Confusing Content And Clients
We are taught during law school to focus on the minutia. Every detail,
every fact, every witness counts. Language and word choice are critical.
That is why we use arcane and confusing Latin words, such as res
judicata, to describe a simple concept that another court has already
made a decision. Some of us even like the fact that we can speak
another language, a language that our clients cannot understand.
However, this attention to detail and use of nifty terms often hurts
us in other areas - especially in marketing. When trying to brand
your law firm on the web, you should not write confusing legal treatises.
Clients are coming to you for solutions – not minutia. The
content of your web site should offer them an easy to understand
message of how you can help them solve a problem. Listed below are
some common errors that lawyers routinely make when developing content
for their web site:
Confusing the Client
What exactly is civil litigation? To a lay person you might as well
be saying, “I practice in blah blah blah.” Sure, civil
litigation involves matters that are not criminal, but that leaves
a lot of topics to be covered. Do you practice in personal injury?
Construction disputes? Sexual harassment cases? Given the complexity
of the law and the training we have today, there are not that many
true general practitioners anymore. Even if you are a true general
practitioner and civil litigator, do not use that term - at least
not exclusively. Stating that you are a civil litigator could mean
anything to the client. Instead, list the types of cases that you
handle or cases that you can take to trial. If you are going to
be general, at least use common words, like trial lawyer. Don't
confuse the issue.
Focusing on the Trivial
Worrying about practice areas and correct order of their listing
is trivial. All potential clients care about is whether you can
solve their problem. So do not fret about putting "trusts"
before "wills" or medical malpractice before nursing home
negligence. Just make sure you list everything you can do and make
sure it is understandable.
Listing Irrelevant Biographical Content
Don’t waste your time obsessing about your biography and what
is included. Beyond checking that you didn’t earn your degree
from some fake online university, clients do not care what you did
during law school, what awards you won, and what secret cults you
belong to. There is no need to list everything you have done in
your life, where you were born, where you grew up and your accomplishments.
Instead try to talk about your solutions that you have provided
to clients and cases that you won. When a client is trying to find
a lawyer - victories are more important than your birth dates.
Listing your Birth Date
Listing your birth date is the easiest way let someone steal your
identity. Most likely, your web site has an address, a photo of
you, personal information, and now your birth date. Nice! All that
someone needs is your social security number, which is surprising
easily to find, and they are in business. If you want to show that
you are old and experienced, then just put a photo on the web site.
Your wrinkles and/or gray hair will tell your true battle stories.
Not Telling What You Do and Where You Do It
If you practice in a field, then list it on your web site. You wouldn't
leave off a request for attorneys' fees or costs in a civil complaint,
would you? Why would you leave something off your web site that
is that important? In today's world of specialists, clients are
looking for someone that is an expert in their field or who has
handled a similar problem. At every opportunity you need to express
what you do.
Not Publishing What is Already Published
Articles are the best way to show that you are knowledgeable. Put
every article, note and journal extra that you have written since
law school on your web site. Note only do search engines rank articles
very high, but people will actually read them and call you for additional
Staying Inside of the Pack
You must differentiate your firm on the web. There are over 1 million
lawyers in the United States. Do not be so naive to think that you
are the only person that can solve a clients' problem. Every client
is looking for a different type of lawyer. Some clients want the
best at any price. Some clients want a rock bottom price. Some clients
want to see that you are an expert or board certified. No matter
which path you choose, find your target market and your marketing
message and stick to it.
Not Listing Your Contact Information
Put your contact information on each page. By some miracle a potential
client has found your web site. Make it easy for them to take the
next step and contact you.
Writing Everything Yourself
Lawyers write in very....very....long sentences. We use arcane words,
legal rhetoric, and terms that should never have been born. Web
content, on the other hand, should be short, concise, and often
in bullet point format. People scan web sites for information. Unless
they are reading your article on "Fee Simple Estates: An Introduction
into the World of Property," they really are not going to take
the time to read ten paragraphs about your firm. Hire an editor
or writer to streamline your content.
Just Including Text
Put photos on your web site. Take photos of yourself, take photos
of your office, and visit PhotoDisc - www.photodisc.com - to find
solid stock photography to round out your web site. Remember a picture
is worth a thousand words and can be the difference between a dull
web site and one that is snazzy.
Not Having a Call to Action
Every marketing message must prompt the user to do something. Place
a call to action on the bottom of each page, either prompting the
client to fill out a contact form or call your office for more information.
Not Offering Advice, Case Studies, or Testimonials
Your web site needs substance. The best way to do this is by providing
advice to your potential clients. Another nice trick is to list
testimonials or case studies. These give great examples of your
victories and can be the difference between a client calling you
or your competitor.
About The Author
Peter Boyd, Esq. at PaperStreet Web Design. Located in Miami, Fl, PaperStreet Web Design has extensive experience developing, redesigning and optimizing law-related web sites. Our expertise can save you time and money while increasing your firm's business traffic. Why have a web site if no one can
find it? We also are adept at creating and executing entire Internet Marketing campaigns that include various
advertising options and individualized newsletters. If you have any questions about search engine placement or need your web site optimized for search engines, feel free to contact Peter Boyd at PaperStreet Web Design, email@example.com
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
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