At Zaliet, we’ve created thousands of websites for law firms worldwide. We’ve also helped law firms redesign their existing websites to be more effective at attracting clients. In doing that, we regularly see the same mistakes being made on law firm websites, most of it which can be easily avoided or remedied. Here are the five most common law firm website mistakes you could be making that are losing you clients – and what you can do to fix it.
1. AN INCONSISTENT VISUAL BRAND
Many law firms have an inconsistent visual brand on their websites. Their logo, colours and fonts might change inexplicably on different pages of their website. The firm might update their visual branding without warning – which makes it exceedingly confusing for a returning website visitor – or an established brand strategy in mind, which only weakens their long-term marketing efforts.
When it comes to creating a memorable brand identity, consistency is one of the single most important factors. Branding is all about shaping the perceptions of prospective clients. You do this effectively through consistent, repeated messaging. Prospective clients need to see your visual identity embodied reliably across your website, which makes recognizing and remembering you much easier.
Images are powerful but simple tools that can instantly make your website more attractive to prospective clients. Studies show that content with imagery gets 94 per cent more views than content without, and images are helpful in parsing text-heavy sections of your website, which makes it easier to grab and hold the attention of readers.
But not all images are made equal. Stock images of gavels and courthouses are so common in law firm websites to the point of being cliché. Almost everyone who is looking for a lawyer will recognise these images as stock images because so many law firm websites they’ve already visited have them too! Talk about an impersonal and unremarkable website experience.
Simply put? Stock images are a fast-track to being forgotten, and for some people, it can even be perceived as unprofessional on the law firm’s part. You’ll create a much better website experience for your prospective clients with professional photography of local landmarks and your staff. People connect with this sort of imagery on a personal level, making your firm a lot more memorable. Professional photography also speaks volumes about your firm’s professionalism and care for detail, which is just one more reason for a prospective client to choose you over your competitors.
2. A LACK OF FRESH CONTENT
High-quality website content is invaluable.
It improves your website’s ranking in search results for Google, which assesses keywords and the quality, relevance and authority of the content when ranking results;
It helps visitors to your website distinguish you from other law firms; and
Educational material encourages confidence in your knowledge and experience.
Adding fresh content to your page regularly can increase visitor traffic and reader engagement, which in turn signals to Google that your website deserves to be ranked higher in search results. On the user side, when someone visits your website, they want to know about your law firm as it is now. They want to know what you’ve done lately, as well as current legal information and news.
If your latest content is dated 2015, people will wonder what you’ve been doing lately and why you haven’t been updating your website. It can be confusing too. Have you ever visited a website that hasn’t been updated in years and wondered whether the business is still in operation? You don’t want that response to your law firm.
One way to remedy this problem is to integrate a blog function into your website. You can use it to post regular updates, be it news or legal content, which don’t have to be long at all to work. The blog posts can be integrated into your website, signalling to Google that your law firm website holds fresh content. You’ll also be giving visitors to your website something valuable and useful to read.
3. HAVING A NON-MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
80% of internet users own a smartphone. More people than ever are using their smartphones to access the internet and search for goods or services, and that includes lawyers. But many small law firms still operate websites that aren’t mobile friendly, which is costing them clients.
A study by Google revealed that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. 40% visit a competitor’s site instead!
A website is the best way to increase your firm’s visibility and generate new business, but if it’s not mobile optimized, it’s going to have the opposite effect, which is a waste of time and money for you. An experienced website designer will create a website for your firm that looks great and works well on desktop and other devices, ensuring you’re capturing as much of your audience as possible.
4. NO CLEAR CONTACT DETAILS
Part of making your website user-friendly is making it easy for people to contact you. Many law firm websites do exactly the opposite. They bury their contact details in an obscure corner of their website, or they put them on the Contact page and nowhere else, and expect people to dig through the website to find them! But with so many businesses and so many great websites, people are accustomed (and expect) user-friendly websites that are responsive and easy to navigate. If they have trouble using your website, they’ll leave and they won’t come back.
Contact details should be clearly visible and easily accessible. The best practice is to have them available on every page, whether the details themselves or a Call to Action that leads to the contact details.
Whichever style you use, the point is that people need an easy and effortless way to get in touch with you.
For bonus points, give people several ways to contact you, for example, by email or phone or a contact form or live chat. Providing several options caters to the wide variety of people and their needs who visit your website, ensuring you’re capturing as many clients as possible.
5. LACK OF SELF SERVICE
Current and prospective clients want to control how and when they can contact your firm. Most consumers like to search for answers online before calling up. Additionally, current clients also want access to your firm 24/7 without needing to physically visit the office or make a phone call during office hours. By offering clients a self-service online experience, clients can find all the necessary information they require, book an appointment or make a payment, at their convenience.
Zaliet has introduced the Web Portal which provides your clients with a self-service experience. A Web Portal can complement your existing website to better serve the needs of your clients. The Web Portal is one place where clients can collaborate on documents, book appointments, make an enquiry and pay their bills.