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Your Law Firm Website is (Probably) Designed to Fail

By William Peacock, Esq. on February 27, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We can sum up our thought-provoking white paper, "Why Most Law Firm Websites are Designed to Fail," in two words: conversion optimization.

You can build a website for your firm. You can plaster it with great content, pretty pictures, and a bountiful blog section that would put our legal professionals blogs to shame. (Impossible!) You can build the most content-rich, informative site on the Internet, but it will fail if you don't optimize for conversion. What's conversion? For attorneys, it's clients.

So, bottom line: What good are one million visitors if only four of them sign up as clients?

Psychology of Hidden Motivators

When building a website, we're all worried about logical factors, such as cost, but what about the hidden factors, like visitor motivation? What are the emotional triggers that set oft a website visitor's brain? The white paper covers eight different motivators that you must account for in designing your website to optimize conversion:

  • Safety
  • Surprise
  • Status
  • Scarcity
  • Certainty
  • Similarity/Dissimilarity
  • Sympathy
  • Selfishness

We'll leave most of the discussion to the paper itself, but let's look one key factor as an example: safety. It's all about feeling secure in one's assets. It turns out that loss aversion is a powerful force -- not losing is more important, psychologically, than winning. So ...

Q: Which of these is more likely to trigger a click on your site?

    • "We'll help ensure you receive a fair share of marital assets." or
    • "If you don't hire an attorney, you may lose your financial security."

A: Doom and gloom wins.

DIY Websites?

You can build your own website. In fact, we just reviewed a book on doing exactly that. You can decipher DNS settings, set up nameservers and MX routing for email, install a WordPress CMS, use a snazzy-looking template, and blog until your fingers bleed.

(Templates, by the way, are a bad idea. Factor #2, surprise, is the notion that we're attracted to the novel. Looking like everyone else, psych mumbo-jumbo aside, is bad.)

It might even work. But what's the old cliché? Work smarter, not harder?

Budget a weekend or two for setting up the site and writing original content (descriptions of practice areas, firm staff bios, etc.), plus ongoing time for blogging and dealing with inevitable server crashes and other maintenance issues. Do all of that, and you still haven't even addressed the all-important conversion optimization or even search engine optimization.

Did we mention that, in addition to white papers, blogs, and caselaw and statutes, that we have a team of people that can build your site for you? We know you saw that coming but just saying -- you might have better things to do with your time.

Join the discussion on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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