most common defenses used to fight those criminal charges. Finally, the website should have lots of information about the particular cities, counties and courthouses that the attorney wants to target.

Then for each type of criminal offense, the attorney can have a separate page on each separate statute that applies to that type of criminal offense. For example, if one of the attorney’s practice areas is devoted to theft, then the website can have several pages that come off of the theft page such as shoplifting or petit theft, grand theft, employee theft, embezzlement, larceny, fraud, burglary, robbery, etc.

Developing Content for a Criminal Defense Attorney’s Website

Many attorneys want to know how we create the content on those very specific topics within the field of criminal defense. Consider the types of information that can be used to develop your page on a topic like “shoplifting:”

  1. An introductory paragraph which describes the particular topic on that page;
  2. A list of cities and counties which the attorney wants to target for that specific topic;
  3. A general description of the statute and the element of the offense;
  4. A list of potential collateral consequences – such as the fact the offense is considered a “crime of dishonesty” or impeachable offense;
  5. Possible solutions to the problem such as a plea to reduced charges, a motion to dismiss or suppress, or diversion programs that might be available in that particular jurisdiction;
  6. Potential defenses that relate to each element of the offense;
  7. A general description of the standard jury instructions for that particular offense (never list the exact wording of the standard jury instructions);
  8. Recent case law dealing with sufficient evidence under that statute;
  9. Pictures related to that offense;
  10. Outbound links related to that offense (you can link directly to the jury instructions or the statute to help the client find additional information);
  11. Internal links to other pages on the attorney’s website that are related to that particular topic; and
  12. A closing paragraph that again described the law firm, the particular topic on that page, and the particular cities and counties the attorney wishes to target.

Other internet marketing companies want to you believe that only a few paragraphs are sufficient. Those companies are not willing to do the hard work required in this competitive market. Their internet marketing plans may have worked five years ago, but an attorney serious about internet marketing today needs a company willing and able to do the hard work required to rise above the competition by writing unique content.

Essentially, writing content for an attorney website requires tons of relevant, informative content. The criminal defense attorney’s website should also provide information about the particular cities, counties and courthouses in the jurisdiction the attorney wants to target. Keep in mind that Internet LAVA can add all of this content to your website for you. Once this has been done, the attorney can log in to their website and expand on the content and add as many additional pages as they would like.

The Importance of a Content Management System

A content management system allows the attorney to add additional information continuously over the course of the first year. Google actually looks to see how often the page is updated. Adding additional content is as easy as hitting the “log in” button, then hitting the “edit” button on a particular page. After typing in a few changes, the attorney then pushes the “save” button and the changes can instantly be viewed on the website.

If you write a memorandum of law on a particular topic, cut and paste much of that information onto a particular page of your website. If you attend a legal seminar, add some of the information you learned onto your website. If you have a great result in a particular type of case and want to target more clients with that specific problem, then write additional content using the information you gained.

If the information does not related to an existing page then create a new page. If you add the content slowly, you will steadily see your rankings in the search engines improve. Better yet, send us the content and we will add it for you until you become more comfortable with the process. With a great content management system and the proper support in place, internet marketing for your law firm will become an exciting way to watch your practice grow as you learn to target your ideal clients.

Contact Internet Lava to schedule a free consultation. The free consultation will provide you with a wealth of information about managing your online identity. After learning what we can do to create your website or improve your existing website, we are confident that you will want to join us. Get a tremendous jump on your competition and find out how we achieve remarkable results for our clients.

Article last updated on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Resources for Criminal Defense Attorney’s Internet Websites

The American Bar Association ABA – Criminal Justice Section – The Criminal Justice Section of the ABA provides a wealth of information to its members including CLE class, publications, and support for its more than 20,000 members including private defense attorneys, public defenders, state and federal prosecutors, law professors, trial and appellate judges, law enforcement and correctional officers, law school students, and other criminal justice professionals.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) – No criminal defense practice would be complete without membership in NACDL. A great resource for any criminal defense attorney interested in cutting edge issues that affect the criminal justice system.

Cornell LLI on Criminal Law – Like no other website, the Cornell LLI provides a tremendous amount of information on state and federal legal topics, including the statutes and supporting materials in an easy to navigate format.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Yahoo – Crime & Criminal Directory

Federal Criminal Law Resources

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