Lawyers have come to depend on their websites more than they know. When you’re away from the phone, in court, or even a complete stranger to someone, your website will hold over potential clients until they can get a meeting with the real deal: you! Your website is probably one of the most important components of your business, so you better make sure it’s not deterring potential clients right from the home page.
Websites need more than information; they need to be usable. Without a clear structure or an understandable design, visitors won’t hesitate to find another lawyer with a better website. Usability can be the deciding factor in whether or not someone will actually call your office, sign up for your email newsletters, or like you on Facebook. That’s because your website’s usability can often be correlated with how organized and efficient your law firm is. Without a properly functioning website, what’s to stop visitors from assuming your practice is just as chaotic as your website?
Try on a few of the tips below to turn your fumbling, mumbling website into a smooth-talking salesman.
Use Content To Drive The Message Home
All good websites start with the content. It will translate into a better navigation, more effective landing pages, and a chance at higher SEO rankings. Rewrite your content to make it sound professional, yet inviting. Update which keywords you’d like to optimize for but don’t overuse them or search engines and visitors will write you off.
Furthermore, content should be fresh and updated regularly. Incorporate a blog with weekly posts that are relevant to your clients and your industry. Review your landing pages, ad copy, and even headers to ensure your clients have a crystal clear understanding of what your website and your law firm are all about.
Dumb Down Your Navigation
Navigation is just meant to get your clients from point A to point B. If they have to stop at sub-point A1, sub-point A2, and sub-point A3 before they even find point B, they are much more likely to leave your site then continuing to browse. Take a look at your navigation menu and gauge how many pages your website has and how deep they go. If information is more than three pages away, you can assume you’ll lose browsers. Therefore, consolidate information, clean up pages, and try to combine multiple pages into one, if possible.
A simpler navigation menu will also help your website with SEO rankings as search engine spiders don’t have to crawl an entire website, especially if the task is proving too difficult. With a small, concise navigation, spiders will be able to crawl and index your site with ease and potential clients will be please to have a website with a clear purpose.
De-Clutter Your Pages
Lawyers often feel the need to cram as much information as possible into their websites. They have a lot to say and not a lot of room to say it. This usually leads to pages full with content, videos, forms, and just about every WordPress widget they can fit on there. But you know what? There’s no unwritten rule that says white space is bad for business. In fact, design principles will teach you that white space is actually very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Therefore, stop hurting your client’s eyes with overwhelming amounts of “stuff.”
If you have to scratch content, save the ideas for future blog posts. If you’re posting images or videos, spread them out so they don’t overpower the rest of the page. You can also shorten up paragraphs, use smaller phones, and give all your content enough padding before you start a new section. This sort of separation is also great for our next point!
Make Content Scanner-Friendly
As much as we’d like to think that users will take the time to read the content we’ve worked so hard to create, the fact of the matter is, they don’t. Just about every statistic you’ll find on the subject will tell you that most website browsers are only scanning pages for information. And before you get too upset about this, consider that you might do the same to other people’s websites! It’s just a way of life.
Since most users are only interested in scanning, make sure your content and design allow for this. Put the most important information towards the top of a page, use headlines to emphasize important sections, and include graphics to help visitors grasp concepts more quickly.
Your law firm relies on its website to pull in potential customers from just a few pages and a couple sections of content. But without a website that is easy to use, most visitors would rather jump ship. Don’t impede your business development by clutter your webpages, complicating your navigation, or making content difficult to read. Clean up your website and start attracting more clients than ever before.
Pete Wise is the SEO Manager for Network Affiliates; which has been an ad agency for lawyers and doctors since the dawn of the internet. For frequent updates on our projects, check us out on Twitter @Netaff