Writing content for the web is different than writing a brief or a contract.
Web content is not always read in its entirety. While some potential clients will read content in depth, others may want access to key points and ideas at a glance, without the need to invest any more time than necessary in order to find the information that interests them.
Think about the experience of those who will read your law firm website content, including how they expect that content to be presented, and how easy it will (or won’t) be to find the specific bits of information that they are looking for on each page you add.
Use Headers and Subheaders to Breakup the Content on Your Law Firm’s Website
In other literary formats, it may be appropriate to make paragraphs as long as they need to be in order to form a complete and singular idea. (Nineteenth-century grammarian John Earle once wrote that “The term paragraph can hardly be applied to anything short of three sentences.”)
Web content, however, frequently features paragraphs that are only one or two sentences in length.
Break up your paragraphs in such a way that your content makes effective use of the white (or blank) space on the page. This will keep the content from appearing overwhelming and may prevent your readers from pogo-sticking to another search result to find another piece of content that is easier to engage with and consume quickly.
Using headers and subheaders in your law firm website is good SEO and good for your readers. As web crawlers scour the web in an effort to index more than 130 trillion pages that exist on the internet, they use clues from headers and subheaders to determine what the content on a particular page is about, how that content is organized, as well as to verify that the content that a page purports to offer matches with the text on the rest of that page.
For a more detailed discussion of headers and how to use them the right way, refer to our podcast on how to format your law firm website content..
Highlight Important Points in Your Law Firm Website Content
Headers and subheaders should help readers to form an idea about the substance of the text that will follow in a particular section of content, making it easy for them to find the specific information they are looking for.
There are other ways to draw attention to specific text within a piece of content on your law firm website.
Provide numbered or bulleted lists rather than placing lists within the body of your content in paragraph form. It’s also appropriate to bold a portion of your content when you want it to stand out, or to use italics to the same effect. Just make sure and do so sparingly so as not to diminish the impact of the highlight.
Break up and emphasize specific pieces of content by:
- Using bulleted and numbered lists, where appropriate
- Using headers and subheaders strategically
- Using boldface, italics, or even CAPITAL LETTERS sparingly
The same can be said of using capital letters. SENTENCES AND PHRASES THAT ARE WRITTEN ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS COME ACROSS AS YELLING TO READERS. This effect can be useful when you want to draw attention to a particular point but should be used sparingly.
Supplement Your Text with Relevant Images or Other Visual Content
A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why it’s a good idea to use them as supplements to your law firm website content.
The general rule of thumb is to use images to illustrate a specific point or process. Don’t add images to your content simply for the sake of adding images. Images used in law firm website content should have a clear and obvious purpose to readers, and engaging with that photo should provide those readers with some additional value not offered by the text alone.
When you do add images, videos, and/or graphics to the content on your law firm website, make sure to add supplementary text to that content in the form of alt tags. Alt tags are an accessibility tool that enables visually impaired readers to experience your visual content audibly (accessible web browsers read alt text out loud to those users). Alt text may also provide a slight SEO benefit as it concerns indexing for specific image searches.
With respect to videos, closed captions and text transcripts can also provide an SEO boost to visual content that might otherwise be difficult for web crawlers to interpret and index.
Use Descriptive Anchor Text in Links
Web crawlers use links to discover and navigate between different pages on the web. They also use the visible text (also known as “anchor text”) of those links to help establish the context for the type of content a user can expect to find if they follow a link.
Use anchor text that is descriptive of the content on the destination page. Asking a user to simply click here is not sufficiently descriptive for either web crawlers or users engaging with your content to understand what they can expect to find on the target webpage. Explaining that the link is an opportunity to explore our eBook on SEO Basics for Attorneys, for example, will be much more effective on both counts.
For more on how to best use links in your law firm website’s content, check out this post about why internal links matter on your law firm website..
Make It Easy for Your Potential Clients to Take Action
The point of your law firm website is not just to offer educational content to your website visitors. The point of your firm’s website is to attract potential clients and help your firm build its business.
Ask your clients to reach out to ask a question or schedule a consultation. Provide targeted calls-to-action (CTAs) on each page of your law firm website that asks your readers to perform a specific action. This will make it easy for your potential clients to reach out to you (or fill out a form, or schedule an appointment, or download a piece of content, etc.) as soon as they decide that they would like to do so.
Focus on Your Goals, Focus on Your Potential Clients
When it comes to formatting your law firm website content (much like when coming up with a content marketing plan for your site) the ultimate goal is to provide the best user experience that you can for those who engage with your content.
Make your content easy to read and easy to skim, keep distractions on the page to a minimum, and don’t forget to remind your potential clients that your law firm is a business which provides a specific service by asking them to reach out or take another action on your site.
Keep your users in mind when composing and formatting content for your site and you’ll maximize your chances of keeping those users on that site for longer periods of time, giving your firm more opportunity to convert those users to potential clients.