Law Firm Websites Shouldn’t Remind Visitors of the Good Ol’ Days
I got to thinking about us internet users of long ago. We were a trusting, good-natured bunch, weren’t we?
Heck, show us the first result-related to a search query and we’d approach it with polite reverence, smiling as we quietly accepted and interacted with whatever and whomever appears in that most holy of positions.
Yes, it was a time when Saturday Night Live could make us laugh and #1 rankings in search engines (Lycos, anyone?) would elicit a Cuba-Gooding-style shout of “Show Me The Money!” from web owners everywhere.
Are Visitors to Your Law Firm’s Site Sending You This Song?
Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good ‘ole days …
(Hum along while you ponder the rest of the points in this post…)
Today’s user? A savvy, critical, impatient cuss. They mock the old days.
Truth be told, all of us are today’s hyper-demanding user, and thankfully it is the unrepentant ways we use the web that collectively helps to make the entire “www.” an amazing experience. We do it by holding the web’s artisans accountable and becoming intolerant of their junk.
Knowing the web forever changed long ago, it begs the question: Is your law firm’s website doing its part to break new ground and give users no choice but to learn more about you? Or are you sputtering along with old content strategies, no trace of innovation, and a crust-laden approach to visual design? If it’s the latter, you need to change. Yesterday.
Make no mistake, the unforgiving mindset of today’s user doesn’t just apply to your firm’s website. It also includes social media, local results, Google reviews and placement on third-party sites such as Avvo, Yelp, FindLaw and the like. Your entire digital footprint will be analyzed. If any of it looks dated or lazy, you will lose out on the big cases -plain and simple.
Competing, building traffic, increasing conversions… it all starts with thinking big.
Law Firms Should Build Dynamic Onlince Experiences
Woe to the person who stops thinking about their website once it sits atop Google. It never ends there. Not anymore. This is especially true for attorneys, since legal marketing easily remains one of the most competitive verticals on the web.
If you fail to provide a flawless digital experience and masterful first impression, you can bet that this ← will be the symbol most associated with your site.
Think about the cases you want your site to convert. It’s not necessarily the people who already know you or have seen other forms of your advertising. No, the valuable cases are the first-time client who has never needed a lawyer, hasn’t the foggiest which one to choose, yet uses the web to make their decision. (That “type” of person is growing exponentially as television and other forms of advertising become less effective.)
That said, your website will be serving as the introduction to a vulnerable person who will view several choices in personal injury representation across the web.
Reasons that users are site-jumping and investigating an expanded number of search results are many, including the surge of cell phones, ease of access, expanding technologies, faster internet connections for more of the population, increased suspicion on the part of the consumer, etc.
With all this in mind, the single biggest remedy to aid in improving your chances of a potential customer filling out a form, calling or chatting with your firm, instead of the attorney in position #’s 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (dare I say Page #2?), is to ensure their visit is:
Let’s take a look at an example of a single page on a law site that successfully reinvented itself.
Law Firm is Ranking #1 in the Country for Semi Accident-Related Searches
During my time working for a plaintiffs’ firm, I was able to achieve #1 national rankings for several key searches, although a few are especially important, like: “How much is my semi accident injury case worth?”
Needless to say, the visitors who come to the site from this query represent highly coveted leads for the firm, as well as a chance for the attorney to be a hero by helping someone who is suffering from serious injuries.
Initially, the page is rather nondescript: a title, some black on white text, contact form, a sidebar with links to other blogs … you get the idea. With no distinguishing features we are neither memorable nor radically different from the other firms who also appear for similar searches. This is especially troubling for a national search result like this, as the large majority of visitors are from states around the country and well outside our DMA.
Worse yet, the page has a high bounce rate and users refuse to interact with the form or any of the links on the page. Every day I would watch visitors quickly scroll up and down, then back out.
(If you’re not already using a form of activity recording for your website, I highly recommend you start. It will reveal a trove of valuable data. Mouseflow is my personal favorite.)
Something needed to be done, so the page is transformed into a dynamic experience unlike anything else on the firm’s website:
The result? A decreased bounce rate and increased number of contacts from visitors around the country who have never heard of the law firm before finding the result and visiting that page.
I specifically remember talking to the first web contact who came to us shortly after the launch of the new page. It is a man from Laredo, TX who, along with his brother, had just been involved in a serious accident with a semi. The man’s brother was laid up in the hospital with broken bones. Neither had ever heard of our Indianapolis-based firm before visiting the new page. It’s a safe bet that this particular case (and several afterward) never would have come our way had the old page been served up.
(To see a similar example on the mass tort side of things, search “Harley Davidson Wobble lawyer.” The results are similar, with little action before and increased activity after the launch of the new page.)
Approach is Everything!
When it comes to your law firm’s website, the approach you choose will be the difference between spending money to simply have a web presence versus investing in a total solution that performs for you while also serving as a reputation management enhancer … which is a fancy way of saying, a web presence that lives, breathes and works for you.
The semi-truck and Harley Davidson Wobble web page are just two examples that prove a creative approach is key. A creative approach is clutch. In the end, the success of your website and footprint will always be dictated by your approach. Will your digital presence be formulaic, familiar and careful … or wildly creative, timely and fierce?
If you’re curious about what we’re thinking, give our blog posts a read. Or give us a call at 888-506-2183 for a face-to-face.