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Law Firm Websites: Ten Tips for Building Credibility

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Law firm website checklistA professional design and typo-free, frequently updated legal content top the list

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

What makes a law firm website a good one from the perspective of a potential client?

In 2002, the Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab released the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.  Based on three years of research involving more than 4,500 subjects, these guidelines are useful not only when it comes to planning a website but also in measuring the effectiveness of your firm’s current website.

Here are the guidelines, adapted for use by law firms.

  1. Make it easy for people to gauge your website’s accuracy. Provide third-party links to support your information.
  2. Demonstrate that there’s a real law firm behind your website. Include your phone number, a physical address and representative client lists or links to news articles about your firm.
  3. Highlight your law firm’s services and the expertise of your attorneys. In addition to providing information on undergraduate and law degrees, include the honors and awards an attorney has received and the articles he or she has written.
  4. Show that honest and trustworthy people are affiliated with the firm and its site. Use the attorney profile page not only to highlight a lawyer’s expertise but also to allow the potential client to connect with the lawyer as a person and a problem-solver.
  5. Make it easy to contact your law firm. Is your contact page clearly visible? Do you provide multiple ways for clients to contact the firm?
  6. Does your law firm’s website appear professional? Forty-seven percent of website visitors base their evaluation of a site’s credibility on its appearance. A poor visual design, bad layout, formatting errors, typographical errors and amateurish images can hurt a website’s credibility.
  7. Provide a website that is both useful and easy to use. Are your pages informative? Will potential clients find them educational? Can potential clients find the information they’re seeking easily?
  8. Frequently update your law firm website’s content. Offering outdated content is like showing up in court wearing a tomato-red polyester suit and your best pair of white dress shoes: Your law firm’s website will stand out, all right — but not in a good way.
  9. Use restraint when offering promotional content. Prospective clients don’t expect to see third-party advertising on an attorney website.
  10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how inconsequential they might seem to you. Does your website contain typographic errors, grammar errors or broken links?

At Legal Media Matters, we use our know-how to help your law firm’s website get positive notice. We create attorney bio pages; provide fresh, useful, easy-to-understand content that will attract the attention of potential clients and keep your website current; and offer copyediting services.

For more information, contact us by filling out our online contact form, e-mailing geri@legalmediamatters.com or calling 314-520-3897

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At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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