Readers often judge a blog by its cover. Web design, including layout, imagery, and readability, all provide browsers with clues about whether a post is credible and professional. What does your blog’s appearance say about you? Do you look like a lawyer?

Debra Cassens Weiss, senior writer for the ABA Journal, recently noted that young lawyers, especially women, often have trouble building their business because potential customers think “You don’t look like a lawyer.” She tapped into a social advice column called “Social Q” in the New York Times.  An attorney named “Susan” sent in a question:

“I am a female lawyer in my early 30s. I am reasonably attractive and dress in a stylish yet conservative way. At networking events, when I introduce myself to non-lawyers, I am often met with a friendly laugh and: “You don’t look like a lawyer.” It has started to bother me. I am not sure if they are commenting on my gender, age, demeanor or all of the above. My goal is to develop business. How should I respond?”

Journalist Philip Galanes’ advice to Susan was very straight forward: if you want to know what it means, that “You don’t look like a lawyer” ask. It could have to do with your age, race, or gender. Or it could be because your look doesn’t match what the speaker expects for a professional attorney.

Does Your Blog Look Like a Lawyer?

It can be a little harder to find out if readers think your blog “looks like a lawyer.” There are a lot of reasons a reader might “bounce” off your website. It can be hard to say why they didn’t stick around to see what you have to say. Your post could be too long or too dense. Or your website design could be driving people away.

An outdated website can be a big turn off to potential clients looking a professional like you. If your website relies too much on text, has strange color combinations, or doesn’t have the modern slick and streamlined formatting, readers could discount what you have to say. A bad website could tell readers:

  • The information is out-of-date;
  • You don’t care about your online presence;
  • You aren’t professional or don’t have the expertise you claim; or worse
  • Your firm isn’t accepting new clients.

Give Your Blog a Professional Makeover

Whether it comes to clothes or websites, styles change over time. If your new blog content is showing up in last decade’s fashion, it won’t be seen as professional or up to date. Your blog needs a makeover every few years. That way you keep up with current web trends, and present your business as competent and contemporary.

Your website makeover doesn’t have to be a major investment. Depending on how it was built, a web developer may be able to apply a new theme, upload some new pictures, and give your website a whole new look for the cost of one good client.

You wouldn’t meet a new client in 5-year-old worn out jeans. You wouldn’t “look like a lawyer.” More and more potential clients are finding their lawyer on the web. So why wouldn’t you give your website a makeover? It will help you make a great first impression.

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Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides blogging and web content services for law firms and small businesses. If your firm is ready for a new look, contact Legal Linguist for a referral today.