If you own a small law firm but you don’t yet have a law firm website, it’s time to invest in one.
Many people who seek legal advice today use a search engine to do so, and one-third of potential clients begin their search for an attorney online. If your law firm is still operating without a website in the modern internet era, it is likely losing business to firms that put more effort into their online presence.
If your law firm already has a website, you’re on the right track. If not, it’s time to start thinking seriously about your law firm’s online marketing strategy.
Why Does My Law Firm Need A Website?
Of those who search online for legal advice, there’s a very good chance that many search engine users do not yet know that they could benefit from the services provided by an attorney when they begin searching online for legal information.
By providing high-quality content that addresses the specific questions users are likely to ask of search engines, you can position your law firm website to capture the attention of potential clients early in their quest for information about their legal situations.
And by answering your potential clients’ questions thoroughly, succinctly, and on a platform that is optimized for user experience, you can demonstrate your authority to both users and search engines, while simultaneously building the trust necessary to convert those potential clients into actual clients for your law firm.
When you can demonstrate to potential clients through your content that you understand their problem and can help them with the issue they’re facing, and when they come to feel that you will do all you can to see their case or matter through to a positive outcome, they will be more likely to contact you.
When you have a potential client’s attention focused on the content you provide on your firm’s website, it is an ideal opportunity to address your potential clients’ issues, assuage their fears, and convince them that you are the right attorney to help them with their legal problems.
How Will A Website Help My Law Firm Gain Clients?
The vast majority of your potential clients are using the internet to search for information.
Therefore, your law firm website is your firm’s best way to tell potential clients and referral sources who you are, what you do, how you can help, and how to get in touch with you. Providing that information on an easy-to-use website is helpful for the majority of prospects who turn to the internet when they have questions related to their case or matter, or when they’re ready to contact an attorney.
But, in addition to making it easy for your potential clients to contact you, your website can also serve as an online beacon for your firm. In the endless sea of information and misinformation on the internet, your law firm website, if used to its maximum potential, can serve as a lighthouse of insight, offering up detailed information about the kinds of cases and matters which are the focus of the work your law firm performs.
If you can leverage the content on your site in such a way that members of your community begin to regard you as a thought leader in your field, your law firm website can become the source to which potential clients turn when they need information about your firm, your practice area(s), or the circumstances of their specific legal issues.
And, should your community come to know you as the local thought leader for a particular practice area (or areas), it’s likely that they will want to reach out to your firm over your competitors when they need the help of an attorney.
Consistently adding new content to your site will also help your law firm to gain free, organic visibility on search engines such as Google and Bing. The more high-quality content your site contains, and the more often you add to that content, the more authority you will develop with search engines and the easier it will become for your potential clients to find your site when they perform online searches relevant to your firm and its practice area(s). The more targeted traffic you can attract to (and keep on) your law firm website, the more chances you will have to convert your prospects into paying clients.
How Do I Build A Law Firm Website That Can Help My Firm Gain Clients?
There are countless ways for attorneys to build websites for their law firms. Few of those options are intended specifically for use by small law firms and solo practitioners, however. It’s important to consider the fact that a template which works for a dentist’s website or an eCommerce entity is unlikely to be optimized to best serve your law firm.
Before taking the leap to build your law firm website yourself or to hire a company to handle the task on your behalf, it’s important that you establish a baseline of understanding for how your law firm website should function and what potential clients need from you. Arm yourself in advance with some knowledge of what it takes to ensure that your site will drive an increasing number of potential clients to your firm in the long run.
Choose The Right Tools for Your Law Firm’s Website
Make sure that you choose a website platform that is tailored to your needs as an attorney. This means ensuring that your chosen platform allows you to create an unlimited number of pages, gives you access to an easy blogging module, provides the ability to easily incorporate an unlimited number contact forms, and easily integrates with things such as your practice management software.
By making sure that your website is scalable from the start, you will be able to rest easy knowing that, as your firm grows, your site can easily accommodate that growth and scale along with it.
Should you decide to outsource the work of designing and maintaining your site to a third party, make sure that you always have access to the back end of that website as well as to your domain registrar so that you can easily make changes to the site, if necessary, or can move it to another host should the need arise.
This will help you ensure that your website isn’t eventually held hostage by a website provider who is more invested in collecting a check from you than they are in providing you the service you need from them to keep your website accurate, ethics-compliant, and up to date.
You’ll also want to make sure that any provider you hire is fluent in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and that they work within those guidelines when performing search engine optimization (SEO) practices for your firm.
If your provider is unfamiliar with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines or claims to operate under their own set of guidelines, there’s a good chance that that provider may engage in SEO practices that could do more harm than good for your law firm’s online visibility in the long run.
Since law firm marketing comes with a set of guidelines and expectations not imposed on other industries that don’t operate under the supervision and guidance of a regulatory body, and since search engines hold the information that comes from law firm’s to a higher standard than they do other types of pages, it’s also important to be sure that any third-party provider you hire is well-versed in legal marketing ethics and practices.
Remember, just because someone claims to be an “expert” in legal marketing does not necessarily mean that they understand all of the nuance associated with your profession and practice area(s).
Take The Time to Understand How Search Engines Work
If you don’t understand how search engines work, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to be sure that the third-party provider you hire or DIY platform you choose to engage will work optimally to provide your law firm with the level of online visibility it is hoping to achieve.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and basic SEO best practices (you can download our free eBook on the subject here or read about law firm SEO in depth here).
That way, when faced with the choice to either hire someone to help you boost your site’s online visibility or employ practices on your own to that end, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t to make sure that your site can be indexed by major search engines and can therefore be found by your potential clients online.
Take The Time to Understand How Your Potential Clients Search Online
Many attorneys presume that all of their potential clients find them by searching for specific terms related to their profession and region of practice by using search phrases like “DUI attorney Los Angeles” or “personal injury attorney Wyoming.”
However, many of your potential clients will begin searching for information about their legal situations before they know that they could benefit from hiring an attorney.
Your firm can capture the attention of your potential clients at this phase in their search for information by providing answers to specific questions that they are likely to ask of search engines. So-called long tail search phrases might include questions like “What do I do if I’m charged with a DUI in Orange County?” or “Can I sue if I tripped over a toy and fell in a Laramie Walmart?”
Further, though a law may be enforced at the state or federal level, your potential clients may not know this and so may be more likely to search for information about their cases using more colloquial and localized terminology. In order to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs) for the queries your potential clients are entering into search engines, it’s important to use the language favored by those prospects, rather than necessarily leaning technically accurate (or even potentially confusing) phraseology or legalese.
Learn How to Write Online Content that Appeals to Your Potential Clients
Writing content for your law firm website is not the same thing as writing a legal brief or an article for a print publication.
Your target audience for any industry-specific content you might produce is likely other industry professionals who are generally well-versed in the law and associated legal terminology. However, the target audience for your law firm website content is your potential clients. You will want to make sure you have that target audience in mind each time you sit down to add content to your law firm website.
There are also certain formatting and SEO conventions associated with writing content for your law firm website that you will want to understand and adhere to in order to make sure that your content is easy for your readers to consume and digest, as well as to ensure that your site provides a generally positive user experience for those who engage with it.
Building and maintaining a website for your law firm is no longer an option for solo practitioners and small firms. If your aim is to stay competitive in your specific legal market, having a website is key to that success.
Still, simply building and launching a site is not sufficient to ensure that your firm’s web presence will be able to compete with other firms operating within your practice area(s) and geographic region(s) of practice. To truly dominate that online space takes knowledge, strategy, and sustained effort. But, with the right tools and support, building a website that dominates the online space occupied by your firm is possible. In fact, it can be pretty easy to accomplish.