Running a small law firm can place many demands on your resources. Time and money are often stretched thin. But I believe one of the most important investments you can make is a good website.
No serious business is without a website these days and there is no reason why a law firm should be any different. However, the difference between just a website and a good website can be night and day.
So much of the discussion around websites focuses on pulling in visitors. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) aims to do precisely that.
SEO involves fitting keywords relating to your services into the written content and code of your website. Then, when someone searches for some of these words, search engines like Google, will rank your website higher on the list of results.
However, ranking higher can be a deceptive goal for a number of reasons. The main one is this: what’s the purpose of bringing in visitors to your website if they just end up leaving without any further interaction? A cluttered, uninviting, or confusing website is not going to bring in extra business to your firm.
SEO certainly has its part to play in an effective website but Google rankings should not be your website’s only objective.
So what should a good website be doing for your business? And, in particular, why do these things matter for a small law firm?
- Making a Good First Impression
One of the first things someone will do when initially hearing about your firm is look you up on the internet. This means looking at your website and also any social media profiles you have.
Having consistent, professional information on all online platforms is a good way to show your firm is an authentic business. This can be a major challenge for a small firm, especially if you have only been running for a short time.
The first impression your website makes is crucial and here the visual design of your website really matters. One study, which looked at how trustworthy a health website was perceived to be, found that 94% of feedback related to design elements rather than the actual content of the website.
Your website should also make a good impression regardless of how your visitors access it. Browsing the web using a phone or tablet has recently overtaken browsing on desktop computers.
If the website looks impressive on a desktop but is not coded to adjust to the smaller screens of mobile devices, you could be turning away a significant proportion of potential clients.
Trying to navigate such a website on a mobile is a frustrating experience, one which visitors are unlikely to persevere with for more than a few seconds.
- Building Trust
Building trust is crucial for law firms. It is important for all businesses, but particularly so for law firms given the personal nature of legal services. To even enquire, a client must be willing to trust your firm to some extent – to believe that you can do a good job. Further down the line, they must trust you sufficiently to put faith in the advice you give them.
Visual design plays a key role in a visitor’s first impression but it also has a strong influence on how likely they are to trust your firm. Once a site has made a good first impression through great design, it must maintain and build trust through its content. An extension of this idea is to use the website as a platform for content marketing.
Content marketing is a strategy whereby high-quality free content is provided on your site as a way of building trust and creating interest in your paid services.
For example, regular, informative blog posts containing free legal advice can show you know your field inside-out, whilst also informing potential clients of how your services could help them. It is a form of marketing, hence the name, but also gives clients a benefit by giving away something of value for free and allows a connection to be formed. Renowned copywriter David Ogilvy once said that articles giving free advice will capture 75% more readers than articles packed with sales messages.
Which leads us on to…getting your message across, converting interest into enquiries, and staying up to date – covered in Part 2 of this post.
I would like to thank Michael Rippon from Raindrop Digital for his help in compiling the information contained in this article. For more information or help with your own firm’s website, Michael can be contacted on 01904 866140 or firstname.lastname@example.org and the website is www.raindrop-digital.co.uk.