If you have a website for your firm—and if you don’t, stop reading this right now and go get one!—you’ve likely gotten some sales emails from companies claiming your website is too slow and at risk of penalty from Google.

That’s BS.

Second, these sorts of sales emails tend to work on people because they don’t truly understand what metrics indicate a healthy website. This article is about to fix that problem by highlighting the four metrics you should monitor to gauge the health and effectiveness of your website.

1. Time to First Byte (TTFB)

Here’s something a lot of SEO and web design companies don’t want you to know about: Google PageSpeed tests (those tests they claim to run on your website that show tons of errors) are full of a lot of irrelevant information. In fact, Google itself doesn’t address the concerns on their own properties based on a PageSpeed report.

Don’t believe me? Run a PageSpeed test on YouTube, arguably Google’s biggest property. You’ll find that YouTube miserably fails most of the metrics on that test.

The only metric that really matters is Time to First Byte (TTFB), the milliseconds it takes for the first piece of data on your website to load. If you’re below 500ms, then your website speed is where it needs to be. Nothing else matters at that point in terms of whether or not Google will penalize or de-rank your site because it’s too slow.

2. Average Session Duration

These final three metrics can be found on Google Analytics. Average Session Duration indicates the total amount of time each visit lasts on your website. While there isn’t going to be an industry standard to aim for because it really depends on how much traffic you receive overall, the more time spent on your website, the better. 

In other words, if you normally average 100 website visits per month, you want a higher duration. If you receive thousands of visits each month, that number will be much lower, especially if you’re running digital ads that lead to a single landing page.

3. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page. If you’re sharing a lot of content on social media or in email, you can expect a higher bounce rate. Percentages as high as 80% aren’t unheard of, nor are they necessarily cause for concern.

If you have a well-designed website that is easily navigable so that people can click through to other pages during their visit, you can expect a lower bounce rate. However, as long as you’re not seeing numbers over 90%, you don’t have much cause for concern.

4. Traffic Sources

While it’s important to receive traffic to your site, it’s also important to know where that traffic is coming from. Unfortunately with various privacy laws and settings, Google Analytics will almost always indicate that your most common source is Direct/None simply because they can’t track the IP address of the visitor.

However, you should still be able to see several other sources, including Google/Organic (meaning they found you on a search), or from Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other referral sources that may have linked to your website. This can tell you where people are engaging with your content and how well it’s working.

Remember—don’t get fooled by a sleazy vendor telling you that your website is suffering and in desperate need of an overhaul. It likely isn’t true. If you can check these metrics and feel good, then your website is performing adequately at the very least.

Conferences and in person networking events are back. Time to polish your skills so you may expand your circle of contacts, whether at an industry event or a bar association meeting.

Use these 25 tips to help you build better connections at any event you attend. Advance planning will improve your execution for some tactics, while other tips address being alert to possibilities and the proverbial follow-up. Give these 25 best practices a whirl and see which ones work best for you.

BEFORE THE MEETING

  1. If you belong to the host organization, peruse the Membership Directory for people with a similar practice, aligned business or nearby location. Reach out to them in advance, indicating your shared interests and your wish to meet them in person at the event. When they reply, set an appointment or exchange cell phone numbers.
  2. Bring business cards. Yes, people still collect them. When you receive a business card, you will note on the back what you discussed with the person you met or what you promised to send them. Make sure your business card is a light color and is not laminated on the back, so that others can write on it.
  3. Bring a small branded item, preferably one that showcases your services. Pens are a last resort. Yes, everyone can always use a pen, but there is limited space beyond your contact information and your tag line for you to toot your own horn.
  4. Contact the speakers and say you are eager to hear their presentation. Many times a speaker would like to address a point in more detail, but the time constraints of the session preclude exploring a topic in depth. Accordingly, offer to ask a question that will allow the speaker to discuss the idea more fully.
  5. Rehearse your elevator pitches. Have one for attorneys in the same practice area and one for people who are less familiar with your area of the law.
  6. Stay at the conference hotel to take advantage of informal meetings. Also, you can escape information overload with a retreat to your room.
  7. Activate your Out of Office email and add a day. When you return, you will be busy catching up on what transpired while you were away, plus you will be conducting follow-up activities.

DURING THE MEETING

  1. Silence your cellphone (and watch). Don’t be that boor whose device interrupts the proceedings.
  2. At breakfast: Sit with people you know for a fast catch-up. Or, sit with new people. Breakfast is a quick meal; everyone is eager to eat and get into the main event.
  3. Network informally with your seatmates. Everyone is attending for similar reasons: to learn and to connect. As you know in networking, it’s not the first person you meet; it’s someone in that person’s circle.
  4. Take notes during the sessions and plan to implement two ideas.
  5. At lunch: Meet new people. You can talk to the folks from the Chicago office any time.
  6. Keep track of your conversations. Take a photo of a contact’s card and send it to your assistant with a note to email the new contact whatever you promised to share, perhaps a client alert or newsletter. That night, the contact will check their email and notice what you sent. The next morning, they will thank you for the information. (If you don’t have an assistant, consider hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours to handle this task.)
  7. In a break-out room, volunteer to take notes and lead the discussion. When everyone re-convenes, you will stand up and report the group’s thoughts to the entire assembly.
  8. Compare notes with other attendees. Ask what they learned from the speakers and exhibitors.
  9. Snap selfies and take photos of small groups. It’s a perfect reason to follow-up after the event.

FOLLOW-UP AFTER THE MEETING

  1. Contact the people you met at mealtimes. Remind them of your conversation and cultivate the relationship.
  2. Email the people you met casually. Ask them what they found most valuable about the meeting.
  3. Invite contacts to subscribe to your or your firm’s newsletter or blog, so you may keep in touch. Ask to be subscribed to theirs.
  4. Share your photos via email and on social media.
  5. Post the insights you gleaned from a speaker on social media, tagging them.
  6. Send that post to the panelist.
  7. Connect with the people you met on LinkedIn and any other social media platform where you are most active.
  8. Congratulate the conference organizers and offer feedback, both positive and critical. Suggest a future topic that you might address as a speaker, panelist or moderator.
  9. Mark your calendar for the NEXT follow-up. The people you met are just as busy as yourself, scrambling to catch up on everything that accumulated while they were away, plus reaching out to those they spoke with at the meeting. Set reminders for two weeks hence to move the relationship forward.

    BONUS: Bring your own name tag: NAME and PRACTICE AREA, not your firm’s name.

With these activities under your belt, the next conference or bar association meeting is sure to yield engaging conversations and plant seeds for productive relationships. This list is a summary of the e-book How to Connect at Conferences: 25 Tips, available by email here. The 21-page e-book also includes templates for email correspondence before and after the conference.

Your law firm’s website is a valuable marketing tool. It’s your digital business card, your digital office space, and the first impression your firm makes with the vast majority of people who seek you out.

While the main goal of your website should be that it communicates who you are and how you help your community, it should also convert leads for you.

Many law firm websites only capture the hottest leads who are ready to book a consultation at that moment. However, tons of people can be captured earlier on in the marketing funnel that you can then nurture and ultimately retain. All you need is a good lead magnet—a downloadable resource that you can use to entice website visitors into giving you their contact information (generally their email address) in exchange for access to the content. This resource should be substantive enough to justify obtaining their information, so it needs to be bigger than the blogs you post on your website for free.

Here are five unique lead magnet formats you can use to start generating leads on your website today!

1 – Special Report/Whitepaper/E–book

This is the most common. Provide a short E–book, whitepaper, or special report that covers the area of expertise you want to be known for the most. Some examples might include:

  • X Steps to Starting a Franchise
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Building Your Estate Plan
  • A Step–by–Step Guide to Getting Divorced in [STATE]

An easy hack to figuring out what might work well is to check your Google Analytics pageviews to see if you have a particular blog post that worked well. If so, expand on it so the article stretches for multiple pages and becomes a little more robust.

2 – Seminar or Workshop Recording

Do you speak at events? Maybe you hold regular workshops or seminars. If so, record your next session and then make it available as a lead magnet, especially if you’re covering a topic in a similar style to the examples we mentioned before.

3 – Checklist

A checklist can be a great tool to help people understand the potential scope of their legal issues. (It can also help them realize that you’re the right firm for the job if the issue involves a lot of materials to be collected.) A few great examples of checklist lead magnets include:

  • The Complete Auto Accident Checklist
  • Items You Need to Start a Business in [STATE]
  • Compliance Checks

4 – Infographics

In general, you want to make sure any lead magnet you create is well–designed and visually appealing. Work with a freelancer on Upwork or use a free site like Canva to develop your lead magnet.

An infographic is another great way to convey information but in a more succinct way. In this instance, you could take a blog that has 4–6 key points and turn it into an infographic that displays all of those points on a single page in a much more visually engaging way.

5 – Worksheet/Calculator

This is for the more advanced crowd and will require the work of a programmer to integrate into your website. Despite that, if you have worksheets that you ask people to fill out, this would make a great lead magnet and help you gather more data from potential clients (and streamline your internal processes once they retain you).

You could also provide a calculator for things like child support or another form of cost/settlement estimator as long as you know the formulas and calculations yourself in order to communicate that to the programmer.

Your website can do more than just make you look good. It can convert leads for you, too! These lead magnets provide real value to your audience, and in turn, makes you look like the go–to experts they need to hire.

Want more great content like this? Subscribe to the feed to have these articles and more delivered to your inbox each week!

In the coming weeks, you’re going to see a revival of this blog.

New contributors. New content. All designed to help the small firm marketer get the results they want.

If there’s an aspect of your firm’s marketing you want to learn more about, get in touch with us and let us know!

We’re excited for this new chapter in LMB history, so be sure to bookmark us and check back often for the latest content.

Sleep. We all know it’s important. But, there is so much to do and no time to do it. Where do we steal the time? From our sleep, right? We tell ourselves that we can function on 6, 5, or 4 hours of sleep. We’re kidding ourselves—we can’t. Watch Matt Walker’s TedTalk and you may say YIKES as I did! When you prioritize your time, sleep will be moved to the top of the list—see why.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Life can feel totally out of control sometimes. This year has been difficult for many reasons — political turmoil, economic chaos, a global pandemic — and I know that many people are feeling helpless and out of control.

I understand this feeling. It’s been a challenging year for me, too. But it’s so important that you remember that even when you don’t have control over the “big things” like our government or the spread of a virus, you do have control over your own decisions and actions.

You have the power to thrive, no matter what is happening in the world around you. Here are four tips to help you do it:

1. Stay focused on your “North Star.”

Last year I wrote an article encouraging you to find your North Star. This is your true calling in life, your vision for the future. Hundreds of years ago, sailors used the North Star to navigate. No matter how long it took, no matter how many storms they endured, the North Star kept them moving in the right direction.

Focus on your North Star. Remember what you’re working toward. There will be storms, but if you stay focused, you’ll get there.

2. Remember that happiness is a choice you get to make.

Happiness isn’t just a result of your circumstances. In fact, happiness is something you get to choose, regardless of your circumstances. I know that it’s not always easy. (If what you are facing is not a choice to be happy but rather depression, seek help and know you are not alone.)

If you’re having a tough time finding the good, here’s a simple exercise: Take 10 minutes to make a list of everything that makes you smile, warms your heart, or gives you a feeling of contentment in your life. I bet that you will be surprised by how long that list becomes. Make an effort to focus on the gifts and opportunities in your life, not the problems and obstacles. Choose happiness.

3. Tell fear to take a hike.

It’s so easy to be paralyzed by fear — especially in a time like this. Author Judy Blume is often credited with saying, “How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

I love that! Are you going to experience adventure or are you going to be limited by your fears? Tell fear to take a hike and get on with the adventure.

4. Keep looking for opportunities.

Even in a difficult situation, there are opportunities all around us if we’re willing to look for them. The Great Recession in 2009 was an opportunity for me to rebuild my business into something that I truly love. Many of my clients have started or grown their businesses during challenging times. And many of the biggest companies in the world — like Microsoft, Netflix, and Airbnb — were launched during an economic recession. You can do it too if you can train your mind to look for opportunities instead of focusing on your fears.

These past two years have been challenging years for many of us, and as we look ahead, remember: We can’t control what happens, but we can control our response.

When it comes to securing leads, the follow-up email is hard to beat. One study found that a 12% response rate from two emails increases to 15%–16% with a third email. If you play your cards right, the success of your email marketing could, in large part, depend on your follow-up emails. So, how do you create ones that maximize positive responses from leads?

KNOW YOUR GOALS.

You should have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your email campaign. Which metrics are most important to you? The number of times recipients open your follow-up email? That they click a link in the text? That they reply? Maybe tracking total conversions resulting from follow-up emails is important to you. Whatever the case, knowing your goals is a good first step.

FIND THE IDEAL NUMBER OF FOLLOW‑UPS.

Obviously, not following up at all is a recipe for abandoning several potential leads. However, sending too many follow-ups can leave potential leads annoyed and unwilling to look into your business. According to several studies, the ideal number of follow-up emails is no less than three, but no more than seven.

TIME YOUR FOLLOW-UPS RIGHT.

You don’t want to space your emails so far apart that leads to forget about you, but you also don’t want to spam their email box so often that they get annoyed. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours before sending a follow-up email after the initial email. After that, wait 2–4 days before sending another.

CRAFT APPEALING CONTENT.

This point is worth its own article, but briefly put, your follow-up email content is incredibly important. Create a subject line that will grab readers’ attention. Then, be polite, direct, friendly, and personable in each email. As you send out more follow-ups, become more specific about the deal you’re offering and make it more enticing.

Above all, you should constantly tweak your follow-up content and overall strategy as you gain new information. As you continue to create follow-up emails, you’ll learn what works best.

You may have marketing efforts in place for your firm, but is it a cohesive strategy? Do you have ongoing systems in place to ensure a regular stream of business?

On Center Stage, Danny Decker talks about the mistakes he’s seen lawyers make with their marketing, why email is so under-utilized, and the downsides of focusing too much on SEO. Why you don’t have to rely solely on your relationships to make it rain.

Check it out here.

A few weeks ago at a company meeting, one of our employees shared a story with the team. They told us they had gotten two speeding tickets within the last year. After each ticket, our employee opened their mailbox to find dozens of mailers from different local attorneys. These attorneys were on the ball, and they were pursuing this lead hard. Our team members estimated they received around 30 pieces of physical direct mail in total. But here’s the kicker: None of those attorneys got their business.

Instead of picking a mailer out of the stack, my employee turned to their friends and family.

“Hey,” they asked, “do you know any attorneys who do traffic tickets?”

The answer was “Yes!” In fact, they ended up using two separate referrals to handle their tickets because they were pulled over in two different cities.

If you do a lot of direct mail campaigns, this probably seems like a depressing story. After all, every lawyer who sent a mailer to my team member ended up totally wasting their time and money! But look on the bright side. What can you learn from this?

This story reveals one of the biggest holes law firms leave in their marketing strategies: They don’t stay in touch with their leads, clients, and referral partners. The truth is that even today, the majority of people don’t want to find their attorney through a piece of mail or an online advertisement. They want a referral from someone they already know and trust. And you can only get those referrals by staying in touch — an opportunity many lawyers miss out on. If you’ve ever let a lead walk out the door without following up or left a networking event with a business card you never added to your mailing list, then you’re guilty of this neglect.

Now, we’re not saying doing things like sending mailers, paying for SEO, running online ads, and buying legal referral services like Lawyers.com and AVVO don’t deserve to be part of your marketing strategy. They have their time and place. But they won’t patch the biggest hole or create the same amount of opportunity as simply nurturing your network, which includes your friends, family, colleagues, and connections (basically anyone you’ve spoken with or who follows you on social media) and, by extension, their friends, family, etc.

Here at Spotlight Branding, we have a strategy to help our clients stay in touch with their networks: The Content Loop™. Once a person from your network enters the loop, we use content to consistently stay in touch with them, remind them of what you do, and keep your firm’s name in their heads. Social media posts, email newsletters, and blogs all play a role. The Content Loop™ ensures that when the topic of lawyers comes up, everyone in your network will think of you first. Using this strategy, we’ve seen clients double or even triple their referrals.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Your thoughts have the power to shape your reality, for better or for worse, whether you realize it or not. Henry Ford is often credited with saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” There’s so much truth and wisdom in that statement.

As I like to tell my clients, the stories you tell yourself determine how you show up in the world. If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I can’t” or “This is too hard” or “This is impossible,” you’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and you probably are going to struggle in many areas of your life. On the other hand, if you believe in yourself and if you train yourself to see the opportunities in every setback, you can accomplish nearly anything.

The story you tell yourself determines your reality. The really great news is that you have the ability to change that story! Here are four ways to make that happen.

Start by assuming the best.

Whether it’s your relationships, your business opportunities, your personal life, or any other area of your life, start by assuming the best. When you approach a person or a situation with skepticism and negativity, you’re very likely to find something to be unhappy about. And many times, you’ll miss out on a golden opportunity or an exciting relationship simply because you let a minor imperfection get in the way. Start with positive assumptions!

Look for possibilities in every situation.

Many people are naturally wired to look for all of the reasons why something might not work. But often, we don’t give enough thought to all of the reasons it could work — and how incredible the opportunities may be if it does. Train yourself to look for all of the possibilities in each situation, not just the potential problems.

See setbacks as opportunities.

I love how Oprah talks about failure. In 2013, during a Harvard commencement speech, she said, “Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

That mindset is so powerful — and it’s so important. Because the truth is, every one of us is going to experience failures and setbacks in our business and personal lives. The question is, how will we respond when that happens? Do you internalize failure and let it define you? Or do you view failure as an opportunity to learn, get better and come back stronger? I can tell you that I have experienced plenty of setbacks in my career and I can honestly tell you that I’m better off — and more successful — today as a result of those setbacks. Don’t fear failure and don’t let setbacks slow you down. Recognize the opportunity, learn from your experience and come back stronger!

Dream bigger.

I want you to think about what you really want your life to look like. Not what will you settle for or tolerate, but what do you really want your life to look like? If money wasn’t an issue and you had all the time in the world, what would you do? Where would you live? What type of work would you do? Who would you spend your time with? The answers to these questions will give you a powerful clue as to what you really want out of life, and I am giving you permission to chase those dreams. When you dream bigger, you start to see the world differently and you recognize opportunities in places you might not have seen before.

Your thoughts shape your reality. If you see the world through a negative lens, negativity will become your reality. But if you’re not afraid to dream, if you put the fear of failure behind you, if you train yourself to find opportunities instead of problems — life becomes a wonderful adventure!