Attorneys need a strong presence on the internet to be successful. If you’ve been tasked with developing a law firm’s website, their success is somewhat in your hands. You’re responsible for building a website that serves as a lead generating asset, but you can’t truly accomplish that goal with web design alone. Today’s web designers have started incorporating digital marketing into their services, at least at a basic level.

Statistics show that more than 38% of people find their lawyer online, which means there are plenty of potential leads out there for attorneys, but they must be willing to engage in digital marketing to get them. Competition in this profession is fierce. Without digital marketing, your law firm clients don’t stand a chance at being found in the search engines or generating hot leads who need a lawyer right now.

Although it would help, you don’t need to run a digital marketing campaign for your attorney clients if you aren’t interested in that work. However, since their success depends on having an effective website and marketing combined, there are a handful of things you can do to support their needs. Some of those things involve marketing, but some don’t. At a basic level, you should at least understand marketing goals and objectives.

The bottom line is that your attorney clients are looking for leads. It will help to do anything and everything possible to help them in that regard. Although you can’t guarantee leads, if you’re building websites for attorneys, here are some of the best ways to support their lead generating efforts.

1. Ask questions that matter

As a law firm website developer, you’re used to asking questions like:

·  What are your brand colors?

·  What is the full name of your law firm?

·  What is your contact information?

·  What is your office address?

·  Do you want to get phone calls, emails, or both?

·  What are your practice areas?

·  Who are your competitors?

These are great basic questions, but it’s not enough. Since part of building a website includes building page templates that feature certain elements or other pages, you need to know as much about their ideal lead as possible. When you understand their ideal lead, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of design to create so the right information can be featured prominently in the right areas.

For example, if your client takes dog bite cases, you might want to create a page template that allows them to upload a photo of a dog next to their text. If your client is an intellectual property lawyer, they might benefit from elegant blockquote CSS so they can prominently display quotes from copyright, trademark, and patent law.

When you ask your clients what is most important to their ideal leads, they’ll give you clues you can use to lay the foundation for an effective user experience.

2. Don’t just copy other attorney websites

While there seems to be a general formula for successful attorney websites, don’t blindly copy another design without taking your client’s needs into account. The truth is, you can’t know how successful other lawyer websites are just by looking at them. If you copy the wrong design elements, it won’t serve your client.

3. Don’t let your clients make bad decisions

Web design clients are notorious for requesting features and wanting design elements that don’t serve them at all. It’s not their fault – they aren’t developers or marketers and have no idea what’s best. That’s where your expertise comes into play. You are the expert and you know what’s best. However, clients get easily attached to bad ideas and sometimes can’t be talked out of them.

If you want to help your attorney clients get as many leads as possible, don’t allow them to talk you out of including important and proven elements, and don’t let them talk you into silly or ineffective design elements. For example, if they want to use a poor quality photo as the banner on their home page, tell them it’s not up to par. Be nice about it, but don’t let them have their way so easily. They are experts in law, but you’re the website expert. If you phrase it politely, you’ll find that most attorneys will take a second look at a bad photo and agree with you.

4. Be more hands-on with marketing and SEO

Most website developers are hands-off when it comes to content, marketing, and SEO. Traditionally, this made sense. Website development started out as a completely separate profession; the focus was primarily on building layouts, customizing the features and functions, and building custom scripts. It was someone else’s job to write the page content, come up with calls to action (CTAs), and create sales pages.

From there, whoever created the content would give it to the client, and the client would hand it off to the developer to be formatted using HTML. When the site was complete, it would be an SEO professional’s job to optimize the content for keywords and work their magic.

There are some website developers who still work this way, but many developers have expanded their expertise and services to include basic marketing and SEO services. If you have yet to offer these extra services, you’re leaving money on the table.

The number one thing to know about lawyers is they’re always short on time. They don’t have time to do much of anything, and if someone can build their website and help them with marketing and SEO at the same time, they’re more likely to choose that developer. Busy attorneys who need a website prefer working with as few separate businesses as possible. It’s easier for them to manage a relationship with one business as opposed to fielding calls and returning emails from three separate businesses.

By offering basic marketing and SEO services, you’ll be able to land more law firm clients by making life easier for them.

What kind of marketing services should you offer lawyers?

First things first. You should never offer services beyond your capabilities. Only provide marketing services for things you’re relatively confident about in terms of getting results. For example, if you aren’t an expert in email marketing, don’t offer to set them up with an email list or write their email sequences. Creating emails is easy, but creating effective emails requires experience. However, if you can write well, it makes sense to offer to fill out their blog with content directed at their target market. Content marketing is much easier than crafting lead-nurturing campaigns and writing copy designed to convert.

On the other hand, if you’re passionate about marketing and you’re constantly learning and improving your skills, let your attorney client know that you’d like to help them with marketing potentially at a lower cost if you don’t yet have a track record. As long as it doesn’t hurt their reputation, they might be open to letting you experiment with some things, like PPC ads and copy.

What kind of SEO services should you offer lawyers?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is highly complex, extremely nuanced, and even experts don’t have all the answers. Still, there are a handful of fundamental components you can implement for your lawyer clients to give them a good start.

Different types of SEO services

Source

Some of those foundational SEO elements are things you should automatically be considering when building their website. Things like:

·  On-page SEO. This includes schema markup, internal links, optimizing page speed, adding the appropriate header tags to headings, and adding alt tags to images.

·  Optimizing page and post titles. This is part of on-page optimization and is crucial because page and post titles are what search engines use to determine the context of content for ranking purposes.

·  Optimizing page and post meta descriptions. Also part of on-page optimization, this element deserves its own mention. Meta descriptions are the best way to encourage users to click through to your client’s website once their site comes up in a search.

·  Creating the right folder hierarchy. For example, if you’re using WordPress, turn off the option that organizes uploads by month and year. This will store all files in the /uploads folder.

·  Creating the right permalink structure. The fewer slashes, the better. For instance, www.LawyerSite.com/PostName is ideal. You can use categories without adding the category into the URL.

·  Setting up tags. Tags are important because they help users find more information, and unlike categories, you can apply more than one tag to each post. If you start making subcategories, things will just get messy.

5. Ask to work with their marketing team

Ask your clients if they’re already working with a marketing or SEO agency, and if so, request their contact information so you can collaborate. Being in direct contact with their clients’ web developers makes their job easier, which is why many marketing agencies offer web development services.

If you can collaborate with their marketing team, the end result will be more beneficial to your client.

6. Partner with a marketing or SEO agency

If executing basic marketing and SEO isn’t your cup of tea, at least find a digital marketing partner you can either work with or refer your clients to for further assistance.

Don’t leave your law firm clients hanging. Many lawyers don’t know what their next steps are once they have a website. They don’t know it takes a lot of time and effort to get found in the search engines, or that link building is still relevant. Some attorneys might not even know the value of using paid ads. They’re busy, they don’t have time to get bogged down in the details. They need you to help them find their way through the digital marketing landscape, even if all you do is give advice regarding their next steps.

7. Outsource your law firm website development

Another option you have is outsourcing your law firm web development to a team of developers who specialize in this niche. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, we can help.

At Website.design, we specialize in building custom websites for lawyers that convert leads into clients. We have a strong understanding of the industry and target market for a variety of practice areas, including intellectual property (IP), personal injury, criminal defense, and family law.

Whether you’re looking to save some time or defer to legal website experts, reach out to us today to learn how we can help you better serve your law firm clients.

Timothy Carter
Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue-generation activities for website design and web development activities. He has helped to scale sales teams with the right mix of hustle and finesse. Based in Seattle, Washington, Tim enjoys spending time in Hawaii with family and playing disc golf.

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