The legal field is a dynamic one: Laws change constantly, new practice areas develop and business models change. Attorneys already are running to keep pace. While they may not want to write software code or learn the basics of website development, a static, bland website is not a viable option.
With the explosion of lower-cost, consumer-friendly technology in the United States, Americans who, in the past, turned to the Yellow Pages to find an attorney are now using Internet search engines. This shift from obtaining a listing with a firm’s name and telephone number to the far more involved series of decisions involved in producing a full-service website has many practitioners scrambling.
In their haste to cast a wide net, many lawyers’ websites boast a list of practice areas ranging from asbestos to zoning. But presenting oneself as an attorney who handles a wide array of seemingly unrelated practice areas tends to have a negative effect on potential clients. Attorneys shouldn’t judge the effectiveness of their websites based on the overall traffic to the sites. Rather, they should evaluate their sites on the quality of the leads generated.
Clients who go online to seek out legal help have an idea of the type of case they want to bring, and they want to hire an attorney specializing in that field. This is why it’s more advantageous for lawyers to hold themselves out as experts, not as jacks-of-all-trades. An attorney handling car accidents should make sure his website demonstrates that he is up to speed on the law and explain clearly how this specialized knowledge and skill can maximize client recovery.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate a blog into the website. Generating items for the blog does not need to be difficult or terribly time consuming. The blog is a good place to talk about recent court decisions that affect the lawyer’s key practice areas and successful case resolutions. Also, the blog is an ideal outlet to share local news stories related to those practice areas. For example, birth-trauma lawyers can post positive local news stories about rare or complicated births. These posts show that the lawyer is plugged into the community. Additionally, they show that he is not focused merely on negative outcomes but also celebrates the positive stories.
Lawyers should brainstorm about what kinds of blog items would be useful for clients who face a particular kind of legal problem, then write items for the blog to fill those needs. They should ask themselves what they would want to know if they were laypeople confronted with various factual scenarios. Of course, lawyers must comply with all of the ethical rules when doing so.
Capitalize on the Niche
Once a lawyer has identified the practice area she wants to market on her website, she should add other related areas of expertise. For example, if the main focus of her practice is slip-and-fall cases, she could benefit by marketing several other premises liability practice areas.
The key is to ensure that the areas she is marketing fit logically with one another. Because the goal is showcasing expertise in a particular field, offering a scattershot list of widely divergent practice areas is counterproductive.
Because of the constant growth in and complexity of the legal field, attorneys find it increasingly difficult to stay abreast of developments in multiple practice area. This has led many practitioners to focus their efforts in just one area of law.
They need to focus their websites in a corresponding manner. By displaying a website that concentrates on a core practice area, an attorney will be able to convey to potential clients that he possesses the knowledge, skill, and expertise to handle their cases and maximize their recoveries. Targeting a website in this way also lets the attorney focus his efforts to reach out to clients via a blog.