Essential Sections for Your Law Firm Website and How to Use Them

When your law firm has gotten to the point where you know it’s time to create a website but you’re not sure where to start, it’s common to feel a little overwhelmed. It may seem like you’re starting with a blank page or canvas and that it’ll take too long to get the website up and running. However, instead of being frazzled about the prospect which you’re facing, think of it as a great opportunity to connect with clients with whom you may not otherwise get to interact. Read below and get some insight on several sections that should be a part of your law firm’s website.

Make sure your website has a section that discusses how long the firm has been established and some of the basic history behind it. In many cases, this section is called ‘About Us.’ Try to use conversational but professional language. While it’s important to showcase the worthiness of your firm, you don’t want to do so in a way that seems disconnected from the very people you’re attempting to serve.

It can often be difficult to talk about the strengths of your firm because it feels like you may be going over the top in your efforts to stand out. However, just like you would try to promote yourself in a job interview for a position you really wanted, it’s important to do the same when speaking about your law firm. Don’t ever forget how clients have a variety of different options when it comes to legal expertise. Ideally, position your firm as one that’s experienced and caring when it comes to resolving a client’s situation. The ‘About Us’ section should be a visible reminder of why your firm stands out above the rest in certain areas.

It’s also important to vividly describe the areas of practice in which you specialize. In many cases, people may be in situations where they feel doubtful legal expertise is really necessary. That’s why it’s so necessary to go in depth about the kinds of issues that are often best resolved with legal assistance. A person who has not worked with a law firm in the past may be under the impression that the situation is just a stressful problem that will either go away on its own or just need to be resolved without professional help. But some specific situations can be resolved more quickly and cost effectively when a person has access to legal guidance.

Consider having drop-down menus or some other intuitive way of breaking down sections of your website so they focus on practice areas in ways that are easy for potential clients to digest. Intelligent web design is just as important, or even more so, as the actual content. If you try to put too much information about practice areas all in one section, people are likely to feel fatigued when reading it and may decide not to work with your firm after all.

Having a page that features directions to your firm is also very helpful. Many people specifically want to work with a law firm that is easily accessible within the community. You may want to have interactive maps where people can simply type in starting points and get turn by turn directions to your doorstep. If your firm has multiple locations, make sure your website adequately reflects that fact. Place all contract information in easy to find places, as people on mobile devices often have limited viewing and scrolling capabilities.

One of the most crucial parts of your website will be the one that instructs people how to get in touch with you. Think about your target audience and how they would prefer to get in touch with you when dealing with dire legal situations. Someone who is not very accustomed to using a computer may simply feel most comfortable reaching out to you via telephone. On the other hand, a contact form that can be filled in with details might work well if a person generally likes communicating by e-mail and wants to get a relatively quick response. One advantage of e-mail or contact forms is that they can help a person feel empowered to best compose his or her thoughts without feeling the kind of anxiety that may result from talking to someone about a very personal situation on the telephone.

These are not the only sections that should be represented on your website, but they are good foundational pieces. As a closing point, keep in mind how a website is usually a constantly evolving project. You may eventually discover it’s necessary to add new sections you hadn’t previously considered. Always be willing to adapt and adjust to client needs, and your marketing efforts should really pay off.

Easy But Effective Ways to Market Your Law Firm

People at many law firms think it’s necessary to spend a great deal of time and money on marketing efforts. However, as you’ll soon see, there are several methods of promotion that are easy on the pocketbook and don’t cause a lot of stress. Keep reading to get ideas that could help bring new clients through your door and keep your name adequately visible.

Set a goal to reach out to at least three to five potential clients per week, even going to the point where you make appointments for casual meetings over coffee. It can be tempting to do that only when business is slow. However, if you only wait until then, you probably won’t be into the habit and may forget to do it altogether. When you are already used to doing it on a weekly basis, it’ll just feel like a natural part of usual tasks.

When the holiday season rolls around, don’t forget to use opportunities to send out festive cards that feature the name of your law firm, contact information and a brief description of the kind of services you provide. It may sound like a relatively simple gesture, but it’s a great way to reach out in a way that doesn’t seem imposing. When people need to work with a law firm for the first time, name recognition can be very powerful, and the fact you took a few minutes to send a holiday card to a household could make the difference between someone deciding to use your services and the person looking elsewhere.

If you don’t have one already, makes sure your firm is associated with a useful website that includes information about the team members at your firm, the number of years since your establishment and other helpful bits of information that could persuade a person to pursue your services. Additionally, make sure that website has a regularly updated blog. If possible, consider getting a person to write it who can confidently convey information without getting too caught up in legal jargon. The very same words and phrases that seem commonplace to the full-time lawyers will more than likely be overwhelming or impossible for lay persons to understand.

Have a thoughtful marketing plan so you don’t simply promote to everyone in the community in exactly the same ways. Usually, the most effective promotional methods are those that focus on particular sections of the target audience. For example, if you are part of a personal injury firm, it’s worthwhile to have certain sections of the website that cater to particular issues a person may be facing. The common line of thought is to market as much as possible, and while it is important to have a broad reach, you don’t want to do that at the risk of sacrificing a personal touch.

It’s a very good idea to have a marketing plan that revolves around certain marketing activities that you know you do well or enjoy. For example, if you know the majority of your user base is very technologically savvy and there are at least a few people at the firm who are good with computers and graphic design, think about publishing an electronic newsletter.

As another idea, if someone at the law firm is particularly concerned with client outreach and knows how to identify with a person’s situation in a very natural way, consider having a section of your website devoted to common questions and answers that are submitted by potential or current clients on a regular basis. That part of the website could let others know that relating to clients is one of your strong points and also gives the impression that you truly care about providing help as necessary.

Be convincing but honest. Consultation sessions with potential clients are great times to market your firm and can really help you make progress, especially if you’re trying to gain visibility in a new marketplace. In some cases, you’ll need to convince people that their cases are severe enough to warrant your legal services. However, if someone is dealing with a problem that truly doesn’t require your legal expertise or may not be best served by the people who work for your firm, it’s in your best interest to tell customers you won’t accept their cases. That kind of honest attitude will go a long way, especially if you’re trying to highlight the fact that you’re not just out to get new clients no matter what the situation.

As you can see, many of these ideas are centered around things that don’t require a lot of time and money, but they work very well as promotional tools. Try using them today and see if they get the kind of results you expect.

Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Law Firm’s Website for Potential Customers

The Internet offers great opportunities for your law firm to reach out to potential customers and keep current clients informed. If you’re designing a law firm website for the first time, you may be feeling overwhelmed. However, it’s easy to avoid potentially costly mistakes by learning about some of the most common errors people make when getting their websites ready to launch to the public.

Not Being Clear Enough About Your Specialties

The majority of people who come to your website will be looking for a very particular type of expertise. Whether you specialize in personal injury law, human rights law or corporate legalities, it is extremely important to be clear about the type of assistance you can offer clients. One of the ways you can do that is by making an “About Us” page. Also, be sure to properly optimize your website for search engines by using primary and secondary keywords that tie into the types of law on which you focus.

Failing to Include Evidence of Your Worthiness

Some people become very shy when designing parts of their websites, especially when the task involves discussing past accomplishments. It can feel a bit awkward to talk favorably about yourself, but remember, your potential clients have many choices when it comes to area law firms. If they don’t feel confident you are the best possible solution, they’ll likely look elsewhere without a second thought.

Think about listing some of the ways you have assisted clients, making sure to use vague enough language so you don’t violate any confidentiality rules. You can also consider asking satisfied clients for testimonials. One advantage of those is people will describe your benefits in natural language that can resonate very well with individuals who may also hire you in the future.

Making Your Website Very Flashy, But Lacking in Substance

It can be very tempting to use all the latest technology so your website looks very visually appealing. There’s no harm in using graphics and even videos appropriately, especially if you’re trying to keep visitors engaged.

However, don’t be so dependent on the visual details that it means sacrificing solid content that could help you showcase your law firm as an authoritative resource for people in search of legal assistance. When in doubt, ask yourself if something you’re adding to the website has any educational worth. If not, it’s probably best to leave it out and focus even more on high-quality content.

Packing the Homepage With Too Much Information

Although it is very important to make your website very informative, you shouldn’t have that aim at the expense of possibly overwhelming your users. Remember, most of them are going to want to be able to find useful insights without wading through unnecessary material. Plan the structure of your website carefully, especially if your firm is dedicated to many areas of law. In a case like that, it may be most advantageous to have drop-down menus, so a potential client who needs a particular kind of help can find the correct place to go with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Using Too Much Legal Terminology When Writing Your Content

There’s a good chance many of the legal terms you use on a regular basis are ones you understand very well. However, don’t be misled into forgetting that the majority of your clients probably don’t have legal backgrounds. It’s important to use language that presents you as an authoritative resource.

There’s a thin line between doing that and saying things that will ultimately go over your viewers’ heads, and possibly frustrate them so much that they leave your website altogether. If you find it too difficult to separate yourself from the legal jargon that’s so natural to you, it may be worthwhile to hire a content writer who can word things so they are easily digested by laypersons.

Not Offering Multiple Ways to Get in Touch

Make sure it’s very easy for people who visit your website to find the section where your contact information is located. Also, go a step further and provide many different ways for potential customers to reach out.

People who require your expertise may be in situations that they feel are very embarrassing or frightening. In that case, they may not feel comfortable talking to a representative from your law firm over the phone, and would perhaps much rather send an e-mail or even participate in a live chat. A competent web design firm can assist you in building those kinds of features directly into your website, so potential clients can get in touch via methods that are as seamless as possible.

Failing to Plan Time for Website Testing

In the rush to get a website ready for the public, some individuals make the mistake of not allowing enough time to properly test the website before it goes live. In addition to trying out the website in all of the leading web browsers, you’ll also need to see what happens if someone attempts to access it on a mobile device.

Also, it will probably be best if you hire people to test the website who were not involved in its creation. That’s because those testers will best represent of the kinds of people who will be accessing your website in the real world. By watching how your testers behave, you may be able to pinpoint some aspects of the site that are more confusing than they should be. With that information, you can make improvements to your website, allowing users to have smoother experiences.

Attorney Websites: Common Mistakes May Be Costing You

When a person first thinks of a website for a law firm, his first thoughts often include stock images of gavels and outdated interfaces. Unfortunately, the public’s perception has a place in reality, as there’s a lot of unimpressive legal websites out there despite the rise in Internet research for attorneys. A 2013 poll conducted through a Google survey found that over 30 percent of respondents turned to the web to find a specialty lawyer.

Your law firm’s website fast becoming the initial point of contact for potential clients. It’s the first impression people will get of your firm, and if it’s a poor one, you’re simply going to lose out to firms with better websites. While there’s no one guaranteed design that meets every law firm’s needs, with customization, forethought, and a little bit of planning, you can avoid common mistakes.

Clutter, Clutter Everywhere

Website “clutter” refers to anything that is overly distracting to your visitors. Sound effects, for example, may seem like a good idea at the time of development but can startle visitors and cause them to leave the webpage. Clutter also causes problems for mobile users in terms of function and display when they’re visiting your website.

Use updated images, as opposed to cheap and commonly used stick photos, and don’t crowd your webpages with them. Very large and memory-intensive graphics may not display correctly or cause the page to stall during load for some users, so consider your average user’s capabilities when you’re making design decisions.

Avoid having a large homepage that forces users to scroll to find your firm’s contact information. Your contact data should be easy to viewers to find at first glance, as this placement works for users with limited computer resources and those who are already interested in your firm’s services. Your contact information is part of your call to action, so it needs to be clear and easy to identify to entice viewers to make a move.

It’s Far Too Complicated

Your website’s main purpose is to sell your services to clients. Leave legal jargon out of it, as it will confuse your average viewer and serve no purpose other than to frustrate them. Any webpages designed to explain features or faucets of law must be written in terms a layperson can easily understand.

Text on your website should get to the point as quickly and simply as possible. Huge legal articles that contain traces of the information the visitors are looking will dissuade potential clients. In short, your website should tell visitors who you are and what you can do for them in the clearest and briefest way possible.

Don’t brag about yourself, your staff or your firm’s accomplishments. You can mention awards or accolades your firm has received, but do so in a way that tells the visitor what the award means for them in terms of your service. While your legal education and other merits may be impressive to others in your field, those credentials don’t mean much to your average client who is more interested in your services.

Missing Out On Metrics

Metrics are the different ways website owners can track visitors and their behavior once they land on your website. Without metrics, you’ve got no way of knowing what is working on your website and what isn’t, and you’re also missing out on valuable information about your users.

The type of metrics you need depend on your website’s goals and layout, but common measurements include traffic levels and time spent on specific areas of your webpages. Without knowing where your website is failing users, you won’t be able to focus your energy on the right corrections and improvements.

Part of website building is knowing your audience. While you may have a general firm, you still need to pick a focus theme and create your website around it. By having a centralized theme, you’ll ensure you’re attracting the type of visitors who are the most likely to use your services.

Going Stale

Part of what affects your search rankings, which is the order websites are returned in through search engines, is how updated your content is. If you don’t update after the website is built, you run of the risk of being labeled as having ‘stale’ content and falling down in the search rankings.

Your visitors will also appreciate up to date information, as that conveys the message your law firm is on top of things and taking care of its website. If you’re not maintaining your website, visitors may be left with the impression that you’re not conscientious or come away with the wrong information.

Always consider the user’s end experience when building your firm’s website. By keeping the usual visitor in mind, you can tailor your website so that it does the most for you.