By John Zaher
The internet is now the main way for law firms to gain exposure. It’s an easy and fast way to get found, communicate with clients, and bring in new business. This is your first impression—make it count! When developing or maintaining a website, there are quite a few factors to consider since websites can easily help or harm a brand. What should the site include? How can I maximize the return on my investment? These are all questions that can be answered by considering a few important factors to gain traffic and build your reputation.
The domain name is the primary way to brand your site. This is what will be typed in the search bar to locate your site. Using a .com domain is best because of its popularity — many individuals believe that .net sites are less reputable.
You want your web address to be simple, but including a keyword can help SEO (ex. www.longislanddivorcelawyer.com). Something long and difficult to remember may result in loss of visitors to your site. We recommend using your firm’s name or a keyword-based description.
When searching the internet, the average time someone spends by a webpage is less than a minute. Your goal is to beat this limit. The only way to do so is having a professional website that quickly offers visitors valuable information and various ways to contact your firm.
You want your website to quickly answer the who, what, when, where and why about your law firm. Have all of this information and/or links to this information available on every page. Don’t let your site look old and outdated. The things that keep visitors returning are simple: good information, pictures, maintenance and structure. Let your site do the directing!
Easily Navigable Site
Easy navigation throughout a website is a must. Users won’t spend more than 30 seconds searching through a web page. If users can’t find what they’re looking for right away, chances are they’ll exit your site and navigate to one of your competitors.
Your menu bar should be clear and descriptive, and have a font and color that make it easy to locate. Menu bars tend to be where people look for important information (About Us, FAQs, Contact, etc.), so all of your important pages should be accessible via your site’s menu.
An About Page is a page that gives a good, brief description of what and who you are. You can include the history of the law firm, when it was founded, your practice areas, and major victories. A bio page with a brief background of each attorney will also add a personal touch and introduce potential clients to the people at the firm.
Ideally, an About page or a Bio page should be short and brief. You want the reader to be able to skim the description, attracting them to stay and continue searching and interacting on your site.
FAQ / Contact
Nothing is more frustrating than not getting answers. A FAQ / Contact Page is a must when it comes to key things to include on your website. A link to FAQs, a Contact Page or a contact form must appear in your site’s menu bar.
Include a general email address (usually firstname.lastname@example.org) for younger visitors and a phone number for older visitors.
Keywords are an excellent way for your page to attract and gain more visitors. These are words that potential clients type in search engines to find websites that would best fit their quest to finding what they need.
For example someone searching for a lawyer might type in “Suffolk Criminal Lawyer.” If these words are present in your site, your page will be closer to the top of the results. That’s a jumpstart you will already have on competitors.
Add links to social media pages on your website. Social media is a good and inexpensive way to market yourself, maintain good customer satisfaction, and connect with potential clients. In the past few years the number of social media pages for law firms has grown exponentially. In particular, law firms have a large presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Another advantage of social media is SEO. Social media has well over 1 billion users, and a social media presence can help bring more visitors/links to your website. Some of the capabilities that social media presents are the sharing of news and/or blog pages and information regarding your area of law that could capture the eyes of potential clients. You can create posts on your page to direct people to visit your site.
Blog and/or news page
A blog or news page is a great way to talk about what you have done in the past and to share relevant findings in your field of law. A personal injury firm can write blog posts on recent legislature regarding liability or a recent lawsuit about hospital injuries. A blog can also highlight your firm’s successes or testimonials and convert potential clients into current clients.
A subscribe feature is a great way to expand your email marketing list and have your blog directly emailed to potential and existing clients. Do not hesitate to hire a marketing team to assist you in constructing these posts, as this can really help spruce up your rankings. A bonus: frequent blog updates improve your SEO!
WORD OF ADVICE: Social media is very blog-friendly, where you can share posts via your network and have it go viral.
Relevant External Links
Networking, networking, networking… External links are a great way to help your search engine ranking. It works both ways, though. Link to sites related to your firm, but not to competitors’ firms. By building these relationships with related firms/industries, you can help get more traffic to your site.
WORD OF ADVICE: Be careful who you link to. Sites with a bad reputation (spam sites and sites that are easily hacked) can damage your ranking more than they help.
A majority of people these days have smartphones and tablets. People are increasingly using cell phones to search rather than using laptops or desktops. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile viewers. Remember that mobile screens are usually much smaller than a regular computer screen. Sometimes it is beneficial to create separate mobile sites rather than optimizing a current site. For example, a law firm that has a mobile site might highlight its contact information and areas of expertise and downplay the rest of the site.
Web design is critical to the future success of any business. If your law firm needs help designing or updating a website, please contact Aimee Dineiro at email@example.com or at 1-866-PR4Lawyers.