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When it Comes to Your Website, There is No Need for You to Guess About What’s Working and What’s Not

Yes, there is an "app" for that - it's this website, and our Ten Foundational Best Practices.

For more than 15 years, Content Pilot has analyzed law firm websites based on Ten Foundational Best Practices. These are the must-have features and functionality that visitors and buyers of legal services demand today and that your website must include if it is going to work its hardest for you.

Analyzing the websites of AmLaw 100 firms in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2013, and then the AmLaw Global 50 law firms in 2016 and Q4 2019, Content Pilot researchers ranked how well the world’s largest law firms were managing their presence in this ubiquitous medium. Each Foundational Best Practice has several “attributes” that are updated each Study, and in this most recent Study, we evaluated 71 attributes for each of the Global 50 websites for a total of 3,550 data points.

Stop Guessing

Ponder your own firm website: the 71 attributes provide an easily understandable and achievable roadmap for analysis and improvement covering these critical Ten Foundational Best Practices:

Professionals’ biographies – Foundational Best Practice 04

Not surprisingly, the most important pages of any law firm website are the professionals’ biographies. Based on the website analytics that we track, 45 to 75% of all visitors to law firm websites view bio pages. By comparison, practice and industry pages average two to six percent of visitors. (More about this paltry number in a future blog post.)

As important as bios are in the lawyer vetting and hiring process, too many lawyers ignore or dismiss their significance. If a prospect is referred to those lawyers with outdated bios, the prospect gets the impression that the lawyer isn’t on top of things, is old fashioned and isn’t relevant to helping them address today’s pressing problem or opportunity.

Thankfully, lawyer bios have improved significantly since we began the research studies in 2005, but there is still enormous room for improvement. The AmLaw Global 50 firms’ total score was 72.3 on a 100-point scale – this is “good,” but just barely.

Where To Start?

To quickly improve your page so it works harder for you, focus on the initial four things that buyers of legal services want to know from you – and follow these “Do’s and Don’ts:”:

  • What specifically have you done? (Do: Detail relevant matters that support your stated expertise.)
  • For whom have you done it? (Do: Seek permission from clients to use their names. If you can’t use a client name, use a descriptive alias.)
  • How will you do it? (Do: Differentiate yourself over your competitors. What kind of user experience will you provide? What makes you different and better?)
  • What can you do for me? (Do: Remember that your visitor has an agenda. Your job is to know what it is and provide answers to these short-list questions.)

Next . . . here is another important “do.” Do immediately engage the reader in your most pertinent content: the first 140 characters of your bio should be keyword rich and relevant enough to compel visitors to click on this snippet in a Google search for your name. (Google will grab this text as your “meta description” for your page unless you specifically create another meta description.)

Do be a great storyteller. After the first 140 characters, in the next two or three sentences of your overview, describe what you do today: the subject-matter strengths, size and industry sector(s) of clients and your geographical reach. Don’t repeat your title, formal practice group name, office or education in this valuable real estate. In a well-designed bio page, that nuts-and-bolts information exists elsewhere – typically a spot where it is easy to scan.

Finally, do ensure that your photo is warm, friendly and looks like you today. If you have lost or gained weight, changed hairstyles or said goodbye to your glasses in favor of Lasik eye surgery, take a new professional photo. A photo that actually looks like you helps to shortcut the pathway to trust – something all of us want.

In the White Paper we highlight “Standout Firms” for each of the Foundational Best Practices. For examples of outstanding bios, review: White & Case (perhaps the best bios we’ve seen), Greenberg Traurig, McDermott Will & Emery (the firm whose site ranked first overall), Cleary Gottlieb, King & Spalding and Morrison & Forester.

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Clients, prospects and referral sources are judging you based on their visit to your website. Don't take chances and don't waste their time by settling for a poor experience. With our Ten Foundational Best Practices Audit, you will find out how well your site is performing and receive a specific roadmap for immediate improvement. Inquire today!

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Your firm website is the most visible and accessible picture of your law firm and how you do business. Since 2005, we have been passionate about helping firm leaders elevate their reputations and relationships by ensuring they are telling the right story and truly connecting with the people who matter most: clients, colleagues, referral sources, future employees. Let us help you tell your story.

Deborah McMurray

Deborah McMurray

CEO + Strategy Architect