Lawyers learned early on that their websites present a huge opportunity for introducing their legal services and expertise to potential clients.
Of course this means that competition among lawyers online can be tough. When attorneys structure their websites specifically for clients searching for an attorney — which can be an emotional process — it makes their decision even easier.
1. The Right Domain Name: Your Name Does Not Need to Include all of your Partners’ Names
Just imagine that you are trying to tell someone that they can “easily” access your website for great information. Then you tell them to go to www.SmithJohnsonDavisMillerandJones.com. It’s common for law firms to add and remove partners throughout the business’ lifespan, and changing your domain name is never a good idea. Try picking a domain name that includes your local city or focuses on the senior partners’ name. For example, YourCityDivorceLaw.com or SmithAndAssociates is much easier to market and remember rather than a long list of last names.
2. Your Expertise: Preach What You Practice
As soon as people arrive on your site, make sure to indicate what type of law you practice or your area of specialty. This can be achieved by utilizing compelling taglines on the homepage. Once you’ve prominently declared your speciality, the visitor then only has to decide if you have the experience they’re looking for, rather than questioning if you would even take their case. This could also be handled by imagery. If you are an accident lawyer, having photos of vehicles will instantly convey what category you are in for the user.
3. Detailed Practice Areas: Explain What They Are
If you are like most law firms, you have a variety of practice areas within your discipline. Take the time to break each into its own page, and discuss in detail what you do for each area. Lead each page with a strong explanation of what that practice area focuses on, listing useful things to know. After those two paragraphs, go into a little more detail. Educate the user on what they need to know when considering taking legal action. Are there crucial steps that need to be taken before calling you? What information will they need to provide when they call? Making the user feel informed and at ease will establish you as someone who is easy to work with and who cares about making clients feel comfortable in the process.
4. Have a Blog: Regularly Updated Content Serves a Variety of Purposes
Because competition is extremely high online for legal search terms, it is important to have a section of your site filled with regularly updated content. Not only do regular content updates help ensure your site stays visible, it also helps position your firm as a thought leader in your practice area. By using the blog to educate on smaller-focused issues and topics, it will again provide confidence that you are knowledgeable and helpful. Also, use the blog to highlight interesting cases that you have recently won. Don’t announce private information, but still indicate how you helped past clients get the best possible outcome.
5. Attorney Profiles: Help Show Your Team’s Expertise and Personality
Create individual pages for all of your attorneys with recently updated headshots. The people working for you are your greatest assets, and by showing each person and their level of experience, it only boosts your reputation. Don’t just list their education and industry experience. Humanize the attorney by listing any associations, charities or acts of good work they perform. This will show that they’re established members of their community as well as qualified attorneys. Make their contact information easy to access. Also list the practice areas they work in, and link them to your practice area pages on your site.
6. Mobile-Friendly Site: Make Sure You Have a Responsive Website Design
It’s almost impossible to guess who will be accessing your site and what device, or variety of devices, they’ll be using. If your site is easily readable on mobile and tablet devices, you can ensure that no matter how someone accesses it, they won’t have a problem learning about your practice and getting in touch with you. For example, they may be in a hospital bed after a recent accident and may only have access to a mobile phone. Make sure that it’s easy for them to navigate your website and give you a call. You can visit Google’s mobile site testing tool to see if your site is mobile-friendly.
7. SEO: Quality Content is Necessary to Have Great Rankings
It can’t be stated enough that quality, useful content is key to getting noticed by Google and other search engines. If you are providing what’s perceived as valuable information to users searching for your optimized keywords, you will make it to the top. But you have to keep that content updated on a regular basis to keep users and the search robots coming back. Optimize your content with local optimization techniques to capture users searching for a lawyer nearby. Make sure to have a local landing page for all of your offices with an embedded Google Map and all contact information. This coupled with a claimed Google+ page can help give you better local search rankings.
8. Clear Call to Action: Tell Them What to Do Next
It may seem so simple to say, but sometimes people forget to tell a potential client what the next step is to hiring you or your firm. Displaying an easy-to-find phone number on all pages, for example, can help to generate greater leads more reliably than housing it on a single contact page.
Most people also see a lift in leads by simply adding prominent contact forms on every page. This can also be helpful to know which page a user was on when they decided to contact you. In the future, you might find that many people have one entry point to your site, and it’s where you should focus your optimization efforts.
By focusing your site on the user, their peace of mind and a basic education on your practice areas, you will make it easier for potential clients to choose you. All of these efforts can help you cut through the competition to establish a great online presence for your legal practice or law firm website.