We talk to a lot of lawyers and law firm marketing managers. And this is what we hear:
“We have a website, but it doesn’t do anything.”
If you’re not getting calls from your website, or not even getting traffic, your website is probably like most of the law firm websites we see— digital brochures with information prospects don’t really care about.
This is why 72% of websites fail.
We’re going to lay out the 7 Top “Must-Haves” for websites for lawyers to make this as easy as possible. Couple these 7 with the right objectives for your law firm website and, if done right, your website will deliver incredible results.
User experience is a web design term that combines ease of use, clarity of information and the speed of your website.
Ease of use means your website needs to be super intuitive for users. If you have a blog, call it a blog. Don’t make site visitors figure out that “Insights” takes them to your blog posts.
Clarity refers to the language you use. Don’t use jargon, just use common terms.
To put it in perspective, people looking for a service provider, such as an attorney, will make up their mind 2/3rds of the way on who they want to retain before calling anybody.
So, to answer the questions prospects have using a language they’ll understand. They need to see what you do and who you do it for, and how you’ll ultimately help them.
Finally, speed is the most straight-forward of all. If your website loads slowly, visitors will leave. And remember: Google’s watching, too—if too many people bounce off your site thanks to slow loading speed, your website’s Google ranking will go down.
A “good enough” website design is attractive, clean, professional…or not?
Looking good enough isn’t good enough for a law firm website. Most websites for lawyers look the same—just switch out logos and colors. And so, if you only expect your website to look “nice,” it will end up looking like all the rest.
Your website design must be competitive, and it has to stand out.
The design has to make a visual impact and visitors have to be able to tell the difference between yours and the last attorney’s site they visited. Start by looking at your best competitor and make sure your website looks at least as good. Then work with your web design agency to identify the competitive advantages you can build into your site to really stand out.
One way or another, you have to prove competence in the areas of law you practice most (or want to practice more of). Use of case studies is the best ways to showcase competence. For every type of work you work on, write 3-4 case studies. Explain the problem your clients had, the challenge it presented, and how you helped them solve it.
We know that some Bar associations prohibit using case studies and testimonials, but you have other options. You must show proof somehow that you’ve “been there, done that,” because people need that confidence when hiring a lawyer. You can work hypothetical examples into your blogs if case studies aren’t an option in your state.
Answer all common questions asked by potential clients, and that list should always be growing. Your potential clients first search for answers to their questions (discovery phase), then for a law firm that can help them solve their legal problems (decision phase).
You’ll only attract people in discovery stage by addressing the questions they want answers for. Not by telling them about your law firm (that comes later).
Make a list of questions your prospects ask. Write up an answer and post each answer on its own page of your site (these can be blog posts). Use the question as the title for the post.
Then create cross-links between the posts (build contextual connections between posts), and your prospects will end up spending more time on your site as you answer one question after another. This is “step one” in how your website blog can be the most powerful business developer your firm has.
Here is more on How to Turn Law Firm Blog into a Client Attraction Machine.
The next piece of that same powerful business developer machine is how you collect information from the prospects on your site. Lead magnets are exactly how you do that.
Lead magnets convert eyeballs into prospects for your firm. You offer them something (a resource) that helps them track questions or start to map out their plan of action for the legal problem they face. Checklists, resource lists, and white papers are all classic examples of lead magnets.
Thing is, they have to enter their name and email address to download the resource.
Your site then follow-ups with occasional emails that offer MORE resources those prospects will want. Did they download the Estate Planning Checklist? Then you know what legal service they’re interested in. Keep sending them valuable information and you’ll create the authority and trust that will mean you’re the one they call when they’re ready to pick up that phone.
They are worried about hiring an attorney they do not know. They want to know how good you are before hiring you.
The next best thing to learning from experience is to learn from other people’s experience. This is why consumers trust reviews and testimonials. They offer a concentrated pool of recommendations that a prospect can assess.
The power behind reviews is real, especially with a solid policy in place to reply to all reviews—good and bad. And even where Bar associations do forbid posting testimonials and reviews on your website, there’s a simple and ethical work around your web design agency in Chicago can set up for your law firm website.
Talk to your web designer about installing review badges on your website. This is an icon on the site that links to either your profile on Google, Avvo, Yelp or wherever else you have reviews. That little badge will update real-time with the number of reviews and your overall rating, and consumers know they can click on those badges to see all the reviews their heart’s desire.
This is the final must-have for web design for attorneys, and it doesn’t come naturally to many: humility.
Take those cliché, serious lawyer photos for example. Yes, we get it. You’re important. And yes, you probably read that whole bookshelf of law books behind you.But people buy only from people they like.
Chances are your “serious face” isn’t as welcoming as a lawyer who looks confident yet approachable. Yes, be professional and look your best. But you don’t want to look so corporate, so “same” as all other lawyers, or SO legalese that you seem like you’re from an unattainable segment of some upper hierarchy.
With these 7 must-haves in place on your website, the next step is to know How to Measure & Improve Law Firm Website Performance.
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