Optimizing your web site for potential clients

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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.

here is a lot of talk about optimizing web sites for search engines, but what about optimizing your web site for potential clients?

Search-engine optimization (SEO) is about making it easy for a search engine to index your page. The easier it is for Google to figure out that you are a family lawyer in Minnesota, the better your page will register. This is why content is so important; the more “Minnesota” and “family law” appear in your content, the more clear it is that someone searching for “Minnesota family law” is looking for a page like yours.

But what about PCO (potential-client optimization)?

Look at the main page of your web site again. How far do you have to read to determine what kind of law you practice? Now imagine you are a typical web browser with an attention-deficit predisposition. If you have to read further than the end of the first sentence, you are probably clicking away to find an attorney who does what you need.

Your first sentence should answer the question in every potential client’s mind when they look at a web site: “Can this lawyer help me?”

Some bad examples:

  • “We are a small, general-practice law firm in Chicago, IL.”
  • “At Our Law Firm, P.A., we have a combined 104 years of experience in civil litigation.”
  • A picture of the lawyers and staff with a link menu.
  • “Practice areas: Criminal law; Family law; Estate Planning; Business Transactions.”

What about the last one? Some firms really are that general. If so, fine, but a simple list of practice areas is unhelpful to potential clients and search engines. If you practice several different areas of law, consider creating several different websites, one for each practice area. If you are a true generalist, rely on other marketing.

Some good examples:

  • “We handle divorces, child custody disputes, and draft wills, trusts, medical directives, and other estate planning documents.”
  • We sue abusive debt collectors.
  • “We represent people who have been charged with a DUI or other minor crimes such as petty theft, minor drug possession, and other misdemeanors.”
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