People use the internet to search for all kinds of information. Where to shop, who to date, the weather report; the possibilities are truly endless. The ubiquity of the internet search has made web searchers more savvy and impatient when it comes to the sites they choose in their searches and also which sites they choose to continue to read before clicking away.
Law firms have an even more difficult challenge because most of the searchers who look for your practice have a legal issue. This makes them urgent, impatient, and self-conscious and they haven’t even picked up the phone to contact you yet. So how does a law firm ensure that its site will be intriguing and helpful enough to keep its visitors’ interest?
Here are some fast ways to tell if your website has staying power.
The Hero Section
The #1 mistake I see on modern law firm sites is this: The firm fails to make their clients the hero of the story. Don Miller of StoryBrand fame crystalized this idea and he’s spot on. If the homepage of your website has a picture of just you or you and your team, you’re missing a major opportunity.
The law is intimidating. If your clients see someone with whom they can identify on your home page, you are infinitely more likely to get them to continue reading on. They want to see themselves finding a solution with your firm. Make no mistake, they’ll want to know all about you too, but first, they must be able to see themselves in your success stories. Have an image of your ideal client represented on your homepage, then lead them to your credentials.
Website Load Speed
I don’t know about you, but a slow loading website makes me crazy. If it’s a potential client for my line of work, it’s one of the easiest things for me to demonstrate that they need to update their website. Web searchers are impatient and if your site doesn’t load in under 3 seconds, they are gone for good. Use this website to check your load speed. If it is too slow, talk to you web developer or reach out to my team to fix any issues that are beyond your technical expertise.
Easy to Navigate
If you were to ask your family members or friends, NOT professional colleagues, to go to your website and share with you what you do in under 5 seconds, could they do it? If your website doesn’t clearly state how you help people, what services you offer and how best to contact you, you need an overhaul.
Essential Pages to include on your website:
- Practice Areas (if possible, offer one page/practice area)
- About / Team
- Contact Us
If you have Google Analytics installed on your site (and if you don’t, please, please call me) look at the traffic to the pages on your site. If some of your pages are grossly under searched, it could mean they are hard to find.
Be sure to include clear options in your navigation bar, ideally with …. (see next paragraph)
On Page SEO
Much like the legal field, websites and digital marketing can have foreign and intimidating language. If you find yourself lost in the digital jargon, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of the website requirements that will help your firm rank in Google:
- Meta description
- Title tag
- Headings tags
- Keyword optimized copy
- Keyword in URL (think navigation bar)
- Short URLs
- Alt tag in images
If you can add keywords to all of these areas, you’re on your way to an optimized site.
Google is an aggregator of data. In analog terms, it’s a filing cabinet. Each page needs to be labeled in a way that indicates where the file goes. Folder, section, cabinet, room, etc. Google does the same thing, just digitally. When your law firm, especially if you have a lot of competition, doesn’t digitally indicate where your site belongs, then it gets relegated to no man’s land.
Clear Practice Areas and Contact Info
Visitors to your site are there for one reason: They’re looking for a lawyer who can help them with a specific legal issue. So, it’s important to highlight your services on your home page, and have clear links in your navigation bar to pages describing each of your practice areas. Even though a client finds you online, they’ll often reach out through email or a phone call when they decide to consult you. It’s a good idea to keep these two contact methods highly visible at all times. For added mobile responsiveness, you can use click-to-call and click-to-email CTA formats. Other methods of contact, such as contact forms, live chat via a chatbot, social media messages and location information are also great way to leverage your website to connect you with potential clients.
Call to Action
If you have a website that doesn’t IMMEDIATELY encourage someone to contact you, you are behind the game. Your Call to Action (CTA) can be anything you want, but you want it to make the web visitor take an action right away. Book a consultation. Call us Now. Book your appointment. It may seem silly, but it works. You must be crystal clear about what you want your potential client to do when they come to your site.
Responsive design (mobile, tablet and desktop)
It’s 2023 (almost). Though it can vary by industry or practice area, chances are 50% (or more) of your first website visitors are on mobile. This number will continue to rise. Google is also prioritizing the performance of most mobile layouts over the desktop. So, that means your mobile layout is impacting your Google ranking more so than your desktop layout. If you’re not sure if your website is mobile friendly, chances are it is not. If you’d like to know for sure, use this link.