Fifteen years ago, merely having a website was enough to give your law firm an edge over the competition. However, those days are gone, and for today's law firms, it is no longer enough to just have a website. Here are nine things that your law firm's website must have if you are going to compete in today's online marketplace.
1. Responsive Design.
Today more Americans use their smartphones for Internet access than ever before. In fact, by some measures, more people use smartphones than desktop computers for Internet browsing. This means your website must be able to adapt to the device on which a consumer is viewing it. If your website does not have a mobile-friendly, responsive design, you can expect many potential clients to navigate away to one of your competitors' sites.
2. Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") Certificate.
More than ever, Internet users are concerned about security. In fact, some users will leave a site that does not have the appropriate SSL credentials. SSL certificates let browsers know that they are safe, and the information they send to you is protected.
Additionally, SSL certificates signal search engines like Google and Bing that your website is safe and it gives you extra credit when it comes to search rankings.
3. Easy to Find Contact Options.
When it's time for a browser to contact you, don't make them hunt for a way to do so.
All of your contact options—phone numbers, email options, and street addresses—should be clearly displayed and easy for visitors to locate.
4. Useful Resources.
A great way to build trust and increase the flow to your website is to offer something that visitors can use. Whether you maintain a blog with useful and applicable information, some sort of online assessment tool or calculator, or even a free e-book that you offer for download, you have to offer some sort of useful content to set yourself apart from the competition.
5. Client Testimonials and Reviews.
People want to know that the lawyer they are considering does a good job and is the right person for the task. You can help establish your credentials by including testimonials and reviews from former clients.
Of course, you need to check with your bar organization to ensure that these testimonials are appropriate, and you'll need to include a disclaimer that every case is unique, but even with these safeguards you will find that including a testimonial section brings in results.
6. Photos of Your Attorneys.
Many clients want to see a face to put with the name when they hire a firm. In fact, many law firm website analytics show that the photos section is the most frequently visited part of the site.
It's important to let your clients see who you are. At the same time, resist the temptation to use fake pictures in an effort to put your best face forward. Internet browsers are fairly adept at spotting things like that, and you will only harm your credibility if you do it.
7. Outline Your Legal Procedures.
Don't leave your potential clients in the dark as to what they should expect when it comes to the process and procedures their case will pass through.
A simple outline of the process will help educate them, and will have the added bonus of reducing those phone calls they make just to ask you what's going on.
8. Links to Avvo (And Other) Profiles.
Remember that visitors are likely doing their homework before they contact you. As such, provide them with other ways to find out more about your attorneys. Linking to your Avvo profile (as well as other professional profiles) will help reassure them that your attorneys are legitimate players in the legal field.
9. Pleasing Aesthetics.
Your website needs to look good. A clunky, cluttered website will drive visitors away. At the same time, good looks are not enough: your page needs to work well. A pretty website that does not generate new leads is worse than a plain website that does.
At the end of the day, your website should be generating new leads and clients for you.
By implementing these measures, you can help ensure that your website is an asset. If you have any questions about building or running a good website, please feel free to contact us.