The following article was written for the ABA’s Law Technology Today
Link to the full article:
By Daniel Decker
Your law firm website plays a crucial role in the business development process. For many potential clients, your website will create the first impression of your firm. Even prospective clients who have been referred to you will often look your firm up on the internet before they contact you.
So it’s important that your first impression sends the right message. To help you do this, this article will introduce seven important elements that should be present on your law firm website.
1) A video introduction on your home page.
The average website user prefers watching a video to reading text. Providing a “video introduction” on your home page gives them this option. It also establishes a personal connection with your audience, giving them the opportunity to see your face and hear your voice, rather than reading impersonal text. In addition, we also recommend creating a video FAQ library on your website—using video to answer common questions and concerns relevant to your target market. Click here if you’d like to see an example library belonging to one of our clients.
2) A clean, organized menu.
It’s important that your menu is clear and easy to navigate. Don’t make it hard for your visitors to find whatever it is that they’re looking for. Because you’ll likely have more pages on your website than can comfortably fit in your main menu area, you’ll need to think hard about which pages are most important and need to be prominently featured, and which can be located in sub-menus or drop-downs. Your menu is prime real estate, and you should think it through strategically.
3) A special report, e-book, or other content available for download.
A practical report, white paper, or e-book is important for at least two reasons. First, even if a visitor doesn’t download it, the mere existence of the content “proves” your expertise. (Because how else could you have written the report?) Secondly, if you can create a report that is appealing to website visitors, you can capture their contact information in exchange for the free download. You can then plug them into your marketing funnel as appropriate.
4) Mobile responsiveness.
An ever-growing majority of website visitors are using a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet. If your website isn’t built with mobile-responsiveness in mind, these visitors aren’t going to be able to find what they are looking for. In addition, most search engines can detect whether a user is on a mobile device, and if so, they won’t even show non-mobile-friendly sites in their search results. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential business.
5) An industry focused, regularly updated blog.
A blog is a valuable tool, both in terms of attracting traffic to your website, and as a way to engage your audience and demonstrate your expertise. Your blog should focus on providing value to your target market—and one of the best ways to do this is to write blog entries addressing common questions and concerns that your market has. This shows your readers that you understand their concerns, and that you are well-positioned to help them. Blog content is also valuable for increasing your rankings on Google and other search engines.
6) Lead capture forms on every page.
One of the primary purposes of your website is to generate leads and help you grow your practice. To do so, we highly recommend using lead capture forms on every page of your site. This can be as simple as a box on your sidebar encouraging your readers to download content such as a special report in exchange for their contact information. You can also offer them the opportunity to subscribe to your e-newsletter, download an infographic, or whatever else you’d like to offer.
7) Contact page, including an accurate map.
When a website visitor is ready to get in touch with you, make it easy! Your contact page should be easy to find, and it should clearly display your contact information. We recommend including a contact form which can be filled out directly from your site, in case the individual doesn’t want to call or email. It’s also important to have an accurate, easy-to-use map on your contact page for clients who wish to visit your office in person.
In addition to these elements, it’s important to ensure that your website has a professional-looking design and that it functions properly. Neglecting your website can send a message that you don’t really care about the appearance of your law firm—and if that’s the case, prospective clients may wonder how seriously you take your practice to begin with. On the other hand, a well-designed and engaging website can be among your most valuable business development assets. If you’d like to learn more, click here for free access to our Special Report entitled “Five Ways Your Internet Foundation Will Make or Break Your Marketing.”