With thousands of potential clients searching the internet every day for lawyers, advice, and legal services, a substantial web presence is imperative for any flourishing law practice in the year 2017 and the years ahead. If you are marketing your law firm properly online, you are consistently driving potential clients to your website by taking advantage of social media, blogs posts, pay-per-click advertising, and links from a variety of other sources.
But when a prospective client lands on your home page, is that client finding something that will lead to a contact and a consultation? Do visitors find your home page to be helpful or confusing? User-friendly or user-unfriendly? If you want to convert more website visitors into clients – which is the whole point, of course – your home page must express these five key qualities or characteristics:
1. YOUR HOME PAGE MUST OFFER SPECIFICITY
It should be immediately obvious what kind of lawyer you are. Spell it out plainly. The top of the home page is not the place to explain details. People seeking a divorce want a divorce lawyer, and people charged with crimes want a criminal defense attorney. If the kind of lawyer you are is not instantly clear to your visitors, they will leave your home page immediately and find what they are seeking somewhere else.
2. YOUR HOME PAGE MUST BE DIRECT
Especially on your home page, your paragraphs must be short and must get directly to the point. Most website visitors will resist reading long blocks of solid text. Be certain that the information you provide on your home page is pertinent, important, and useful. Your writing must be candid, compelling, readable, and genuine. It’s imperative to avoid advertising phrases and clichés. Your prospective clients are looking for useful information, and they are also looking for an attorney who gets right to the point – without too much self-promotion.
3. YOUR HOME PAGE MUST DISTINGUISH YOUR LAW FIRM FROM OTHERS
The truth is that too many attorneys can’t distinguish themselves from their competition. Every law firm claims to offer high-quality legal services, to have substantial legal experience, and to provide “big firm-style service” with “small firm-style personal attention.” And when every attorney sounds like every other attorney, prospective clients start looking exclusively at prices. The better strategy is to stress your firm’s achievements, the benefits you’ve brought to clients, and the way you solve problems creatively and innovatively.
4. YOUR HOME PAGE MUST EXPRESS YOUR TRUSTWORTHINESS
Are the things you say about helping your clients really true? Putting positive testimonials and online reviews on your home page – or links to those testimonials and reviews – offers some proof that you can be trusted. Another way to gain trust – right from the start – is to clear all of the legal lingo off of your home page and “speak” in plain English. In an era of “fake news” and constant surveillance, you have to work hard to gain a prospective client’s trust, and you are more likely to gain it with plain English rather than “legalese.”
5. YOUR HOME PAGE MUST MAKE VISITORS COMFORTABLE WITH YOU
What you can do for clients is important, but the truth is that other attorneys can do it too. What a prospective client needs to know is, “Will I be comfortable working with this attorney? Will I like this person?” That’s why you need some video on your website and particularly on your home page. A video on your home page is a chance to introduce yourself and your services, talk about your clients and your achievements, and basically put visitors to your website at ease and make them feel comfortable contacting and approaching you. Text explains what you do, but video expresses who you are.
WHAT ELSE IS REQUIRED FOR A TOP-QUALITY HOME PAGE?
Understanding the expectations of prospective clients is key to keeping them on your website long enough to read your content and be impressed with what they find there. While it’s imperative to articulate the five qualities and characteristics listed above, text alone usually doesn’t persuade a website visitor to become a client. Symbols, graphics, fonts, colors, and the overall design and appeal of the home page are just as important as the text.
The page’s design should be simple and uncluttered. A poorly-designed home page sends prospective clients the wrong message and so does a home page that hasn’t been updated in years and looks like a refugee from 1999. Avoid the free website offers, and if you are not a website designer, don’t try it yourself. Contact an internet marketing company and have it done right.
A home page should also include something that encourages visitors to call or to email you. If a visitor can order an ebook or have a brief question answered without obligation, it will create a connection and begin building the visitor’s trust in you. Offer something for visitors right there on your home page, and don’t make prospective clients click through three, four, or five pages to find something. An impatient newcomer will probably just go to another attorney’s site.
Without a genuinely effective home page, you may be doing a great deal of work for nothing. Website analytics can tell you how many visitors your home page receives, how many are new visitors, how many are returning, and how much time they spend on your website. If more than half of your new visitors are leaving after briefly landing on your home page, you probably need to make some changes.
Your website’s home page will probably be your sole opportunity to turn a website visitor into a client, so you must take full advantage of that opportunity. It’s fine to gather ideas from other websites and home pages, but if you don’t have the time to do it right, consider hiring an experienced internet marketing agency to create an effective home page – or to manage all of your online marketing.
An internet marketing agency can create your graphics and videos, design your home page and your other pages, and even supply the text. Your options are almost unlimited. The services of experienced legal writers, videographers, and web designers can all be available to you through one professional agency. If your website’s home page needs a shake-up, or if you simply want to discuss marketing strategies, have a consultation with some internet marketing professionals who can manage some or all of your online marketing needs. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll come away with some good marketing ideas.