As I was preparing for a presentation on e-marketing I was giving at the Minnesota CLE Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms, I came across many articles on websites. Here is what I learned. Now I just have to go back and work on my own site!
1. Lack of focus. Many people fail to define their market. Determine who you are, what kind of work you want to do and who you want to represent. Then target your audience. You can’t be everything to everyone.
2. Cliché images. Cliché images such as the scales of justice, a gavel, a courthouse, law books are boring, and, well, cliché. How about a picture of yourself doing something outside of the office? People looking at your site already know you are a lawyer because you told them so. You don’t have to always look like a lawyer. Which leads to #3.
3. Fails to distinguish you. How are you different than the other lawyers with a web presence? Why should someone want to hire you? For example, if people Google “Minneapolis criminal lawyer,” they will get 226,000 results. Make sure you distinguish yourself.
4. Looks like an advertisement. You want prospective clients to know what you will do for them and how you can help them. You don’t want your site to just be a “sales pitch.” What’s more Appealing – hire me, hire me, hire me or if you hire me, this is what I will do for you?
5. Endless list of your accomplishments. Clients don’t care about how you did in law school, nor about your awards. Reading a list of your accomplishments sounds like “blah, blah, blah” to the prospective client. They want to know what you will do for them.
6. Too wordy. If your site is too wordy, people will navigate away. Attention span on a website is measured in seconds. Too much information, too many words or words in tiny type or font that are difficult to read are like the “blah, blah, blah” above.
7. Stale information. Many people forget to update their site and keep it fresh. Do you mention that your phone number will be changing on January 1, 2009? If your site is stale, prospective clients will wonder if you will stay on top of their file.
8. Weak content. This includes legal jargon, poorly written content, improper grammar and typos. What does your writing say about you? Do you seem approachable? Can you construct a proper sentence? Would someone really want to hire you based on your written content?
9. Poor navigation. Make your site people-friendly. Make navigation easy and logical. Does your site make sense? Have a non-lawyer friend take a look at it.
10. Too busy. Does your site look frenzied? Is there too much going on? If your site is too busy, will you be too busy for your client?
Your website is a window into who you are. Make sure the impression you give is the one you want people to have.