There’s an oft-quoted maxim in online marketing—content is king! More than any other factor—more than search engine optimization, design or functionality—what will bring visitors to your website and convert them to clients are the words on every page of your website.
The Fundamentals of Online Content Strategy
The first thing to understand is that your website is a form of online marketing. It’s not a treatise on the law or an educational piece. Its primary function is to make consumers aware of the services you offer and persuade web visitors to contact you. It’s a two-step process: first, you have to draw web visitors to your site; then, you have to persuade them to contact you.
To accomplish the first objective, your content writer will work closely with search-engine-marketing specialists to identify the words and phrases that are customarily used in searches for your type of practice in your geographic location. The writer then will weave those words and phrases into the content in as natural a way as possible. You want to be careful, though, not to overdo it. Search engines have become more sophisticated over the last 15 years, so packing your content too full of key phrases may have little search value and can make your content less than user-friendly.
Most of your content writer’s work will focus on the second objective—convincing the web visitor to call or e-mail you. The obvious question, then, is “how”? How does the writer provide an incentive for the web visitor to contact you?
The simple, but often missed, response is that good content answers your web visitors’ questions. Think of it this way—why does someone conduct an online search for an attorney? The reason is that they have questions that need to be answered. With legal services, as with most goods and services, there are typically three questions that a person wants answered:
- Can you help me solve my problem? I have been arrested for DUI, or I was just served with a divorce complaint, or I was in a motor-vehicle accident—can you help me protect my rights?
- Where are you located, and where do you represent clients?
- Why should I hire you? What makes you different from all the other lawyers who offer similar services?
Your content answers the first question by telling the web visitor what services you offer—you practice bankruptcy, criminal defense, family law or personal injury law. Within each area of practice, you’ll also describe the range of services—misdemeanors and felonies, child custody and visitation, motor-vehicle accidents and slips-and-falls.
Your content answers the second question by identifying where your offices are located and where you are licensed to practice. If you are a member of the Texas bar, it’s highly unlikely that a person in Florida or California will want to hire you, unless they need representation in Texas.
Finally, you answer the third question by identifying those aspects of your practice that make you unique—your years of experience, any awards or recognition you have received, and ways that you conduct your practice differently from others.
One important thing to understand about the internet—people tend to scan rather than read. There are good reasons for this. The resolution on a computer screen is nowhere near as good as a print document, so it’s physically more difficult to read on a computer screen. For this reason, it’s important that you answer the three questions posed above as soon as possible. A good writer will answer those questions in the first paragraph or two, so that the web visitor doesn’t need to scroll down for an answer. Instead of scrolling down, the visitor might just hit the back button and visit another site.
In addition, because of the way online searching works, a web visitor may come to your site on any one of a number of pages. Often, it’s the home page, but not necessarily so. Regardless of where the web visitor comes in, you must answer the three basic questions and do so in the first paragraph or two. For that reason, you typically will see a lot of similarity from one page to the next.
Finally, the most effective content contains what are known as “calls to action.” These typically take the form “call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx, or send us an e-mail to set up a meeting.” One of the primary objectives of the writer is to make it as easy as possible for the web visitor to contact you. For that reason, you’ll typically find a call to action at the top and the bottom of each page, so visitors don’t have to look for one when the time comes.
At GetLegal.com, we have more than 50 years of combined experience preparing effective online content for attorneys. To learn more about how we can enhance your firm’s online presence in 2018, call us at 817-359-7030 or use our convenient online form.