Why your law firm website needs its own personality
Just like with humans and animals, the personality of your website will determine what people think of you, how they react to you and whether they like you or not.
How do I create a personality for my website?
Your business, whether you’ve specifically created it, already has a personality. It’s called “your brand”.
It may have formed organically or, for example, you may have worked on what values you think should drive your thinking and actions and then work on your business personality from there.
Your website personality needs to match your business personality. So that’s your starting point.
If you’re not already aware of your business personality; that is, you haven’t worked on it, you don’t drive it or reference it or you haven’t written it down, now’s the time to take a step back and work out what it is.
- How should your business behave on a day-to-day basis?
- What characteristics do you want to see in your people?
- How do you want your physical premises to look and feel?
- How do you want your clients to describe you?
- How do you want your staff to feel about working at your business?
- How do you want the general public to see you?
- What experience do you want your clients to have when they work with you? Etc…
Should I have a “style guide” for my website?
We don’t think you should be fully wedded to a set of concrete rules. That’s OK if you’re doing your formal legal work and working to the letter of the law. But times, people, environments and the like, change… and rapidly.
You may change your processes, procedures, perhaps even your logo or brand colours from time to time, but it’s unlikely you’ll change your personality… at least not massively.
We prefer to stick to the idea of creating a written document that determines your personality – your brand. You don’t have a style guide squirrelled away for how you should communicate with your friends, family and the general public; it’s innate as part of your personality.
Of course, from time to time, you may change, for example, the fonts you use or the imagery you use but you’ll still be driving the same message about what experience people can expect from you.
What could I consider when determining my online personality?
The internet is awash with service providers of every possible type, including lawyers and law firms. Here are a few things to remember when creating your online experience.
Humanise your site experience
In recent years, Google has become very clever at reacting to humans and responding like a human itself. Google reads long winded search inquiries and works out the intent of the searcher. You need to “humanise” your website; plain English, succinct content, no rambling, links that provide further information, use of imagery that tells your story etc.
Make it easy for your prospects to work with you
It’s almost unbelievable, in 2018, that so many websites do not have “easy to find” contact details.
Your phone number, email, social pages should be displayed clearly and visibly on every single page of your site. This says to your visitors, we’re open, we want to talk with you, we want to work with you.
Taking this a step further, on your “people” pages, provide direct telephone and email details. Nothing says “stuffy old men smoking in the boardroom” more, than a Partner/Director of a firm having their PA/Secretary’s contact details on their personal profile. Providing such details also delivers an air of transparency and openness; a personality trait anyone would love to have.
Finally, as more and more people access the internet via a mobile device, make sure you’ve enacted “click to call” and “click to email”. And if you have a “contact us” form on your site, make sure its mobile version is easy to use (particularly concentrating on text size/form size). Not paying attention to this sends the message that you are not thorough, you are not tech savvy and you are therefore, not keen for the business.
Create a unique selling point
You need to consider ways that make your brand stands out in your crowded market. You need to find your unique selling point (USP).
You might not think you have one, but most businesses do; the struggle can be determining what it is. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be huge or mind blowing. It could be as simple as “we respond to all our online inquiries within one business hour” but then remember, you have to deliver… and it is possible.
This doesn’t just go for your online personality. As we said at the beginning, make sure your online personality matches your “in person” personality. Make sure your message, your look and the overall experience of your business, are all consistent.
A perfect example of how to (or not to) do this is with lawyer profiles on your site. We’re strong advocates for law firms writing their own content and then we hop in and tailor it a bit more for online use. So let’s assume every lawyer has written their own website profile.
You’ll likely get a mix of styles; the “strictly formal”, the “somewhat boring”, the “too much sharing” etc. Here’s where you do need to step in and ensure your visitors feel, no matter which lawyer they are booked in to see, the quality of service, the level of required experience and the communication are going to be the same, or at least very similar.
If you haven’t done so already, take some time out to think about the personality of your business and make sure it’s replicated in your online world.
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