Over the years, we have discovered from our legal industry clients that there are a number of challenges law offices face when they are constructing their websites. I’m writing to address some of the website issues plaguing smaller and midsize law firms and to shine some light on the solutions we provide for our law firm clients. As with any industry, web challenges are innumerable, but we are focusing on six common challenges.
1. Attracting Clients
It seems ridiculous to include this here, but from a branding perspective, legal sites don’t always do their best to attract clients. These firms fill their site with verbiage that speaks to other lawyers or industrial professionals. Those visitors new to the world of law and legal jargon should not be confused once they arrive at your site. Your site needs to easily engage potential clients, providing additional information about your practice, or by directing them to a contact page to get in touch with an attorney.
This strategy is especially important for smaller firms that lack the personnel and time to dedicate to website optimization. Larger firms are apt to employ a team specifically for brand messaging on the site. This advantage is nullified when small and midsize law firms are thinking client-first in their brand strategy.
2. Understanding Your Entire Audience
Making matters even more challenging, firms also need to include language that attracts talent to join the firm. A law firm’s website needs to appeal to both the client and the talent. This means your site will have a number of different personas browsing. To fully understand how to optimize your site, you will need to analyze your audience. How are visitors using your site, and what can you learn from viewing their demographic data?
Analyze and separate your visitors into demographic groups. Those more interested in law and legal services may be using the site to gain more information on career opportunities. Those with a more general mix of interests may be navigating your site quite differently. Model your website’s language on the types of paths your demographic groups are taking.
3. Branding for Practice Areas
Full service law firms have a more difficult branding process. If your legal focus is litigation, it is clear to the firm how the site needs to be optimized to attract both clients and talent. If your firm specializes in a wide range of legal work, not only will the firm have to demonstrate expertise in each practice, but will also need to optimize the website around common search terms for each practice.
General practice law firms should have a separate page created for each practice area of expertise. Each page should include substantive information in addressing common client questions, while simultaneously establishing authority on search engines. Develop each page with details of that specific practice and what makes your firm stand out.
4. Optimizing Your Design
Some law firms elect to use use design templates for their website. Others seek the help of a marketing agency. Ensure that you carefully consider the brand design needs for your website. Templates provide hands-on customization in a one-size-fits-all package. Marketing and branding agencies will work with you to provide the best brand strategy possible. There are certainly benefits to each method, but to optimize your design for the right impression, you need to understand how your firm is visually branded.
Our agency, for example, provides a collaborative experience while optimizing your site around a set of goals. You can plan your site around any number of end goals, whether they are client-focused, talent-focused, or both. For more information about our agency’s approach, view our branding capabilities.
5. Dealing with Competition
Your small firm will likely encounter competition from many other small firms. As smaller firms pop up across the country, special attention needs to be paid to your marketing efforts. Each of these firms have the same goal as your firm; get as many clients as they can handle. Smart web strategy will make your firm the one that stands out among the crowd.
Most, if not all of your competitors have a website that they are working to optimize as well. We like to think of websites as the best salesman a business will have. It works 24/7 to sell your services to clients, so it needs to be fine-tuned to work at peak efficiency. Stay above the competition and make constructing your website and its message a top priority.
6. Lack of Expertise
Building, writing, and optimizing websites is tough work and requires thousands of hours of practice and experience to produce the best results. Rushing into a website project is risky if you do not have a strategy in mind or knowledgeable professional assistance. An inconsistent brand message may confuse visitors and cause your firm to miss out on potential clients. For small practices, this is a loss that cannot be afforded.
A web design team in your corner will mean a world of a difference, just as a well-prepared law firm is life-changing for their clients. Optimize your website and overcome these common web challenges. For more information on our web strategy for law firms, contact us to get started.