When building a website, most developers naturally seek to build one which is “pretty.” In other words, visuals are held as very important. In the case of many Law Firms, no expense is spared making the site beautiful and striking in appearance. But just how important are looks when it comes to the Internet?
How Important is a Visually-Striking Appearance?
It has been said that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words.’ When it comes to the Internet, this seems to be the case.
Statistically, people spend far more time on image-rich websites than any others. One study noted that on average, users of Pinterest spent more than an hour seventeen minutes on the site at a time. Twitter users spend on average only 36 minutes; LinkedIn users only 17 minutes; and Google users a paltry six minutes per session on the site.
From this data, it would seem that a visuals are best for anyone with a website, including Law Firms.
But look at that again. Note that Google, the undisputed champion of the Internet, is last in this placement. How can this be?
Because people use Google to search. Once the search is complete, they move on. So on a per sesson basis, people may not spend much time on Google; yet overall, people return again and again. Success on the Internet is not measured just by time, but also by visits.
In fact, visits, clicks, traffic…whichever term is used, is the key parameter used by webmasters to determine success. Time on site is important, but returning again and again is even more important.
Think of it Like a Brick and Mortar Business…Your Law Firm
Say you have a client who is constantly suing people. Win or lose, you get paid. And this client has the money to pay you. And he likes to file lawsuits, most of which are frivolous. But he pays well and keeps you busy.
Do you trade that client in for one a client with a case that is going to require years of dedication, with the outcome uncertain and the potential unknown?
Of course not. But if you have the means, you will take on both, yes?
Think of a website like that. In the ideal scenario, there is a constant flow of traffic to the site (like a constant flow of traffic to the Firm). This constant flow keeps cash flowing…it is the bread and butter of the business, the website, the Firm.
This is accomplished by giving people what they want and expect from the website. People expect search results from Google; business connections from LinkedIn; brief comments from friends and foes on Twitter; and pretty pictures on Pinterest. There is a space for everyone on the web.
Now think. Does it matter how appealing the outside of your Physical Law Firm office is?
Yes, and no. Certainly, you want the exterior of the building to be attractive and inside as well. But is flash and glamour necessary?
Not for most. Sure, some very high-end Law Firms will build incredible, awe-inspiring strutures once they have the clients under their belt to support such an outlay of funds, but not starting out.
In fact, the most important thing any Law Firm has is information and skill. The Lawyers make the Firm, not the other way around. People come, not because the building is ‘pretty,’ but because the attorney’s within can do what they need done in the legal system. A Law Firm is in the information business.
The Internet IS the information business. It is a perfect match. No flash needed.
To illustrate, take a look at the image to the right. This is a Law Firm in New Jersey which was found while doing research for a client in that state. Of course, I did not use or link to this site for the client, though I nearly did.
At first glance, I thought this to be a general information website. Only on closer examination did I realize it was a site for a Law Firm. I knew I had found a great example for this blog which had been rolling around in my mind for a few weeks.
After a bit of research, I found that this site gets a good bit of traffic just from seach engines. In other words, this is a search-friendly legal website.
Does it get the kind of traffic that counts?
In checking out the site further, I would venture that it does not get much of the kind of traffic that leads to increased business. It does get lots of traffic, but likely, most of the traffic is from general browsers around the country.
There is a reason for that and a way to resolve the issue, which will be discussed in a future blog titled,
For now, notice that the website is not the most visually appealing. Kind of reminds me of Clarence Darrow, the lawyer of fame who was unkempt and frumpy, but knew how to win.
A Law Firm website provides information. Thus, information is the most important element needed for a Law Firm website…sound, practical, correct information. Not fancy bells and whistles, not striking photos of the staff and office, and certainly not images of briefs (unless they illustrate a point).
The point is, information is what draws traffic to a Law Firm’s website, not cute memes and photos–they have Pinterest for that. Yet, how does a firm draw the KIND of traffic that results in new clients?
Read, What Do People Look for in Law Firm Websites? to find out.
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