Archive for the ‘Law Firm Website Conversion’ Category

Is Your Web Content Gender-Neutral?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In most cases of web content, the person’s gender is not relevant to the story you are telling. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. If you happen to be writing for a women’s website on the subject of menopause, then gender is certainly relevant. Should you not be writing for a website which is specifically geared to one gender or another, then focusing on one gender or the other can seem very sexist. Unfortunately, many of the descriptive words we use have gender bias built right in, such as “fireman,” or “actress.” Even a decade or so ago writers were instructed to implement the generic masculine terms, but in today’s world these words can seem dated or biased. There are ways to incorporate gender-neutral words into your content without using the clumsy “he or she.”

Be Specific

Generally speaking, if you are talking about men or boys, then use “he, his and him,” and likewise use “she, her and hers” when talking about females. However if you are writing a sentence such as “Each lawyer must take his bar exam,” this is a case of using a masculine pronoun in a generic manner. While you could write that sentence as “Each lawyer must take his or her bar exam,” this feels awkward. You could also use the vague their as in “Each lawyer must take their bar exam,” but this is somewhat controversial from a grammatical standpoint. In order to avoid making these choices regarding pronouns which tie to one gender or another, try using the authoritative style of the verb instead. Use the second person you or your rather than the third person gender-specific pronouns he, his, she and her.  In this case the sentence becomes “In order to become a lawyer you must take your bar exam,” and completely eliminates gender-specific wording.

Other Strategies for Keeping Your Content Gender-Neutral

The next tip for gender-neutral content is to change your nouns and pronouns to the plural form. Rather than writing “Each intern should mail his or her resume’ to the human resource department,” or “Each intern should mail their resume’ to the human resource department,” why not try it this way: Interns should mail their resume’s to human resources.” You have said the same thing, but in a much more concise and gender-neutral manner. Another way of keeping your content gender-neutral consists of repeating the noun, particularly if it will clarify the meaning of your sentence or eliminate the pronoun altogether.

Why Should You Care About Keeping Content Gender-Neutral?

Your goal is to convey information to your readers in a form they can both understand and use, avoiding anything which hinders clear communication. Should any part of your targeted audience find themselves insulted, offended or confused by the manner in which you express yourself through your writing then the understanding of your message could be derailed. While the process of using gender-neutral writing may feel like a relatively low-priority issue, ensuring your content is complete and correct is not a low-priority issue. Whenever possible, bypass the entire gender issue, and when it is not possible use masculine pronouns only for men and boys and feminine pronouns only for women and girls. A little practice in keeping your content gender-neutral will allow you to use these tips without thinking twice about it.

What to do When Your Law Firm Website Copy is Not Working

Monday, January 10th, 2011

A fundamental mistake which is seen often on lawyer websites is website content which talks exclusively about the firm, the lawyers and their accomplishments. You are probably thinking right now—“Well, isn’t that the whole point?” The answer is yes—and no. Yes, your potential clients must absolutely be aware of who your firm is and where your specialties lie, however your clients also want to hear about their favorite subject—themselves! Many of us have been on a bad date in which our companion talked nonstop about themselves for the entire evening. It’s a pretty sure bet that there are few enjoyable memories of that evening and that there was little feeling of connection with the other person.

Liken this experience to how your potential clients might feel should they land on your attorney website and read absolutely nothing except how great your firm is and how wonderful your attorneys are. The bottom line is that most people want to know what’s in it for them, and while they care about your skill sets and capabilities, their interest lies in how those capabilities can help solve their specific problems. The goal, then, is to ensure your firm’s practice areas and accomplishments are framed in the context of how those things can effectively solve your client’s problems. How does your past experience benefit them, and how does your niche area offer better service to them than the next lawyer in line? Your attorney website content must convey what’s in it for your potential clients should they hire you, your firm, your expertise.

Typically, web designers are much more compulsive about the layout and visual appearance of your website than the actual content. Identifying and fixing weak copy can go a long way in offering superior value to your potential clients as well as persuading prospective clients to hire you, and, after all, isn’t that the ultimate goal of your website? Take a fresh look at your copy with the following ideas in mind, and you may find several weak areas which can benefit greatly from a word renovation.

Who—and what—is Your Copy Talking About?

Your copy is talking to whoever it’s talking about. As noted, people are generally concerned with one looming thing—themselves and their problems. If you talk explicitly about your clients, and how you can solve their specific problems better than any other lawyer, how you can help them achieve their goals in the most expedient manner possible, then your website will be all the more persuasive. Try using lots of “you” and “your” phrases and relatively fewer “I” and “me,” and “we.”  Secondly, what is your website talking about? Consider carefully what your ideal client cares about, then tailor your message precisely to answer those questions.

When you find yourself talking about the myriad of benefits you can offer clients, put yourself on the other side of the webpage and give your potential clients some darn good reasons to believe you. Testimonials from satisfied customers are a powerful web tool as are case studies which detail how you helped a client succeed in whatever their initial goals were. High quality articles say—without specifically saying—I’m an expert. Choose relatable problems, then demonstrate exactly how you would solve them. It may seem counterintuitive for a lawyer to give away free advice, but the fact is that the more useful information you give away, the more people assume you know, thus increasing your firm’s ultimate value in the client’s eyes.

Tailor Your Copy

Your copy should ideally read as if you were having an intimate conversation with a client about his problems and how you intend to solve them. Avoid copy which sounds as if any lawyer in America was speaking to a general audience. Understand that being “professional” does not prohibit you from being personal and warm. It’s important to make your initial headline compelling and persuasive, leaving your reader with a desire to read on.  Your headline should imply a clear benefit for your ideal client; starting out with a “how to” or a “why” can be successful, as you are implying that what follows will be useful. Make sure your headline appeals to your reader’s self-interests, and implies some sort of desirable outcome and that it is as specific as you can make it, not to mention unique. In our information age, readers have seen it all—they want a headline that reaches out and grabs them, makes them think, gives them hope, makes them finish the paragraph…then the next and the next.

End Well

Your ending can be as important as your beginning. Once you’ve pulled your ideal client in, discussed his problems thoroughly and intelligently, proven beyond a doubt that you are the perfect lawyer to solve this particular issue, it’s time to make your offer. Tell your prospect exactly what you want to do for him, and what he needs to do to accept your offer by encouraging him to contact you. Make it as easy as possible for your potential client to do just that, by offering phone numbers, e-mail addresses, as well as an inline contact form which strongly encourages immediate action. Guarantees are good, because they tell your client that he simply cannot lose when he calls you—something like an obligation-free benefit in the form of a free initial consultation.

Free Advice – Call (769) 218-6099 for free advice concerning you law firm website copy and law firm website traffic conversion issues. Speak with a law firm website conversion expert, not a sales representative. Call today.