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Time Magazine reported on what they coined as the “attention web.” A study was conducted — a few years old albeit still relevant — on website users, and the findings were intriguing and supportive of the need for valuable content. For instance:

  • Did you know that the average visitor to a webpage stays on the page for only 15 seconds? The reason: the page was not interesting or did not address the purpose for the initial click onto the page.
  • Did you also know that if you keep a visitor’s attention for three minutes, then he or she is more likely to return to your website, share it, and/or convert to your client/customer? The reason: the page provided valuable information the visitor was searching for.

More and more people — younger people especially — are using the internet as their first and sometimes the only source to obtain legal information and to find an attorney. Valuable content, therefore, is the means to avoid the fifteen-second death trap, meet or exceed the three-minute threshold, and keep the attention of your potential new clients — regardless of their age. Here’s how to add value to your content and benefit from the attention you get.

How do you get the most value from your law firm website content?

What makes your content valuable to your potential clients? That’s an answer each attorney must ask him or herself. Generally speaking though, value is:

  • Content the visitor can use;
  • Content the visitor can understand; and
  • Content the visitor can act on.

Provide useful information on your law firm webpages.

Valuable content is content that answers prospective clients’ questions. No matter what area of law you practice, people have questions they want to be answered as soon as the question pops up, whether it’s wanting to sue the person who caused an auto accident to forming an LLC to knowing what happens after an arrest for a DWI. What does this mean? It means a page with a few sentences defining what an LLC is and following with a call-to-action won’t cut it. A definition of an LLC can be found anywhere and does not provide meaningful answers to potential clients’ specific questions about LLCs. The visitor has probably already seen it, read it, and discarded it. What you should do instead:

  • Start with the basics. For example, if it’s a page about assault, you can provide its definition according to the statute and penalties also according to the statute. Providing basics is good, it sets the tone and context of the page.
  • Identify questions your clients commonly ask you and then answer them. For example, on a page about assault, clients want to know things such as:
    • Do I have any defenses, and if so, what are they?
    • What happens if I plead guilty?
    • Are there alternatives to a conviction, e.g., diversion, and if so, do I qualify?
    • If convicted of assault, can I get the conviction expunged, and if so, when?
  • Provide a unique call-to-action. You can do so by reinforcing your brand or highlighting special skills or certifications you have. Let people know why you are the authority on this particular legal topic.

Remember: your clients are looking for information. If you don’t satisfy their hunger for an answer, they may assume you won’t be up to the task of providing the legal support they need. They’re likely to leave your site to find another law firm that provides instant gratification. If you provide real, valuable information, you’re likely to gain the trust of your potential clients and build authority on the internet — two key components search engines look for when generating results.

Speak to a layperson, not another legal professional.

If you speak over the top of your visitors’ heads with legal jargon, that’s just a waste of time for you and them. Information that is not digestible is information that is not valuable. Consider your targeted market and know their demographics, including educational level. Then provide content accordingly. Refrain from using legalese such as:

  • Inter alia (use: among other things)
  • Ab initio (use: from the beginning)
  • Actus reus (use: physical act or guilty act)
  • Bona fide (use: in good faith)
  • De facto (use: in fact)
  • Malum in se (use: wrong in itself)
  • Mens rea (use: mental state or guilty mind)
  • Prima facie (use: on its face).

You want to break the content down into bite-size pieces and use headings and subheadings so the reader knows what he or she is about to read and can follow your content logically and without difficulty.

Create content that your potential client can act on.

The ultimate action you are looking for is simple: to convert a potential client into a client. But that doesn’t always happen on the first “attempt.” Depending upon your practice area and/or the needs of the potential client, it may be a second or third visit to your page when the potential client finally makes the call. And this may be because you provided valuable content telling a client where to go for information outside your website. Maybe you are a tax attorney so you have a page on the IRS and provide local contact information where persons in your area can contact the IRS. Thanks to you, the visitor calls the local IRS office. He or she soon discovers, however, the local office does not provide the services he or she wants. So, the visitor — remembering your website and useful content — returns to your website and then contacts you. What’s more, when you provide this kind of local contact information along with valuable content about tax-related issues, your website may generate leads via these types of organic searches. And, upon seeing your website and reading your material, the internet user contacts you either in lieu of or in addition to the other entity.  

About the author: Tina Sorenson-Banavathu, LLM, is the Senior Content Editor at LawLytics. Tina graduated from McGill University Faculty of Law, and then worked at an international law firm in Washington, DC in the Environmental and Energy Department. Now at LawLytics, Tina helps lead the editorial and content creation efforts for our content clients.

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