Does Your Law Firm Website Need Videos?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 31, 2014 1:07 PM

I have a pet peeve: I hate it when a website has a really interesting link in a post, something that SCREAMS "Click me! CLICK ME!" like the "Exorcist" girl, and then when I do, it's a standalone video.

A video. A video that I can't watch in public unless I have headphones, a video that will take a ton of my monthly data allotment on my phone, a video that I can't watch at work because that would totally be unprofessional.

But not everybody is me. Some people like videos. Some people would rather watch a three-minute video than read a 900-word article. And if that sounds like your target clientele, you might be wondering: Should your law firm website have videos?

The Case Against Videos

See that intro? There are a lot of good reasons why you shouldn't have videos: They take a lot of data, they are hard to watch on the go, etc.

And here's an even bigger reason: They are difficult to make at a reasonable cost. You aren't going to use your cell phone to make selfie videos explaining legal concepts. (We hope.) You're going to need a little production value, and unless you know iMovie or some other production software, and have a halfway decent camera, you're probably going to have to hire somebody.

Plus, you can't just update videos on the fly. You have to reshoot videos, while an article or blog post can quickly be edited.

The Case for Videos

Are you targeting a lazy or illiterate clientele? (Kidding. Although...) Or can you explain something far easier in a three-minute demo video than you can in a lengthy article?

The best case for videos is where you have eternally relevant ("evergreen") topics, such as firm attorney profiles, quick intros to practice areas, or commonly asked legal questions.

Or, maybe you can make fun, shareable videos on topics that many people are curious about, like "Can you fool a Breathalyzer?" or "Is it illegal to stream movies online?"

If You Do Have Videos, Keep These Tips in Mind

OK, so let's say you're sold on the idea of videos. Here are some things that you must keep in mind:

  • Have a description and transcript of the video. Ideally, this will be on the same page as the embedded file (because Google can't index a video file, which means unaccompanied videos might get the SEO-shaft when it comes to curious consumers submitting web queries).
  • Don't be this guy (a perfect example of decent production values, yet terrible videos because he's not photogenic, doesn't have a script memorized, and -- just watch him).
  • Don't self-host the videos. (WP101 has a great article on why not, but the short version is this: Third-party hosts, like Vimeo and YouTube, will convert the video to the right resolution and file type for each user. Plus, if you self-host, your servers take the bandwidth hit -- Vimeo and YouTube have bigger, faster servers. In addition, YouTube and Vimeo are a great ways to drive outside traffic to your site, from people who stumble upon the video itself.)

Got all that? Self-produced and self-hosted videos are more trouble than they are worth, at least in my opinion. However, if you do want high-quality, professionally produced videos for your website, FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing folks can help.

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