Too often, attorneys fail to create a strategy to make their website content work for their firms.
Rather than view blogs, webpages, and other parts of your website as separate entities, view them as a system of parts connected to make the whole. By building a system, you create a website that ultimately works for you by converting visitors to clients consistently and reliably. A system provides information in a logical, relatable, digestible way; it’s user-friendly and valuable by helping you understand the whole via the parts.
Content as a system allows you to fully and effectively put forth your brand and to demonstrate your expertise, develop your authority, and build trust.
Create a Content Plan for Your Law Firm’s Website
A content plan is essentially a map of your website. When creating a content plan for your law firm website, you should include — at a minimum — the following pages:
- Case Results
- About the Firm
- Practice area pages
The content plan should be broken down into time-based increments so you can establish a realistic plan to write the content (or to hire someone else to write it).
Get Personal With Your Law Firm Website Content
Your homepage, case results, attorney bio, and testimonials are great places on your website to get personal and position yourself in the market via your brand. Getting to know the purpose of these pages and how to craft them is an important part of driving free traffic to your site via your content.
Your law firm website’s homepage
Your homepage can be the first point of contact between you and the potential client.
Your homepage must express clearly who you are and identify the key points of your brand.
Typically, you want your homepage to:
- Communicate clearly, and succinctly what you do and what benefits you provide
- Establish immediate credibility and authority
- Provide an overview of your practice areas or services
- Nurture the visitor’s curiosity to want to learn more
- Guide visitors to where they can find answers to their questions on your site
- Provide an easy way to contact you
When a potential client visits your website, he or she wants to know immediately:
- Who you are: this includes the basics (e.g., your name, your firm’s name, your location, etc.)
- What you represent: this identifies your practice areas (e.g., family law, estate planning, criminal law, DUI)
- How you represent: this identifies how you represent clients in those practice areas (e.g., aggressively, compassionately)
- Why you do what you do: this is your mission (e.g., you do what you do because you care, you want people to get second chances, etc)
- Where to go from here: this provides a way to contact the firm (e.g., contact form and phone number) as well as a clear way to navigate the website (e.g., menus, linked icons)
(When you’re a LawLytics member, our attorney-friendly software makes navigation and user-friendly design easy.)
Your law firm’s case results
Case results are simply summaries of what you consider your “highlight reel” cases. You want to highlight your successful cases that are aligned with your brand.
You can choose to write summaries and provide case outcomes for all “successful” cases or choose to highlight the bigger cases. Whatever you do, keep the page consistent and current because this page can work against you if you do not. Case in point:
- If your last case on the page is from two years ago, a web visitor may wonder what you have been doing recently
- If you have only one or two cases on the page, a visitor may wonder how productive and capable you are as an attorney
- If you have cases that conflict with your brand, a visitor may question your credibility
When developing a case results page, there are three things to keep in mind:
- Wait to create the page until you have enough material to put on it.
- The material you use should focus on your story and the human characters in that story, i.e., how you made the life of your client better.
- Make sure your brand is consistent. Below are two examples to demonstrate what this means:
- If you are a criminal defense attorney and say you go to trial, then prove it by publishing summaries of cases you took to trial.
- If you are a personal injury lawyer and say you recover large compensation awards, then provide the numbers on your case results page.
When written strategically, case results are a great way to demonstrate your experience and to build trust.
Your attorney bio
Your website should provide a bio for each attorney at your firm. A bio page, however, is not necessarily a résumé.
A bio should humanize you. It should allow visitors to gain a sense of who you are just as much as a web visitor is able to get a sense of your experience, accomplishments, and interests.
Each attorney will set the tone of the practice with his or her bio. Tone is accomplished by the point of view used and the approach you take.
Point of View
Just like any good story, point of view (POV) matters. As a lawyer, you have a story to tell. Choose the point of view that works best for you.
Point of view comes in the first, second, or third person. Most common to bios are the first and third person POVs. The difference is subtle but can make a big impact.
The first person POV (“I,” “me”) makes the bio very intimate: you are telling your story directly to the visitor, engaging the visitor one-on-one.
- First person POV can be a good choice for the solo practice or a small law office in which the client is going to be working with you one-on-one quite a bit. The first person POV can provide that first impression of intimacy to start building trust.
The third person POV (“Mr./Ms. Smith,” “He/she,”) lacks the intimacy of first person POV but can allow the attorney to highlight his or her experiences without sounding full of themselves. Through the third POV narrative, you are able to provide all the highlights and accomplishments of your career while sounding more humble — the third person POV gives the impression someone else is telling your story, and not you personally.
- Third person POV is good for firms or attorneys with certain accomplishments or particular experience to highlight. Third person POV can help you demonstrate your exceptionalism and expertise while identifying your authority in the legal profession.
The “About Our Firm” Page
The “About Our Firm” page should be used to specifically outline your mission and your brand. While the bio is about identifying the attorney’s expertise, the “About Our Firm” page is about identifying brand to immediately establish trust.
Establish who you are, where you practice, what you practice, how you conduct business, what your legal approach is, and why people hire you.
This page is essentially all about “why” you exist. Once the potential client understands your “why,” they’re better able to understand why to retain you. This page helps you align what you offer with the needs of your targeted audience. This page, therefore, is indeed about trust-building.
Client reviews and testimonials are an important way to establish credibility and authority. You will not be adding your own content to this page, but you do want to make sure the page is updated regularly and includes your name, the law firm’s name, and contact information.
Practice Area Pages
Practice area pages are sometimes referred to as “evergreen pages.” They’re called this because the content on these pages do not change often except for regular updates, e.g., when the law changes. These pages are the foundation of your website. These pages should include:
- The law firm name and contact information
- Internal links to allow visitors to navigate from page to page intuitively; internal links include links to the “About Our Firm” page, testimonials, case results, as well as to other practice area pages and blogs
- External links to relevant, educational materials, but these links must be to credible sources only, e.g., Supreme Court website, government websites, law reviews, etc.
You want your practice area pages to:
- Provide substantial and valuable information about the practice area; and
- Provide the information in a way the targeted audience can digest it, which means:
- Short sentences
- Bullet points
- Overall scannable pages.
An outline of your practice area pages will help you visualize how to go about planning your content. Here’s a sample outline for a criminal law practice.
Sample Outline: Criminal Law Practice
- Assault Crimes
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Sex Crimes
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Harassment
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Crimes
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana
- Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
- Dangerous Drugs
- Possession with Intent to Deliver
- Possession with Intent to Manufacture
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Criminal Defenses
- Mistake of Fact
- Defense of Others
- Defense of Property
- Criminal Law FAQ
- Criminal Process
- Criminal Courts (local pages)
The more value you provide to your potential clients through detailed, accurate information, the more likely you are to build trust with your audience and the search engines. And that translates into meaningful results.
Using blog posts to engage readers through thought leadership
Blogs are a great tool to enhance your website’s visibility on the internet. You should be careful, however, to continue to incorporate the principles of good content in your blog as well.
Blogs can be used to:
- Demonstrate expertise and authority by discussing recent news stories and cases and how those stories relate to your potential clients;
- Demonstrate expertise and authority by reviewing current trends or changes in the law and how it applies to your potential clients;
- Reiterate your brand to your potential clients;
- Answer common questions your potential clients have;
- Answer very specific questions some of your potential clients may have;
- Provide tips specific to your potential clients and, thus, build trust;
- Engage your potential clients with thought-provoking topics
- Develop authority among peers; and
- Signal to Google and other search engines that your site is being updated frequently
To have a substantial impact, blogs need three things:
- Appropriate length; and
Like with practice area pages, you need to use internal and external links in your blog — and for the same reason: internal links aid in navigation of the website while external links aid in credibility by using authoritative or original sources for the information you provide.
With regard to internal links specifically, you want to use them to further build your system — to connect the relevant parts. Blogs are a great tool to first lure your targeted audience to your site. Then, once there, you capture the audience’s interest with the blog’s content and provide internal links to help them find more information deep within your website.
There is not a specific length you need for your blog. The key is providing enough information so that you answer the question or address the issue thoroughly to satisfy the audience.
Blogs are ongoing. Your substantive pages remain the same but for the occasional update. But your website needs to breathe fresh air. Blogging is that bit of fresh air. Thus, blogs should be consistently produced and published.
You do not want to let weeks or months pass by before you publish the next blog. If so, your targeted audience will not stay around waiting for the next blog if this is the case — they will move on to the next law firm website that keeps current and fresh with its regularly posted blogs.
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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.