We all know how important a law firm’s website is these days. Traditional advertising methods, such as Yellow Page ads, while still effective, are overshadowed by the ease of conducting a Google search to find what you’re looking for. Not only are Google searches easy-the results often offer valuable information about a business, including a link to the company’s website along with ratings and reviews about the services offered by the company.
Legal services are no exception to this trend. Most people seeking an attorney head to the Internet first. That’s why your law firm’s website is so important. It’s the online equivalent of your firm’s front door and the information that you include on your website should be tailored to meet the needs and expectations of your potential clients.
But what exactly are people seeking legal services looking for when hiring an attorney? A recent survey conducted by Software Advice provides some answers. The survey results were based on the replies of 3,465 randomly sampled respondents and offered some interesting insights into how legal consumers go about locating and hiring lawyers. Although the questions focused on the information consumers seek when perusing user review sites such as Yelp, the replies are easily transferrable to websites since they provide useful information about the information legal consumers consider when hiring an attorney.
Here are 5 tips gleaned from this survey that will help make your law firm’s website more effective and consumer friendly:
1) Showcasing quality of service is important
According to the survey results, one of the most important factors to legal consumers is objective proof of good service. In fact, 48% of respondents cited that as the most important factor when researching an attorney online.
One way to provide information about the quality of service provided by your firm is to include links to Yelp reviews, assuming there are reviews on Yelp for your law firm and the reviews are favorable. Alternatively, if your firm has not been reviewed on Yelp, including client testimonials on your website is a good option, although consumers may not view those reviews to be as objective as those provided on Yelp and other review sites.
2) Highlighting client communication is key
According to the survey results, the largest percentage of respondents (33%) when asked what qualities they sought when hiring a lawyer, indicated that they valued clear, concise communication from their attorneys more than anything else. Having their options explained to them in simple, easy to understand terms was more important than an attorney’s win-loss record, professionalism, or listening skills.
One great way to show that attorneys at your firm are able to communicate effectively with clients is to maintain a law firm blog. Make sure that it includes posts where lawyers explain legal concepts in a simple, down to earth manner. Doing so will show potential clients that attorneys at your law firm are knowledgeable and able to communicate clearly.
3) Emphasize experience
Not surprisingly, legal consumers are seeking experienced attorneys. That’s why 48% of survey respondents stated that experience was more important than certifications, education, age or gender.
So if you’ve been practicing for a while, make sure to include your years of practice either for individual attorneys and/or collectively for entire the law firm. Doing so will inspire confidence in potential clients and will encourage them to contact you.
4) Certifications are important
Although experience was the most valued information sought by legal consumers, certifications were also important. Certifications came in second, with 19% of survey respondents indicating that certifications were an important consideration when researching attorneys.
So be sure to include any certifications or awards that attorneys in your firm have received. It’s just one more way to showcase your firm’s expertise.
5) Focus on client service
According to the survey results, potential clients value attorney responsiveness over all aspects of how a law office is run, with 39% citing that as an important consideration when hiring a law firm. Responsiveness was deemed more important than staff friendliness, how well the firm addressed billing issues, or the ease of scheduling appointments.
That’s why it’s important to show clients that your law firm provides multiple ways for lawyers and clients to interact. So, for example, if your law firm uses online client portals for communication or incorporates other innovative communications features into its workflow, make sure to emphasize those features on your law firm’s website.
So take some time this summer to review your law firm’s website. Does it provide the information that legal consumers are seeking? What steps can you take to make it more effective and consumer friendly? Make some changes to your firm’s online presence and see how much it pays off!
For more useful website tips, check out this infographic “The Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make With Their Websites” or view this slideshow “Keys to a Successful Website: A Checklist for Law Firms.”