We’ve written content for hundreds of legal websites across the UK. Solicitors want their sites to achieve a variety of things:
- Make the firm appear professional
- Consolidate the brand
- Provide relevant information to potential and existing clients
- Impress competitors
But with very few exceptions the underlying reason for wanting to develop an effective website is to win more business. And this means two things:
- Attracting more potential clients to the site
- Getting those visitors to contact you
The failure to follow through on this second point is why most law firm sites fail.
WHAT’S YOUR CONVERSION RATE?
By focussing too heavily on design and branding in the initial stages of developing your site you run the risk of missing what really matters: using content to improve your site’s conversion rate. That’s the percentage of visitors to your site who go on to take an action you would like them to take. For example, calling to arrange an appointment with one of your solicitors.
You might have thousands of monthly visitors but if none of them actually contact you, all of that traffic is wasted. It’s worthless.
MAKE YOUR LEGAL CONTENT WORK
So how can you improve your content to give your site a better chance of success?
Here are SIX ways to make your legal content work:
- Think about what your potential clients want. If a business or an individual is searching online for a solicitor it’s because they need to protect their position in some way. Your content should explain how you will help them do this. Free, useful information helps here.
- Make it clear what a visitor could lose by not contacting you. Our fear of losing out is often the decisive factor in taking a particular course of action. And typically there is a lot at stake for those searching for a lawyer. So be explicit about what someone might be deprived of if they don’t get in touch. Here’s an example:
An employee who has been presented with a draft settlement agreement will want to know if the proposals are acceptable. And he or she would reasonably expect an employment solicitor to tell them. But content that highlights how you regularly fight for better terms and larger settlements (backed up with a case study or two) would be a useful illustration of what that potential client stands to lose by not finding out more about your services.
- Can visitors see what’s in it for them? Many sites take great care to describe the firm’s history, its accolades and the qualifications of staff. This is useful as a way of validating the firm in the eyes of the visitor. But don’t overplay it. Potential clients are more interested in the benefit to them of using your firm. All of your content should be framed with this in mind.
- Use content to surprise. Solicitors operate in a crowded marketplace. You have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Estimates vary, but research shows you have about 10-15 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention. Your content needs to be eye-catching. It should surprise with engaging headers and thoughtful insights. The good news is that so many sites look and feel the that making your content stand out is not that difficult.
- Incorporate clear calls to action and straightforward navigation. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to explore your site and to contact you when they want to. This means displaying clear calls to action (contact us on…, call now, complete this form) prominently and regularly throughout your site.
- Show some personality. It’s one thing to list achievements and areas of expertise. But people want personal rapport. Staff pictures are a highly effective way of starting to build this. Presented well, team photos and a line or two about personal interests breathe life into your website. They suggest a company that’s approachable and open, staffed by solicitors who are trustworthy and professional.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Kristina Halvorson is one of America’s leading content strategists. Her book Content Strategy For The Web is the go-to handbook for creating and executing successful content strategies. She has this to say:
“Most web projects postpone content development until the eleventh hour. As a result content quality is often seriously compromised. When we practice content strategy we ensure that our web content is treated as a valuable business asset, not an afterthought”
So make your content worthwhile. Think about how it can be positioned usefully, and never produce content just for the sake of it. Always ask yourself what it’s for. If content is not relevant to clients or doesn’t meet some key aim of your firm, it could do more harm than good. In short, consider whether you really want to publish it at all.