Websites now serve as the first point of contact between a business and a potential client. People use websites to learn more about the business before they even contact them. Your website — and most importantly your content — need to be able to grab their attention and keep them interested in your brand.
Content can have a crucial impact on visitors and search engines. If your content is generic or subpar, neither will be interested in your website. Because of this, you need to focus on creating original content that is informative, understandable and orderly. You should be proactive in revamping and improving your content, and here are five ways you can do so:
1. Write Custom Content Specific to Your Audience
Content is a critical component of every attorney’s website. Your website content needs to do more than tell people the services you offer. It needs to to be custom, and it should provide valuable, relevant information. According to Demand Metric, 82 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
The way attorneys achieve this can vary. For criminal defense attorneys, website content should highlight your practice areas, but also include information about potential charges a person could face. For example, you could have a parent page explaining how your state defines drug crimes, potential punishments, possible defenses and even drug court programs.
Under your parent page, you could include child pages with more information about specific charges, such as possession of a controlled substance or offenses related to cocaine. These pages could provide more detailed information relating to the charges, giving potential clients an idea of what they may be facing. You should, however, be sure to comply with local bar rules when writing website content.
2. Be Sure the Content is Current
Having well maintained and up-to-date content is important for your website. If your site has old and obsolete information, this could affect your brand and the appearance of your business. Readers could think you do not care enough to update the content, or they could get the impression that you are not longer practicing.
To be sure your content is fresh and current, you should have a plan to update pages as laws change. For example, if you are a family law or divorce attorney who handles LGBT divorces, the information on your website should be updated to reflect the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. The same applies if you are a criminal defense attorney in a city or state that has seen changes to its marijuana laws.
Fresh content can help you appeal better to readers, but it also can improve SEO and help your search engine rankings. Smart updates, like changes in the main body text of your existing web pages, can help keep them relevant to Google and ranking among the top searches.
3. Keep It Short and Simple
Content should be factually accurate and informative, but it also should be simple. Most people do not understand legal jargon or care to take the time to read it. Your content should be written in a way that complex laws are broken down so the average person can read or skim it and understand it. You want someone to find your website helpful, not more confusing or boring.
Additionally, the content should be kept relatively short. When searching for an attorney, people want to know the most important facts and issues surrounding their situation. They do not want to spend hours reading about extensive court cases or material that cannot directly benefit them. Keeping the information short and simple can prevent deterring readers as soon as they land on your website.
4. Make it Easy to Read and Navigate
If your information is short and simple, it also should be easy to read. You want to present the information in a way that attracts readers, rather than scares them off. Some people are more visual learners and they want to see text presented in a less complicated manner. Rather than large text paragraphs, the information should be broken into sections, lists and categories that make sense.
For example, if you are a criminal defense attorney, a parent page focused on white collar crimes could be broken down into several easy-to-read sections. You could have a section explaining the types of white collar charges, each broken down into bullet points, and others outlining possible punishments or possible defenses.
How the information is presented to readers has a significant impact on the likeliness of them reading it. If the information seems extensive, it could feel daunting to a reader. Writing content that is simple and easy to understand can help potential clients get to the information they want quickly.
5. Pay Attention to Keywords
For your website to be successful, you need to be able to attract people through search engines. This is where keywords come into use. These words or phrases are the things people type into search engines when they’re not exactly sure what they want. Writing content with valuable and strategic keywords can help your website appear when people search for services you offer.
To determine what keywords are most important, you have to think of how a consumer would behave. You have to image what a person would search if he or she was in need of an attorney’s services. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney in Atlanta, the keywords personal injury attorney in Atlanta should be included in your content. More specific keywords like Atlanta car accident lawyer or Fulton County criminal defense attorney also could be added.
Search engines like Google, however, will penalize websites that have too many unnecessary or irrelevant keywords on a site. These are used to manipulate the site’s ranking, and this practice is known as “keyword stuffing.” This practice can cause a negative user experience and can harm your site’s ranking. Instead, your content should focus on having keywords added into content in a natural, readable way.
Website content plays a significant role in your impact on the web and your potential to garner new clients. When creating and revamping content, you should remember that people want valuable information presented to them in the easiest manner. Your business should use your website to do just that, whether that means formatting the information a certain way or writing in a specific tone.
About the Author
Billy Skinner is the founder of Skinner & Associates, a law firm dedicated to criminal defense and representing individuals wrongly accused of sex crimes in Texas. Follow Billy on Google+ and Twitter.