Arrow with the word strategyThis article is a continuation of the discussion of why law firms are failing. In my last article, I discussed why networking events are a waste of time for attorneys.

Today we’ll make sure you stop making an all-too-common mistake for attorneys — using your website traffic to help your competition.

Now, I get it; you might be saying something along the lines of:

“That’s crazy! How could my website be helping the competition?!”

But unfortunately, you may very well be doing just that without even knowing it. Let’s take a look at how.

When a client comes to your website, they’re visiting a property you own and control. In other words, they are visiting a property where you can present yourself however you’d like. 

The longer you keep them on your website, the more likely they will contact you. 

Despite this, many lawyers have their websites littered with items that drive the user to other sites instead.

To make matters worse, the sites that attorneys drive visitors to often give prospects direct access to view the competition.

How to Stop Giving Your Competition Free Advertising

There are two common examples of attorneys driving clients away from a property owned and controlled by the attorney. 

And the goal today is to stop making both of these mistakes immediately.

The first step is to take those dreaded “review badges” off your firm’s website as soon as possible. 

You know, the ones that show your “10/10” rating on AVVO, or the ones that highlight your reviews on sites like YP.com. 

Attorneys put these badges on their site to highlight good ratings and reviews, which makes sense at first — but let’s think a little deeper about it.

Someone coming to your website looking for an attorney is likely to click that widget that shows your ratings and reviews. That click takes them to the site of the respective widget (AVVO, YP, etc.).

They’ve now left a property you control, and guess what — the review page you sent them to contains a search box that allows them to search for other attorneys. That search box and all of the paid ads onsite encourage each potential client to check out the competition. Which means you’re doing them a massive favor by effectively giving them free advertisement.

Studies have shown that people’s attention can shift in just a second when it comes to web pages, and you’ve taken that second to shift their attention towards another lawyer.

It’s true though; you certainly want clients to see your good reviews. And it does help to control which review sites they look at. 

So here’s how we can get around this widget problem:

You’ll find that after your home page, your “attorney bio” section will likely be one of the most highly trafficked pages on your site. This is because once people read the page that covers their specific situation, if they’re considering whether or not to hire you, they’ll probably give your bio a read too. And these are perfect leads; they’ve already invested time to read not just one of your web pages, but two. 

So at the bottom of your bio page, include links (not widgets) to those review sites we just mentioned, and make sure these links open in a new window, so the visitor will still have your page open. 

The people reading your bio are much better candidates for the review sites since they’re already focused on you. 

The review widgets I previously mentioned, by contrast, drive them off of your web property before they have had the opportunity to focus on you at all.

It may be a small change, but you’d be surprised at the difference it can make.

The Second Attorney Website Mistake 

My second piece of advice for today is to stop linking to statutes, court decisions, etc.

Prospects want to hear things in simple, easy-to-digest terms, so these links aren’t providing as much value to prospects as you might think. And again, any of these external links just drive visitors off of your site right away.

Keeping your prospects on the websites you own and control is one of the keys to converting more of your leads. 

Remember, driving potential clients away from web properties you control hurts your firm.

Action Items: How You Can Increase Your Profit

I mentioned before that plenty of lawyers think all they need is more phone calls. So they increase the budget to get them when it’s not necessary.

Today’s action items are simple:

  1. Remove any rating/review badges from your website.
  2. Place a link at the bottom of your bio page that says, “Click here to view [Name] review on [whatever website]. 

(Make sure this link opens into a new window.)

Tomorrow, we’ll make your firm more efficient to increase its profit significantly.

The efficiency step we take will simultaneously improve customer service (news flash – attorneys are notorious for bad customer service), which should also increase your referrals too.

(Another great way to increase profit? Start implementing SEO for your website. )