If you're the one designing your law firm website, you might be tempted to craft one that speaks to what you think is important. But really, what you think isn't important. What the client thinks is important is really what's important.
Research has shown that your website needs to cater to your clients' needs, not your needs or what you think should be important to the client. So how well is your website speaking to your potential clientele?
Here are a few things you should consider in making your website client-centric:
1. Address the Risks That Potential Clients May Face.
Potential clients are often not looking for a lawyer because they've been served with a complaint. Something may have happened in their life that makes them worry. Maybe they're looking into getting a divorce or maybe they've been in an accident. But the question "Should I see a lawyer?" is sometimes like "Should I see a doctor?" Potential clients think, "Well, I don't really need a lawyer." But they do. Your website needs to frame the conversation in terms of what they stand to lose if they don't contact an attorney.
2. Create a Sense of Urgency.
As a lawyer, you know how important deadlines are, but the client doesn't. Your website should emphasize how important it is that the client contact an attorney (you!) as soon as possible. This involves talking about the potential negative consequences of failing to act quickly.
3. Be Clear.
Have you ever heard of being "paralyzed by choice"? It happens. How often have you stood, staring at the rows of different kinds of peanut butter at the grocery store? Your website shouldn't confuse or distract with lots of different options, like "Car accident? Product defect? Slip and fall?" No, no, no: That's too much stuff. Just let the client know she should contact you if she's been injured.
4. Emphasize the Client's Potential Loss of Status.
We're all wrapped up in what others think of us -- clients, too. One way of describing negative consequences is to appeal to a potential client's loss of social status; for example, a criminal conviction could make it difficult to find a job later, or a badly litigated divorce could end up in a hit to the client's income.
5. Be Sympathetic.
Lawyers get a bad rap as being uncaring, but really, we're not called "counselor" for nothing. A lawyer has to provide just as much personal counseling as legal counseling, and your website should reflect that. Your client doesn't care what law school you went to; he cares that you understand his problem and are ready to listen.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The knowledgable folks at FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing can help you make your website more client-focused.