David Pisarra, Esq. is the founder and president of the Santa Monica, CA-based law office Pisarra and Grist as well as Men’s Family Law, established specifically for men to receive expert legal representation in divorce and custody proceedings while providing support programs and concise information to address their particular needs.
He is also a newspaper writer whose column “What’s the Point?” appears weekly in the Santa Monica Daily Press. In addition, he contributes content to a variety of divorce related website including the popular Divorce 360.com.
Mike: Can you give a little background on your business?
David: The firm of Pisarra & Grist has been practicing Family Law for 12 years. Our Divorce and Child Custody practice in Los Angeles has become more focused over the years on serving the needs of men. Today, our clientele is approximately 95% fathers and husbands. We have two partners and delegate paralegal work to outside consultants.
The site of MensFamilyLaw.com has been a resource for the legal needs of fathers and husbands since 2007. It is a destination for men who need legal direction. Our site is not the traditional lawyer advertising site telling you how wonderful and amazing we are. It provides information and books to men who are faced with a pending divorce or child custody battle.
Mike: Tell me how MensFamilyLaw.com has been an ideal domain for you.
David: Because our domain attracts men from across the globe, we see the devastating effects of divorce and child custody battles on a much larger scale than the average person. Having a generic sounding web address, we are ranked high and men from all walks of life have contacted us to seek help and direction in getting their kids back, or protecting themselves in a bitter divorce or dissolution.
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?
David: Traffic for us is highly volatile. Given the nature of the professional services that we offer, sometimes we have surges of hundreds of hits, and at others times of the year, we see less traffic. We’re not concerned about the peaks and valleys, since we know that people have varying degrees of need for our services, based on seasonal fluctuations.
During the Holiday Season, we see a huge drop in divorce filings, but an increase in Domestic Violence Restraining Order applications. Many people also decide they need to change their child custody arrangement for the upcoming winter or summer school break.
Mike: Do you have any other online marketing strategies that you follow?
David: We have tried Google Ads, Yahoo Ads, buying search rankings, banners on other relevant sites, and they have met with varying degrees of success. In general I feel that the best time and money we have spent has been in developing a smooth and clean website for our potential clients, and drawing them to it, with a blog that has relevant information.
We have recently launched a new web interface and our new site is reaching many men with legal needs and their reactions to our new site have been solidly positive. We hired a designer who took our understanding of what our clients will respond to, and he made it real.
Mike: Did you have another domain for your site before this one?
Our previous domain was our law firm name. It was the more traditional looking lawyer website that provided background on us, but it didn’t offer to men any legal assistance. What we found was that we were being lumped in with all the other law firms and there was no “differentiating” factor.
It has also become clear that unless you are either a major law firm that has multiple offices in several cities, states and countries, or a highly recognized media personality, no one will be searching for your name. People search by service or product.
Mike: You provide a great deal of information on the site related to men’s rights as well as a free e-book and other paid e-books. How has the content of the site played a factor in its success?
David: I believe that quality content is the key to success in websites for professional services. The reason I do what I do, is my conviction that men need access to reliable, experienced, information about the divorce process, their rights and responsibilities, and most importantly, they need good direction about child custody.
The free e-book contains the most essential information a man needs to know before he leaves the family home – I give that away because if a man learns how to avoid the biggest mistakes from the outset, he and his legal team, have a fighting chance in court.
By providing good content I am able to keep a visitor on my site longer – that translates into their trusting me, which is what leads to clients. No one hires a lawyer they don’t trust.
My books, A Man’s Guide to Divorce Strategy, A Man’s Guide to Child Custody and A Man’s Guide to Domestic Violence, are all written and designed to appeal to the man who needs answers right now. These are experience based, information packed, guides that a man can use to get an answer on a specific item of interest. If he needs to know what’s going to happen to his pension, he can look under pensions and get a clear statement on what will happen in most cases.
Because I offer both a free E-Book, and the paid e-books, men tend to come and stay at the site. Our average visitor stays on the site over 4 minutes, which is a huge accomplishment in the web surfing world. Once they’ve looked around the site, and read a blog entry or two, they buy the book to plan their next move, which is frequently to call me. And that’s the goal of a good website – to get the client to call me.
Mike: How well do e-books sell? Do you recommend this strategy for other website owners?
David: The e-books launched just before Thanksgiving 2010, so it’s early in the sales cycle, but so far, we’ve had very satisfactory sales. I recommend that other website owners provide good content to their prospects, whether that means they have a blog that answers the 5 most often asked questions, or write a book that is either for sale or given away, that’s an individual choice. I write for a living. I have a weekly column called ‘What’s the Point?’ in the Santa Monica Daily Press – and each week it’s my job to point out something of value and interest to my readers. That’s what is important for a website owner to do – it’s value and interest that keeps people coming back. How you achieve that is up to you.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
David: One of my mentors is P.T. Barnum who had great business savvy, he said, “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” When creating a business name, remember that simpler is better. “Midwest Truck Leasing” is probably the best name in the world. It tells you where it is and what it does. I believe that being so clear is beneficial to a business. When I tell men to look up my website, they have a very easy time remembering it. That’s the point.
Mike: Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point? Have you ever received any unsolicited offers?
I’m a capitalist, make me an offer, and if it’s high enough of course I’ll sell. I’ve put a great deal of thought and effort into finding the right domain name and building it. My books are attached to it, and I have invested much of my career into making MensFamilyLaw.com a valuable site for men to get the information they need to protect their rights and relationships, with their children. I want that to continue.
Mike: Any other information you’d like to share?
The hardest part of building a great website is finding a way to differentiate yourself. I did it by looking at hundreds of other legal websites that were promoting lawyers and their abilities, then finding a niche that I could feel confident about representing.
I add value to my visitors experience because I have taken the time to distill what others sites have done, and know what is needed to create a better, more informative website. I recommend that others do the same for their products and services.