I recently had the opportunity to talk with Chris Small of The Art of Lawyering Podcast about legal websites, and thought I’d share a few points from the podcast. If you’d like to check out the podcast (and the deal we’re offering its listeners), you can find it at theartoflawyering.com/021.
Let me start with a few words about why I started AmazeLaw, and why I understand what lawyers are dealing with when it comes to online marketing. When my wife left her big law job to start her own practice, we were bombarded by all sorts of scummy sales-guys cold-calling her about all of these digital marketing solutions that were overpriced at best and downright harmful at worst. She doesn’t have a marketing background, so everything was so new and foreign to her, and I know she found the whole learning process very stressful. Luckily, I have a background in building marketing tools from my time building the Content Management System for Hubspot. I knew I could help her. Then I realized that I could help a lot of people who were just like her.
So I set out to build AmazeLaw to offer a do-it-yourself marketing solution for attorneys that focused on simple, sustainable marketing tactics that busy solos can manage themselves.
While doing research for the business and in helping our clients build or re-build their sites, I’ve come across a lot of common errors that solos make in their digital marketing, so I thought it would be fun to share some of those mistakes and how to fix them. So I present…
The 5 Most Common Attorney Website Mistakes…and How to Fix Them
Not updating frequently enough.
If you haven’t made added/updated content on your site in the last month at an absolute minimum, your site will get stale. Your audience will not understand how busy you are. They will think you don’t care. So how do you keep a blog updated? First, your blog should be on your website. Don’t buy into the malarkey that it should be separate. Second, here are few easy ways to come up with content for your blog. Write down the ten questions you get most often. Write down 10 common assumptions your clients have that are wrong. Now, write one or two posts per week explaining those in their language.
Writing for attorneys, not people.
I think I can say this, because my wife has admitted it to me. Solos often have this insecurity about competing with the big guys, a subconscious need to show the big law attorneys that they’re serious attorneys. Resist that urge. You’re not writing for lawyers, you’re writing for clients.
Clients are PEOPLE. They want to work with REAL PEOPLE not stodgy old-school law firms (and the ones that really do, you shouldn’t care about because you’re fighting an uphill battle trying to compete with firms that have many more resources than you do).
Repeat after me. Clients don’t care about case law. Clients don’t care about case law. Clients don’t care about case law. Don’t write about case law.
Sure it’s the stuff you can geek out on, but clients care about a solution to their problem. They don’t care about the particulars. They pay you to know the case law and to recommend a solution in the context of their business or their situation, not in the context of a courtroom argument.
One key exception: a new case or new legislation somehow changes or contradicts a common assumption your clients have that impacts their day-to-day decisions. You can mention it, but when editing, err on the side of “they don’t care, just tell me what I need to do differently with this new information.”
Not having a clear “next-step.”
Once you’ve explained something in their language, how do you get them to take action? Each piece of content should end with a call to action. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple request written in italics at the end of your post is just fine. As long as it’s clear what the next step is.
After all, they’re interested enough to read your entire post. They’re feel ingratiated because you gave away your expertise. Capitalize on that using reciprocity as a motivation to (1) ask for a consult request; (2) ask them to join an email list; or (3) ask them to comment.
Finally, your homepage needs an email address and a phone number. Place it in the footer for sure, but consider placing it in prominent places in your copy. Finally, make sure to hyperlink your phone number for mobile devices and never embed your contact information in an image (because Google will never find it).
Speaking of mobile…
Not having a responsive website, or not having a mobile site configured properly.
This is 2015, you need to have a website that not only “works” on a mobile device, but is optimized for it. Why? Anywhere from 40%-55% of search traffic is on a mobile device. Google started cracking down on April 21st, meaning that if your site isn’t mobile optimized, it will be virtually impossible to find it from a mobile device. If you want to see if your site is mobile-friendly, you can check out at https://amazelaw.wpengine.com/googletest. If you find out that your website isn’t mobile friendly, it’s time to upgrade to a mobile responsive site. For more information about Google’s changes, why they’re happening and what you can do, check out our Mobilegeddon overview for attorneys.
Not having up-to-date and consistent local search listings.
Your #1 priority should be getting a google local listing set up and correct for your site. This will make sure your business shows up with a map and details when they search for your firm directly, which in turn makes your firm eligible to show up in the local listings that appear on the first page of google just below #1 search position. Go to the AmazeLaw Google Guide for step-by-step instructions for making sure you’re taking advantage of all of Google’s tools.
Your #2 priority is making sure you have a consistent web listing (with no duplicates) for your firm across the various local search aggregators. Rather than managing this yourself each time something changes in your business, use Moz Local. You enter your information once and they publish it and sync it across all of the major local search aggregators. A steal at $84/yr.
Check out the free PDF: Advertising Tips for Lawyers to get some design ideas and easy-to-use tools to a powerful advertising message.
Are you making any of these mistakes?
You’re not alone. These are super common and we can help you avoid each and every one. Want to see how we can take your website from blah to blazing?