By Jessica Riley
In addition to personal referrals, digital searches are a primary source that clients use to find attorneys.
The firm’s website needs to be appealing and informative, as well as client focused. While some firm and attorney accolades are important, put yourself in the shoes of your client and answer the questions they want to know.
Here are six tips to consider when designing or redesigning your website.
- Clarity. Most clients do not fully understand the law and may not even know what type of attorney they need. They know they have a problem, but they may not be aware there is a legal solution. Be sure to use plain language to define your practice and the solutions you provide. This will ultimately save you both time and money as clients get the answers they need, and you aren’t wasting time on inquiries outside of your practice area.
- Concise. In defining your practice area or specialties keep it simple. The client wants to get straight to the point- can you help them or not? Remember, for most clients their stress level is high and as a result their attention span is low. Keep this in mind when writing for your website.
- Navigation. Create a website that is easy to navigate. Make sure your headings are clear and easy to see. Too often, websites have broken links where the site directs you to one thing but it will lead you someplace else or to a blank page. It is important to test your links before posting to make sure that everything makes sense and goes where it needs to go.
- Pop. No, you do not need Spiderman appearing on a page stating “we will put a web around the insurance company” or a cowboy saying “we will round up a settlement for you”… but it is necessary to include a pop of color or a picture. People connect with a firm that shows a personal side. Custom photography is better than stock photos if you can afford it. Headshots that are more naturally posed will make you seem more approachable.
- Personal. Do not forget that clients want to have a human on their side not just a person who knows the law. You do not need to provide your entire life history but even something as simple as including your hobbies or information about your role in the community can help a client identify with you. Your website should also include personal bios of your employees. Your paralegals and support staff have more client contact than the primary attorney at various stages of the case. Identifying everyone may draw a client to you rather than another firm who excludes staff.
- Finally…. TEST TEST TEST! Before posting your website to the public conduct a soft rollout to test the website’s features. Ask former clients for their input, and well as your friends and colleagues outside the legal industry.
If you want a DIY website, there are multiple platforms that make it easy with the use of templates. Articles, books, and YouTube videos can help you with the basics. North Carolina State University has a digital marketing Master’s program. Perhaps you can hire a student or intern to help with your website development and they use the project as class credit or as part of their portfolio.
Having a law firm website is not an option, but a necessity. If you have 6 minutes for a YouTube video, you can conduct your own audit of your firm’s curb appeal and get professional help if needed.
About The Author
Jessica Riley is a graduate of the Meredith College Paralegal Program and a Marketing Assistant with Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services.