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Thinking About a New Website? Define Your Goals From the Start.

option9 sm newIf your firm is considering developing a new website or undertaking a website redesign, now is the best time to define your strategy. Before diving in, stop to consider what you want your website to do for your firm - how you want it to work for you. It is easy for a law firm website to suffer from information spread. But attempting to sell a wide variety of services to as many people as possible is not necessarily the most advantageous way to market your firm. The person who needs help with a motorcycle accident and the HR department that needs help hiring foreign workers are two very different clients. Focusing your website on the client, especially a specific type of client, can help your firm bring in a higher volume of quality cases.

Putting together a simple document that outlines some basic website must haves will be helpful both to your firm and to the marketing company you choose to help you with your website development. As you are thinking about your website strategy, start with the basics:

Evaluate your needs. What types of cases does your firm handle most often? What are the most lucrative? It is likely that there are certain types of high-value cases that are of particular benefit to your firm. Finding a niche for your marketing efforts will help you focus your time, energy and money on optimizing results.

Evaluate the needs of your ideal client. While your law firm website does need to provide information about your firm and your services, the spotlight should always be on the client. Try to put yourself in a potential client's shoes. What questions do you have? What are your needs? Your website should speak to visitors in a way that addresses those needs and explains the benefits of your services to your target client.

Have a plan for updating your site frequently. Lawyer websites must be flexible, dynamic and current. Potential clients are much less interested in a paper you wrote five or ten years ago than the activities in which you are involved right now. Plan to have a blog that is updated at least once a week. Brainstorm on ways you can provide current information about case results (if allowed by your state bar), link to current articles and describe community events in which your firm is participating. Showing your firm is engaged and active helps build a connection with visitors and potential clients.

Find ways to be accessible. Make your firm easy to contact. Well placed forms, obvious, textual phone numbers (do not put a phone number in an image) and incorporation of a Google map are some client contact must haves.

Think in terms of calls to action. Come up with ways to give your visitors something to do. This can be filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, signing up for a free informational download or calling your firm, among others. The main goal is to foster contact with potential clients. All of your pages should contain at least one easy to find, obviously worded call to action.

Making a quick list of website goals will help your firm get the most out of your new website or website redesign project. Having a strategy from the start saves time and money and helps produce faster results for your firm.

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