15 Jul

You know your legal services are some of the best out there. But how do you let potential clients know you’re open for business? One of the best places to start is with a website but writing high-quality content for law firm websites is a crucial component of that. Not only does it have to be helpful and searchable by search engines, it also has to play by the rules. Here are law firm website best practices to get you started.

1. Follow attorney advertising rules, even online

The first (and arguably most important) aspect of writing content for law firm website and other materials is to follow attorney advertising rules. Some of them are obvious, but you may find others surprising.

Although it’s best to consult your state bar association’s specific laws regarding legal marketing, here are some of the major areas to be aware of.

Choose your words carefully

You might be an expert attorney who specializes in divorce cases with custody challenges, but you cannot make that claim on your website. Attorney advertising rules prohibit these claims like “expert” or “specialist” as misleading.

And take note: you cannot claim your whole firm is board-certified, but you can indicate which lawyers are certified in which areas.

Avoid false or misleading statements

Of course you plan to tell the truth on your website, but this requirement includes things like claiming your services are the best or comparing your firm favorably to another firm without quantifiable proof.

Some states even ban client testimonials as false or misleading. Check your state’s laws before you post reviews (or add a link to a review site if testimonials are not allowed).

Don’t sell services you don’t actually offer

This one seems like a no-brainer, but in some cases this tactic is used to get a client in the door with the hope that you’ll be able to represent them somehow. Not only is this unethical – it’s also illegal.

These three attorney advertising rules are just the start. Many states have highly detailed and involved regulations, so take the time to research carefully before creating any content for law firm website.

2. Add clear disclaimer language

Sure, many people make fun of disclaimers (like the ones read at light speed on radio advertisements), but they are actually required content on law firm websites. Place them in the website footer, before testimonials (if they are allowed), and early on in any blog posts or “past cases” sections. Your site should also include a specialized disclaimer page that each shortened disclaimer links to. Here is an example of a bottom-of-the-page disclaimer:

“This website is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with our firm through this website does not form an attorney/client relationship. This site is legal advertising. Please review our full disclaimer for more information.”

Make sure your disclaimer is clear, prominent, and present in multiple places on your website.

3. Invite clients in by kicking legalese out 

Legalese, jargon, lawyer-speak: whatever you call it, this type of specialized language can be intimidating and drive clients away (not the response you want!). Part of skillful lawyer SEO is being searchable online. This means writing a website using language your potential clients use when they are searching for you online.

Bottom line: you want the language on your website to be welcoming and accessible to everyone who lands on your site. Skip the fancy terminology and speak as plainly as possible for folks who might be confused about the law.

4. Create content with honesty and integrity 

Of course you want to be seen as a thought leader and an expert in your field, but guess what? No one has all of the answers, and you shouldn’t create content for law firm websites that pretends that you do.

It’s okay to use the phrase “it depends.” The law is complicated and rarely “one-size-fits-all,” as you likely already know. Leave space for more conversations (that you can have in person) and refer your website visitors to specific state or agency resources. This is especially true when you create content on a broad topic (e.g., divorce) that has different rules from state to state.

And speaking of honesty and integrity, make sure you use integrity as you design your actual website. Don’t use images, artwork, or words without giving proper credit and paying creators for their work (or securing written permission). Your clients want ethical representation. That starts with your website.

5. Content for law firm websites is for people… and search engines

Finally, design your law firm websites for people and search engines. Turns out, humans and crawling bots like the same things in a website.

Websites should:

  • Be easy to scan
  • Have bullet points
  • Consist mainly of short sentences and paragraphs
  • Use headers
  • Be readable

You want a website that is easy for bots to crawl and place in organic search results. But you also want content that is easy to understand for a wide range of people. Before you publish content for law firm websites, run your blog or article through a real-time content analyzer, and make changes based on the results. When in doubt, keep your language simple and to the point.

Legal search engine optimization (SEO) is the main tool that helps drive traffic to your site and deliver clients who are interested in your services. Taking some time to really understand what SEO can do for you and your firm is important.

Bring in help to create content for your law firm website

You might be an “expert” litigator with years of experience in court but zero desire to take the time to learn proper SEO for your website. Good news: NIVAN Content works with law firms of all sizes. We understand legal concepts and SEO best practices and can save you time and money with full scale management or consulting

Need a hand with content for your law firm website, or have questions about marketing your law firm? Get in touch today.

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