- Research shows that web users spend 80% of their time at the top of a page, and focus on the left half of the page.
- When it comes to your website, you should make it easy for your clients to choose you. How? With good design, content, and your unique personality.
Have you ever been frustrated by a website? I want to order this product, but I can’t figure out how to add it to my shopping cart! Or, I’d like to read more about this subject…is there a link? Hmmm, that wasn’t what I was expecting…
Or one of our personal favorites: Wow, I can’t read this font—hot pink on a black background? What is this, the 1990s?
At SLS Consulting, we’re always trying to think of new ways to be obvious—a concept that could also be called “transparent,” “user-friendly,” or all of the above. When it comes to legal internet marketing, making things easy for your potential clients is vital. Literally billions of websites are competing for their attention. If you’re not careful, you could lose them, and quickly.
Nielsen Norman Group, a research group that focuses on evidence-based user experience, found that web users spent 80% of their time “above the fold” (i.e., on the top of the page, not scrolling down), and that users often stay highly focused on one area of the screen—apparently, the left half of the page.
Knowing this, at SLS, our goal is to make your website stand out, by making it
1. Easy to navigate.
Using intuitive design. We always stress to potential clients that the real estate above the fold is prime, and we reserve it for the most important content. Oftentimes, we add fixed navigation so that users can’t get lost. We strongly believe in putting things where people expect to find them. As humans, we get used to seeing things in certain ways and locations. There should be a stop sign at the corner of the street, right? Same thing with navigation menus, about us pages, contact us forms, and every element on your website. There’s a concept in graphic design called “grouping,” and it means putting similar things in the same spot. We want to be kind to your readers, and we’ll gather your thoughts (and similar subjects) together before laying them all out.
Labeling things what they actually are. This one really comes into play for links. If we want to link to your law firm’s scholarship page, we’ll use anchor text like “Have a closer look at our 2018 scholarship.” The reader knows exactly where he’s going to end up by clicking that link. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been on other sites and clicked a link expecting to go…well, NOT to the place where we ended up. (Say we click “women love fancy scarves” and land on hard data about how scarves are destroying America. Honest mistake, or poor linking? We’ll let you decide.)
2. Easy to read.
Writing information for the potential client. Writing is an act of communication, and all your content is wasted if your audience doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about. This is why our writing team at SLS is always going on about being “conversational” and “direct” and “reassuring”—and why we fight legalese tooth and nail. Sure, you may impress a few easily-impressed readers who think you’re smarter than they. (You are.) But for the rest, it can be a turnoff. They’d rather have a lawyer who knows how to talk to them like a human being; who can explain complicated legal concepts and make it look easy. And that will also make it easier for them to bridge that gap and pick up the phone, which leads us to our next point. We want your website to make you and your team…
3. Easy to reach.
Giving potential clients that push to speak to a lawyer. We add phone numbers and calls to action strategically throughout your site. It’s a delicate balance—not spamming readers with “CALL US NOW!” but also presenting them with psychological nudges at the appropriate moment. Don’t worry, we’re being completely transparent with how we do it: it’s honest to say something like “Until we know your situation, we can’t answer all your questions. But you can contact us right now for a free sit-down with an experienced lawyer.” Another feature we like is text-to-chat, because most of today’s online audience is much more comfortable typing a quick, no-obligation message than picking up a phone during business hours.
Letting potential clients know why they want you. At SLS Consulting, we believe strongly in being involved with our community. Because we take the time to do charity work, volunteer, and have fun together, we know how important it is that our clients do the same—and let people know about it. When your potential clients see that you’ve been holding a coat drive for homeless veterans, or that you spend every weekend bicycling, they feel like they know you. When they see you successfully advocated a case of birth trauma leading to cerebral palsy, or that you fiercely defended a woman who turned out to be innocent, they know what you can do. Highlighting your unique values as a person (and a law firm) sets you apart, allows your potential clients to connect with you on a deeper level, and, we hope, matches you perfectly with the clients you’re seeking.
Once you sign a client, we know that you’ll be shouldering the legal burden and doing your best to make it as easy as possible for them. So, we at SLS encourage you to “make it easy” for future clients on your website, as well!