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5 Amateur Mistakes to Avoid on Your Law Firm's Website

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on March 09, 2015 10:49 AM

If you're a lawyer, hopefully you're having a professional design your law firm website and not a friend of a friend who "knows computers" or something like that.

A professional-looking website can be the difference between a call from someone looking for representation and someone who skips you altogether because a shoddy website indicates you're not that professional.

Once the website is designed, though, your job isn't over. Here are a few things you'll want to double-check to make sure people get the right impression from your website:

1. Correct Text.

Web designers use placeholder text -- called "lorem ipsum" -- to show you what text will look like on the website. They use this Latin copy, drawn from a book written by Cicero in 45 B.C., to mimic how your actual copy will look on the page. Unfortunately, sometimes they forgot to remove it, leading to embarrassing situations where the answer to a question on your FAQ is "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit."

2. Functioning Links.

Hyperlinks are the bread and butter of the Internet, but if your links point to nonexistent Web pages, then your site isn't all that useful, is it? Go through each link, one by one, to make sure there are no typos in the URLs and that the pages actually exist. Having a broken link is an indication of sloppy work, which can make a client wonder how much attention you'll pay to the details of her case.

3. Where Are Your Disclaimers?

I can't tell you how many law firm websites I've seen that don't have any disclaimers on them -- not "results not typical," nothing about testimonials being from actual clients. Zero. Most states require at least some kind of "attorney advertising" statement, and others require very specific, mandatory text. Your website needs to be in compliance with state regulations.

4. Stock Photos.

You know what you don't need? To waste potential clients' time displaying photos of a courthouse, or a gavel, or well-dressed professionals studying something intently. At best, these stock photos add no value at all. At worst, they make your website look hackneyed. Stock photography itself is quickly becoming a cliche, but it seems like every solo and small practice page uses the same handful of pictures.

5. Mobile Responsive Design.

We keep saying it because it's important. Last June, web analytics firm comScore reported that 60 percent of Web traffic came from smartphones and tablets. The problem is that desktop websites don't look very good on mobile devices. That's why you need a site that will automatically re-scale itself when it detects a mobile Web browser. There are fewer things worse than having to scroll around a website on a mobile device because it's just plastered the desktop version onto your phone.

You know the best way to avoid amateur mistakes? Hire a professional. That's why FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing is your best bet for making sure your website looks good.

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