Does it serve your current clients and attract new ones?
Or is it just taking up cyber-space, larded with stale content and clip-art images?
Here are 5 Sure Signs Your Website is on Life Support:
- It looks just like all the other attorney websites (think template-based sites).
- Its content is about as readable and compelling as a law review article on Totten Trusts.
- You have to scroll “below the fold” to get to the meaty content.
- It has too much text and too little graphics.
- Its content hasn’t been updated since Bill Clinton was president.
And here are 9 Ways to Bring it Back to Life:
- Show, don’t tell. There is a reason YouTube is popular. We love pictures. Use video clips and photography to anchor your pages.
- Be kind to your readers. Presenting your text in 6-point Matisse type is visually cruel and unusual. Use readable font and large characters.
- Avoid canned graphics. Steer clear of stock images. Invest in a digital camera and take some candid shots around the office. Update the pictures now and then.
- Don’t be afraid of white space. It’s easy on the eye and helps make text and graphics stand out.
- Avoid automatic pop-ups. Some web designers will disagree, but I think it’s only polite to let viewers decide when – and if – they want to watch a video or listen to an audio clip.
- Use headers, captions and bullet points. The goal is to make your content easily scannable. Remember: you’ve only got a few seconds to capture the viewer’s interest. If they aren’t quickly hooked, they will click away.
- Follow the ethics rules on advertising. Make sure what you put on your website complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct. If you have a question, contact the State Bar and talk to an ethics counsel. They won’t review or critique your entire site, but they will respond to specific questions about language or images. And they will let you know if anything you plan to put on your site is a no-no.
- Spice up your bio. Most online bios are numbingly similar: academic background, areas of practice, published articles, an award or two to show how awesome you are. Boring. None of that will make you stand out from the pack. Add information that tells who you really are: hobbies, personal interests, core values, mission statement. Tell readers what made you want to become a lawyer and why you love what you do. Let prospective clients know they are hiring a person, not a resume.
- Give contact information. And don’t stick it way down at the bottom of the page. Provide office locations, telephone numbers and a click-through contact form.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He loves baseball, hot dogs, pecan pie and Marvin Gaye. firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.