Forget the bells and whistles… your website needs to reinforce your brand, your message and your points of differentiation via powerful, compelling content.

This week we asked: When visitors come to our firm website they can recognize our points of differentiation…

1. Instantly. 13%

2. Within the first 2 minutes. 29%

3. After poking around the site for a bit. 37%

4. Our website doesn’t clearly reflect our points of differentiation. 21%

My Thoughts:

Congratulations to the 42% of you who said visitors to your firm website can recognize your message within the first two minutes. It’s a great way to give potential clients an idea of your firm vision and brand. For the 58% who found their message not as obvious… you’ve got some work to do!

Websites are truly one of the easiest ways to give potential clients (and others) a good picture of who you are and what you do and have the added bonus of being easily updated on a moment’s notice. It is the only vehicle that can present up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening within your firm. Don’t let your site get carried away with the bells and whistles of technology… let it be driven by your brand message with fresh content.

  • First, nothing is more of a disconnect than a firm website that takes on an entirely new visual identity. Your site should reflect your firm, from the brochures and advertising to the overall personality. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.
  • Second, take the time to have a clear logo, full firm name and brief synopsis of what you do on the home page. What makes YOU different?
  • Third, be concise but informative! Your firm website is a great place to expand on information you may have left out of other legal marketing materials, but be sure to edit yourself. If you must go longer than two or three paragraphs consider using subheads between them to better organize the information.
  • Fourth, think about layout. Type should be designed to pull their eye to the most important information on the screen. If they glance at the screen what words or statements do they see instantly? Remember not EVERYTHING can be important.
  • Finally, think like the client. What would you like to know? What do they want and value? That means keeping attorney bios clearly organized and easy-to-read; practice area descriptions free from legalese; and (once again) contact information clearly labeled and thorough.

One last thought: Be honest when planning your site. If your firm events occur only once a year…don’t put up an events page. If you’re not able to keep up with blog posts… don’t add a blog. Be aware of what’s online and make the necessary adjustments.

To quote my friend Marlon Hill of delancyhill:

To see results from your marketing efforts you need to be consistent and deliberate and inspire confidence in your services and position in the industry.

Black Pearl: The best way to understand great content is to see it in action. Try browsing through different sections of The Webby Awards (such as Best Copywriting or Best Navigation). Even if the industry is outside the law, it’s a good way to see what works on the web and get valuable ideas to translate over to your own site.