Is Your Law Firm Website Content Client-Friendly?
Not all law firm website content is friendly to the potential clients that attorneys are trying to attract.
Here are five tips for writing client-friendly content that increases engagement from web visitors, provides an improved user experience on your site, and draws potential clients to your firm.
Law firm website content should be easy to understand.
As an attorney, you use and understand legal terminology on a daily basis. There’s a good chance that your potential clients don’t.
Avoid legalese on your law firm website and blog posts whenever possible. If you must use a legal term, explain it clearly.
Potential clients who visit your website are probably looking for an answer to a question that they have. Those web visitors will go elsewhere to find an answer if the content on your site is too hard to read.
Potential clients don’t have time to research dozens of legal terms.
They don’t have time to figure out what you meant in an unclear sentence or paragraph. The law can be intimidating and confusing, and attorneys should strive to make themselves more approachable to potential clients.
Be clear when you write. Write shorter sentences and paragraphs. Avoid difficult terminology when possible.
If a topic is complex, consider breaking it up into segments. You may want to write multiple substantive pages or blog posts for the topic. By doing so, potential clients can grasp one concept at a time without feeling overwhelmed.
Slang, colloquial terms, and local place names
People sometimes use slang or colloquial terms when they conduct online searches. For that reason, it can be valuable to consider how your clients speak. How do potential clients refer to particular locations in your area?
Our VP of Content Operations, Rachel Chalot, provides an example:
“In the city of Pittsburgh, some of the most concentrated areas of DUI arrests are on Interstate 376,” she says. “But, the majority of locals call this ‘The Parkway East/West,’ so using these types of phrases in your writing can be helpful.”
Are topics thoroughly covered on your site?
A question we often get from attorneys is about content length.
How much do I need to write on my law firm’s website?
Are longer pages or shorter pages better?
Does Google care about the word count on law firm websites?
The answer to this question — whether it concerns a substantive, evergreen page or blog post — is that you should write to the length that a piece needs to be written.
Deciding if a blog post or substantive page should be longer or shorter should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Comprehensive coverage is key. However, there are some topics that warrant a thousand words, and others that may only need to be 500 or 750 words.
An example of topic coverage on law firm websites
As your site grows over time, pages may change and develop. Here’s an example involving substantive practice area pages.
An estate planning attorney might start with four pages that cover “Wills,” “Trusts,” “Advance Directives,” and “Estate Planning FAQ.”
The information on these pages should be sufficient enough that a potential client who knows nothing about a particular legal service has a basic grasp after reading the page.
A page on living wills could provide information about:
- The purpose of a living will
- Situations in which a living will might be used
- How to create a living will
- How your firm can assist in creating a living will
- The advantages of choosing your firm to do so.
Over time, the original page may expand to include more in-depth coverage of each topic. Or, you may create new pages to cover additional topics.
For example, the original “Wills” page that covered the topic broadly might become the “parent” page for several new “child” pages:
- Probate Process
- Statutory Requirements
- Testamentary Capacity
- A FAQ page for Wills
For more information on the page cluster technique, see: How Do I Decide What To Write On My Law Firm’s Website?
Don’t leave out valuable information for the sake of writing something shorter, and don’t stretch a piece out longer than it needs to be. Keep adding to your content over time to build a useful library of information for potential clients.
Readability on your law firm website and blog
Readability is an important part of user experience on the web. Here are some additional ways to make content more readable:
Use white space to your advantage.
White space is the space between columns, text, and images.
It gives your potential clients’ eyes some breathing room. Not only does it make websites look “tidier,” it actually helps potential clients absorb what you’ve written:
“When white space is used well, it can be transformative for a design,” says LawLytics designer Sophia Oliboni.
“White space helps people understand what they’re reading which adds up to a better user experience overall. According to research by Human Factors International, white space increases reading comprehension by almost 20 percent.”
Use descriptive headers to break up your content.
Descriptive headers are useful for both web visitors and search engines.
Most people scan web pages to find the information they need. If your content is broken up into sections with descriptive headers, it becomes easier for potential clients to scan it.
They may continue reading once they’ve found what they’re looking for, or decide that what they’ve read is enough to make a decision about your firm.
But without descriptive headers, it’s difficult for anyone to find what they’re looking for. If a potential client can’t find what they’re looking for on a page, their first line of defense is to leave.
Descriptive headers are good for search engines, too. They can tell search engines what the page is about and what may be important on the page.
Avoid long paragraphs and hard-to-read fonts.
Even if the sentences you write are short, avoid long paragraphs without breaks.
If a potential client sees a page with lines and lines of text without a break, they may be too intimidated to read what’s there. Having to read rows of text without a stopping point can be exhausting.
There are some fonts that are hard to read on the web or may give the wrong impression about your firm. Be careful about the fonts that you choose.
To learn more about this and other aspects of web design, I recommend our Start-Grow-Dominate webinar series.
Is your law firm website content unique?
As you write each substantive page or blog post on your site, ask yourself:
What new information am I adding to the online conversation?
If the content on your law firm website is the same as the content on competing sites, it will be difficult for potential clients to understand why your law firm is uniquely capable of helping them with their case or problem.
Potential clients want to understand more about their case or problem, but they also want to know who you are as an attorney.
If you (or the person who adds content to your site) copied law firm website content from somewhere else, that can be problematic, too.
Google’s guidelines warn against duplicate, scraped, automatically generated and thin content.
To learn more about the problems these kinds of content can cause for your law firm’s web presence, read:
Give your potential clients different ways to process information.
Web visitors process information in different ways.
The written content on your law firm website and blog should always come first. But once you’ve built those resources up with written content, consider providing other ways for your potential clients to learn about their case or problem. Try presenting your content in forms such as:
Options are important to potential clients. The option we see most often on law firm websites is:
“Call my firm,” or “Leave.”
Instead, build up your resources to provide options such as:
“Call my firm,” or…
- Read my latest blog post
- Subscribe to my law firm’s newsletter
- Learn about a service I provide
- Download an ebook on a topic that interests you
- Watch an educational video
…And so on.
Attorneys can engender trust — and increase engagement — by providing potential clients with different ways to learn about their case or problem.
Do you need help with your law firm website content?
Potential clients spend time researching their issues, and your firm, before they decide to contact you.
When you demonstrate your expertise and answer their questions through law firm website content, it becomes more likely that they’ll contact you and hire you, and with less “sales” effort.
New content, published often, is what drives many of the most successful law firm websites.
The LawLytics system can help your firm succeed online with tools that make writing and publishing your own website content easy and efficient.
If you’re short on time, we offer content marketing services that you can order à la carte and on an ongoing basis.
If you’re ready to talk about how LawLytics can help your firm do sustainable, successful online marketing, schedule a consultation with us.