Abraham Lincoln said:
“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
Abe was right. If he had not gone to the theater, he eventually might have said the same thing about lawyers who handle their own marketing.
Lawyers are legal advisers. They know tort, statutes, rules, regulations and proper courtroom procedure. They can bang the table at the right moment and hold a jury in the palm of their hand.
Where lawyers often fail is marketing.
Law firm marketing is not that much different than marketing other e-commerce sites, but there are some landmines to avoid.
This may be the deadliest mistake law firms make when they hire a company to redesign their website. Not many law firms think about design and SEO, and they assume the development company already knows what they’re doing — often the law firm isn’t concerned with SEO.
Ignorance of the law is not excused when facing trial. Ignorance of SEO is expensive for a law firm. While the design firm is on the hook for maintaining the site’s SEO friendliness, the law firm will foot the bill for the ‘expert’. Lack of SEO knowledge can create unnecessary expenses for both sides.
Proprietary Content Management
Law firms often fail to use proprietary content management systems (CMS). Many attorneys regret using an agency’s CMS — it feels counterintuitive to pay for a customized platform when free and robust platforms like WordPress exist.
WordPress comes with a boatload of plugins, and the level of flexibility is unsurpassed. Still, the user-friendly aspect of WordPress notwithstanding, it doesn’t adequately address SEO by itself.
The same goes for CMS. A firm’s partners eventually understand that custom CMS has limits, and new features appear along with a healthy development cost.
Using a CMS built on a different company platform leaves the firm stuck. Switching developers means that another site must be created, whereas popular platforms can be updated without needing to be linked to any specific agency.
Improper HTTPS Integration
When Google began pushing webmasters to use https, many law firms went along. The change from non-secure to secure is suggested by the firm’s developer.
The bad news? Three out of five sites have https implemented wrong.
That’s not meant to say don’t implement https. Use the protocol but be aware of the not-uncommon issues which occur on set-up.
Lacking a Page for Each Practice Area
Too often law firms list practice areas and then fail to have web pages for those practice areas. A common failing lumps practice areas on one page.
This practice makes it difficult to rank individual pages, hard to follow content and can turn the potential client off even before they’ve spoken to a firm’s partner.
It’s vital for site visitors to land on a page which speaks to the practice area in which they are interested. Too many sites have a blog where they write about the legal field in which they practice.
It makes more sense to address how they may help the reader; people are seeking an attorney to help with their situation NOW.
Understand their pain points and discuss them as it concerns one specific practice area per page.
These law firm marketing mistakes are common but can be fixed.