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8 Pet Peeves of Law Firm Website Content

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Your law firm website is probably going to to be your most effective digital marketing channel this year. To improve its effectiveness, correct the following mistakes.

1. Don’t Hide Your Phone Number

In a world filled with smartphone users, you cannot afford to hide your phone number. It is common website design practice now to have your local phone number in the top-right corner of your website. Failure to put it there means inability to provide an easy-to-find means of immediately contacting you.

2. Break Up Large Blocks of Text

Big blocks of text are hard for readers to comprehend. Messages get lost.

Additionally, a majority of prospective clients will first interact with your website via their smartphones. Smartphone users require content written in a particular way that is even more engaging and relies on short paragraphs to be easier to track visually. Big blocks of text will not do.

3. Don’t Capitalize Randomly

We are not in olden tymes. We no longer spelle words with superfluous letters attached to them. So let’s also stop randomly capitalizing legal terms.

4. Don’t Summarize Your Resume on Your Bio Page

Your professional bio will be one of the most visited pages on your website. The least effective way to help your bio to convert prospective clients is to write a bio that basically just summarizes your resume.

Prospective clients do not care to read a paragraph of text about where you went to school and what extracurricular activities you participated in. They want to know what it is you do, how you do it, and why you do it. They want an inside look at who you are before they even consider contacting you for an initial consultation.

If all you do is turn your resume’s bullet points into paragraphs, your clients will not learn anything about who you are. Which means they will probably keep looking for a lawyer they can connect with.

5. Don’t Tout Accomplishments That Mean Nothing to Your Prospective Clients

If your clients include anyone outside the legal field, then your AV, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyer ratings are irrelevant. Attorneys often put these awards in prominent locations on their websites, taking up valuable real estate that could otherwise be used in a way to persuade a website visitor to contact the firm.

Many law firm website developers claim it is necessary and smart to have the logos of these awards built into the design of your website. The logos are what the marketing field calls “trust symbols,” after all, and in other contexts, like providing a secure checkout logo on a retail site, they make sense. But these particular lawyer-rating symbols cannot instill trust because they have no meaning to your prospective clients.

6. Don’t Use Jargon

Most lawyer websites are guilty of using too much jargon. Jargon makes you look self-important, and it prevents you from connecting with potential clients through your writing. Highly technical terms are confusing, and the legal field is full of them. This doesn’t even begin to touch all the Latin terms that lawyers still use that mean nothing to the general public.

7. Don’t Quote Statutes in Full

Why is this even a thing? Statutes are already located on the internet. If anyone wanted to read a law in full, they could look it up on their state legislative website, the IRS website, or any number of other places. They do not need to come to your website to read them.

Here’s an additional reason why this is a problem: duplicate content will hurt your rankings on search engines. Duplicate content comes up when you have the same content on your website that exists on another website. You could risk harming your site’s search performance by excessively quoting statutes.

Here’s another reason why this is a problem: lawyers do not update their websites as often as they should. If statutory language changes, but you do not change the language on your website, you could be misleading the public.

8. Don’t Be Vague About What You Actually Do

I run a general practice firm.

To anyone without legal training, this means nothing. It is vague and offers no value to your prospective clients.

I handle all legal matters.

In truth, no general practice lawyer actually does it all.

If you are a general practitioner, you know there are cases you avoid like the plague. You also know there are cases you love to take. So use your website to market what you actually want to do, instead of selling yourself short.

Focus on What Your Prospective Clients Want

The best way to connect with potential clients via your website is to sit down and think about what potential clients want to hear before they first meet with you. Write that down in a clear, concise and personable manner, and your website will start converting more leads.

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Cari O'Brien

Founder & Chief Word Nerd
Cari has been providing content marketing services to businesses for over 15 years. She writes and speaks frequently about brand messaging, SEO copywriting and audience-focused copy. She’s the creator of the Connection Copywriting Method and the online writing course, Write that Site®.

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