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5 Simple But Costly Attorney Website Design Mistakes You Should Avoid

In my line of work, I routinely consult with attorneys who want to acquire clients from the web. During our strategy sessions, there's always one thing I can expect to happen: Their focus will gravitate toward the visual aspects of the web design process, almost to the exclusion of everything else.

Design is important, without question, and we're experts in creating attractive sites. However, most attorneys ignore the two most crucial components of a successful website: 

1) Getting found online

2) Connecting with prospects once they find you.

Contrary to what you might think, a pretty website isn't what gets your phone ringing.

Sound Familiar?

Visit most attorney websites and you'll see photos of the scales of justice, court houses and pictures of the city. Who cares? If I'm a prospective client, should I really care about any of that? Do those images represent what I'm buying? I think not.

I'm interested in hiring an attorney to represent my best interests, so the stock imagery of legal-looking stuff doesn't impress me. But in all fairness, most attorney websites are built by graphic designers who don't design from a marketing mindset.

If you're wanting to attract new clients from the web, you must avoid committing these top five attorney website design mistakes.

5 Attorney Website Design Mistakes That Will Cost You Business.

1. Mimicking other attorney's tired, stale websites. Think about it. If I'm in the market for an attorney, what am I buying? Hint: It's not the courthouse, the city, or law books I'm interested in. So stop insisting on using those design elements.

I'm choosing the attorney I think can represent my best interests. When I visit your site, I want to see you. I want to feel that you're approachable. And I want to know you have represented others in situations similar to my own. A boring, dime-a-dozen website doesn't accomplish these things.

2. Using language that doesn't relate with prospects/clients. Save all the legal mumbo jumbo for the courtroom. When I visit your website I want to see language that i can identify with. Keep it simple and avoid using "legalese". That doesn't demonstrate you're smart; to the contrary, it alienates me.

You're not marketing to other attorneys, so demonstrate your expertise by writing in everyday language that speaks to the broadest spectrum of people.

3. Not providing enough educational information. Before I hire you, I have a lot of questions. I'm in a state of fear. I don't know what's going to happen next, but I'd love to have some idea. I want someone who can make me feel comfortable and therefore establish trust. In the online world, clear and relevant content cultivates trust within visitors.

4. Not having compelling content. I want to see that you understand my problem and you have a solution, so the content on your website better convey that. When I read your content, I better say "Yes this is me". If I don't, I'm moving on to the next attorney website. And because of my ADD, you better convince me fast. Also, if your content is difficult to navigate on my cell phone (which is how most people consume information these days), I'm moving on.

5. You Dismiss Search Engine Optimization. Attorneys and web designers focus entirely too much on design and give little to no consideration to optimizing their website on search engines. This blows my mind. I mean, why have a website that can't be found by your prospective clients? That's like installing a pretty billboard in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Building an effective website for your law firm is a large investment of time and money, so you might as well do it right the first time.

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

I'm always happy to educate attorneys on web design because let's face it -- attorney's don't practice marketing, and marketers don't practice law. These are just a few of the mistakes attorneys make on their website. If you have questions or disagree, feel free to leave your comments below.

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