Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Law Firm Web Site

Skip the skip button. When confronted with a “skip this page” button, your visitors have to quickly decide whether to click on the “skip” button to avoid the annoying web page or the “back” button...
  1. Skip the skip button. When confronted with a “skip this page” button, your visitors have to quickly decide whether to click on the “skip” button to avoid the annoying web page or the “back” button to avoid the annoying web site. The “skip” button or link is usually found on the home page of a web site with some sort of flash animation, like where the law firm logo zooms by or spins in and out. Sometimes, there may even be some sound effects. By placing a “skip” button on the home page, the web site is already tacitly admitting that a fair number of people will find the flash animation annoying. So, why put it online at all?
  2. Discover your visitors deepest desires. How can you tell what visitors to your web site are looking for? As it turns out, this is a pretty easy question to answer. By using a web traffic analysis program, such as Google Analytics, you can look up the search terms a visitor had entered into a search engine to arrive at your site. See if potential clients are looking for certain information that is not currently available on your web site.
  3. Avoid an online Yellow Pages ad. A television ad should never look like a Yellow Pages ad. Neither should your web site. Since you are not bounded by the dimensions of a quarter or half page ad format, take advantage of this freedom by offering a robust web site with articles, information about your firm, and attorney biographies. Don’t put up a one-page web site and then complain that the Internet doesn’t work.
  4. Ban the scan. As you build your law firm web site, you may consider uploading some existing print content (such as articles from a quarterly client newsletter) onto your web site. In general, that is a good idea if you can post the articles in a text format. Don’t pass the newsletter through a scanner and post it as an image file though. If you want potential clients to find your articles, make sure that these are first readable by Google.
  5. Link properly to other web pages. Print publications and web publications have different conventions. An example of this is how these two mediums handle web links. In a print publication, the author citing a web page will list the URL (e.g., That’s because a reader will have to type in the URL to reach the web page. However, for an online publication, the author should encode the URL in the anchor tag and provide a short title of the web page (e.g., U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime). If the URL does not have to be retyped, why clutter up the page with an undecipherable string of characters?
  6. No one likes to view television ads. With the exception of humorous and expensive Superbowl ads, most people don’t like viewing television ads. That’s what the remote is for. So think twice before placing your television ad on your web site.
  7. Don’t be too unconventional. Have you ever seen a web site that includes a user manual? The one with such a complicated interface that it has to explicitly tell the users where or what to click on? If you find your web site heading in this direction, stop right away. The conventional web site contains a navigation bar, text with identifiable links and maybe even a search box. As you step away from this paradigm, you risk frustrating your visitors when your web site operates differently than their settled expectations.
  8. Avoid new windows. The pop-up is probably the most hated ad format. So, don’t be a pop-up site. Even if you open all outside links on your web site in a new window, your visitors will still leave your web site when it no longer serves their purposes. Avoid the temptation. Instead of keeping potential clients on your site, you’ll probably end up driving them away even faster.
  9. Turn your visitors into clients. Why does your firm want a web site? To attract new clients. If your web site is attracting decent traffic but no clients, you should analyze why potential clients are slipping through your grasp. How easy do you make it for a potential client to contact you?
  10. Read Other Blogs. To be a better blogger, spend some time reading other blogs. Note the writing style of different bloggers. Some bloggers author short and simple posts. Others create long and detailed articles. See which techniques best suit your own style and interests. Also, study the headlines of their blog posts. Are they sufficiently catchy that a visitor browsing the headlines will be enticed to read the full article?

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