Tag Archives: website

Tips for a successful law firm website

In a previous article on the new legal consumers, we learned that approximately one in three people in need of legal assistance finds their lawyer by researching them online. A good website plays a crucial role in that. So, what makes a website of a law firm successful? Here are some recommendations by the experts.

User experience

Website visitors are picky and demand a positive user experience, or they’ll just turn away. The following five items contribute to a positive user experience.

Quick load time: your pages should load fast. Research shows that most people are only willing to wait some seconds before they turn away, because they haven’t seen anything yet. Typically, mobile users are less patient than desktop users.

Mobile-friendly: with more mobile users than desktop users on the Internet, having a mobile-friendly website is a must.

Relevant imagery: visitors tend to prefer visually pleasing websites. It is, however, not enough to just have attractive imagery, it must be relevant.

Modern design: lawyers often make the mistake of going for a more conservative design. They forget that the website should appeal to their visitors, and the majority of them prefer modern designs.

Easy navigation: the website users want to find the information they are looking for fast. Easy navigation is therefore a must, too.

Four imperatives to convert prospects

One of the purposes of a website is to convert visitors into clients. In a previous article (on why social media matter), we pointed out that this typically works better if you turn your website visitors into content consumers first, and that social media can play a significant role in that. To convert visitors into content consumers and clients, the texts on your site must be client-focused. They must convey clarity, trust, relatability, and differentiation.

Clarity: lawyers tend to use sentences that are too long, and verbose. Your sentences should be short, clear and to the point.

Trust: what you tell about yourself must convince a potential client that they can trust you.

Relatability: people look to establish relationships with other people they can relate to. If your texts are distant or aloof, a prospective client will look somewhere else.

Differentiation: you have to stand out and explain what makes you different from other lawyers offering similar services.

Pages to include

Your website should include the following pages:

Services: describe the services you offer. Be precise.

Testimonials: prospective clients want to know who the other clients are that you helped, and what they think of you.

A personalized about us page offers an opportunity to profile yourself as relatable, trustworthy and as different from other firms.

A contact form with Captcha: you want people to be able to reach you, but at the same time, you want to keep spammers out.

A FAQ page often is a good idea. The most frequently asked questions usually have to do with how much it will cost. Provide information on how and how much you charge, and for what.

Because they are required by search engines, don’t forget to include a Privacy Policy, and a Disclaimer.

More and more online consumers give preference to websites that offer an online payment facility.

Finally, your website should have site maps for your visitors, as well as for the web crawlers that search engines use.

Recommended page elements

Usability experts recommend including the following elements in the pages:

The header of the pages should include the domain name, your logo, and your tagline (if you have one). Typically, the header will also include the top navigation, as well as the breadcrumb navigation (i.e. the ‘you are here: home > …’ section).

On your page, under the header, you typically want to present a slide show or image. On your home page, you then continue with crucial business information, some testimonials and reviews. Below that, you can list the main features. On other pages than your home page, you present the information that the page is for, and make sure you provide quality content.

At the bottom of the page, you put internal links to other pages on your site.

The footer of your page typically must contain your contact information with special emphasis on your location (people tend to look for a lawyer that lives nearby), and on a phone number. (Some experts recommend putting your phone number in the header). Your footer should also include your business hours, as well as your Social Media buttons.

 

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Accommodating your clients in the mobile revolution

The mobile revolution is a fact. In October 2016, worldwide, more websites were visited with mobile devices than with desktops. Indeed, Statcounter, a research company that tracks Internet traffic, reported that 51.3 percent of websites were loaded onto mobile devices, thus overtaking traffic from desktops for the first time ever on a global scale.

How does that affect you? In this article, we’ll focus on how to accommodate your mobile clients. More specifically, we’ll deal with what this means for your website and for your interactions with your clients. In a follow-up article, we will pay attention to some new tools the mobile revolution is providing for lawyers.

Let us start with your website. The first question to ask yourself is whether your website is mobile-friendly. How does it look when viewed on a mobile device? Is the text going out of the screen? Do the images and videos fit within the screen width? Can the navigation of the site be used comfortably on a mobile device?

Gone are the days of fixed width wide screen layouts. A quick look at available statistics teaches that approximately one in three website visitors has a screen width between 320 and 360 pixels! So, your website must be accessible in these lower resolutions. You may also consider using a font size that keeps the text readable.

A next item to pay attention to is the structure of your website. Are the menus and navigation touch-friendly and is the site easy to navigate on mobile devices? Are the menu options sufficiently large so they can be tapped with fingers? Mobile visitors also expect pages to load faster. Typically, pages that are optimized for mobile usage tend to be shorter, which means that – compared with how things used to be – you may need to reorganize and split up the content of your website.

Don’t speculate that you can postpone making your site mobile-friendly, because you are already losing potential customers. People using mobile device are 50% less likely to use your services if they find you through a website that is not mobile-friendly! And search engines like Google punish websites that are not mobile-friendly in several ways. Non-mobile-friendly websites get a lower ranking in the search results, which means your website will be harder to find. That ranking is lowered even more if the user who is performing the search uses a mobile device. (As a site note, Google also punishes websites that do not have a sitemap, disclaimer, or privacy statement, as well as sites that do not meet accessibility requirements). If you want to find out how your site is doing, Google offers a website where you can test it, and see if it is mobile-friendly by Google’s standards: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

In previous articles, we pointed out that the new legal consumer prefers to work with lawyers who offer a client portal. In it, clients can have access to their data in a secure environment, and keep track of the evolution of their case(s). Preferably, that client portal, too, should be mobile friendly.

Finally, mobile media also affect how we communicate. 97% of the owners of mobile devices use it for texting through (social media) apps like Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Skype, Google Hangouts, or other apps. Many use their mobile device for video chats. And 53 % of mobile users use their mobile devices to read and send email as well. Are the emails you send mobile friendly? Do the header and footer fit within the screen widths of mobile devices?

The mobile revolution is here. Make sure you don’t miss it!

 

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