A website is a business’s 24/7 salesperson, and a law firm’s website is no different.
As a lawyer, you know that your site is one of the first points of contact with prospective clients. However, the way you talk to your clients in person is very different from the type of content that your website should have. It’s all too easy for law firms to make their websites inaccessible and ineffectual for their target audience.
Here are the mistakes that many law firm websites make — and how your site can avoid them.
People in the legal profession are accustomed to large documents, diverse teams, and complicated procedures. The tendency to focus on your organization and how you work can bleed over into your website’s content.
The problem is that your clients don’t necessarily care who’s on your team, how your firm came to exist, or the latest developments in legal precedent. They want answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. That’s why it’s important to take a marketing approach to your content. Remember, your website’s goal should be to attract clients, not list all your background details.
In fact, one of the best things you can do is create high-value content that your target audience will appreciate. If you focus on family law, for example, publish regular-language guidance and Q&As on custody arrangements, divorce proceedings, and so on. People will appreciate and trust your firm, and they’ll be much more likely to request your services. (Informational, engaging content also provides a much-needed SEO boost.)
You’re used to reading giant paragraphs and complex language, but your target audience likely isn’t. When people are browsing the web, they expect to see short, topical paragraphs, lots of bullet points, and headings that show them where to go. If your content is nothing but walls of text, your website visitors will likely run the other way.
It’s also important to talk in a way that your clients will understand. When you speak to them in person, you don’t use convoluted sentences filled with jargon. So don’t do it on your website, either.
You shouldn’t swing to the other extreme either: don’t reduce your website to a glorified Google Maps listing. Provide relevant, engaging content that expresses your values and subtly pitches your services.
Lack of Social Proof
Every law firm in the world claims they’re the best. If you actually are, be sure that you clearly demonstrate your successes on your website. Show, don’t tell: publish case studies of what you’ve achieved for your clients, and talk about your team’s community involvement, awards, and speaking engagements rather than focusing on vague verbiage about how great you are.
Your firm should also have an authentic presence on your website. Avoid slick stock photos and cheap clipart of swinging gavels. Today’s consumers want to feel like they instantly connect with a business.
Generic, uninspired graphics make you look aloof and boring — and potentially untrustworthy. Get some professional portraits of your team in a fresh setting: no old-fashioned headshots. Convey your personality through your site, imagery and all.
Casting a Wide Net
Your firm is likely specific in its clientele, and you don’t just work with anyone. Yet many firms’ websites speak to a broad, shapeless audience rather than targeting their ideal clients. Different demographics respond to different tones and topics.
And you certainly don’t want to tie up your phones with calls from people who don’t need your particular type of legal services.
So, do your market research (or hire an expert to do it), then create content that your target audience wants to read. Think about the values, offerings, and expertise that you provide your clients. Use those to guide your content strategy and improve your SEO for the types of queries your ideal clients make.
For example, if your firm specializes in real estate law, you may not rank highly for the search term “real estate lawyer near me.” But if you focus on commercial properties in underdeveloped areas, you can probably rank for those terms in your local market.
Not Having a Secure, Responsive Website
It should go without saying that your website should absolutely have its own domain and not be YourLawFirm.wordpress.com. However, many law firm websites have other problems that can scare off potential clients.
These days, cybercriminals are more active than ever. Consumers are perpetually worried about having their information stolen. How will they react if their browser throws up a safety warning when they click on your site?
Work with a professional web designer and developer to ensure that your site is served over a secure connection and has an up-to-date SSL certificate. Digital security measures can also boost your search engine ranking.
And of course, your website must be mobile-friendly, i.e. created with responsive web design in mind. Most of your prospective clients are visiting your website from their phones. If they see a website that doesn’t render well on mobile, they’ll hit the Back button and go somewhere else.
With the right kind of digital marketing, your firm can improve its web presence and attract more clients. A successful website is one that instantly connects with your target audience and avoids cumbersome, jargon-filled content.