10 Apr 12 Absolute Musts for a Great Website for Law Firms
As an attorney, it is important for you to put your best foot forward when attracting new clients to your law firm. One of the best ways to increase your visibility and promote your expertise is by creating a website for your practice or firm.
Are you seeking a website for your practice that doesn’t look like every other website out there?
Even if you are a small firm who does little to no online marketing, it is still essential to have a website. When people need legal help, the first place they turn for information is usually search engines on the internet.
A strong digital presence is the backbone of your online marketing efforts. If designed properly, your website could drive additional business for your firm.
Your website is the first point of contact many people will have with your firm. Per the National Law Review, 38% of people start searching for legal help online. 87% of those who contact an attorney end up hiring the first attorney they contact, and,72% of the people contact only one attorney.
Now, every law firm has a website. But does every law firm have a GREAT website? Not necessarily.
So, What Makes a
Great Law Firm Website?
We will explain 12 essential pages every law firm’s website needs to have, and why they’re so important. We will also share a list of “best practices” that you can use to make your website (and your law firm) stand out.
A website that can help you reach as many people as possible who need your services, projects your business in the right frame, and initiates that first call every lawyer dreams of getting from a client to schedule a consultation!
Elements of a Great Lawyer’s Website
1. Landing Page with Clean and Modern Design
Having helped many lawyers improve their websites and grow their practices from scratch, our research team has concluded that a landing page showing an “about us” feature is the second most clicked page on the website.
A landing page is the first page anyone will notice about your website. A page that shows well on most devices will make it attractive for millennials to follow you rather than a competitor. This page should help visitors immediately know whether or not you are the right type of lawyer to handle their issue.
Most people visiting a law firm’s website (including yours truly) will have little or no experience in researching, finding, and hiring a lawyer. Plus they’re usually searching during a stressful, difficult time (think of them going through a DUI charge or are in the middle of a divorce). There is a huge overload of emotions, like stress, anger, and confusion.
What will they look for?
These website visitors will look for something that is easy to understand, has helpful information, and contacts of someone they can reach out to for assistance.
If you are interested in converting website visitors into clients, spend considerable time in designing your homepage with these details.
A video is an incredibly powerful way to build that personal connection! You can cover a lot in a 30-second clip which would normally take reams of content for people to go through.
Some of the best practices that take your law firm website from “Good” to “Great”
- Write about your firm’s approach and philosophy towards law
- Explain how you practice and what makes you different from other lawyers
- Clearly state what you do and what makes you the right fit for the visitor.
- Use clear, simple language – bold font, preferably bang in the middle of the homepage.
- Keep language uniform throughout to help with search engine rankings.
- Give a statement of what you do and a list of services simple that is easy to understand. Avoid legal terminology wherever possible unless you want clients to be scared away.
2. Team Showcase
This is the place where your potential clients get to know their lawyer and their story so they can be confident their legal matter will be in the right hands.
If you have multiple lawyers or attorneys for your law firm, this page becomes the second most important page after the homepage of your website.
The questions that this page answers can range from your specialties to your uniqueness to your strengths and successes. This section not only helps your clients have a better understanding of you, your firm and your team, it also helps you in feeding in the right combination of keywords to make your website more search engine friendly.
For example, if you wanted to advertise on Google for the search term “DUI lawyer” you would be better off directing visitors to a landing page that is specifically tailored to reaching out to people in your firm who are specialist in DUI cases, rather than a more general page about your firm.
Leaving this out can lead to confusion and unnecessary calls having to explain to people that you don’t practice in the area they need.
This prevents you from focusing on calls from people who could actually benefit from your services.
- A great page should include this information: i) what are the most important aspects of this type of legal practice? ii) Who are you trying to help (who is the ideal client)? iii) What is his/her next step (call, email, etc)?
- Your different practice areas should be on separate pages. No one wants to have a DUI specialty and a personal accident specialty be read in the same note. (I wouldn’t!!) Separate pages will help in connecting with target clients in a more personal way.
- Clearly explain each practice area, the cases you take on, and why you do a better job than other lawyers in your area.
- Make sure to include professional headshots of your firm’s lawyers and support staff.
- The text is great for visitors (and search engines) but make sure it’s easy to read. Use bullet points to highlight the most important information.
Do you want new leads for your law firm?
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3. Custom Forms/ Contact Page
The end goal of any lawyers’ website is to drive new business. Your website should be able to grab each opportunity to make client move down your marketing funnel. Ideally, your entire website should carry your custom contact form on the sidebar, regardless of the visitor’s stage of decision making or whatever page they are on.
This is what makes contact page really important.
You want your clients to be able to reach out to you as soon as they visit your website. They should be able to get in touch with you easily.
The key questions to be answered are:
- Your firm’s name and address
- Your phone numbers
- Your email address
- A map of your office location
- A contact/ message form which people can use to inquire with you directly
- Prospective clients should have many options when it comes to ways to get in touch with you. Email, call, contact form, and chat boxes are all the convenient ways that you should focus on.
According to a survey done by BrightLocal, the number one reason why people choose not to use a local business after visiting its website is not having a phone number clearly listed.
- An embedded Google map helps people in locating you better; it also kind of puts your business on a map!
- Contact information needs to be prominently displayed and should have clear CTAs (Calls to Actions) throughout your website encouraging clients to contact you with inquiries/questions
4. Appointment Scheduling
The whole point of getting your practice and business online is to make sure you are available to clients at the click of a button and not just through direct advertising/cold calls or during office hours.
With a website, it becomes easier for prospective clients to look out for you in their free time, understand what you offer, and arrange for an appointment.
Appointment scheduler works more like your office assistant online. With a great appointment scheduler and a CRM connected to the contact form, you can automatically capture, track and revert to those incoming inquiries.
- Make sure your working hours are always mentioned. Being available outside of normal business hours for consultations provides a nice touch.
- An auto email responder is going to be a great touch
5. Reviews Integration / Enhanced Testimonials
Featuring client testimonials on your website is a tricky affair.
Much of it depends on the type of law you specialize in. But in more than one ways, it’s worth it as it helps build trust, makes people comfortable with the fact that other people having the same legal problems like them hired your firm to resolve them successfully.
You may or may not have names or only the first names of some of the clients (for example-criminal defense clients would like their identity to be withheld) but photos and names do add to your credibility when it comes to testimonials.
My rule of thumb for you would be to take whatever good review that comes your way in whichever way possible and then select the best way to show it. Client reviews are important because third-party assessments give people a sense of reassurance.
- Testimonials from “anonymous” don’t carry much weight.
- Pick and choose 3-5 reviews; don’t put everything that you get on the website.
- Include prominent links to your Yelp, Avvo profiles, and Google Plus pages so prospective clients can see even more great reviews!
- Include a clear call to action on your Client Testimonials page. Ask for a call, contact form submission, or email.
6. Blog Page
Active blogging does wonders for your SEO, as search engines love websites that are updated often with fresh content.
This really isn’t about a single page, but you must keep your blog up to date. If your blog looks active with fresh posts and comments, clients will assume you are running an active practice helping many clients like them regularly.
You have to keep it active, but don’t overdo it. One great blog post every month is better than a hastily thrown together post every week.
- Short and simple: Aim for between 500-1500 words. Use keywords, be to the point and concise. Try to explain complex topics in common language.
- Your audiences should care about the topics and it should relate to your primary practice areas.
- Focus on the purpose of the blog. Are you trying for an informative blog? Does it relate to audiences looking for legal advice? Is it about some new policy change that they should be aware of?
- Include a clear call to action on all posts. After reading your blog post, what should someone do next? Leave a comment to ask you a question about the topic? Call you for a free consultation? Share the post with a friend?
- Be clear and straightforward and ask your readers to take the next step, ¬¬ whatever that is.
7. News, Media, Honors, and Awards
This one is a double-edged sword. Too much bragging and you lose connection with your clients, too little and you risk of fading into oblivion. Maintain a balance. Prepare news based on your activities and events calendar. Make sure your industry awards and recognitions are highlighted.
To make a direct connection, highlight your social initiatives; focus on pro-bono cases supported by facts, figures, and images.
Awards, news and media exposure is a great way to establish credibility and reinforce positive perceptions.
Are you losing out on local leads to your competition?
If you are losing business to your competition, it is quite likely that they are doing a much better job at optimizing their website for search engines.
Not only will they have a website that is professional & customer friendly, but chances are also that they might have optimized their online presence for local searches.
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8. Events Manager
You can display upcoming legal conferences, speaking events, and sync with your calendar so that people booking an appointment will know about your availability or possible absence.
This is also a valuable feature in case you are connecting your business with social media where you can co-promote various events, which act as a good platform for you to network and extend your reach.
Consider this, with a great CRM integrated into your website like a HubSpot, Capsule, Sugar CRM etc, you can outsource most of your client relationship work to the software.
Right from welcoming clients into your fold to responding to potential leads, answering queries, assigning the new client/prospect to a team member, your CRM is s a super intelligent and value-added tool for a fast track attorney looking to make the most out of his website.
An integrated CRM software on your website helps keep track of your clients, leads, potential leads, as well as past clients.
Invest in a great CRM and most of your follow-up gets automated and if applicable, so does your email list management, subscribers management and a lot more!
10. Lead Capture Pages
People always love to feel like they are getting a deal of some kind. Legal websites are no exception.
If you want your clients to at least drop their contact information, be it their email address, phone number or any other contact information, you can do so by putting up a special offer that can help you stand out from your competition and encourage visitors to take action and contact you.
For example, you can put a special flat rate for one of your standard types of services.
You can offer a free consultation to a select few clients or offer to answer one question or review one legal document for free in exchange for contact information or subscription to your mail list or newsletter.
If you create a dedicated page for your special offer, you can also use it as a landing page for Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and other online advertising campaigns.
- Simple one or two sentences to explain the offer can make the lead capture page work wonders
- Lead capture pages have captured your audience’s attention and keep them hooked.
11. Case Studies
You can showcase your knowledge by publishing case studies about your previous cases.
You may argue that your site’s primary job is to get more clients and not to write papers on law, but publishing case studies give you a professional edge, as well as makes your profile noticeable to others.
Pages like these are not only valuable for users who wish to learn more about what you do but as for search engine optimization as well.
12. FAQ Page
An FAQ page with answers to common questions will help you and your clients get more out of their initial consultation. It also provides you with the opportunity to show your expertise and build credibility.
Anyone going through a complex legal issue will tell you that getting simple, layman-friendly answers to their legal questions is the most important aspect of their search for a good lawyer/law firm.
The goal of your FAQ page should be to encourage a website visitor to call you and ask the next question¬¬, i.e. the one that requires a more in¬-depth answer than an FAQ page can provide.
- Focus on simplicity- don’t dive too deeply into answers, and don’t overuse legalese.
- Limit yourself to questions that are specific to the law you practice and your firm’s policies. Use the questions you hear over and over from clients to guide you.
- Be smart; use your FAQ page to vet prospective clients. If you do not have a pricing page, for example, put in a question where you talk about payment options and answer it on FAQ page.
These are just 12 of the important pages which I think a great attorney or law firm website must have. No matter which area of the law you practice, it’s imperative that you provide your clients with a sense of trust and credibility. As such, creating a website that conveys that impression should be at the top of your list.
You need to show your clients you have the expertise for the job, as well as it should be easy for them to find you. The law website you have in mind should not be too complicated and should have a structure that supports its content, visuals, and all of your details.
Your legal website is like a digital brochure for your law firm, and it helps in creating a marketing hub for your practice.
Have any questions? Just leave a comment below!