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4 Things Every Law Firm Website Must Have

I've been looking at A LOT of law firm websites recently, and, quite frankly, I'm amazed at some of the basic things that are missing from many sites.

It doesn't matter whether you are a solo practitioner or a larger firm, here are four things that your law firm website must have:

The first thing every law firm website should have is an SSL certificate. SSL encrypts data and changes the URL at the top of the browser from "http://" to "https//" Even if your website doesn't have any confidential data on it, you must still have an SSL certificate.

If you don't, the first thing that your potential clients are going to see in their browser is an icon that says your site is "Not Secure." When someone is looking for a lawyer, the last thing they want to see is that their data "could be stolen by attackers."

The second thing a firm needs to do is to keep up with maintenance on its "News" and "Blog" sections.

News that is over a year old isn't. Having your "top story" be something that happened during the Obama administration tells prospective clients that you don't really keep up with editing your site and, from this, they may infer that you don't keep up at all.

Think about it this way: When you see sign in a store that says it was the "Best in 2015," don't you wonder what's happened since then? Who has been better the last five years?

What applies to news also applies to blogs. If you are not going to blog regularly, don't have a blog section. A blog article on the hot legal topic of 2018 should not be put out there as the most relevant piece of information on your site.

Third, take a look at your attorneys' bios and update them regularly. Bio pages are often the first place potential clients will go and constitute their first impression of your lawyers.

Sometimes bio pages suffer from the same issues as news articles and blog posts. For example, consider removing or downplaying old awards and articles. An award received six years ago probably shouldn't be headlining a bio unless it has a picture of Alfred Nobel on it.

The last thing that you must consider is how your website looks when viewed on a mobile device. For many people, the first experience they have of a website is when they look it up on their smartphone.

Imagine someone asking one of your current clients for a referral while out for coffee. The first thing the potential client is going to do is look you up on their phone. Whatever they see will be their first, and lasting impression of you and your firm.

Your site doesn't need to be a mobile first experience, but it must create a positive impression on potential clients.

The good news is that all of these issues are very easily fixed and the required edits can be made without spending a lot of time and money on your site. Making these small changes, however, will make a huge difference in the way your firm is perceived by potential clients.

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