Most attorneys these days have invested or are investing in a website. You probably understand the value of having a great website to represent your law firm online. It's a big space where many potential clients are going to research their problems and select a lawyer. Potential clients can now view countless websites of lawyers in your area without having to make any commitment. This makes smart web marketing all the more important so that you can prevent being "just another site."
However, this investment can end up doing nothing for you if you end up making the same mistakes that are being made by thousands of law firms.
Below, we've identified five of the top mistakes being made by attorneys with their website marketing. And you'll notice it's not nitpicky stuff like the colors you chose or font size. It's more important that you under foundational principles of your website and the big choices that can make it backfire.
- Copying what everyone else is doing - Just like when lawyers all started advertising in the Yellow Pages, it has become a copycat game. It's all too easy to just point at another website and say, "I want that for me." Too many lawyers end up doing this without asking a simple question: How do you know that the website you're copying works?
You can't stand out from a crowd when you're wearing the same clothes and saying the same things. This doesn't mean that you need to go crazy with your website design, but you don't just want to look like everything else out there.
- Random stock photos that mean nothing on your home page - Is that photo of a cityscape helping your potential client learn more about your firm? We didn't think so.
Don't just use "pretty" images. And, while we're at it, avoid "exploitative" images as well, such as burning car wrecks. Those images are being used in cheap TV commercials that everyone hates to see - so they don't belong on your website.
- Not thinking about the potential client's experience - What does the client want to see when they get to your website? We like to use the phrase "get 'em where they're going" to describe our approach. The information that they want to learn should be readily available to the potential client, not buried in some sub menu or after they've clicked through a couple of pages.
Don't hide your location(s) or contact information. These should be obvious. Additionally, make sure that people know what kind of law you practice (by the way, you shouldn't just be listing every possible area of law - focus on a few practice areas).
- Wasting space "above the fold" - This is the space that someone immediately sees when they get to your website without having to scroll down or click on another button. If you waste it on some big broad image or with a bunch of useless information, you reduce the chance that someone will continue to interact with your online presence. You have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of a visitor, so use this space wisely.
- Not considering what you are doing offline - If people see a print ad of yours and go to your website, is your message congruent? Are people getting a common experience from you when they move from something offline to your online presence? This doesn't mean that every postcard you mail should look like a screenshot of your website, but you do want to consider the potential client's experience here.