It sounds obvious, but it may need to be stated: your law firm needs a website. Today Stephanie talks with our own Legal Tech Advisor Zack Glaser about the importance of your online presence. He gives advice on how to set goals with clear CTAs, nurture leads, and offers suggestions to get started with your content marketing strategy.
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- . Why do websites really matter?
- . Goals for your website.
- . What is content marketing?
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to the Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice. In today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market, Lawyerist supports attorneys building, client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community content and coaching, both online and through the Lawyerist Lab, and now from the team that brought you the small firm roadmap and your podcast hosts.
Ashley Steckler (00:35):
Hi, I’m Ashley Steckler.
Stephanie Everett (00:36):
And I’m Stephanie Everett. And this is episode 431 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today I’m talking with our very own Zack Glaser about making a great law firm website.
Ashley Steckler (00:50):
Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Clio, & Gavel, we wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support. Stay tuned and we’ll tell you a little bit more about them later on.
Stephanie Everett (01:01):
Actually, we have lots of exciting things happening in the Lawyerist world that we need to fill everybody in on.
Ashley Steckler (01:07):
We do for sure.
Stephanie Everett (01:09):
So I guess up first is our book is going to be released on Monday so people can pre-order it. Now, if you don’t want to wait and you want to make sure it hits your Kindle, but then on Monday, February 20th, people can go onto Amazon and download the Kindle version right away, or order their own soft-bound cover. So it’s called real book pages
Ashley Steckler (01:33):
For sure. We have some specific new exciting things that we talk about in the new book, and so we’re all very excited about it and we have something else going on. Also, at the same time, we just ran our best website contest. We are currently in judging mode. The winners will be announced on February 24th, and we’re actually talking to Zack about a lot of the things today on the podcast. You talk with Zack about things that will help firms get there. Maybe everyone can take this as an opportunity to look at their website, think about design, branding, accessibility, what you’re offering clients, and maybe get your website into the contest next year.
Stephanie Everett (02:19):
So lots of fun things happening over in the Lawyerist world, so make sure you listen today for all the great ways Zack’s going to share of how to think about your website, and then grab your copy of the book on Monday and then come back and check out the winners next week.
Ashley Steckler (02:34):
Yeah. Awesome. Now here is Stephanie’s conversation with Zack.
Zack Glaser (02:42):
Hi, I’m Zack Glaser. I’m the legal tech advisor here at Lawyerist, and I advise our Labster on what technology to use. I write our reviews of legal technology and generally try to just stay up to date on what’s going on in the legal tech field.
Stephanie Everett (03:00):
Well, hey, Zack, it’s fun to have you on this side of the seat for this conversation, <laugh>, because you also are one of my co-hosts, but today I thought instead of you sitting in that role, we’d bring you on as one of our guests because we want to talk about websites and it may sound mm-hmm. Boring. I don’t know, maybe it’s not boring to everybody basic, but turns out they’re probably pretty important.
Zack Glaser (03:24):
Yes. We are beyond the point where you have a question of whether you need a website, Lawyerist need websites. We are businesses that need a way for our clients or potential clients to get in contact with us. There’s too much that we can do with these websites to forego that aspect of our practice.
Stephanie Everett (03:43):
Yeah, I mean, it occurs to me that there was a time in our history where having a brick and mortar office was what established your credibility. You weren’t a real business unless you had a place you could go and say, this is where I work, and now we’ve entered this new phase where that’s not necessarily the case, but people won’t think you’re a real legitimate business unless you have a website. Does that seem like where we are?
Zack Glaser (04:10):
I think it is back to having a, and this is not ancient history, having an office on the square of the small town that you service. That was absolutely necessary even somewhat recently. But now if you go to an organization, if you go to a business and they don’t have any sort of online presence, you’re going to question whether or not they’re open. That is just kind of table stakes at this point. Having some sort of website and frankly having a Facebook page that is your website is not going to do it for a lawyer.
Stephanie Everett (04:46):
And so, I mean, you’ve kind of been talking about this, but beyond the fact that it’s just the starting point now for having a legitimate business, what are some of the other reasons why websites really matter?
Zack Glaser (04:57):
Well, first is the people can find you that way. People don’t drive down the road looking at billboards and go, oh, hey, there’s my divorce lawyer anymore. The first place they’re going to go looking for somebody that practices what you practice is likely some sort of search engine, Google, something like that. And so you have to be able to be found in order to compete. More than anything though for me is that this website is now your office. It is your presence, and it is a way that people interact with your office. It’s them going through the front door. Now, somebody comes onto your website and they have a way of interacting with your office. Now they’ve stepped into the front door and they found your receptionist.
Stephanie Everett (05:44):
We talk a lot about brand and brand identity, but I mean, at a basic level, this is their first impression and this is how they’re going to probably start to build that trust and relationship with you to determine if they even want to work with you.
Zack Glaser (05:58):
Absolutely, and I think a lot of times we can make it an equivalent to a physical office because if you’re creating your physical office, you are going to think about what do my clients want to see when they come in here? Not everybody needs giant walls of books, but some offices might. Not everybody needs when somebody comes into their office to look extremely tech savvy, but some offices might. And so when you’re designing your website, your online presence, we need to think about what is it that our clients or our potential clients want to see? And so start with them in mind. That’s where we start from. Who are our potential clients? What do they look like, what do they like? Then we start looking at our branding.
Stephanie Everett (06:47):
Got it. I mean, I think you would agree with this. You should have some goals for your website. It should exist for a reason, but people might be stuck on what kind of goals they might think about beyond just it’s a place where people can find out my contact information.
Zack Glaser (07:05):
Yeah. I think a lot of times there’s kind of two things to unpack there. The first is that I think a lot of times people will say, well, my goal is to get clients. Well, okay, what clients? Any of ’em that’ll come in the door, we have to limit it a little bit and figure out who it is we’re trying to talk to. Because if you’re advertising to everybody, you’re really advertising to nobody. So figuring out who it is that you want to come in your door, then we think about what is it that we want to do when they come in our door? We think about calls to action first and foremost. What is it when somebody comes onto your website, do you want them to accomplish? Do you want them to just simply come onto your website and make a phone call? Great.
Make it really easy to do that. Do you want them to come onto your website and then they book a consultation with you? Awesome. Have everything flowing right at that consultation page. Do you want them to come on here and then they get added to your email list? Wonderful. But if you want them to do all three of those things, it’s a little problematic because we’re getting them in there and they’re looking around and they’re saying, well, what do I want to do? And so if you are going to have more than one call to action, you need to be very, very thoughtful about it, but have a call to action. Have a end game for every interaction with your website.
Stephanie Everett (08:29):
I think that’s super helpful and reminds people, one of the goals of your website could be to attract clients and then when they’re there, give them the necessary information or steps they need to actually reach out to you for that next step.
Zack Glaser (08:44):
Absolutely. And I think about Lawyerist saying, well, I’m not advertising directly to the public for potential new clients because most of my clients are actually most of the ways that I get clients or referrals from other attorneys. Okay, great. Make your website something that other attorneys are going to go to. They’re going to recognize your ability in that area of law and then make it easy for them to contact and send somebody to you. We always have some sort of call to action there, and the best websites that I see, we have the best law firm websites contest going on right now, and usually the best ones that are, there are ones that have clear, concise, but specific calls to action on them
Stephanie Everett (09:28):
That makes sense. So somebody’s landed on the page. I guess that’s one way that they will get to your page. But now a lot of people also hear this idea of content marketing. So let’s take us down that little road for a minute, because I think people are like, oh, beyond having my website, it needs to have blogs or videos or other things happening on it, and I think it can get a little confusing or overwhelming. So let’s break that down for people and what do we mean when we talk about that kind of content being on your website and what’s its goal?
Zack Glaser (10:02):
So if part of your marketing goal is to do content marketing and content marketing is when you put out content that attracts people to your site at a very basic sense. You know, put out a blog post or you have podcasts or you have email that goes out to bring people into your site, but to kind of educate them, what you’re doing is bringing them into your orbit and then nurturing them and keeping them around. That way when they do finally say, I need to find an attorney, or I’m going to contact an attorney for this problem that I have, it’s you, so you want to stay on top of mine. When people think about that, it’s overwhelming because there’s blog posts, there’s social media, there’s videos that they can be putting out. There’s TikTok. There’s so many places where you can get in touch with your potential new clients.
But again, we want to go back to who are our clients? Who are our potential new clients? Where are they? Are they people that are going to read blog posts? Are they people that are going to listen to podcasts? Are they people that are going to come onto your website, download a white paper, scour it, and then contact you? Who is it that you’re trying to get connected to you? And then again, the idea is what is the end game? What’s the c t A, the call to action, even with those blog posts when somebody reads through a blog post that is about divorce in North Carolina and they’re getting new information from you, but what they really wanted was that information. What you want is for them to contact you when they’re ready to either file for divorce or do whatever it is they need to do. Well, you want to stay in their orbit, and so what is it that you need them to do at the end of that blog post? Well, maybe it’s add themselves to your email list. Maybe it’s connect to your Facebook group, whatever it is, it needs to be the thing that brings those people into your orbit, and so your website is creating content to bring people into your marketing orbit so they eventually become nurtured potential new clients.
Stephanie Everett (12:14):
Awesome. So just to recap, we can have a goal for our website for people to find us. So it could actually be generating new leads, bringing people in. That’s the idea of a content marketing strategy if people are curious and want to learn more. So that’s one way your website can exist in a goal. It could have. We talked also about how it’s that building trust confirming you are who you are. Mm-hmm. Like the way we mm-hmm. Probably how everyone traditionally thinks about their website. I think there’s a third goal that websites can have, and we’re going to take a break to hear from our sponsors when we come back. I want to tackle it, which is using it with your clients now in the actual practice of law. Does your website have a purpose there? So let’s take a quick break and we’ll, we be right back.
Speaker 1 (13:04):
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Stephanie Everett (15:37):
All right. Back with Zack, we’re talking about websites. It’s a no-brainer. Everyone needs to have one, but now we need to understand all the different roles they can play for our business because it really has gone beyond an online calling card, which is probably where they all started for law firms, and now we have ways that law firms can really use this as part of its business strategy. I mean, we had a guest on our show once and he was like, I think of my website as an employee. I’m willing to invest and spend 50 or $60,000 a year on it because it performs one of my team members does. Which I thought was a very cool way to think about this piece of technology that you’re using. So let’s kind of dive in Zack a little bit to that third leg of a website, which is how clients might come and interact with it and use it.
Zack Glaser (16:27):
Yeah. The phrase that I have in my mind always is more than just a billboard. Years ago, we were putting a website out as a static website and it said, Zackary Glaser, attorney at law, here’s his address, here’s the type of law that he practices, and things like that. We’re beyond that. Think of your website as a part of a computer that you own. You own this little area on the internet, and it can process things. It can build intake, it can bring people through your intake. It can build documents. It can be a place where your clients come and interact with your office and yeah, I love that it’s part of your team. It doesn’t have to be artificial intelligence to be part of your team. We as Lawyerist have been documenting and automating and process, if that’s a word, the things that we do since 1066, since Gutenberg. So this website is just another step towards making our tools work for us.
Stephanie Everett (17:31):
Yeah, I love that. And it can do so many things. If somebody’s not sure how to get started, they probably have a website, but they aren’t thinking about it in this way, and it can feel a little overwhelming to think, oh, oh, does this mean I need to go get a whole new website? What advice do you have for those people who maybe want to start down this path but aren’t sure where to start?
Zack Glaser (17:53):
In my mind, there are two places that you can help your clients out using your website initially, and I’m sure there are plenty of other things, and there are people that are much smarter than me thinking about this and applying these sorts of things every day. But I think client portals, so communicating with your clients in a secure fashion and then also allowing your clients to do some self-service stuff. Now, client portal is kind of that anyway, but it’s your clients coming to your office and doing things on their own, either getting answers on their own, filling out information on their own. They could be scheduling appointments with you on their own. In my practice, it was extremely helpful for clients to be able to come to my office in the cloud and learn about what happened in their cases. So things as simple as that. So it’s ways for your clients to interact with your office. That’s more than just where are you located? What time are you open?
Stephanie Everett (18:55):
Yeah, helpful. Before we wrap, maybe we should spend a few minutes and talk about what shouldn’t be on someone’s website. What should they avoid?
Zack Glaser (19:03):
So a lot of times we as Lawyerist try to talk to other Lawyerist or try to show ourselves as Lawyer Lee on a website. We speak in legalese, we write blog posts in a way that makes us look smart. I have done that. I’ve written things that are a little bit too complex just in an effort to have it be intelligent or I’m looking at it because I’m thinking that, okay, other Lawyerist are going to read this. Generally, other Lawyerist are not reading your website. Usually people who are reading your website are just regular clients, so talk to them, answer their questions. Don’t answer the questions that are big legal questions that we like to think about theoretically on your website because nobody’s searching for that, and people that do find that are Lawyerist, they’re not necessarily going to go for your services. Now obviously if you’re looking to be a lawyer that is getting a lot of referrals from Lawyerist for super advanced and technical stuff, that may be a fine thing to have on your website, but most of the time don’t have big white paper sort of things that are all legalese on your website.
It’s not helpful.
Stephanie Everett (20:28):
You’re reminding me because you’ve kind of talked a couple of times about people who are getting referrals, and obviously that’s a huge part of most attorneys businesses. We have a person in Lab, one of our Labster, who actually built a special landing page just for a lawyer, referral sources, and so it’s built for those referral sources. It talks differently. It says, Hey, when you refer a client to me, here’s what you can expect. I’m going to let you know the client called. I’m going to let you know they hired me. Obviously, I can’t tell you what’s going on with their case, but <affirmative> or whatever it is. And here’s, by the way, here’s a special calendarly link, our scheduling link you can use so your clients don’t have to go through the normal process. Your referrals can get straight in and booked with me. It’s written towards this person, which in this case is referral sources, and I think it’s brilliant. I think if this is a large part of your practice, there’s no reason why you might not have a special landing page or place for those folks to go that looks different than your client facing website.
Zack Glaser (21:31):
Absolutely, and I think that leans into, we have a tendency a lot of times to put too much crap on the website. Yes, just too much stuff. It’s overwhelming. There are things that are popping up everywhere. We want them to go and sign up for our email list. Well, we actually aren’t doing our email list very well because we’re focusing way more on this Facebook group that we also want them to sign up and be a part of. We wind up having so much stuff on these sites that somebody comes on and goes I’m out. I’m leaving. And so one of the bad things you can have on your site is just simply too much. And so I love the aspect of this, of separating this landing page at the very least, but portions of this website, a regular client coming onto your website doesn’t need to see your referral stuff. They don’t care about that. They’re not going to go choose what the right path is in order to get there.
Stephanie Everett (22:22):
Yeah, perfect. The good news is our contest is almost over. Probably by the time folks are hearing this, nominations will be closed, but the winners are going to be coming soon, and this is always one thing that I really look forward to because it’s really fun to see which websites win our best websites contests to get those ideas, see what they’re doing. And by the way, not every site that’s a winner knocks all these things out of the park, but they’re doing a lot of them well and can provide some really fun and cool examples for you to check out.
Zack Glaser (22:56):
Definitely go check those out on our website. You can see all the winners from previous years. There are some fantastic websites that could be inspiration for your own site because it’s a very diverse group every year of sites that wind up winning.
Stephanie Everett (23:10):
Yeah, and if you weren’t sure, Lawyerist dot com. Thanks, Zack.
Zack Glaser (23:14):
Thanks Stephanie. See you next time.
Speaker 1 (23:18):
The Lawyerist podcast is edited by Britney. Felix, are you ready to implement the ideas we discussed here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First, if you haven’t read the Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist dot com slash book, looking for help beyond the book. Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities are right for you. Head to Lawyerist dot com slash community slash to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.
Stephanie Everett is the CEO of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program and our Partnerships team. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited and host of The Lawyerist Podcast. Stephanie inspires growth in her team, her family, and her community.
Ashley Steckler is the Product Director at Lawyerist. She enjoys managing many of the projects at Lawyerist, as well as overseeing all of our technology efforts. She excels in training others and manages others with ease! She also teaches a sociology class at her local college.
Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.
Last updated March 22nd, 2023