The evolving requirements of a law firm’s website

Digital Marketing expert, Sam Borrett, director of Legmark, the specialist legal marketing agency, addresses why a website is more important than ever.

Many potential clients start their search for a law firm online and a website should act as an extension of your firm’s physical office. Translating that experience, the questions they ask and how you engage with them, will all increase the confidence that you are the right firm to assist them.

Used correctly a law firm’s website can be an effective dynamic form of driving new business. Adding new information, at any time, can help capture the attention and convert clients when the service is most relevant to their needs.

To gain better visibility for your site, your efforts need to be focused around the three Cs – compliance, content and collaboration.

Compliance requirements

Website compliance is constantly evolving. Law firms need to be able to react to those changes and prioritise the ones that actually apply to their firm. It’s important therefore to understand which regulations apply.

From a sector perspective, since 2018, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Transparency Rules have aimed to enforce that consumers have the information they need to make an informed choice of legal services provider. These rules aim to make sure people have accurate and relevant information about a firm to help make better choices and ultimately to improve competition in the legal market.

On the flip slide, law firms also need to keep abreast of general marketing compliance too, or be faced with an impact on their website’s performance. One such change coming in May 2021 is a major update to Google’s search results algorithm (how they determine which web pages to rank and in what order). With the update focusing on site speed and user experience – such as how much a site shifts around as it loads. Failure to prepare for this planned update could see law firm website pages slip down the rankings, and a significant reduction of website traffic and new enquiries.

Signing up to receive updates from industry publications such as Search Engine Watch and MOZ (or the Legmark newsletter for a legal sector spin) will alert you to these important updates.

Role of Content

Potential clients initially search for information, looking for answers to questions they might have about their issue. Law firms that are able to answer the search query by providing the information they are looking for have a real advantage. Investing in content is significantly less expensive than traditional advertising, previously a bigger marketing budget may have meant better visibility. Money is no longer a barrier. All firms, no matter the size and budget, can create content just as well.

The key is to create content with the user in mind. Deliver content that answers the questions your potential client is looking for. Keep the content relevant and fresh and you’ll attract the attention of the clients you want.

If you can create the very best guide on the Internet to selling a house, or settlement agreements, or claiming for a road traffic accident, then Google will want to put your page at the top of the list.

Need for collaboration

With the growing number of specialists, law firms are collaborating more often with others to bring in expertise to tackle those complex issues. The same approach can be adopted in your marketing efforts. As marketing remit continues to widen, very few in-house teams have the specialist knowledge to support all the challenges. By using the right external support, your firm’s website can evolve into more than just a marketing tool. An external expert can make sure your website builds trust and authority with the potential clients that are looking for the service you provide.

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