Whether you’re a partner in a big law firm, or have ventured out on your own, being a modern lawyer requires a Web presence. It’s true that the merits of your career should be the main factor drawing clients to you, but the fact remains that success alone doesn’t magically create a robust clientele. When it comes to the Internet, your goals are to project a polished and positive image, be easily searchable and answer potential questions prospects may ask.
Here are a few tips that can help you make that happen:
Perfect and Align the Overall Image
You might think that branding isn’t very important as a law firm. But your firm’s identity is central to how clients (and others in the industry) are going to perceive you. First and foremost, spend a little time on your website. It can be minimal in design and copy if that’s what you prefer, but it should still look clean and well thought out. If you need a new template or are starting out with a website from scratch, check out a site like Top 10 Website Builders in order to easily compare what different services offer. Many of the recommended website builders give ample choices for design and make it easy to create exactly what you’re envisioning, even without possessing Web design skills.
It’s also a good idea to keep your themes and messages consistent across your website and your social channels. If your site has a color scheme of tan, black and green, for example, your Twitter should follow suit. Keep headshots professional and consider using the same one on your site that you do on your social platforms. This will help prospects and clients to quickly identify you, no matter where they’re looking. Double check that your site is mobile-friendly, too, since many people search for attorneys on their smartphones. Your site should be responsive and easily viewable whether it’s accessed from a laptop, mobile phone or tablet.
Encourage Positive Reviews
One of the downsides of living and working in the Internet age is that you can’t control everything that’s said about you online. The best thing you can do to protect your virtual image is to conduct your practice with integrity and do everything you can to ensure client happiness. Beyond this, you don’t have much say over what gets posted about you and your services online. In order to counteract potential negative reviews, gather several glowing testimonials you can post on your website. And be sure to incentivize your most pleased clients to review you positively on sites like Yelp and Avvo. Include a blurb asking for a quick review in your email signature, with a link that takes clients directly to one of the sites. And if no one takes the bait there? Don’t be shy about approaching clients directly to ask if they will do you a favor and share their experience online.
Another important piece of the digital puzzle is actually getting people to find you. In order to do this, search engine optimization (SEO) is key. Start by brainstorming all the keywords that your target client would use if searching for a lawyer. Your specific areas of practice, your location and words like “lawyer” and “law firm” are all good bets. Then dig into how your Web pages are set up. Each one should be carefully planned out. Rather than including a page that lists all the areas you concentrate on, create individual pages for each one. Having one page for “Employment Law,” one for “ International Labor Law,” one for “Child Labor Law,” and one for “Workplace Discrimination Law” will net you far better results than piling them all onto one page.
Still need more places for SEO to do its work? Try starting a blog. Only do this is you’re able and willing to keep up a flow of content at least twice a month (if not more), and aim to write on topics that your ideal clients would want to read most. Include your SEO keywords throughout the posts, when applicable (and not too frequently). This can help when someone is searching for you too.
As you work toward establishing a solid digital presence for you and your firm, begin by assessing the overall image. Be sure your website and social media channels are consistent and refined, encourage positive reviews from satisfied clients and spend some time incorporating good SEO practices into your site. Armed with these tips, you should see a spike in your traffic—and clientele.