Now that you have taken on the project of building a website for your law firm or of improving your law firm’s existing website, you have probably run into plenty of conflicting advice about how to do it. So, what should you believe? Some people will tell you that you should make it your first priority to have your site appear on the first page of results in a Google search. Their reasoning is that even the most elegant website with the most information content will not help your business if prospective customers cannot find it when they search online for law firms or answers to law-related questions.
Others will tell you that you shouldn’t waste time following the whims of King Google. Their argument is that you should just make the best website possible, and its quality alone will help increase its search result rankings. If you ask professional SEO experts, they will tell you that the rules of SEO are always changing, and they are correct. For this reason, Who’s Talkin SEO included “user experience optimization,” which technically is not SEO at all, as an item in its listicle about the biggest SEO trends of 2019.
What Is User Experience Optimization?
Whereas search engine optimization (SEO) means designing your web page and its content so that search engines can easily find it when users enter search terms related for its subject matter, user experience optimization (UEO) means designing your web page so that, once users navigate to the page, they can easily find the information they are looking for. Who’s Talkin SEO identifies three components of UEO:
· Loading speed- A web page that loads slowly adds to the time it takes users to find the desired information, needless to say. It also makes them more likely to give up on your web page quickly and navigate to other ones that come later in the list of search results, such as the websites of your competitors.
· Free of glitches – The best content in the world is useless if technical glitches prevent it from displaying clearly.
· Mobile compatibility – An increasing number of Google searches, especially law-related ones, happen on phones and tablets. Your web pages should be as easy to navigate on these devices as they are on a full-size computer screen. It is not easy for users to find information on your site from their mobile phones if they have to scroll across every line of text because the site is not formatted to fit their screen.
User Experience Isn’t Everything
The flipside is that user experience is no substitute for content. Prospective clients will not contact your law firm if your site does not have information that relates to their questions, no matter how snazzy and easily navigable your site may be. You should pay attention both to content and to user experience to make the best website you can.
Contact Legal Blog Writers
It is just as worthwhile to buy professionally written content for your law firm’s website as it is to have the site professionally designed. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, engaging content to complement your prospective clients’ user experience.
Imagine that little Billy Bloggins walks into his third grade classroom on a day that seems at first like any other. He tries to turn in his homework that was officially due a few days ago, but the teacher refuses to accept it because the statute of limitations has passed. At lunch, a classmate borrows a dollar from Billy so that he can buy a bag of chips. Billy agrees but makes the classmate promise to pay him back in solido. In P.E. class, Billy’s team performs abysmally at kickball, but a severe thunderstorm leads to the game ending early.
Billy’s team taunts the other team about how they don’t get to enjoy their victory because they didn’t actually win, and they respond by gloating that Billy’s team was on track to lose. The coach says it’s a moot point; the game ended with a force majeure event, not with a victory for either team.
Clearly, this paragraph includes terms that were not part of your everyday vocabulary before you studied for the LSAT. They sound confusing and inappropriate outside of formal legal writing. The moral of the story is that these terms do not belong on your law firm’s blog any more than they belong on this blog.
Think Like a Prospective Client
One of the main purposes of a blog is to help your law firm’s website rank higher on lists of Google search results. In other words, you want people to find your law firm’s website when they type search queries into Google that are related to your practice area. Someone who knows almost nothing about estate planning, but now needs information about it, will type “What happens if someone dies without a will” instead of “what happens if someone dies intestate.” They will probably know what “intestate” means after reading a few web pages that they find as a result of their search. Your law firm’s site will not be one of them unless you find a way to phrase things in terms that non-specialists who want to find out about them might use. People who have never hired a family lawyer search for “back child support,” not “arrears.”
When to Use Legal Terms When Talking to Non-Lawyers
Blogs are meant to be informative, and people read law firm blogs to learn about the law. That includes learning legal terms relevant to their cases. Explaining the meanings of legal terms in your blog posts will make the posts readable, and even shareable. Do not, however, do so at the expense of language that prospective clients would use; Google has no concept of synonyms. Once you have met with the clients, it is fine to use technical terms that you have discussed with your clients and which you are sure they understand.
Contact Legal Blog Writers
Writing is a lot of work, even when you intentionally use a simple writing style. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create engaging, readable content to help prospective clients find your site and learn about your practice.
If you are young enough to have gone to college in the Internet age, then your parents or teachers probably cautioned you against posting comments or pictures of yourself that would make you appear unprofessional. That meant no pictures where alcoholic beverages are visible and no text that contained profanity. Now that you are a lawyer, the bar for professionalism is a bit higher than “no cursing and no drunkenness where prospective clients can see you.” Meanwhile, the Internet has crept into virtually every corner of our lives; people who Google your name can read online reviews of your legal practice, and your only defense is confidence that prospective clients will be able to tell the difference between honest criticisms (written by people honest enough to sign their names to the review, one can hope), out-of-context screeds written by people who took major offense to a minor social faux pas on your part, and fabrications by trolls.
Like it or not, the web brims with content about you, most of which you cannot control. What you can control is your law firm’s website. People who are seriously considering hiring you will read your website in enough detail to find out about what makes you unique. Here is how to present yourself in the best light.
You Are a Person, Not Just a Business
Most law firm websites contain a page about each lawyer working at the law firm. Your law firm bio should be specific enough that people know you are not trying to hide a lack of credentials, and it should focus on your legal career but contain enough personal details to make people feel like they are getting to know you. Here are some tips.
· Mention your law school and undergraduate university by name, and mention graduation dates. So what if people can tell approximately how old you are? They know you are a real lawyer.
· Include a few sentences about what got you interested in the legal profession or in the practice area you chose.
· Link to news articles or the text of court decisions for cases on which you worked and which highlight your accomplishments.
· Limit the mention of your spouse, children, and pets to one sentence. People may relate to you if their family has something in common with yours, such as if they got married the same year as you did, if they also are the parents of twins, or if they have a dog of the same breed.
· Do not talk about your travels or hobbies; it comes across as rubbing it in your clients’ faces that you have money and free time. Once you meet prospective clients in person, feel free to discuss your travels, your cooking adventures, your vinyl record collection, your favorite sports team, or any other topic that is appropriate to discuss with someone you just met.
Get Legal Writing Help
Only you know yourself well enough to write your bio, but when it comes to writing informative blog posts for a general audience, you can rely on professional writers to produce regular updates to your blog. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create engaging, readable content with just the right tone for your target audience.
Your experiences studying for the LSAT taught you not to waste even a fraction of a second by reading irrelevant parts of texts too slowly, and law school cemented that lesson. By the time they graduate from law school, lawyers have developed a virtually superhuman ability to simultaneously skim texts to weed out unimportant information and to think through the implications of the important parts. When prospective clients read blog posts, they are likely to skim the post and then click back to the list of search results. In fact, an essential feature of business website blog posts is that they are made to be skimmed by people who are not giving the text their full attention.
A Copyblogger post by Belinda Weaver suggests ways in which the formatting of numbers can help commercial blog posts get their point across to distracted readers. It goes without saying that law firms are not just any business and that law firm blog posts require more careful reading than most web content, but much of her advice applies to law firm blogs, too.
Belinda Weaver’s Advice on Numbers in Blog Posts
Here are some of Weaver’s key points:
· Numbers Are Eye Catching - Many web content style guides advise writers to write out the numbers “zero” through” nine” in words, but to use numerals for numbers with two or more digits. Weaver encourages the use of single-digit numerals in blogs, as they are eye-catching and memorable. It appears that many listicle authors agree with her.
· Blog Readers Are Math-Phobic – Weaver cautions bloggers against making readers do calculations. For example, you should mention the total amount of damages a plaintiff won in a personal injury lawsuit, rather than mentioning the economic and non-economic damages separately and leaving it to readers to add them together.
· Don’t Fear the Percent Sign – Weaver argues that “90%” is more eye-catching and more conducive to fast reading than “90 percent.”
· Numbers Are Convincing – Using specific numbers in a blog post, no matter how you format them, strengthens your argument with specific details.
Take Marketing Advice with a Grain of Salt
If you follow Weaver’s advice, or any commercial blogging advice, to the letter, you will end up with a blog post that looks and sounds like an ad. Hiring a lawyer is a serious matter, and law firm blogs need the gravitas that is absent from most web content. For example, it is appropriate to write “$5,000” in a law firm blog post (where you might write “five thousand dollars” in a legal memorandum), but “$5K” looks like it belongs in a text message or tweet, not on a law firm’s website.
Legal Blog Writing
What lawyer has the time to write 500 words of blog content per week? You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, readable content that your prospective clients can easily skim, savor, or use as a reference.
In the age of mobile phones, everyone is a know-it-all. If you have a smartphone, you can find the answer to almost any question in a matter of seconds. This is relevant to law firms, not because the partners in your law firm are grumpy because, at most of the parties they attended in law school, the conversation was dominated by a single know-it-all, but because, at every minute, around the clock, someone somewhere is using Google on their phone to find an answer to a legal question.
For better or worse, short attention spans rule the day, and if people cannot find the answer to their questions quickly on your website, they will click back to the search results and then navigate to someone else’s website. Making your law firm’s blog accessible and useful to mobile phone users will enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) rankings of your website.
Not Just Readable, but Skimmable
By the time you graduate from law school, you are an expert at skimming documents, even if the text appears as a single block, without paragraph divisions. The audience of your law firm’s blog, though, needs some help from the formatting of the blog posts to enable them to find the information they are looking for quickly through skimming. The small screens of mobile phones are not ideal for reading, even for people with good vision, as it is very easy to lose your place. Therefore, you should employ the following formatting tactics to make it easier for users to find information on your site.
· Headings and subheadings, perhaps using different fonts, sizes, or covers
· A font of at least 12-point type for body text
· Short paragraphs, perhaps even a single sentence per paragraph
· Single-spaced text within paragraphs, with an additional space after every paragraph
· Images spaced throughout the post, so that there is a limited amount of text between images
· Posts that are not too long
These techniques are also important for mobile sites because people often visit websites via their mobile phones when there are other things besides the text competing for their attention. They might be fact-checking a legal question during a work meeting. They might be trying to settle a friendly disagreement at a social gathering.
Although no lawyer wants his or her website to encourage distracted driving, the reality is that people sometimes even search for legal questions while stopped at a red light on the way to work. Important information should be easy to find on your law firm’s website even when the reader frequently looks up from the screen when reading blog posts on your site.
Content Legal Blog Writers
Formatting is important, but when it comes to digital marketing for law firms, content still reigns as king. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, readable content that your prospective clients can easily access on their mobile phones.