One of our niches at Ag ConeXus is building responsive websites and designing effective internet marketing plans for lawyers and law firms. Such plans regularly include advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns on viable practice areas. More recently, for more corporate law firms and B2B lawyers we have released our revolutionary business development software and associated program RELMANI, which assists law firms with diversifying their client base by generating more clients from wider and lower levels of the organization. Our responsive website design service is one that is required by all law firms, irrespective of who their target demographic is. In this article I outline 5 Features Every Law Firm Should Have On Their Website in 2014.
1. A Law Firm Website Should Be A Responsive Website Design
What is Responsive Website Design? Simply put, its a website design technique that renders an optimal visual of your website across smartphones, tablets, and desktops. In today’s competitive legal internet marketing field, this is one of the newest ways to differentiate yourself. The benefits are:
- your firm will appear on the cutting-edge to your clients and prospective clients,
- people using such mobile devices will get the information they need and not skip your site and move to the next in the search results and
- Google has said that a Responsive Design is preferred to a mobile website because it removes certain duplication of content issues, so that means better search ranking.
A recent law firm industry survey of websites show that 98% of law firm websites are NOT responsive. In 2014, law firm marketing committees should really look at this as a way to advance their internet marketing strategy. For some firms, this can be as easy as replicating the existing design with the responsive design technology. For others, it can be an opportunity for a fresh look and new design.
2. Several Clear and Easy Ways To Contact You
When we do a law firm website audit report, we often encounter this as being an issue to add to the list. Some firms make it difficult to find their contact information. As a law firm web marketing specialists we know how much work goes into bringing a prospective client to your site, so it really makes no sense to throw up conversion obstacles when you have them on your site. The preferred methods are:
- have a clear phone number and contact email in the upper right.
- have a quick contact form or call to action button on the mid-right or left of the screen
- have your address, phone number, email and link to your contact page in the footer
The above will ensure that whether the visitor is on a mobile device (will see contact info at the top of the screen first in a responsive design), or is reading your content in depth, they will almost always have your contact information readily available on any section of the page. If your firm feels this is too much, 1 and 3 are a good compromise.
3. A Blog And Excellent Content
In 2013 we saw a big law firm industry shift towards blogging. Most of the firms that hire SEO firms should have active blogs by now, as content marketing for law firms is the best way to increase your rankings on Google and Bing. That being said, there are several firms out there that don’t have the resources to maintain a blog, and do not integrate it. Our 2014 tip for law firm marketing committees is to elevate blogging in priority in their strategy. The main reasons behind this are:
- you are keeping your site fresh when you blog, so when Google comes to index your site, there is new content
- a good content marketing strategy that involves attorneys from your firm can showcase expertise in a specific practice area
- blog content can be re-purposed for different media, such as newsletters, social media, print articles etc…
- regular blogging can be used by rainmakers in the sales cycle by pointing to specific topical articles in sales meetings with prospective clients for them to delve into after the meeting and reaffirm that your firm is the best fit for them and that you showcase expertise
DO NOT COPY CONTENT!!!!!! Do not use one of those writing services that generate the same legal articles and content for several firms and distribute the same articles to those firms. This will result in getting a penalty from Google in your rankings! Original content, drafted by your firm, or exclusively for your firm is all that should touch your blog and your website.
4. Written and Video Based Client Testimonials
One of the biggest conversion factors that we have seen for our clients is that the phones ring and contact forms flow in after integrating video testimonials of clients on the law firm’s website. These do not need to be professionally scripted in some cases. For personal injury attorneys, the more authentic it is, the better. For more corporate focused attorneys, a professional video will work more in your favor based on your target demographic. Moreover, people prefer to watch a video than read pages of web content. Videos can also be optimized for search engines to include a script of what is said in the video. As of this time, Google is working on its speech recognition software, however still highly recommend uploading a script with each video for CC.
If video is not something your law firm wants to do, then written testimonials are the next best thing. Genuine testimonials work best. If possible have a picture of the client and a method of contact information available. Typically they will not receive any contact as trust has been won by offering the contact info up to the prospective client. It makes your written testimonial believable.
DO NOT FAKE REVIEW!!!! In 2013 the New York Attorney General charged several SEO firms, law firms and other businesses for posting fake reviews about their businesses on review sites such as Yelp!, Google, CitySearch etc… The 19 companies charged were fined more than $350,000. While it is difficult for anyone to determine if a review on your website is fake, its just good practice to have authentic reviews. If your testimonial is coming from an actual client, it will be more believable. Stay away from faking it in 2014.
5. A Clear Firm Directory with Attorney Bios
Lastly on this list is having an easy to use law firm directory with detailed attorney biographies. There are several benefits to this:
- Detailed biographies include V-Cards, Social Media links, especially to LinkedIn, where clients can see special practice areas of attorneys and review specific attorneys on LinkedIn to see their background, experience and to check if they have any recommendations for similar work performed in the past. This is a major conversion technique.
- You can optimize each attorney’s profile to appear in search results for a specific practice area, which is usually their area of specialty. Again creating more opportunities for inbound business opportunities.
- If a prospective client or client wishes to contact a specific attorney, they should be able to quickly find them and get their number/email from the directory. Nobody likes waiting around!
The above list is by no means exhaustive, however in 2014 we feel that these are the top 5 website issues that law firm marketing committees should review on their websites. These issues also span into other areas such as LinkedIn for your law firm. Would you be comfortable having a prospective client or client review any associates LinkedIn platform across the firm? If you are not, then you must do something about this, as LinkedIn is yet another tool that is expected to be used by lawyers as almost a digital resume, and beyond that, a great business development tool if used correctly.
If you have any additions to this list or comments feel free to leave them in the notes below.
Thanks to our friends at Singleton Defense, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers, for their contributions to this post.