No legal practice can market itself effectively nowadays without a website. But how do you get your legal website to do the business?
In the first of this series tackling the issues of marketing for lawyers, Mike O’Donnell looks at the importance of the website homepage.
We really do live in the age of the magpie mentality. Internet searching for legal services is the norm and, no matter how near the top of the search engine rankings your practice is, the back button is only one click away.
If your homepage doesn’t engage viewers instantly or is difficult to understand, they’re gone.
The basics are these:
The first question that goes through the minds of visitors is “Have I clicked the right link?” You should put them at ease by prominently answering that question. Tell them what you do and where you do it and keep it short. It sounds obvious but it is surprising how many legal websites lack this information on the homepage.
Place your telephone number and email address prominently. This is usually at the head of the page but should be visible when the page is first opened.
Any imagery used on your homepage should be:
Photos of a group of solicitors in suits may not be the most appropriate thing!
The call to action is a button or link that allows the prospect to contact you. Your contact page should be clean, simple and short. Remember: the back button is one click away.
Emphasize your CTA button:
What exactly does this mean? In simple terms, the website must work equally well on pc, laptop, tablet and mobile phones. Mobile devices are key, as we have just passed the point where 50% of all searches are carried out on them.
To assist in all of these basics, you can use a device called a sticky header. This is a simple part of the homepage design that means the top menu structure including the CTA is always visible. Try scrolling down this web page and you will notice that the upper section is constantly visible.
All these basic components should be standard issue from your web designers but it’s surprising how often they are not present on legal sites. To get the most out of your site, shop around for a good web design agency – preferably one which can offer search engine optimisation as well as design. I shall look at SEO in more detail in the next article in this series.
Mike O’Donnell is an experienced marketing professional who has spent much of his career working in and advising the legal profession. For further biographical details click this link.
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