The 5 Best Website Tips for Lawyers
To kick things off, our best piece of marketing advice for every attorney is to have a website. This might sound obvious, but we were surprised to find that 43% of solo firms actually don't have one. If this includes you, your firm is probably losing a good deal of business to competitors who maintain an active online presence. We don't want that for you, so keep reading.
You may have a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, and that's great. Social accounts can help with a few referrals, but you're missing a huge opportunity when it comes to clients being able to find you online through a simple Google search. We'll dive deeper into that in a minute. First, let's take a look at some facts about the importance of a website. If you already have one, then you're about to feel more confident in that decision.
Why Every Law Firm Needs a Website
Next to client referrals, a website is the easiest way to fill your pipeline with potential clients. In fact, a survey conducted by Nielson revealed that three out of four people will search online when they need a lawyer. Not only that, but many potential clients will start researching their legal issues online before they realize they even need a lawyer.
As people are searching online, at all hours of the day, a website can be there to capture these leads while you're busy meeting with clients or enjoying a nice meal at home. It's like having another associate on staff who never stops working.
A website can also help alleviate your workload. For instance, client portals can be used to collect information, provide status updates, and streamline communications. And these are just some of the highlights.
Quality Makes a Difference
As you can see, a website can be a highly valuable tool when it's done well (emphasis on that last part). Maybe a few years ago, you could get away with tossing up a website and get decent traffic, but not today. You have to consider the elements of speed, security, and search engine optimization (SEO). With so much online competition, you also have to have excellent content.
There's a lot to think about and know in this space, but we have you covered. Whether you're new to the web or finding yourself in the midst of a much-needed makeover, we've pulled together a list of five tips that will immediately improve your website.
1. Keep the Language Simple
After years of education and experience in your field, you know a lot about the law. It can be tempting to use sophisticated language on your website, but it's best to keep it simple. Using common language will help clients understand what you're actually talking about, and it helps people find you on the web. This second point is important to understand.
A Google Consumer Survey indicated that 96% of people seeking legal advice will use a search engine (like Google or Bing). And in these searches, people are using words and phrases they're familiar with. So, when bots start crawling around the web looking for content that matches these search terms, they may not find you if your website is full of jargon that nobody understands. In essence, a website that isn't written well and optimized for search engines can be just as problematic as having no web presence at all.
2. Include an FAQ Page
Our next pro tip is to include a page with frequently asked questions. Include every question you think a client might ask or search online related to your services and practice areas. Providing helpful answers will ultimately bring more people to your site. How is that?
Back to the topic of Google, most people search with what's called longtail keywords or phrases to find exactly what they need. For example, instead of searching "law firm near me," people are using longer, more specific search queries such as, "Can I file for bankruptcy without an attorney in Arkansas?" With this in mind, the more specific questions you can answer, the more likely you are to be discovered in a search result for that particular issue. As a bonus, FAQs may also cut down on extemporaneous emails and calls to your office.
3. Make it Easy to Contact You
If there's only one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: put your contact information on every page of your website. Data shows that 70% of law firm websites do not have a direct call to action on their homepage. This must be incredibly frustrating for potential clients. Especially when you consider that nearly three-quarters of consumers visit a law firm's website in order to take action. They want to call, but they can't find the number.
People don't have much patience when it comes to finding what they need online, so make it easy for them. By simply including your phone number and email on all of your pages, you've already set yourself apart.
4. Have a Mobile-friendly Site
Nearly 76% of the people who look for attorneys online will be on smartphones. What this means is your website needs to be fully responsive. It needs to look great and function properly on a laptop or tablet as well as a phone. Images and text need to automatically adjust to the size of the device being used. Your location should be linked to Google maps, and your phone number should be hyperlinked, so someone can simply "tap" to call you from their phone.
Having a mobile-friendly website is so important that Google will even rank sites higher in search results, knowing it will provide a better experience for the user. The best way to ensure your site is mobile-friendly is to select a platform or work with a firm that offers this service. As a side note, all of the sites we develop at Matchstick Studio are fully responsive.
5. Be Authentic
Many law firm websites end up looking the same using stock photos of gavels, people shaking hands, and the scales of justice. Some firms even use similar taglines, like "committed to excellence" or "justice for all," which makes it extremely difficult for a potential client to sort through their options.
We suggest you dig in and be discerning about what makes you different from other attorneys. Then be sure that message comes through clear and strong in your content. Use language that truly describes you. Show photos of real people in your office and the communities or industries you serve. Talk about real case studies if you can, and share how you've impacted lives for the better. People love to hear true stories and be inspired. They also want to develop a good relationship with their attorney and trust that you'll take care of them. That trust begins by being real with them from the moment they spot you online.
Extra Tip: When in Doubt, Source it Out
If one of the reasons you don't have a website or you haven't updated it in a long time is due to a lack of resources, you may be tempted to dabble with an inexpensive "DIY website builder" like WordPress or Wix. We don't recommend going this route for many reasons. The biggest one actually comes down to cost.
You're in a profession that values time, so you have to consider the true cost implications of trying to create your own website. That free or low-cost platform becomes significantly more expensive when you apply your hourly rate to the task at hand. And after it's all said and done, there's a good chance your DIY site will leave you looking less-than-professional.
To get a site that's extremely affordable and allows you to work with a professional writer, designer, and developer to ensure all best practices are in place, you should consider Modular Orange. It's a platform that the team at Matchstick Studio hand-coded in-house to solve the many issues law firms and other businesses run into with their websites. It's proven to be highly effective and easy to use. Once it's all set up, you can update your site any time with simple drag and drop features. Read about it out here, listen to this podcast episode, or go ahead and pick up the phone and contact us directly. We'd love to get to know you and help your firm earn back the leads you deserve.