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Why Understanding What Prospective Clients Want Is Key to Website Success

August 2017

Most lawyer and law firm websites commit many sins, but none is greater than failing to recognize what clients are actually looking for on the web.

Related: Managing Your Law Firm's Brand

In particular, legal professionals tend to load their sites with biographical information: where they went to law school; which judges they’ve clerked with; how long they’ve been practicing; how long the firm has been operating; which bars they are admitted to; the legal publications in which they’ve been published; etc. While this information is interesting and certainly shows a lawyer or firm’s qualifications, it doesn’t serve the purpose of giving prospective clients what they need most.

What Clients Want
So, what do potential clients want to see when they come to your website? Your qualifications are probably somewhere on the list, but they are a lower priority. Here are just a few of the things that they care about more:

  • The type of law you practice: What is your legal specialty? Do you do family law? Traffic law? Criminal defense? Estate planning? This question is the very first one your website should answer because it tells clients if you would be willing or able to help them with their matter.
  • Your expertise: Listing law schools, degrees, firms you’ve worked for, and awards you’ve won probably makes you feel good. However, the fact is that most clients don’t know enough about the legal profession to understand how much worth any of those things have. Indeed, bragging about your accomplishments is more likely to impress other lawyers or potential employers than it is to win clients. To win clients, you need to provide a display of your expertise. You can accomplish this feat by stocking your site with informative blog posts, FAQ sections, and case studies. Content of this ilk tells clients what kind of cases you work on and gives a practical sense of what you can do as a lawyer.
  • What past clients think of you: A great lawyer is a great lawyer, but most clients want to work with someone who won’t just win, but who will make them feel comfortable and informed throughout the process. Clients want lawyers who are approachable, friendly, communicative, and helpful. You can’t tout those qualities for yourself, but you can ask past clients to write testimonials for your website.
  • How they can reach you: Ideally, if your website does its job, then prospective clients are going to want to contact you. Give them several ways to do so, including your office phone number, your email address, and links to your social media profiles. You might also include a contact form that clients can use to reach out to you directly via your website. The more channels you give clients to get in touch, the more likely they are to do so.