The lawyer websites I visit cover a lot of ground. They each feature a different practice area, different attorneys, different approaches, and different designs. Oddly, while they’re all different, they’re all the same in many ways.
Today, I’m not here to rant about the need to set yourself apart. Today, I’m not here to complain about how we so often emphasize the wrong things on our sites. I’ll give you a break from all that and focus on the three elements of your site that you absolutely must include. These are the basics, and they’re often lacking on law firm sites.
The essential elements of your site are your clients’ story, your story, and your picture.
1. Their Story
Tell your clients’ story. Articulate the problem. Tell them what’s it’s like to be in their shoes. Explain how it looks to have their problem. Detail the sequence of events they’ve already experienced that resulted in them visiting your site.
Most importantly, explain what it feels like to be going through what they’re going through. Use your knowledge of the story and of their problem to articulate it better than they could do it themselves.
Leave them with that “fly on the wall” feeling. Make them wonder whether you’ve been watching their lives unravel. Let them know that you know what happened and that you know what’s coming next. Tell them their own story.
2. Your Story
Tell them who you are and what you’re about. They have a hard time judging you based on your legal talents and skills. They’re usually not qualified to assess your expertise. They’ll trust you because of your story, if you’re willing to tell it to them.
- They want to know who you are, what you’re about, and why you do what you do.
- They want to know what you’re made of and how that core part of you translates into being part of the solution to their problem.
- They want to know what you care about and why.
- They want to know how you feel when the chips are down and how you celebrate when you work with them to achieve victory.
When they hear your story, they want to understand what makes you tick. They want to know what you feel, why you feel it, and how that energy translates into getting them results.
3. Your Picture
Yes, your picture—a photograph of you is essential. They need to see you to be comfortable. I know, I know, you’re ugly. So am I. Get over it. They like ugly. I’ve always had clients, and I’ve looked this way for a long time.
There are lots of ugly, ugly lawyers doing important work for important clients. Your picture is an essential part of your website. There’s no excuse for failing to give prospective clients a peek at you. Just do it. Get over whatever is keeping you from posting the photo and do it.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and they’re right. A picture gives viewers a feel for you they just can’t get in any other way. Better than a picture is a short video. Whether you post a photo or a video, it needs to be current. The 20-year-old picture needs to go in an album for others to see after you’re dead. However, your website needs a current image that truthfully and accurately depicts you.
That’s it. If you’ve got their story, your story, and a picture, then you’re hitting the essential elements of the website. You can take it further as you have the time, money, and energy. You can add information, articles, tools, calculators, forms, and whatever else might be valuable to your audience. The more you add to the site, the more visitors you’ll get, and the more trust you’ll build.
The basics, these three essentials, need to go up first. They are the core of your site, and they are the elements that will turn visitors into clients. Get your website essentials in order.