Your website is an opportunity to tell your story, to connect with prospects and potential referral sources, and to build your credibility. It’s a powerful business development tool.
While the visual appearance of a website is important, in our experience, many lawyers don’t focus on the content of their website nearly as much as they should. The process seems to be “let’s spend months designing a nice-looking site and then throw some content up there at the last minute.”
As a result, law firm websites often read like a glorified resume… he graduated from law school in 1995… she serves on Bar Committee X and Y… he won Award Z in law school… and so on. No offense, but most of your clients and potential clients don’t care about the awards you won in law school. If this is the focus of your website content, you’re missing a huge opportunity to engage potential clients. So let’s talk about how to fix that.
The first step in writing strong website content for your law firm is to shift your focus from yourself to your audience. Your website isn’t a place to congratulate yourself. It’s a place to connect with your audience. To show them that you understand their challenges. And that you actually care about helping your clients improve their lives. It requires the right mindset, and the key is to place yourself in the shoes of your target market, and ask yourself “what do THEY want and need to read on my website?”
Below are five ways to accomplish this:
1) Quickly and clearly identify what you do and who you do it for. It’s very obvious to YOU what you do, and what kind of clients you work with. But it’s not at all obvious to your website visitors if you don’t spell it out for them. Use headlines and home page copy to clearly spell out what you do, and what type of clients you work with. This lets your ideal clients know that they are in the right place. If website visitors can’t tell what you do within seconds of opening your site, you’re not doing a good enough job in this regard.
2) Write for people… not search engines. SEO is important, and the written content of your website is a significant factor in determining where your website ranks on Google’s search results. But your primary focus needs to be creating clear, readable and engaging content for your human readers. Yes, you should work SEO keywords into your content when possible, but not at the expense of readability. Write for humans first, and search engines second.
3) Don’t over-emphasize your resume. Prospective clients aren’t as interested in your resume and your accomplishments as you are. The pressing question for them is “can you help me?” So don’t devote prime real estate on your website to your resume, unless there are very specific and significant reasons why this information should be highlighted. Instead…
4) Show your audience that you “get it.” Empathize with your target market. Show them that you understand their fears. If you’re a family lawyer, let readers know that you understand the emotional turmoil they are facing. If you’re a tax defense attorney, make it clear that you understand how freaked out your prospects are to have the IRS on their case. If you do criminal defense, acknowledge that your potential clients are gearing up for the fight of their life. Your prospects want to know that their attorney understands what they are going through, so don’t be afraid to acknowledge the emotions that your clients are experiencing and show them that you get it.
5) Minimize the legalese… speak the language of your market, not other lawyers. You’re a lawyer. You spend a lot of time with other lawyers. But your clients aren’t lawyers, and if you write your website content as if they were, it’s not going to resonate. Tone down the technical language and write in the language of your target market. Website content for an estate planning firm that targets high net net worth individuals should look very different from a foreclosure defense firm’s website. Write for your target market, not your friends, your colleagues, or your law professor.
Written content is an essential element of an effective law firm website. Have you given your content the thought it deserves? If you’d like more information on how to create a profitable internet marketing presence for your law firm, click here to download our FREE Special Report. It identifies five common missed internet marketing opportunities that most lawyers don’t know about, and we think you’ll find it helpful!