Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common
For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.
Your website’s practice area page—the page on which you explain what kind of law you practice—has a big job to do. A well-executed practice area page is often what convinces prospective clients to contact you. But if your website has a poorly executed practice area page, potential clients may just drift away—and land on another lawyer’s website.
Here’s how to approach that page (or pages) and write about your practice area on your website.
Goals for a Practice Area Page
- Attract search engines. Focus on terms your prospective clients are likely to search for, like family law, DUI, and employment contract.
- Speak to prospective clients. Clearly communicate what it is you do, how you do it, why you do it, and why someone should choose you.
- Elicit action from prospects. Every page of your website should tell your prospective clients what to do next, whether that is to call your office to schedule a consultation, to download a form, or to sign up for a newsletter.
Focus on One Topic
Each practice area page should focus on only one topic, for two reasons:
- A single topic is much better from an SEO standpoint. Once you start combining topics, you start diluting the benefits.
- A prospective client with a specific issue is more likely to relate to a practice area page about that specific issue.
If all you handle is family law, then title your page Family Law instead of the generic Practice Areas.
You can take this further by creating practice area page hierarchies on your site. This is especially useful for attorneys with multiple practice areas. Using the example hierarchies below, write overview pages for general areas of your practice, with specific practice pages nested underneath. For example:
- Family Law (Overview)
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Criminal Defense (Overview)
- Drug Offenses
- Juvenile Offenses
- Theft Crimes
- Employment Law (Overview)
- Wrongful Termination
- Employment Discrimination
- FMLA Violations
- Breach of Contract
The more focused you get, the better off your site will likely perform from both a search and a conversion standpoint. For instance, if you are a criminal defense attorney, but you mainly just want DUI cases, focus all of your practice area pages on DUI-related matters:
- DUI Defense (Overview)
- First-offense DUI
- Felony DUI
- Ignition Interlock Devices
- Breathalyzer Tests
- Field Sobriety Tests
Write to an Actual Person
You are not writing for you. You are writing for your ideal prospective client. Picture this client in your mind while you write. Think about how that client might be feeling when they are searching for a lawyer. Write emotional appeals that respond to those feelings.
Are you unsure what your ideal client is like? Take a few minutes to create a buyer persona with the help of this free guide and template from HubSpot.
You should also write using words your clients use, not legal jargon. For instance, use the term alimony instead of spousal support or spousal maintenance. Most prospective clients use colloquial terms. If you want to use the legal term, mention it once and then move on (e.g., “alimony, known as spousal maintenance in [state] … ”).
Answer a Prospective Client’s Burning Questions
The most effective practice area pages answer a prospective client’s questions and address their fears and worries. When writing your practice page, consider answering these questions in your copy:
- What issues do you handle?
- What does the process require of the client?
- What would happen to the client if they don’t hire you?
- What would happen to the client if they don’t hire a lawyer at all?
- What does a client gain by choosing you over your competition?
Your goal is to write directly to your prospective client. Focus on them and their concerns, not on your skills, education, or awards.
Close with a Call to Action
As mentioned above, you want to close out your practice page with a specific call to action (CTA). Your CTA should state in no uncertain terms what your prospective client’s next step is—if you leave them guessing, they probably won’t do it.
Three Things to Avoid
- Legalese. Avoid all terminology that makes it sound like you are writing a brief. This is marketing copywriting, not brief drafting, and you are probably not marketing to other lawyers.
- Legal advice. Keep in mind you will be responsible for any advice you give. The better practice is to give information, not actionable legal advice.
- Typos. Your credibility can hang on a dangling modifier, a misspelled word, or an omitted punctuation mark. Have someone copyedit your piece before your publish.
Remember to Write for the Web
People read content on screens differently than they do content on paper. Review these best practices for Web-based writing to learn how to craft and format your copy for greatest impact.
Your practice area page is not a dumping ground. Do not throw an exhaustive bullet list on this page and call it complete. Instead, be strategic in how you approach this page or set of pages. And be thoughtful. Prospective clients are more likely to respond well to content that has been carefully crafted to directly connect with them.
Featured image: “Male hands working on a white laptop on a wooden desktop and copy space at right” from Shutterstock.