law-firm-website-07292015

What makes for great law firm websites?

Let’s be very honest here. It is better to have no law firm website than a poorly designed outdated website with bad content.

It’s true that social media is all the rage, but websites still matter. Nothing is more important in building awareness, attracting more clients, and creating the right image than your website.

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Many prospective clients review your firm’s bio section to determine if you are going to be hired.

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For a quick website assessment, ask yourself the following questions:

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  • Are potential clients get the best possible impression about your law firm?
  • Are potential clients get relevant information from your website?
  • Deep down, are you satisfied with your website and how it is performing?

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You’ve likely heard that you need a website for your law firm. But have you ever stopped to think about why? The most basic purpose of a law firm website is to act as a sort of “business card” for the modern era. It lets clients know you exist, provides your contact information, and shows where to find your office. Potential clients will want more information before they get in touch with you, though. If you need info about anything or anyone, where do you go? That’s right. The Internet.

Your law firm website must serve as a credibility builder for your practice.

It’s through your website that your prospects learn how well you’re able to communicate and present yourself. That’s why you need to make sure your website has what they’re looking for: your contact information, your experience, your photo(s), and an “About” page that makes it clear that your law firm is the right choice. If your site has those basic things it will at least function, but it’s far from enough.

Contact us now with any questions regarding law firm websites.

Tell the “what” and “why”

If your site does a poor job of quickly explaining to your visitors what you do, you will lose them. Someone looking at your website for the first time should be able to tell within 10 seconds what your law firm is about. Clearly explain within the first paragraph of text on your homepage what you do.

Make the first sentence like “San Diego Landlord Tenant Real Estate Attorney” or “San Diego Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers”.

Give people enough information about your law firm without overwhelming them with too much information.

The next important point is telling “why” they should hire you. Why are you the right attorney for the job?

Right after the “what” transition into the “why”. Explain to your site visitors what makes you the best lawyer for their case.

Your law firm’s URL and Branding

Your domain name is part of your brand. Your URL has a big impact on the image you are building. Carefully select your domain name.

Here is how to select a great law firm URL:

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  • Keep it short. Long domain names are difficult to remember. They are also easier to mistype. Ideally keep your domain name under 15 characters.
  • Think keywords. It is great if you have a domain name that includes some of your keywords, but only within reason. Domain names like greatest-san-diego-dui-attorney.com will look stupid and won’t help you with branding. In the past attorneys would use long domain names filled with hyphens in hopes of better search engine results. Today, that tactic no longer works.
  • Avoid hyphens. Hyphenated domain names hurt your branding. When people refer your law firm to a prospect, they will forget the hyphens. You will end up sending business to a competitor.
  • Avoid numbers. Similarly to hyphens, numbers in your domain name create confusion. For example, you could register the domain 1-great-dui-attorney.com. When going to your website some people will type one-great-dui-attorney.com. Numbers in domain names create confusion, so avoid them.

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Avoid Law Firm Website Factories

There are many huge law firm website factories that are building boring, faceless, vanilla law firm websites. Do you want your website to be vanilla? You know the names of these attorney marketing firms, they are spamming you, calling you, and mailing you all the time. They are great at selling law firm websites. They have automated the whole process. But, think about it. Does automation is what your law firm needs? I don’t think so. Your law firm is better of working with a smaller team of real people instead of someone on the other end of a toll free number.

Ask for WordPress

It is no accident that WordPress is the most widely use website platform in the world. A law firm website built on WordPress will be easy to update and manage. With WordPress you can quickly add a new blog post, update your address or phone number, or make any kind of content update. In addition, you can do all that without being a programmer. You don’t need special software, just a web browser and a few minutes of your time.

Top reasons to build your law firm website on WordPress:

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  • It is a free open source CMS platform.
  • WordPress websites are easy to learn.
  • It is a mobile-friendly responsive website platform. This is especially important since there are more mobile searches today than ever. If your website is not mobile optimized you will lose business.
  • Makes changes to your website quick and easy.
  • It allows for a consistent look and feel for every page of your law firm website.
  • WordPress allows for scheduled posts. You can work ahead. Write a few posts in a day and schedule them to automatically publish any time in the future.
  • You can easily connect your WordPress website to your social network accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
  • Video and audio files can be easily added.
  • WordPress is SEO friendly. You can easily optimize any page or blog post for any keyword you are targeting.
  • WordPress has improved security. If you hire the right website professionals for the job, they will set up WordPress the most secure way.
  • It can grow with your law firm. WordPress will work well for small and large firms. It will perform great as a 5 page website or a 5000 page website.
  • WordPress is multi-user capable. You can have a separate log in for each member of your law firm.
  • It’s fun. When you have so much control over your own website, managing it becomes fun.

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Make it easy for people to contact you

The contact information part of your website is important. Your e-mail address, business address, and phone number should be easy to get to from every page of the website. We recommend to show your address in the footer area of each web page. We also recommend to show your phone number in the header area of each web page.

The contact page needs detailed directions to your office, and a map. We like to use Google Map.

Keep in mind that many people will access your site from a mobile phone or tablet device. They might want to just tap your phone number to call you instead of dialing the number. Most people who visit your site from their phones never do so on their desktop.

Here are the characteristics of the best law firm contact pages:

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  • Your contact form must work. No joke, I have seen many contact forms that simply wouldn’t work.
  • Grab attention. If you have a boring uninspiring contact page, people will less likely to contact you.
  • Write the copy with call to action. Give people a reason to contact you. Do you offer a free consultation? Give people a reason to contact you.
  • Limit the number of form fields. The more information you ask the less likely will people complete your form. I recommend, name, email address, phone number, and a short text field for questions.
  • Build trust on your contact page. Show people your experience and how long you have been in business.
  • Make sure your contact page works well on mobile. Many times people who want to contact you are on the go.

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Call to action

Great law firm websites are serious about call to action. Once you get people to your website you have to tell them what to do. Don’t assume that people will just figure it out. Tell them exactly what action you want them to do. Spell it out.

Here is how to make call to action work for your site:

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  • You have to convince people that you are the right attorney for the job.
  • Offer multiple options to contact you. Not everyone is ready to pick up the phone to call you. Have a contact form. Also, include links to your social accounts. Give people at least three different ways to reach out to you.
  • Have a call to action on every page. Many people who visit your website will not enter through your homepage or contact page. Be sure they can easily find your contact information on any page.

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Your law firm website must be mobile-optimized.

Don’t put mobile optimization on the back burner or you may lose potential clients.

Highlight your expertise

Your homepage is where your prospect decides to spend more time on your law firm website. Your homepage is all about creating the first impression. Communicate through your Homepage that you can help them. Make sure you avoid legalese, use non-attorney vocabulary as much as you can. The first sentence should state the types of people or businesses you help. If you take on more than one type of client, have a specific page for each specialty.

The goal of the homepage isn’t to sell yourself, but to help the client figure out if you’re the type of lawyer they need.

You should also remember to include a way back to the homepage from every other page on the site.

The homepage is, naturally, the most visited page on your law firm website. The second is your personal bio or About page, so it needs just as much attention. Clients want to know who they’re contacting beforehand. Your personal bio/About page is where you can make strong impression. Your About page could be the key factor between getting the client and losing the business. The photo you use should be professional and up to date. Stating your experience is important, sure. But it is equally important to show what you’re good at doing and what other clients think of you. Include your CV for visitors who do want to read it.

SEO and optimization

SEO today is about content marketing. SEO is not about stuffing your website with relevant keywords.

Here are some of the most effective SEO tactics for attorneys:

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  • Focus locally – The level of competition in the legal field is crazy. Most law firms don’t have the budget to rank for core legal keywords like “dui attorney” or “business attorney” or “estate attorney”. Realistically, law firms must focus on their local market. Target keywords with your geo targe areas like “san diego dui attorney” or “san diego business attorney” or san diego estate attorney”. Focusing local will get you highest search engine results.
  • Add content – Most law firm websites contain a few pages of generic content. The result is no traffic, few leads, and even fewer new clients. The best law firm websites are full of information. They are authority websites within their own niche. If you are a dui attorney, your website should have hundreds of pages of related content. Does this take time? Yes, but if you add one new page each week, you could have 250 new pages in five years. Most law firm website will never have that many pages of content. What that means to you is that you will outrank them and get more business.
  • Promote content – Creating a lot of new and relevant content is great, but it doesn’t end there. You also need to promote your content. Every time you post something new share it with you social network, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great for this purpose. Also, email, at least once a month, to let people know what new content you have posted on your website.
  • Focus on keywords – Include relevant keywords throughout your content. Don’t go crazy. The goal isn’t to stuff your website with keywords.
  • Long content is better – Longer articles get more traffic from the search engines. For starters, there are a lot fewer long articles. Most blog posts are around 300-500 words long. If you keep your articles around 2000 words, they are more likely to be shared online. Longer articles are more detailed and more valuable. They will result in higher search rankings and more traffic.
  • Be patient – Search engines don’t jump to conclusions. It will take time to move up in the search engine rankings. You will not end up on the first page of Google overnight. It will take months for your site to start moving up in the rankings. But, it is still worth the wait because without SEO your site will never get substantial traffic.

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Most importantly, your law firm website needs to be professional. Hire a web design company if you’re not skilled at programming or web design. Consult a copywriter to handle the content itself if you need to. Work with your web designer and copywriter to come up with a great law firm website.

Contact us now if your law firm needs any website help.