How Your Law Firm’s Website Design Affects SEO

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Your website design has a directly impact on search results. If you’re familiar with the term “SEO,” then you’re probably also familiar with the term “keyword.” Keywords are major components of SEO for lawyers, but they are not the only ones.

If your law firm website design is poor, keywords might not help you rank higher on relevant Google searches at all. User experience and website design are more important to Google now than ever before. Their focus has shifted from catchy phrases to valuable and usable websites.

But how exactly does an attorney website design affect SEO? We’ll let you know below.

User Experience is Key

You might think even if your website is objectively bad, getting click-throughs will help your search engine ranking regardless. In fact, user experience can have a huge impact on your SEO.

But, this isn’t exactly the case. Google keeps track of something called “bounce rate” that can negatively affect your ranking on Google searches. Bounce rate essentially means that users clicked on your website, but then immediately clicked the back button upon seeing it.

As you might guess, websites with high bounce rates (i.e. ones where searchers routinely press the back button upon encountering the site) are rated low by Google. This certainly incentivizes you to create a lawyer website design that immediately appeals to potential clients.

Additionally, Google records how long someone stays on your website to influence their page rankings. The longer someone stays on your website, the better it is for your SEO. In order to ensure that people stick around for a while and avoid hitting the back button, your website needs to:

  • Be navigable
  • Have good content
  • Look professional
  • Provide value
  • Offer good info (but not too much)

It’s also important to sort of guide your visitors to the pages and information you want them to see. Obviously, the first page they encounter (often the homepage) should immediately draw their attention.

But any subsequent pages should be easy to get to and should also provide valuable information. Having a blog and routinely updating it is also going to improve clickthrough rates and time on site.

As it turns out, a well-designed website isn’t just for show anymore.

Keep up with Coding

In addition to the look and function of the site, it’s also important to optimize coding for SEO. Yes, Google cares about coding too.

Not all HTML code is created equal, and if Google can’t decipher the code, then it may penalize the website. But, there are a few easy things you can do to improve your law firm website design with coding.

Title tags, 55-word descriptions for each page on a website, can go a long way. They let search engines know what the page is all about so that they can include it in any relevant queries.

Heading tags are also important for two reasons: search engines use them to contextualize the content and readers use them to find the specific content they want.

That being said, updating the code isn’t easy especially if you have barriers in the way. Content Management Systems (CMS) really open up your legal website design capabilities, because they give you the power to update:

Without a good CMS, you may be hamstrung. A CMS can continually keep visitors interested and engaged in your content. It also means that your website will look and feel exactly how you want it to at any given moment.

Don’t Neglect Responsiveness

Mobile devices make up a key share of searches, and if your website isn’t designed with mobile in mind, then you could be losing out on visitors. A responsive website design for attorneys is valuable because it means that your page will be viewable from virtually any device.

But, it’s also important for basic SEO reasons. Google has now started penalizing websites that don’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive design.

So, even if your website is technically stellar on a desktop, it may still be docked by Google if you neglected a responsive design. Responsive design can drastically improve your bounce rate and time on site metrics as well.

In the end, website design for law firms is not something you should take lightly. It can play a major role in SEO and help you get the visitors and, eventually, clients you need.

Is your website impacting your SEO for the better? Let us evaluate your website for free and recommend how to increase your search ranking. A few tweaks can lead to big returns. Give us a call today.

6 Things All Attorney Websites Must Include

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Your website is your business card. As such, you need to make sure it includes all the pertinent information about your law firm. There are no hard and fast rules you have to follow for your attorney website design. However, generating leads and building trust with prospective clients on your website isn’t easy.

Law firm websites need to offer a professional and welcoming atmosphere that provides valuable and actionable information. There are a few things you can do to optimize your web presence.

Create and Update Your Blog

A blog is essential for any company, but can be invaluable for law firms. If you don’t have a blog, you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage potential clients and offer up-to-date legal information about a variety of topics. As such, having a blog is a must.

To be clear, it’s not good enough to just have a blog. You also have to update it routinely (at least once a month) with relevant and valuable information. Blogs are a great way to offer and index a wealth of important legal facts.

And this isn’t just for the benefit of your readers. It can also help you with search engine optimization if your blog posts start to generate hits.

Use Reviews and Testimonials

No marketing tactic is as old or as effective as word-of-mouth testimonials. Many people are more likely to buy a product or use a service if there are positive reviews available.

Make your reviews and testimonials easily available on your website. Encourage your clients to leave reviews on sites like Google+ or Yelp to increase legitimacy. Always be sure to ask permission to use any testimonial and keep client names from being readily identifiable.

Even video reviews can be used with the permission from the customer. In the end, reviews can give your law firm a sense of trustworthiness and credibility that you couldn’t produce in any other way.

Get with the Responsive Wave

Website responsiveness is more important now than ever before. Internet users are increasingly searching the web with smartphones and tablets, meaning that websites need to be readable on those devices.

A responsive law firm website design ensures that anyone who looks at your website on any device will be able to comfortably view and engage with the content. This improves both the user experience and your website’s SEO.

Make Contact Easy

Contacting any law firm from a website shouldn’t be difficult. Attorney website design should provide easy access to contact information like phone numbers, emails, contact forms, and addresses.

If this information isn’t readily available, then prospective clients may want to take their buying power elsewhere. Be sure to keep a phone number visible on every page. If you can, add a live chat function that can immediately connect clients with your firm.

Link Your Content

Most law firms are going to have a variety of practice areas and it would behoove you to link your content to them. Blogs are great at explaining current events and important details, but they can also be used to link to other, more actionable areas of your website.

For instance, let’s say you have a blog post about new personal injury laws in your region. You can easily insert a link to your personal injury practice area within the blog post to ensure that clients can seamlessly move throughout the website.

In fact, if different practice areas are mentioned on different pages, you can always place a link there, too. Anything that makes your website more navigable and makes your services more apparent is always going to be positive for you. Also keep link diversity in mind when you start linking to different content.

Avoid Stock Photos

Stock photos are good for businesses where a personal touch isn’t exactly a prerequisite. Lawyers, however, need to have a personal touch. After all, you’re going to be working with your clients one-on-one often for lengthy amounts of time.

To add a personal touch to your website, simply use photos of actual staff members. There’s nothing better than going to a website, seeing pictures of people, and then recognizing those people when you come in for a meeting. It undoubtedly makes prospective clients feel more comfortable.

Staff photos can be placed virtually anywhere, but it would also be good to have photos in an “Our Team” section or on individual staff pages.

Does your website include these items? Looking to update your site to get more leads? Reach out and find out how we can help you with website design and SEO.

5 Things Wrong With Your Law Firm’s Current Website Design

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Websites are a valuable marketing tool in the digital age of branding law firm. More people use the internet to find information about law firms and virtually all other company than ever before.

But, if you think that any standard law firm website design will attract visitors, then you’ve got another thing coming. A variety of issues can make your website “user-unfriendly,” unreadable, or just plain clunky.

We’re here to let you know what might be keeping you from optimizing your website.

Not Mobile Friendly

Everyone has a mobile device these days, and most of us use ours to search for anything and everything. But, website designs are not always optimized for those mobile devices. The smaller displays on mobile screens can distort images, mess with text, and otherwise make your website design look unprofessional.

That’s why it’s important to look for a responsive website design for your law firm. A responsive website design is one that recognizes the size of the screen and adjusts accordingly.

This makes your website friendly for both mobile and desktop users, and you won’t run the risk of losing a potential client because they can’t decipher what you’re trying to convey. Remember, though, that making your website mobile friendly isn’t just a matter of making a simple tweak. Finally, not having a mobile-friendly design is likely to get you penalized by Google, resulting in less traffic to your website.

Where’s the Call to Action?

A wealth of information is all fine and dandy, but if there’s no call to action, your customers might not be inclined to do anything. Legal website design requires clear and distinct calls to action.

Clarify what types of services you offer and give them a phone number or a contact form that they can use immediately. Offer something that will hook your customers so that they will feel compelled to contact your firm.

Without a call to action, all you have is a bunch of information. Clients need to know why and how they should contact you.

Where’s the Contact Information?

There’s nothing worse than a website that doesn’t have an obvious way to contact the business. The same is true for law firm website design.

While it’s always good to have a dedicated “Contact” page, it’s also in your best interest to just keep your contact info visible somewhere in virtually every page. Let’s say a potential client is ready to solicit your business. Will they be able to contact you based on the information of the page they’re on?

Clients who have to go on a wild goose chase to figure out how to get a hold of your business are much less likely to give you their business.

Bad Content

No content is bad, but bad content is worse. Poorly-written details that contain grammatical errors or misinformation will send your prospective clients to another law firm. You also need to keep in mind that legal content writing is very different than regular content writing.

On top of that, any lawyer’s website design should contain a blog whose information adds value and insight. You might think a blog in itself is good enough, but a valueless blog can actually turn people away…or at least keep them from coming back.

Be sure that your content is professionally written and actually informs readers.

No Search Engine Optimization

Search engines such as Google are the gatekeepers to the success of your website. If you don’t optimize your firm’s website design for search engines, then you may not see a lot of traffic.

Keywords, relevant and valuable content, and consistent updates are all keys to keeping yourself at the top of any Google search. For instance, a personal injury lawyer in Dallas would want to include the fact that they were a personal injury lawyer in Dallas in the content of their website.

In addition to all that, a static website will keep you from the Google success you need. Be sure to update blogs, services, and even the homepage every once in a while to ensure that Google understands your website is an active one.

Is your website design costing you business? Contact us to find out how we can help.

8 Must Have Image-Based Call-To-Action Plugins for WordPress

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Your call-to-action (“CTA”) is the most important piece of information you can have on your website. It tells your visitors what to do and entices them to become a client (or at least an email subscriber). Of course, people do have short attention spans so you need a call-to-action that stands out. That is where image-based calls-to-action work best.

Gone are the days of the “click here” call-to-action buttons. You now need stunning visuals to get people’s attention and let them know why they should do business with you. Visual content has become a staple of content marketing and as such an image-based CTA has become the norm.

When working with WordPress, you are in luck. There are numerous plugins available that create great visual calls-to-action. Here is the list of our favorites.

1. Click To Tweet

Click To Tweet is a plugin that allows you to create content that readers can tweet with a simple click. Instead of tweeting the title of a post, you can create quotes and other information from your article for people to tweet.

click-to-tweet

Click To Tweet boxes can be added anywhere in the content. You can set them up with hashtags and your Twitter user profile so that one click gets your content shared.

2. Popup – WP Popup

Many people frown when I mention the term “popup.” However, popups are some of the most effective CTAs out there. Popup – WP Popup allows you to create popups with unlimited links, timed popups, and exit popups.

popup-wp-popup

This is one of the best plugins to use for generating popups on your site. Use this to increase conversions such as email subscribers.

3. Hello Bar

Hello Bar is a small CTA image at the top of each page of your website. It is hidden in a way that does not upset people who hate popups, yet still visible enough to create a call-to-action that entices people to click.

hello-bar-screenshot

You can see from the screenshot that it is inconspicuous but still displays a call-to-action that most people will see and likely click. The idea here is to help convert people without throwing a popup in their face.

4. Scroll Triggered Boxes

Scroll Triggered Boxes allows you to slide boxes (or fade in and out) in front of your readers. You can program them to appear at any point including a specific time on a page or when scrolled to a selected point on a page. You can also customize each message on each page so your CTA does not have to be so general.

scroll-boxes-gif

This is the plugin you want to use if you like the conversion rate of popups and have the time to create custom messages for different areas of your website.

5. WordPress Calls to Action

WordPress Calls to Action is an all in one solution for those looking to gather leads, send them to landing pages, and convert them, all at the same time. It allows you to build an email list, drive people to specific areas of your website, and ultimately convert them. It also allows for A/B testing of landing pages so you know what is converting and what is not.

For attorneys, this plugin is recommended when you want to sell a book you have written or collect information for class action lawsuits. You can use a single page to describe a specific case and have people sign up if they feel they qualify as a member of that class. Or, you can simply generate leads to sell a book or build your email subscriber base.

6. Social Warfare Social Sharing Buttons

If you have a blog, you must have social sharing buttons. People are not going to share your content unless it is easy to do so and the easiest way is to click a call-to-action. There are numerous plugins you can use, but the most popular and best we found is from Social Warfare.

social-warfare-plugin

You can see that social buttons are generated at the top of your posts. You can also get the premium version of the plugin which scrolls the sharing buttons at the bottom while readers scroll. This allows them to share at any point while reading the content.

7. SumoMe Image Sharer

SumoMe Image Sharer is similar to Social Warfare, but it focuses on images as opposed to posts. It displays a Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook symbol on your images so people can click and share the images while writing what they want in the post. This is for the social media user that is more sophisticated and likes to put their own words to images they share.

sumome-screenshot

SumoMe Image Sharer is an app within the SumoMe plugin so if you do not already have the full plugin you will want to download it first. Good news is SumoMe has many more apps you can add on that will help with your conversion rates optimization.

8. Opt-In Content Locker

Already have an email subscription service where you collect and send emails? Then this plugin is for you. WordPress Opt-In Content Locker allows integration of various email services to allow you to collect email addresses.

optin-content-locker-screenshot

This plugin integrates with companies such as MailChimp, iContact, GetResponse, MyMail, Sendy, and Campaign Monitor to name a few. If you are already creating opt-in forms with these services, then Opt-In Content Locker will allow you to integrate them directly into your WordPress site.

Summing it Up

Regardless of the plugins you choose, keep in mind that visual calls-to-action lead to more conversions than simple text CTAs. You do not need to include all of these plugins, but including some will lead to increased leads and ultimately customers. Play with various combinations of these plugins until you find the right ones that work best for you.

Is Your Legal Marketing Company Holding You Back?

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Note: Condor Web is now Elite Legal Marketing. Can we help your law firm grow? Contact us today for a completely free consultation with an experienced legal marketer.

How Mobilegeddon is Affecting Legal Web Sites

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If your website’s search rankings recently took a tumble, then you may be being affected by Google’s latest search algorithm update. Google recently announced an update to their algorithm that will eventually start giving preference to websites that are considered to be ‘mobile friendly’ (those with large text, easy-to-click buttons or links, and that will resize according to the screen it’s being viewed on) on searches performed from a mobile device, while demoting those that are not. There’s various reports about the actual impact since April 21st but regardless of whether you’re seeing the impact yet, the change is coming.

Even though the importance of having a responsive web design has been touted for awhile now, this latest update widely known as “Mobilegeddon” took many law firms off guard. According to Vizibility, law firms generate approximately one-third of their online traffic from mobile devices. With mobile traffic at an all time high, it’s even more surprising that 53% of the top law firms do not have a mobile-friendly website. This means that a majority of law firms have been (or will be!) affected by “mobilegeddon.”

It was only a matter a time before Google pulled the rug out from under dated websites. Google reports that about 60% of all search traffic comes from mobile devices, which will only continue to grow as more and more people ditch their desktop computers for the convenience of tablets and smartphones. The Penguin and Panda algorithm updates were designed to weed out irrelevant websites and now Google is turning its focus on the user experience with “Mobilegeddon.” Because even the best content is considered useless if the website it’s on is hard to read or navigate.

First impressions are everything when you are running a law firm. A mobile responsive website will help you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time – regardless of what device they are browsing on. With a seamless user experience you will not only deliver your firm’s message consistently across devices, you will also connect with a whole new generation of clients.

Worried about your law firm? Head over to Google’s “Mobile-Friendly” test page to test whether your website makes the cut – simply type in your URL and see if it passes. If your website has been affected by mobilegeddon and you are looking to upgrade to a responsive web design, email us at [email protected] for more information.

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