In these days of the pandemic and the attendant distancing restrictions, people are staying home and working from home, online. It only makes sense that they are shopping for everything online – including legal services.
What does your website look like? Does it create a strong incentive to contact you for help, or is it outdated, slow-loading, and difficult to navigate? Does the site’s content address common search terms related to your practice? Does it answer questions that your potential clients ask Google?
This article explains how you can supercharge your firm’s virtual presence to capture viewers’ attention, incentivize them to become your clients and improve your Google ranking.
Now is the Time to Update Your Website
Open a new window in your browser, right now, and go to your firm’s website. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my firm’s website load quickly?
- Is there an obvious way for viewers to contact us?
- Are our practice areas apparent?
- Do we post our firm’s settlement and judgment results?
- Are our attorney and staff bios current?
- Are photographs of attorneys and staff recent?
- Do we have location pages for each of the geographical areas we serve?
- Do we have a blog? If so, do we post to it?
- Have we posted client reviews?
Now visit your firm’s website on a mobile device. Is your website optimized for mobile?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you are losing business and Google rank unnecessarily. Read on for solutions.
Your firm’s website must load quickly
If it does not, potential clients will feel impatient and simply move on to the next law firm’s website.
Not only will you lose that potential business, but the click rate tells Google how viewers feel about your site. If they click away within seconds, Google thinks they have had a poor experience and your ranking will suffer as a result.
A website can load slowly for a number of reasons, including photographs and images that are too large. These can and must be optimized to load more quickly. If you’re using WordPress, you can install a plugin like WPSmush that will automatically reduce the size of the images.
Before uploading new images, you might first run them through a tool called Tiny PNG to reduce the file size without sacrificing quality.
If your site is more than a few years old and has not been updated, chances are that there are some add-ons and plug-ins that are causing delays in loading. These can be removed using a tool like Google Pagespeed Insights.
If you have had several different developers work on your site, chances are that the code is a mess. If your site is based on WordPress, you can use Better WordPress Minify to minimize your code.
Viewers must be able to contact you with one click
Of course, your phone number should be in the header, but since the viewer found you online, don’t you think an email option would be used more?
For this reason, you must have a “contact us” button. Clicking on it should take the viewer to a contact form on your site, or open their mail application and autofill your email address. It’s all about making it easy for the viewer to contact you, and therefore more likely they will do so.
Your practice areas must be evident to a viewer
This section addresses your blog and your location pages as well.
A viewer probably found you by using search terms related to your practice areas, but if they can’t immediately find the answer to their question they will move on to the next site.
If they search “divorce lawyer to help me with child custody,” that query had better land them on your blog post describing how child custody works in their jurisdiction, with a link to your practice page and a call to action promising them help if they contact you.
If they search “workers’ compensation lawyer near me,” that query had better land them on your location page for their city, town, or county.
If you don’t post to your blog, start now. You can find topics to write about by using Google. Two ways to do this are by using Autosuggest and People Also Ask.
Autosuggest is a powerful tool for finding frequently-searched queries. If you are a personal injury lawyer, you might start typing in “how much is a settlement after a…” and Google might supply “car crash” to complete the query. You can then write a blog post addressing the factors that affect insurance settlements and judgments in your jurisdiction, with links to your results/settlements/judgments page and your practice page, and any other blog posts that address auto accidents.
Google “People Also Ask”
“People Also Ask” is a box Google provides when you type in a query. Including the exact same language as the People Also Ask queries and answering the query in a blog post will help you rank and attract viewers whose problems you can solve for them.
Post settlement and judgment results if possible, as well as client reviews
If your practice area does not lend itself to posting settlement and judgment results – for example, if you are a bankruptcy attorney – you must get creative. In the case of a bankruptcy attorney, you can advertise that you have “over 20 years’ experience,” you have helped clients discharge “over $3.5 Million in debt,” or you have helped “over 1200 clients get a fresh start.”
Client reviews are a must. Viewers look for online peer assessments for everything, from restaurants to babysitters to piano teachers. They want reassurance that you do the job you say you do, and that real people have used your services successfully.
Gathering client reviews can be automated using software like MailChimp or Constant Contact. This is well worth the investment.
Update your photographs and bios every year
No potential client wants to see an attorney photo that is obviously 5, 10, or more years old from the hair or beard style or the clothing. Take new photos every year to show your current appearances, reflecting current hairstyles and clothing.
Update the content of every bio with accolades, honors, education, and other recent achievements, and if an attorney doesn’t have any, you can list how many clients they have helped “as of [this year]” then encourage that attorney to go out and make some new news.
Every aspect of your website should reflect the current year. Blog posts can be updated with developments in the law and retitled “[this year] Update.” Settlements and judgments should be up-to-date. Client reviews should be listed most-recent to last-recent.
Reviewing your website and taking these steps to revamp it will pay off in more business and better Google ranking for the services you provide. Good luck!