Checklist for a Client-Focused Website

10 Questions to Ensure that Your Website Attracts Clients

  1. Are your clients described on your site?

Can your clients ‘see’ themselves anywhere on your site? Is there sufficient detail so that clients will read it and say, ‘that’s me’? Does your site include testimonials from representative clients, or case studies of typical matters you handle so that clients can see the kinds of people or businesses you represent?

  1. Does your site accurately describe the legal problems/challenges faced by your clients?

More likely than not, your website gives a laundry list of practice areas. But does it talk about the specific problems your clients encounter, or the situation in which they find themselves at the time they’re seeking your advice?

  1. Does your site talk about your clients’ problems in language your clients understand?

Or does your site sound like a bunch of legal gobbledy-gook? Are the terms you use on your website the same terms your clients use to describe their problems or challenges? Use the ‘mother/child test’ – if you read your site to your mother or child, would he/she immediately understand it?

  1. Is your site easy to navigate?

Are navigation buttons clearly labeled? Are they easy to find? Do navigation buttons look like buttons? Is there navigation available at both the top and bottom of your web pages? Is your contact information easy to find?

  1. Is your site easy to read?

Are paragraphs and sentences short? Are key points highlighted or set apart from the rest of the text? Do you use headlines, bold type and spacing to give the eye a rest? Is your site easily skimmable?

  1. Does your site provide valuable information to clients to keep them returning to your site?

Is your site a resource for your clients or merely an online brochure? Do you provide clients with information, resources, case updates, facts, new information that could affect their business, changes in the law that might affect them? The more relevant content that is on your site, the more clients will keep returning. You’ll build credibility, loyalty and provide fodder for search engines.

  1. Does your site establish you as an expert in your field?

Does your site contain case studies or jury verdicts to demonstrate your expertise? Does it contain statistics, testimonials or other evidence of the results of working with you? Are there published articles on topics relevant to your clients’ business, challenges or legal problems? Do you list seminars and speeches you’ve given on your practice areas? If this information is listed on your site, is it easy to find? Is it listed in an organized fashion, by date or by category?

  1. Does your site pass the ‘so what’ test?

Clients read everything with the “what’s in it for me” mindset. To  be really effective and grab clients’ attention, you can’t just describe your office, your practice areas and your attorneys’ qualifications – you’ve got to answer the ‘so what’ – how do those things benefit the client?

Don’t just say it – show it. If your site says that you’re committed to learning the client’s needs and understanding the client’s business, you must demonstrate that on your site. Show that you know what your client’s needs are by telling a story, providing a case study, or talking about your clients’ businesses (in general terms) on your site.

  1. Do you walk clients through your site and tell them what to do?

You wouldn’t let a client wander around on their own in your office looking for an attorney’s office, the restroom, the conference room or the coffee machine, so why let them wander around your website on their own? ‘Signs’ (navigation buttons) alone aren’t enough. Give your client a tour and lead them through your site by providing suggestions about where to go next, or proposing an action step.

A client who gets lost, can’t find what they’re looking for, or doesn’t know what to do next is just as likely to click away from your site as they are to go back to the navigation bar to look for something interesting to read on your site.

  1. Does your site demonstrate the difference between you and your competitors?

Your site should be a reflection of your firm’s personality. It should give prospects an idea what it will be like to work with you and highlight the benefits and advantages your firm provides. Clients are looking for people ‘like’ them, or people they can relate to. If your site is too ‘flat’ and clients can’t get a good feel for the firm from it, they’re likely to move on.

Shaping Your Narrative – Online Reputation Management

In this ABA TECHSHOW session, Gyi Tsakalakis and I will be discussing online reputation management–when consumers need a hotel or a restaurant, they turn to online rating services to find the best. When prospective legal clients need a lawyer, more and more are now turning to the web to see which lawyers rate the best and which ones fail the test. It may sound absurd but you need to start worrying about what others are saying about you and your practice online. This session will review various online attorney review sites, discuss ways to leverage positive reviews in your online marketing, and how to deal with those nagging negative reviews. We’ll also cover the relevant ethics rules.

Avoiding Ethical Problems in Online Legal Marketing

This live program is now available on CD or DVD from the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The program offers a full 4 ethics credits – enough ethics for your biennial registration.

This important program on using social media to market your practice without falling into any ethical quagmires.

 

The program features top speakers on social media ethics who will address avoiding ethical pitfalls within your website, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook as well as best practices.

We will also focus on the application of advertising rules to LinkedIn, specifically:
• NYS Rule 7.1: False or misleading statements
• Disclaimers on LinkedIn profiles (Rule 7.1 and 7.3)
• Solicitation (Rule 7.3)
• Specialization and “expertise” (Rule 7.1 and 7.3, NYSBA Opinion 972)
• LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements – reciprocal recommendations (Rule 7.2) and other issues
• Client recommendations on LinkedIn
• Confidentiality – what you can and cannot say about clients and cases on LinkedIn; confidentiality issues in communicating with clients/potential clients electronically (Rule 1.6)
• Unauthorized practice of law and inadvertent attorney-client relationships (Rules 1.18 and Rule 5.5)
• Who lawyers can and should connect to on social media

There is also be a discussion on the use of Facebook, including:
•“Friend” requests – which requests should and should not be accepted
• What ethical issues are there when “friending”
• Ethical considerations in researching juror’s, parties’, and witness’s social media presence
• What can and can’t attorneys advise clients about incriminating social media postings

The program also includes comments from the Grievance Committee concerning the Committee’s perspective as to how attorneys are getting into trouble with advertising rules using social media.

FACULTY:
Chair: Annamarie Bondi-Stoddard
Pegalis & Erickson LLC

Fred Cohen, Esq.
Founder, Amicus Creative Media, LLC

Stacey Sharpelletti, Esq.
Assistant Counsel to the Grievance Committee for the 10th Judicial District

Allison Shields, Esq.
President, Legal Ease Consulting

Aaron Zerykier, Esq.
Farrell Fritz, PC
Secretary of the Social Media Committee, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the NYSBA