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The integral components of an effective attorney website are a professional design, good content, a strong call to action, sophisticated search engine optimization strategies and an intuitive navigation structure. While all of these components are necessary, they may not be enough if your firm is committing one of the ultimate faux pas that can drive a prospective client away in a matter of seconds.
Fred Cohen, CEO of Amicus Creative Media, a website development and online marketing group for attorneys, focused on some of the ways that lawyers are driving visitors off their websites and into the offices of competitors. In a Law Practice Today article, he outlined these offenses:
It takes too long to figure out how to contact you.
Don’t make it difficult to find your contact information or your visitor is likely to jump to the next site on the search result page. The risk in not having your phone number prominently featured is just too great when it means losing impatient prospective clients.
You’re too self-absorbed.
Your website is supposed to showcase your firm. It’s important, however, to remember that it’s supposed to not only highlight your experience and skills, but how your expertise can benefit your clients. All of your copy, from the home page content to the attorney profiles, should be framed in terms of how you address client concerns and solve their problems.
Your site is not optimized for mobile viewing.
A large number of your visitors are viewing your site on a mobile device. You need to have a site that is compatible with the smaller screens and slower loading times of a smartphone or tablet. If you don’t, you’re going to annoy your visitor and possibly miss out on a lead.
The ad-ons are intrusive.
As a general rule of thumb, remember that visitors may want to visit your site discreetly from the office or home. A video blaring about your services will likely result in a hasty exit. Other ad-ons such as Twitter feeds, excessive animation and scrolling marquees provide little value to the visitor and can be perceived as busy or just plain annoying.
Your content was written for Google.
If you don’t like your content, neither will your website visitor. Luckily, search engines have come a long way, and high-quality, relevant content — the kind your prospective client is looking for — is now far more important than pages with a high density of keywords or 50 mentions of surrounding cities or towns.
Your site can have good copy and attractive graphics, but that won’t be enough if some functionality is quick to annoy visitors, Cohen concluded. Spend some time visiting each page of your site from different devices; ask some friends to do the same. If you find anything to be cumbersome or just plain frustrating, make sure it’s corrected immediately so you don’t turn off visitors and lose business.