Before You Get Started, Have the Right Website in Place
Last time we wrote about the benefits of online advertising and now we are going to discuss some preliminary issues to consider before embarking on online advertising.
It cannot be emphasized enough that your law firm website must be good before you spend any money on advertising. With the wrong website, you can buy a lot of really good traffic from Google and make Google rich, but have nothing to show for it if everyone backs out of your site to see what else is out there.
Elements of a Successful Law Firm Website
- Good Content
Often a website will have information about statutes of limitations or filing requirements and fees. Other times you’ll see a website that is so stuffed with keywords and links that it is easy to see that the website was written for search engines, not for people who visit it.
In both cases, these websites may be driving away more visitors than they’re bringing into your law practice. Good, engaging content that reaches out to the website visitor will help move more of your website visitors to want to make contact with you.
Shift your message away from descriptions about the law towards something more akin to “We know what you’re going through and we can help.” Get the point across to your website visitor that you care about them and they will be more likely to call or email your office.
- Practice Area Pages
If your practice areas are described in a single page with a list of bullet points, it is suggested that you take the time to build out your practice area content and develop separate pages for each type of case you handle. This includes sub-areas of law. For example, if you are a general civil law firm, you can have a family law page and a real estate page, and if you’re a family lawyer, you should consider having a divorce page, custody page, support page and so on.
Having more specific content on your site will help convince the visitor to that page that you are the expert they have been looking for.
- Emotive Photography
Royalty-free stock photography can be an inexpensive way to reach visitors to a web page on an emotional level. Find pictures that pertain to the specific practice area that will resonate with your prospective client. For example, if you are a family lawyer, a photo of a small child on your custody page can make a big difference in the feel projected to the website visitor.
- Updated Look and Feel (Font Size and Type)
A lot of websites that were designed 10 years ago appear very narrow on wider, modern monitors. Just widening a website from 600 pixels to 900 pixels can sometimes freshen up and modernize the look of a site.
Typography and font size is another issue that a lot of designers overlook. Most modern computers come bundled with a wide variety of fonts giving you a lot more choices than just Arial or Times Roman. In particular, the 9-point Arial font found on hundreds of websites produced by a few of the major directories make law firm websites look like cheap templates and are difficult to read because the font size is too small.
- Conspicuous Calls to Action
Don’t leave visitors stranded on a page not knowing what to do next. Adding a conspicuous call to action like “Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation” linking to your contact page can help people decide to make contact with you.
- Easy-to-Find Contact Forms
Make it easy for people to contact you. Have your phone number in your header graphic and the link to your “contact us” page clearly visible above the scroll bar. Better yet, a contact form on every page in exactly the same place will make it quick and easy for anyone, regardless of what page they navigate to, to write to you.
Testimonials from former satisfied clients do a lot to warm up a website and, if you have any, consider creating a testimonials page, linking it from your main navigation so people can find it.
Too much movement on a site, over-doing the graphics, burying important website elements under distracting buttons or icons can overwhelm some visitors and drive them away from a site.
- Get Others’ Opinions
Have an informal focus group – ask people who have never seen your site before to view it and tell you their impressions. Ask them pointed questions. Were they able to easily find what they were looking for? What was their overall impression of the firm? Would they hire you? Are there specific things about the website they liked or disliked?
- Ask an Expert
If you are unsure whether your website is ready for primetime, contact an expert for a free, candid website evaluation.
About the author:
Ken Matejka. Attorney at Law
Filed Under: Spotlight