Three Ways to Add Pizzazz to Your Firm Website

Law firm websites often have a lot of text rich content, but little in the way of multimedia or graphics. Visitors to a website need something that grabs their attention, tells a story, and delivers it in short, digestible bits. Consider updating and enhancing your site content with some video, infographics and live feeds.

1. Lights, Camera, Action: Video

More and more law firm websites are incorporating video. In addition to using multi-media to add interest and engage your visitors, you can fit a lot of content into a short amount of time that does not require someone to read a long article. It can also highlight the real lawyers in your firm and help introduce them to potential clients. This November 2012 article from the American Bar Association on How Lawyers are Using Video has great information on the basic who/where/how/why of law firm videos. If that doesn’t convince you let’s look at some YouTube statistics:

  • Over 800 million unique users per month
  • More than 20% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices
  • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute

A YouTube channel is free. Creating good looking videos will likely require getting help from a videographer. Or, if you want to create educational videos that are a little more “fun’ you can use sites like goanimate.com or www.xtranormal.com to create an animated video using your own script.

2. Learning Is Fun: Infographics

Infographics are the new way to communicate complex information in a visually appealing way. It takes charts and graphs and punches them up for today’s graphics oriented and attention deficient audience. Companies like Visual.ly let you subscribe to the service and request a custom infographic through their marketplace. For attorneys looking to add some visual punch to their websites or blogs, the over 25,650 infographics in 27 categories can also be embedded in your website. Simply find one that speaks to your target audience and grab the code. For instance, if you represent green companies you could add a “going green at the office” infographic or if you want to let your clients know to keep their social media presence curbed you could add the “Privacy Fail: Concerns that Face Facebook Users” infographic.

3. Keep It Fresh: Social Media Feeds

Clients not into Twitter? No problem! If you tweet, and wish more of your clients and potential clients were on Twitter, you might want to take a look at Twylah. Twylah, currently in invitation only beta, is a free (for now) service that turns your tweets into a beautiful, customizable web page with subject groupings, graphics and more. What might have looked like gibberish, or too much information to non-tweeting clients and colleagues is now beautifully arranged and shows your tweets to their best advantage. The easiest way to explain Twylah is to look at an example: http://www.twylah.com/catherinereach .

Additionally, whether your firm is active on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, it is possible to show the updates to those profiles directly on your website. Your website may not get updated as often as you would like, so this is a way to add some fresh content and interest PLUS provide your website visitors a glimpse at your social media presence.

A law firm’s website is a vital first impression for potential clients. How well does your website reflect your firm? Get a Law Firm Website Review from the Chicago Bar Association’s Law Practice Management & Technology Director. This service will not only report on a site’s content and appearance, but also look at management and organizational issues to help the firm keep the site fresh and current. Take advantage of this objective review for your firm’s website to help provide the best possible reflection of your firm to website visitors.

This article first appeared in CBA Record February/March 2013

Expose Yourself

My new article in Slaw.ca: Expose Yourself

For a variety of reasons, some law firm websites may not have reached the top slot in Google, Bing, or Ask. There is competition for keywords, and the search engines change their algorithms frequently. Without having a team of folks tweaking the site, there will likely be some ebbs and flows in visibility in search results. However, there are a number of ways to boost visibility on the web so that whether someone finds the firm or attorney through social media, a directory, the website, or a professional nameplate site, you can get the message out about the firm’s professionals and services.

Is Your Website An Advertisement?

A recent ethics opinion from the ISBA Professional Conduct Advisory Opinion (Opinion No. 12-04
January 2012
), primarily regarding the use of “Promotional Material” in lieu of the proper “Advertising Materials”, noted that a law firm website is not a direct solicitation, thus did not need apply the “Advertising Material” label on the site:

While firm brochures (and their modern counterpart, the internet website) are clearly regulated communications under the RPC, and thus subject to prohibitions on false or misleading statements, it should be noted that the labeling requirements of Rule 7.3(c), only apply to communications employed in the direct written, recorded or electronic solicitation of prospective clients known to be in need of legal services. Communications sent in response to requests from potential clients and general announcements do not require the special labeling. RPC 7.3, Comment [7]. Further, nothing in this opinion is intended to imply that firm brochures (or websites) generally are required to be labeled as “Advertising Material.” (For a discussion of issues relating to firm websites, see ABA Formal Opinion 10-457.)

Good to know! However, if you are licensed in other states, or have any questions regarding a specific situation, don’t hesitate to ask the IL ARDC.

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