Find Mediation search tool hits 30,000 visitors

Three after it’s launch, findmediation.co.uk today exceeded the impressive total of 30,000 visitors from around the globe accessing the site.

find mediation visitors

 

Of these 30,000 hits, 28,714 have been from the UK, and of these 26,952 were from England.

The site was developed to provide easy access to family mediation information for search engines, something previously not possible from the Ministry of Justice, findamediator site. It was re-launched in September 2013 including a number of new features:

  • Improved search engine links
  • Postcode integration
  • Recommendation service linked to position in listings
  • Live image link for mediation services to embed on websites, showing the number of recommendations

The search tool was developed to display contact information for family mediation services quickly – typically less than 3 clicks from arriving at the site. On average people expect websites to display the information they need within 6-8 seconds, else they look elsewhere. Therefore the speed of the server and the configuration of the database is essential. [Paul Gadd – Director of Protocol IT]

LAA logoServices which hold current Legal Aid Agencies (LAA) contracts providing legal aid are also indicated in the search results. The LAA (formerly known as the LSC) phased out the use of their previous logo in April 2013, permitting providers to continue to use this until 20th June 2013. We decided to design a simple logo to quickly indicate a service where legal aid is available. The site also offers mediation services with multiple outreach offices the means of including the additional locations.

We recognise that findmediation.co.uk is only useful if the information contained is up-to-date. We hope in the next couple of months to start working more closely with family mediation membership organisations to ensure service information in the database is updated when changes occur. To ensure quality a consistent family mediation service is provided across the country, we see that the role of the Family Mediation Council is essential to ensure mediation services and mediators are regulated to a high standard.

The site is operated by Protocol IT Ltd as a not-for-profit service, without funded from the Ministry of Justice, Family Mediation Council, or membership organisations.

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Happy 3rd birthday!

Find mediation logoThis week, findmediation.co.uk celebrates it’s 3rd birthday!

The site was developed out of a desire to help the public find family mediation services in the locality, after frustrations with existing national family mediation listing sites. It  was then re-launched in September 2013 including a number of new features:

  • Improved search engine links
  • Postcode integration
  • Recommendation service linked to position in listings
  • Live image link for services showing number of recommendations

Findmediation works differently to the new Family Mediation Council search tool, focusing on mediation services and their locations rather than the mediator. Special links to the listing are generated which are then provided to search engines for fast indexing. This linking process also enables us to provide multiple outreach locations for services, enabling users to quickly find mediation services in their local vicinity.

The search tool was developed to quickly and easily display the information needed to contact the service, typically in less than 3 clicks. On average people expect websites to display the information they need within 6-8 seconds, else they look elsewhere. Therefore the speed of the server and the configuration of the database is essential. [Paul Gadd – Director of Protocol IT]

LAA logoServices which hold current Legal Aid Agencies (LAA) contracts providing legal aid are also indicated in the search results. The LAA (formerly known as the LSC) phased out the use of their previous logo in April 2013, permitting providers to continue to use this until 20th June 2013. We decided to develop a simple logo to quickly indicate a service where legal aid is available. The Website also offers mediation services with multiple outreach offices the means of including the additional locations.

Annual visitorsOver the past twelve months, the site has been accessed by over 19,000 visitors, serving an average 2500 ‘hits’ per month, from over 300 towns in the UK. Results from searches in Google for finding mediation services are typically shown in the top 10 of listings.

We recognise that findmediation.co.uk is only useful if the information contained is up-to-date. We hope in the next couple of months to start working more closely with family mediation membership organisations to ensure service information in the database is updated when changes occur. To ensure quality a consistent family mediation service is provided across the country, we see that the role of the Family Mediation Council is essential to ensure mediation services and mediators are regulated to a high standard.

The site is operated by Protocol IT Ltd as a not-for-profit service, without funded from the MoJ, Family Mediation Council, or membership organisations.

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Two years after it was launched, Findmediation gets a new engine…

FM-Header-V2Two years after it was first launched, FindMediation gets a new engine under the bonnet. From the outside there are few cosmetic changes, however there are some significant changes under the bonnet.

New features…

Over the past two years, 1000’s of searches have been run on the site. We decided it was time to improve the user experience and enhance the search results. Essentially we’ve introduced four main features into the new release:

1) New optimisation

This will help search engines clearly identify each of the components of a listing. Essentially there are a number of key components, such as the address, telephone number, etc. These need to be easily identified by search engines to match the terms people are searching for. So we’ve redesigned how the information is structure to be cleaner and easier to read.

2) Postcode searching

We noticed in version 1, that people were typing in their postcode instead of the name of the mediation service. The development team came up with the idea of providing a search either for the name of the service OR a postcode, without needing another entry box.

3) Distance from postcode to each mediation service

Not content with just providing a postcode search facility, the team came up with the idea of displaying the distance of each service from the postcode. This is helped by some really clever code in the background which calculates all the distances in the blink of an eye!

4) Priority listing for mediation services with Recommendations

We know that stress levels are high for people going through separation. Therefore putting trust in a particular mediation service is essential. As a result, we’ve decided to prioritise family mediation services which have recommendations to the top of the list and highlight them.

List for Family Mediation North East Recommendations – rather than ratings – work on the principle that if people find a service helpful (especially in times of high stress)  they will want to tell others how good it is. Alongside each mediation service listing, is a hyperlink which enables people to recommend the service and write about it. We require a number of information fields to be entered, to ensure it is genuine rather than an automated submission. The contact details are not displayed with the recommendations after they have been authenticated.

After submission, we perform validation checks before authorising it to become live on the site. This is a precaution to prevent unnecessary comments being listed which are unhelpful or fabricated.

In summary…

We believe that the new features in Findmediation Version2 make a huge difference to those using the site, and will act as a real tool directing people to local family mediation services.

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5 step guide to internet marketing for family mediation

plunge_smMany family mediation services have been shocked at how quickly referrals have reduced since 1st April – whether private or legal aid. It appears this is due to confusion or solicitor’s offering special deals such as fixed fee and pay-as-you-go.

Some mediation services predicted this would happen. They starting new marketing strategies, including online marketing campaigns to obtain a ‘digital presence’. But are these effective ways to find referrals?

Whether your mediation service is large or small, ignoring the internet is no longer an option. However, creating and maintaining a ‘digital presence’ can become a huge drain on resources. Whether that’s time, or finances if you employ marketing consultants to do the work for you.

If you’ve not taken the plunge into internet marketing, here is our short guide for family mediation – clearly the principles can be applied to other business sectors:

  1. First and foremost, you need to get a website – preferrably built on a Content Management System (CMS). This will enable you to make changes yourself to the website instead of having to pay a company. The site needs to be Search Engine Optimised (SEO) to ensure that the search engines can easily find the content on your site, and include it in it’s results. Make sure your content is not built into the site as images or flash presentations as search engines will not be able to read it.
  2. Start a blog – this may be included as part of your website, or get a free Word Press account. Search engines love fresh material, and see blogs as a source of this. Keep it updated (say once a month) with something interesting. Don’t make it too long and in depth.
  3. Get your mediation service listed with search sites (such as findmediation.co.uk, Yelow Pages, etc). When people use search engines, your service will be included in the results.
  4. Ask clients or referring solicitors for recommendations – it will help both in search listings AND people help people make an informed choice. You can include these on your website or add to search sites (such as findmediation.co.uk).
  5. Once you have steps 1-4 in place, you can start using social media tools (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google plus, etc). They reach different sectors, so you may wish to use one for marketing, another for professional development. Social Media is a whole new ball game and would require a large blog all on it’s own! One recommendation is to open an account, follow / link with a few people and observe. Remember, everything you upload to the internet forms your digital footprint.

One tip for using social media – limit the amount of time each day/week you assign to it. Without noticing, it can become a drain with often nothing to show for it.

Findmediation.co.uk was developed to help family mediation services to be seen on the internet, particularly appearing in search results. Our entire database is indexed by search engines, enabling mediation services to be found when people search for local services. The site currently has over 1100 visitors a month from over 200 towns around the UK. We’re here to help and it’s free!

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Legal Aid – still available for family mediation

From 1st April, the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 Reform Act (LASPO) came into effect. This resulted in the withdrawel of many areas of civil and criminal Legal Aid, in order for the Ministry of Justice to achieve savings of £250 million.

legalaidOne of the few areas where Legal Aid still remains, is family mediation. To coincide with the changes, an additional 23 mediation services successfully bid for new contacts to provide Legal Aid in December 2012, a further 59 commenced on the 1st April 2013.

However one side effect of the Reform, is the misunderstanding by lawyers and the general public, that Legal Aid is unavailable for family mediation. As a result of this, the number of referrals for family mediation has plummeted since the 1st April.

Findmediation.co.uk has an extensive database comprising of nearly 600 services and outreach locations. This includes all family mediation services contracted to the Legal Aid Agency for providing Legal Aid. Simply select a town or County and a list of services are displayed.  Those providing Legal Aid to eligible clients have the Community Legal Services logo (shown above) displayed alongside the entry.

Family Mediation NorthumberlandIn this example, Northumberland was selected as the county on the home page.

The results show 7 matches available for the area, with those providing Legal Aid displaying the Community Legal Services logo to the right of the service details.

 

 

Legal Aid is STILL available for family mediation.

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Family Mediation in Cheshire

We’ve updated some of our listings to include a logo and description of the mediation service. This week we’ve updated Family Mediation Manchester, located on the High Street in Altrincham, Cheshire.

It can be found on our database at : http://www.findmediation.co.uk/mediator/144/family-mediation-manchester/

Location of Family Mediation Manchester on the High Street

We now have over 550 Family Mediation services main offices and outreach locations listed on our database. It’s free for mediation services linked to one of the official mediation associations  (e.g. FMA, Resolution, ADR Group, NFM or College of Mediators), which are linked to the Family Mediation Council (FMC).

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Find family mediation in Hemel Hempstead

We’ve added the first family mediation service on our database for Hemel Hempstead :

http://www.findmediation.co.uk/mediator/535/green-light-mediation/

Green Light Mediation is located at the Business Centre at 41 the Marlowes, right next to Hemel Hempstead market.

Green Light Mediation in Hemel Hempstead

Our database now contains nearly 500 mediation service locations across the UK.

 

 

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Family Mediation in Ashington

This week we’ve added another a new mediation service in our database for Northumberland. Our database now contains over 45o mediation service locations across the UK.

http://www.findmediation.co.uk/town/280/ashington/

The services in Ashington now includes FDR Mediation Ltd, a brand new family mediation service opening it’s doors from the 3rd December 2012. The principle office is located at Arch Centre for Enterprise, Lintonville Parkway. It provides both private and legal aid facilities for people seeking family mediation.

http://www.findmediation.co.uk/mediator/498/fdr-mediation/

New functionality of the site includes a recommendation feature for each service, enabling clients and referring solicitors to recommend and add a comment to build your online reputation. The only dedicated family mediation listing service on the internet which offers this facility.

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Family mediation in Norfolk

This week we’ve added another three new mediation services in our database for Norfolk. Our database now contains over 38o mediation service locations across the UK.

http://www.findmediation.co.uk/county/13/norfolk/

New functionality this week includes a recommendation feature for each service, enabling clients and referring solicitors to recommend and add a comment to build your online reputation.

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Family mediation in Kent

This week we’ve added another seven new mediation services in Kent – Conclucid Ltd, North Kent Family Mediation, First 4 Mediation, Furley Page, Deal Mediation Services, and Macalister White LLP. Our database now contains 14 mediation service locations across the county.

http://www.findmediation.co.uk/county/27/kent/

New functionality this week includes a recommendation feature for each service, enabling clients and referring solicitors to recommend and add a comment to build your online reputation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t see your family mediation service here, then please let us know. We do verify credentials before adding to our database.

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