The Five Most Common Mistakes Made on Law Firm Websites and How to Avoid Them

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Attorney Website MistakesMost attorneys and law firms don’t fully leverage the power of the Internet. They think of their website as an extended brochure that is placed in cyberspace to (hopefully) be stumbled upon by a prospective client.  Once the client finds the website, he is then bombarded by facts, figures and information about the ATTORNEY and not about the problem he is looking to solve.  And then when the prospective client is done reading the information on the website, there is little evidence that he was ever there – and no way to follow up with him.

If you think this inaccurate, go to a search engine and type in Attorney Family Law or Divorce Lawyer or Business Law Attorney followed by your city or town.  The results will be websites that resemble Yellow Page Ads.  They contain the name of the attorney and in most cases, a dissertation about his background.  Usually the website has some photos of busy people supposedly hard at work thinking about their clients.  Many law firms go to great lengths to list every single accomplishment and award that each attorney has won.
 
The trouble with this style of website is that you could literally substitute any name for the attorney’s name and it would not make one bit of difference to the client.  There is nothing on the website that makes it stand out or that offers the client any new or unique information.
 
If you truly want your website to help you land new clients then you need to break this stale mold of on line brochure copy and stop making the mistakes that everyone else makes with their law firm website.  Below are the five most common mistakes attorneys make with their websites and how to avoid them.

Law Firm Website Mistake Number 1: The website focuses on form rather than on function

Many attorneys spend good money on a website that visually dazzles their prospective clients.  These sites use fancy animation and sophisticated graphics that are designed to impress the visitor.  Here is a revelation:  When your prospective client comes to your website, they don’t care about fancy stuff.  They only care if you can help solve their problem.
 
Do you think that a guy whose mom is going to be deported cares that an immigration attorney has great animation on his website?

Do you honestly believe that a woman who just found out her spouse has been carrying on with his assistant cares how sophisticated your graphics are?
 
How about the little old lady who fell in the supermarket and broke her hip – will her son select your firm because you have the slickest web presentation?

No.

These people want to know that you can help them get some relief.  They want you to tell them why you are different than the thousands of other attorneys who want their business.  They want you to begin to build confidence and trust with them and they do not care what your website looks like.
 
Don’t waste your money on fancy graphics and animation.

Law Firm Website Mistake Number 2: The website contains no educational material

A person who visits a law firm website has a problem they need help solving.
 
It is in your best interest to educate the prospective client on this problem.  You need to help him understand how bad it can be and why he needs help resolving it.  Give him examples of how you have solved other problems – just like this one – in the past.

Most attorney websites assume that the reader knows something about the law.  This is a fatal mistake.  Most people who are looking for an attorney are looking for someone to take their pain away fast.  They don’t care what the law says.  They want their problem to go away.  Now.  Your website should tell the client WHAT they need to do (besides hire you) to get out of their current mess.

Notice that I said tell them WHAT to do and not HOW to do it.  The “how to” is why they need you.

Speak to these folks in plain language with your website copy and help them understand how you can help them.

Law Firm Website Mistake Number 3: There is no follow-up vehicle associated with the website

How many people visit your website and never call you?

Most attorneys have no way of knowing.

Less than 5% of all people who visit your web page are going to call you and ask for additional information.  Yet they probably came to your site with something specific in mind.
 
You should have some type of follow-up vehicle or some response mechanism built into your website that will allow you to follow up with them.  Your website must have the ability to capture an email address (at minimum).  This will allow you to keep your information in front of the people who need it.

People hire an attorney they know, like and trust.  Frequency of communication will help build up that trusted advisor relationship.

Law Firm Website Mistake Number 4: The website contains no personality and no hint that a human being works at the law firm

Your website must be professional and it must contain all the disclosures that are required by law.  This does not mean that you cannot inject your personality into your site.
 
Please keep in mind that your website will be making a first impression on your prospective clients.  If it contains dull, dry copy – just like the websites of your competitors, it will be difficult for clients to find a reason to select you over them.

Make sure both the copy and the visuals on your website reflect your personality.

Law Firm Website Mistake Number 5: There is no call to action and response mechanism on the website

After your prospective client visits your website, what should they do next?

You need to tell them.

If you want your clients to give you their email address so that you can follow up with them – you have to say so – in a bold way.

If you want your clients to subscribe to your newsletter, you need to ask them to do so.

Every single page on your website should have a call to action and multiple ways to respond.
 
Make sure you offer your phone number, your email address and your office address as response options.

You’d be surprised at how many attorneys rely on a “contact us” page with a standardized form as their only means of contact.

Although these are the most common mistakes attorneys make with their websites, they are not the only mistakes.  Remember that your presence on the Internet should be a “silent salesperson” making a convincing argument for your services.  Make sure you give that salesperson every opportunity to do a great job for your law firm.

Here are three additional articles you need to read right now:

Four Things Your Website Must Do

Your website should be working hard to help your law firm attract new clients.  Here are four areas you should be focusing on to make sure this happens.

Clients Not Traffic

Measure your website’s success by the number of new clients you attract not by the amount of traffic to the website.  This is a critical distinction most lawyers fail to make.

Pick Up The Pace

How often should you update your website? This article is not going to make you happy.  But more clients will make you happy.  So read this article and update your law firm website as often as it says.  Sorry.