In the wake of the pandemic, law firm websites have become a more essential part of the legal buyer’s journey. Containment may be over, but remote work and virtual events have profoundly and lastingly changed our habits.
Before COVID-19, 64% of in-house lawyers said law firm websites were important in the selection process, according to Greentarget. After, Thomson Reuters reports that some law firms have seen website traffic increase by up to 40% in the post-COVID era.
Your law firm’s website is, increasingly, your primary opportunity to make the right first impression and convert prospects into clients.
So it’s a shame that so many companies get it wrong.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it covers seven of the most common misdeeds perpetrated by law firm websites. It’s more than pet peeves: According to Hubspot, the average time spent on a website is just 54 seconds. It is essential to connect quickly; prospects won’t stick around long enough to learn about your bubbly personality buried beneath a clunky interface.
With every sin you commit, you are likely to turn off a prospect – and send them to a competitor.
Sin One: evasive contact information.
As an organization looking to exchange legal services for legal tender, you need to understand that the main purpose of your law firm’s website is to connect potential clients with the lawyers who can help them.
Your website should make it very easy for prospects to find and contact your lawyers:
- Use guiding language, like “Meet Our Team,” “Who We Are,” or concise “Lawyers” in the main navigation.
- In attorney bios, include multiple methods of contact, such as phone, email, and LinkedIn.
- Put a prominent “Contact Us” option at the top and bottom of the page. The top of the page is where people look first, while many of us have been conditioned to find phone numbers at the very bottom.
- If you have more than a handful of attorneys, include a search option for your team, so potential clients can filter options by practice, office, and more. Don’t make them hunt and rummage through 20 bios to find the guy who goes broke.
Look at your site from the perspective of a potential client who is late for a meeting. Is it easy to find a phone number and address with one hand, while driving and holding a cup of coffee?
Sin 2: Mobile accidents.
A quick review of the websites we manage shows that approximately 40% of traffic comes from mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
Meanwhile, according to the American Bar Association’s latest legal technology survey report, the profession gets a D for mobile-friendliness, as only 68% of law firms surveyed said their websites were mobile-friendly. to mobiles. Six percent said they weren’t, and sadly, 26% – more than 1 in 4 – had no idea.
You can’t reasonably expect your prospects to pinch, zoom, and scroll through your outdated website. In 2022, that’s the equivalent of wearing a leisure suit to court.
Sin 3: Diversity disconnects.
Too many law firm websites tout a “commitment to diversity,” but their actions don’t back it up.
For example, is your website accessible to the 15% of the population with some form of disability? Chances are that this is not the case: depending on the 2020 Web Accessibility Report, 98% of US-based web pages are not accessible to the disability community. There are easy ways to make your website inclusive (and ADA compliant); a site that can add contrast or enlarge the font size demonstrates much more of a commitment to inclusion than hollow prose on a Diversity page.
Additionally, take a thoughtful approach to stock images and photography. (Especially if your lawyer’s photos show a sea of white male faces.) Do you show a representative community of client samples? Do you show a representative community of success stories? On the other hand, be careful not to portray stereotypes of your “typical” clients, especially if you work in criminal defense, family law, bankruptcy, or other emotionally charged practices. .
Sin Four: A site designed for firm lawyers, not firm prospects.
Your website is not the business directory.
Your website is not the organization chart of the business.
Your website is designed to communicate with clients. It means engaging with them on their own terms. This means not designing or writing a website to feed partners’ egos. It means deliberately building a site with empathy and consideration for the legal buyer’s journey. What do they need to know to make a decision? What insurance do they need?
Many companies do well in classifying their work done on behalf of industries; corporate clients are more likely to identify as a food company or manufacturer than as a consumer of crime.
On the consumer side, seek to educate: One site that does this well is the family law firm, Hough Law Firm. Instead of using intimidating terms, the Hough Law Firm breaks down family law into simple actions. It’s not “divorce amendments”, it’s “Updating your divorce”. It’s not “protection orders”, it’s “Safeguard your family”. This allows potential customers to self-select into their particular life stage.
Your prospects are much more interested in what you can do for them – and proof that you’ve already done it – than in your firm’s history or your legal review experience.
Which brings us to…
Sin Five: Lack of evidence.
Again, your potential customers want to know that you handled a problem like theirs. In a recent Clio survey, 77% of clients said they want to know about lawyers’ experience and credentials; 72% said they wanted to know what types of cases they handled.
While client privacy is paramount, an up-to-date and user-friendly Results section is a must. This should include case studies that are relatable. No quotes allowed.
Work experience is one of four types of evidence that every law firm website needs. An effective law firm website will also show happy clients, law firm prowess, and third-party endorsements. This proof will prove that you are a safe bet – and ideally worthy of a bounty.
Sin Six: Neglecting search engines.
Don’t adopt a field of dreams approach with your website. If you build it, they might not come.
Your website should be designed to connect with humans, of course – but it can’t neglect Google and Bing. Indeed, search engines are now practically tied to the proven prospecting method of referrals. According to Clio, when clients need lawyers, 59% will seek referral, 57% will seek on their own, and 16% will do both.
When analyzed by age group, the references become less relevant: while they are highly valued by 60% of baby boomers, this affinity drops to 46% for Millennials and 47% for Gen Z wooing the next generation of customers.
Search engine optimization is an ever-evolving field, but your site should be intentionally built to appeal to algorithms. This means dealing with “under the hood” elements, such as meta descriptions and image filenames, as well as substantial content that a crawler may consider authoritative.
A beautiful website that is untraceable by Google is a waste of time and money.
Sin Seven: Distracting bells and whistles.
Avoid pop-ups and sounds: More often than not, these are unnecessary distractions. Again, remember that the average visitor will spend around 54 seconds on your site; they are unlikely to want to spend more time there if they are bored.
Videos, while amazing storytelling tools, shouldn’t be set to autoplay.
Chatbots should be deployed with caution: While they can be a quick resource for certain practice areas, keep in mind that your visitors want to talk to a lawyer, not a robot. If a chatbot makes sense for your practice, invest in a service that provides a 24/7 human response — not a bot with a decision tree.
Most, if not all, of these sins can be avoided with a focused and empathetic approach to the law firm’s website. Keep in mind that very few clients, businesses or consumers seek out a lawyer because they are having a great day; they are human beings in stressful situations. Your website should be an experience rooted in convenience and credibility. Your website needs to build trust quickly, show you’re a safe choice, and establish a relationship with them on their terms (and devices).