In today’s legal marketplace, increasing competition has put more pressure than ever on law firms to stand out from the crowd. And there’s nowhere better to do that than with your website.
Many lists of best practices for law firms’ websites include:
- Use of templates
- Lawyer bio pages
- Writing with SEO in mind
These are all important aspects of a successful law firm website, but we like to think a little more strategically. Law firm websites can be complex beasts. They have loads of web pages targeted towards several different client segments.
We all know that a website is never a finished article. It’s a constant work-in-progress. It needs regular updates and attention. Your clients will change as they’re with you, selecting you for different legal services, or growing older and requiring different services and a different approach. And they desire, no, demand, a personalised, individualised experience.
Your website is a long-term investment, and whilst client trends and technology may change, you’ll always have one. It’s best to think big and make decisions strategically.
To help you on that path we've complied a list of 5 ultimate website best practices for your law firms:
- Create personal user journeys
- Own a content leadership position
- Deliver content for the entire customer lifecycle
- Build it before clients know they need it
- Never forget your objectives
1. Create personal user journeys
When people visit your website, they expect you to know and recognise them. Browsing behaviour has been influenced and altered by Amazon and Netflix (to name two), and online retail in general. Although you’re a law firm, your audience wants you to give them relevant content and offers in a timely manner, in the right language and on the device they’re using.
Clients are diverse. Your law firm could be dealing with potential clients interested in commercial law, family law, criminal law etc. Each person you target has a different purpose for coming to your website. Law firms need a website that recognises this.
There’s no point showing someone looking for divorce advice an article on mergers and acquisitions.
Personalising the website journey for brand new visitors as well as previous ones, who might just happen to be clients, is vital. Personalisation creates brand affinity, trust and shows that you care.
Law firms need to invest in a digital experience platform to power their website – one that takes data such as the channel the visitor arrived from, the device they’re using, what they searched for, what pages or content they’re looking at, and serves up the most relevant content to enrich their experience and fulfil their needs.
2. Own a content leadership position
Your law firm’s reputation and credibility always matter. Yes, it’s about providing the services clients need and doing a good job – so much so that you get recommended. But given the content-rich, digital-first world we live in, and the need for information and opinion, your reputation is about what you say.
You need to focus on owning a leadership position on the important topics of the day. You must raise awareness of their social impact and be sticking your head above the ramparts to show a thought leadership position.
3. Deliver content for the entire customer lifecycle
New generations come while others age. But with the new and the old comes different needs and expectations. Some potential clients need information right away to make an instant decision. Yes others prefer to take their time, and will make a decision when they’re good and ready.
Both sets of client are equally as important. Your law firm need to cater to both in terms of the content it provides. Remember the What, Why and When of content production.
Law firms need client portals, chat-bots, and mobile apps which meet customer needs in the moment. Consider the long-term user journey, and how a client's requirements may change through their lifetime, and create services to match.
Your law firm will flourish if it produces engaging content.
4. Build it before clients know they need it
‘If you build it they will come…’
What will your clients need from you in 3 ,5, 10 years from now?
Will they be clicking a link on your website to be immediately connected to a video call with one of your lawyers to start a conversation? Will it be downloading a document using biometrics like facial recognition?
Whatever clients' needs might be in the future, your law firm needs to start anticipating and creating content that delivers explicit value for clients before they even know they need it.
5. Never forget your objectives
Whatever your objectives, you should try to stay true to them. Always keep your primary objectives in mind when it comes your content, the next service offering, the next development on their website etc.
Following the HEART principle when it comes to goals is very helpful:
- Happiness: Do clients find it helpful, fun, and easy to use?
- Engagement: Do clients enjoy the content and features?
- Adoption: Do new clients see the value in the product or feature?
- Retention: Do clients keep coming back to complete a key action?
- Task Success: Do clients find the product quickly and complete tasks efficiently?
Working with Codehouse
When it comes to driving digital strategy to implementing tactics and measuring success, we can help. We've worked with multinational law firms like DLA Piper and have several in our roster. We've also delivered award winning websites to many customers across a variety of industries.
If your law firm would like to discuss how we could radically transform the digital experience for your clients, get in touch.
The 5 Ultimate Website Best Practices for Law Firms is part our series of articles dedicated to the legal profession: