Your firm just finished its next generation website. It’s got new colors and sophisticated looking graphics. You’ve finally posted bios of all of the lawyers in the firm, complete with photos and contact information. You’ve outlined your practice areas. Your site promises clients a broad range of experience, quality service, and superior results. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that although you may think your site is ‘cutting edge,’ many law firm websites fail to reach even a portion of their potential. Frequently, they are no more than on-line versions of a firm’s brochure or Yellow Pages ad. One way this manifests itself is in the firm’s failure to address or consider the clients’ needs and interests on the website.
Passing commentary about experience and service, without more, leaves the client out of the equation. Law firms miss a huge opportunity when they go to great lengths to describe their accomplishments or experience but fail to explain in concrete terms how those things help the client. Vague representations about ‘results’ don’t tell the client anything of significance.
Try looking at your website from the perspective of your clients. What are they looking for when they come to your site? Don’t think about what you want them to know – think about what they want to know. Or, if you must, tell them what you want them to know, but then make sure you tell them why it is (or should be) important to THEM. Why does your experience matter to the client? In what way?
Does your site provide useful content to your clients? Is it a resource that they will return to over and over again? Are you providing information that affects them and their business or the issues that affect your representation? If you’ve written an article or given a talk that would be of interest to your clients, why not re-purpose it as an article on your website? Do you give talks or presentations to clients? If so, putting a list of topics that you’ve spoken about, or that you are available to speak to clients about, can be another way of letting clients know you’re there to help them, and that you’re on top of the latest issues that affect them.
What else are clients looking for from your site? Do you have the basics, like directions to your office? Is it easy to tell from your site who a client should contact if they have a question? Is the navigation on the site clear and easy to follow?
Is the copy on your site easy to read? Can the reader scan (as many web readers do) and still get the important points of your message? Does the text engage the reader, or is it so dry and boring that they’re likely to click away? Are there examples and statistics that demonstrate to the client that you know what you’re talking about? Examples of past successes, testimonials or case studies can go a long way to demonstrate that your firm is the one they should choose – or stay with.
There are lots of things to think about when writing and designing your site. Your website shouldn’t be all about you – don’t forget to consider your clients.
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Allison C. Shields
Legal Ease Consulting, Inc
Creating Productive, Profitable and Enjoyable Law Practices
P.S. Found a mistake or a bug? If there’s anything that bothers you about this site, I want to know! Send me an email at Allison@LegalEaseConsulting.com. I want this site to be not just a resource, but a refuge for lawyers. I want you to be comfortable here. So if there’s something that bothers you, please tell me!