Lawyers' Web Site Design by CanLaw
Professional Web Sites for Lawyers
THE TOP MISTAKES LAWYERS MAKE IN THEIR WEB SITES
Many law office web sites are clearly built to impress other lawyers.
Lawyers are not your clients.
TALK TO YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENTS.
Tell them what you will do to solve their problem.
Tell them why you are better.
Post your areas of practice at the top of your home page
Post your phone number on every page
Do you offer free half hour consultations? Say so.
Free parking? Say so. Special hours? Say so.
MOST COMMON MISTAKE?
Putting meaningless big pictures of office towers or landscapes scrolling across the top of your web site home page.
Those sites are wasting the most important spot on their web site. Instead, put useful information that clients need to know about your law practice at the top of your page "above the fold."
Clients do not care about your clubs, your schools or your family Leave that useless information at the bottom of a profile page.
The only thing more expensive than an expert, is an amateur
COMMON MISTAKES AND BAD DESIGN ERRORS MADE BY AMATEURS
Avoid Gimmicks and Special Effects
A web site is closer to a magazine in its function than to the latest crash and burn, special effects movie.
Just because something can be done, does not mean it should be shovelled into a web site.
Programmers do not know or understand design or copy writing, let alone advertising. Use an advertising expert to design your web sites.
Keep your site simple, gimmick free and it will always be viewable and usable by the widest cross section of viewers.
Anything that pops up is a nuisance. If it is important, put it where it belongs, right on your web page.
Links to another page or section may be an exception, Sometimes you want to show the reader more information but keep the current page open. Opening a second page is a good way to do this.
IF YOUR SITE IS NOT MOBILE FRIENDLY GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE IT SEVERELY.
Ignoring Search Engines
First do not fall for those SEO scams promising first page position on Google. They are lying.
Getting position on the search engines is not simple. In Canada there are some 75,000 lawyers and 10,000 paralegals wanting top ranking. Even your surname is probably shared by several other lawyers as well as the general population.
You must include properly done meta tags, keywords and titles, tags on pictures and so on to tell the search engine what is important about your site.
Just submit your finished site to Google and let nature take its; course. Update and change your sites often. "NEW" counts. Stale sites slide down the rankings into oblivion.
GOOGLE IS CHANGING THE SITE SUBMISSION PROCESS
You now need to submit a sitemap to Google. RELAX. You probably have one called www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Try submitting that and see what happens. It should work perfectly.
Review your site no less then weekly for outdated information and either update it or dump it. If in doubt, dump it. Bad information will undermine the credibility of your entire site.
Make certain all your pages are clearly identified as being part of your site. Include a link to your home page, email contact and a basic navigation bar on every page.
Excessive Download Times
Pages can be optimized for download speed.
You only have about three seconds to capture or lose your viewer.
Music or Sound Effects
DO NOT USE SOUND on web sites unless you want to alienate most of your viewers. The one exception of course is videos but only where the visitor controls the playback.
Why blast sounds at someone who may be in an open office, on the phone, surfing late at night or in a library?
You have probably heard that some cities are playing classical music in parks to drive away teen age gangs. Inappropriate or unwanted music on your web site has the same effect.
Forcing your choice of music on some innocent viewer is nothing short of idiotic. What sheer stupidity makes someone impose their "taste" in music on a stranger?
If people want music, they will choose their own.
Long Scrolling Pages
If the page is more then two or three screens long, it is too long. Break it up.
Broken Links 404 Errors
Check your site for broken or moved links regularly. Repair or remove them.
If you need help CanLaw offers a service to automatically check your web site and report all broken links on a regular basis.
Spelling & Grammar
Double check your spelling and grammar. Mistakes prove you are an amateur and make your site and company look ignorant. Do not rely on your spell checker. CanLaw can scan your site for spelling errors and broken links and provide you with a list. (fee applies)
Disabling Right Click
How dare you interfere with your viewer's operation of his/her system?
Removing or restricting the users' controls mis-using Java Script or other features to eliminate tool-bars, back and forward buttons and various other features is both inconsiderate and rude. Never force your gimmicks on your visitors, particularly when your preferences override the user's chosen settings.
Poor Navigational Support
Make it easy for people to find the information on all your pages. Include an on site search engine, table of contents or site map and good navigation bars or aids.
Isn't a lawyer building a website a lot like a consumer self- representing in court? You know how well that works
THE TOP MISTAKES LAWYERS MAKE
IN THEIR WEB SITE DESIGN
OVER LONG ONE PAGE WEB SITES
There is a fad to produce a long scrolling one page web site. Don't do it. Treat your site as a type of magazine, and put different topics on different pages. Easier on readers, and far far better for your search engine ranking.
Keep your law practice web site language simple and error free. No jargon, no gimmicks and it will always produce results and new clients