In the past, when a friendly Accountant referred a client to your firm, the client would automatically contact you due to the “strong” referral but today anyone who is referred to you, even if it is from a trusted advisor, will not only look at your website first, they will often research their legal issue ahead of any meeting and come to the first meeting well informed.
We find these are the most common issues we confront:
Web pages being introspective – it’s not really about you
Firms often launch into how good they are at certain fields of law and are self-congratulatory page after page. It is not about you.
Websites work best when clients and potential clients can assess whether you are the lawyer for them of if your firm is. How do they do that? Not by being told you are the firm for them, but by you showing them.
Demonstrate to the viewer that you know about a certain field of law by providing details and relevant content. Most sites have a meaningless amount of text, in fact most just list or describe what work is undertaken.
You need to look at your website from the reader’s perspective.
Shocking photo selection (or no photos)
Just because a mate tells you the photo of you with a beer in one hand and a shotgun in the other brings great memories of a weekend you will never forget, doesn’t mean that your clients and referrers will view the photo the same way. They may gain a wrong impression by the image projected, particularly if they don’t know you at all.
There are simple things you can do to improve the photos on your website.
We recommend a plain background, not law books for example. We see this frequently and presumably the lawyer feels it displays experience or wisdom. The reality is that the photo becomes too busy.
Look straight into the barrel of the camera (without squinting) and let’s see some teeth and a small smile. It doesn’t matter if you do not think you are naturally beautiful because it is not a beauty contest.
Web viewers do need to think that you will help them in solving their legal problem/s though. Viewers want to trust that you will act skilfully for them.
That is the image you should project!
Also, so many sites we review don’t have any photos of the solicitors. This automatically puts you at a disadvantage.
As we say above, it’s not about looks so get over it. Rightly or wrongly clients like to see the person and make their own assessments before they retain you or your firm.
Many lawyers are simply too modest in the Bio
The bio is that part of the firm’s website where you need to talk about yourself.
Firms often make the mistake of talking about themselves for the entire website and going all coy in the bio where it really matters. You need to do the opposite.
Talk about what you can do for your clients and potential clients in your website but in the bio part talk about you. Not boastfully but you need to sell the fact that you should be the lawyer the web viewer should contact for their legal problem.
If you say you have 20 years’ experience then back that up by setting out some substantial or significant work you have accomplished in that field. Describe what you have done so it makes sense to the reader. If you have given lectures on certain fields of law that gives you credibility and it shows you are up-to-date. Set out what you do.
You need to say something about yourself as well, so if you are a golfer or a stamp collector, include that. It shouldn’t be front and centre but it needs to be there.
There should also be a photo next to your bio.
No News is not good news
Nothing is as off-putting for clients and prospects as a news section with no news.
Every law firm website should have a news section. The problem is that so often the news part says “coming soon” and it is clear that the firm cannot provide news. This gives a clear signal to readers that the firm can’t get its act together and don’t wish to keep their clients informed of changes to the law.
These are not good messages!
Failing to add new content such as an up to date newsletter sends out the message that the law firm is drab. We write law firm newsletters for lawyers so there is really no excuse not to have this sent to your clients and then uploaded onto your website.
Out of date content
Content is like fruit, it doesn’t remain fresh for ever.
Often firms are so enthusiastic about their new site that they think solicitors will be lining up to submit articles to keep the Newsletter, Publications or Blog pages regularly updated. Then reality kicks in, everyone is doing their legal work, time goes by and oops it has been two years and newsletter #1 dated all that time ago is still there all by itself announcing some new piece of legislation which is no longer new at all. Let’s hope the savvy clients don’t notice that, because everywhere else on the website we have been saying how cutting edge we are!
As good as it may have been, the Christmas party photos of 2009 should not now be in “News”…put them in “Archives” where they can be found if someone really wants to see them, or rename News to be something more appropriate.
The same goes for newsletters. Put the current ones in news and archive the older editions allowing clients to look back and review them if they want. This constant updating of content will help your SEO as well.
We work with law firms every day, call us for help. To arrange a no-obligation discussion call Peter on 0407 018 109 or email [email protected]