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I’ve written a lot of law firms’ websites over the years, and read even more. Here are a few tips on how to write practice area pages for services you offer that drive clients to contact you, rather than click away.
Why You Need Practice Area Pages
If you’ve ever worked at a small firm, you know how frustrating it can be for you (or your legal assistant) to field calls that have nothing to do with your practice. The callers may just be looking for “a lawyer” or they may not know what category their problem falls into. While some of these calls can lead to referral fees (if your jurisdiction allows them), many just take up valuable time your office could be spending on doing client work or building a stronger book of business.
Anyone who advertises online will get some of these. No matter how carefully you target your search engine optimization (SEO), you will still show up when browsers are looking for broader categories. But if you aren’t making good use of your website’s practice area pages, you may be encouraging all the wrong kinds of traffic.
Practice Area Pages Tell Search Engines What You Do
Every website for every business needs to tell visitors what it is the company does. There are plenty of ways to do that:
- Online stores
- Explainer videos
- Interactive sites
- Contact forms
But no matter what other forms of communication you use, your website will always need pages with written content targeted at the specific services you want people to hire you to do. In the legal world, those are practice areas.
Without practice area pages for each of your main lines of business, you will be casting a wide net. Sure, some of the fish you catch will be the type of clients you want. But far more will be looking for something else — or some other type of attorney — entirely. More importantly, many people who actually are looking for your practice area will miss your page entirely. After all, if you don’t have a practice area page advertising that you handle corporate bankruptcies, you can bet your competitor will.
As a best practice, you should have a practice area page dedicated to each type of case you file. (Or at least the ones you want more clients in). Each page should be specifically targeted to that practice area, and should talk about the cases the way your clients talk about them. That way, the search engines will be able to find you when your potential client does a search for “car crash lawyer” rather than “motor vehicle injury litigation”.
What Your Practice Area Pages
I’ve seen a lot of different ways lawyers make use of their practice area pages. Some are essentially the horn-books we all used to pass our law school exams, reciting what the law is down to the letter. Others are made up of testimonials about how the law firm got so many millions for this client or that suffering the same injury. Still others focus on the feelings of potential clients and how having a lawyer can help them heal.
The best practice area pages are a blend of all three. Potential clients coming to the site should be able to clearly tell they are in the right place and that this lawyer can help them with their problem. It should explain generally how the law works in the jurisdiction, especially how quickly potential clients will need to file their claims. And it should talk about the experience and expertise of the lawyers who practice in that area for the firm. If you want to write a rock-star practice area page you should also:
- Use headings that focus on keywords your clients use to find you
- Include images that connect with readers emotionally
- Link to the biographies for the particular lawyers who will handle these cases
- Cross-link to other practice area pages that are often confused or included with the type of case (i.e. child custody and paternity cases)
- Feature quotes of both lawyers and clients for the firm about what the practice area means to them
- Include a strong call to action that directs potential clients how to contact you if they have a problem
Without strongly worded practice area pages, your firm’s website is no different than that of the general practitioner down the street. Take the time to write high-quality, engaging content that will draw both search engines and clients to your firm. You’ll be surprised how much better your receptionist will feel.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and websites for law firms and small businesses. If you need help creating high-quality practice area pages for your website, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.
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