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Building Trust Into Your Legal Website

As most of those in the legal profession are aware, trust on the part of clients is absolutely essential. You probably have little problem gaining the trust of the clients who walk in your front door and sit down in your office to have a face-to-face conversation. How does that trust translate in your firm’s website? Remember, web users are not able to look you in the eye as you tell them about your services so there must be other mechanisms in place to help build those critical trust levels. Many times prospects fail to turn into solid leads simply because certain aspects of the website fail to convey the necessary trust. While some trust issues can be cured with a little tweaking here and there, others may require a full-blown overhaul. Below are some of the factors to consider when determining whether your website inspires trust.

 Work Toward Flawless Navigation

The navigation on your site allows visitors to move seamlessly form one part of your website to another. If your navigational system is awkward visitors will not stay to browse but will bounce away to a site that is easier to navigate. You may have drop-down list navigation, horizontal or vertical navigation or even scrolling navigation but ensure that whatever style you choose will be simple for your visitor to use, yet memorable. If you cram too many links in your navigational menu, your visitors can feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin, so make your navigation as clear and simple as humanly possible.

Show Some Personality

Even though a legal firm is presumed to be highly professional—and even a bit stodgy—you can maintain the professionalism while letting a little bit of your firm’s personality shine through. The web can present a somewhat robotic appearance, and if you take a look at a hundred different legal websites you may find little that is memorable from one to another. Make your website memorable by adding your own photographs rather than using stock photos, and whether you write your content or it is professionally written, strive for the personal style of your firm to shine through. When potential clients get you known you on a more personal level, the trust building begins. Make sure your site is not the legal norm rather it is engaging while still remaining professional. You want to immediately pique the interest of your visitor, enticing them to investigate further.

Content—Quality and Quantity

Every chance you get you should be adding new content to your site, whether it is in the form of your legal blog or changes made to your regular content. This doesn’t mean you should post a low-quality article just to say you posted. Your content should be consistently relevant and full of up-to-date information that is exactly what your visitors are searching for. While it can be taxing to keep up with the content demand, the results in terms of SEO and gaining the trust of your visitors are immeasurable.

Although your website business is (obviously) online rather than your traditional face-to-face, building an online community is just as important as building your traditional client base. Simply getting online visitors is not good enough—you have to ensure they will be back after they’ve looked at your content. To build the trust of your online community requires authority in your subjects, so don’t ever let your reader’s down. Create an About Us page to let your readers know who you are, what your goals are and your firm’s overall philosophy. You don’t have to include particularly intimate details, but should include a little humor to ensure the human element and trust shine through. Try to keep in mind that online trust is quite different from the “real” world and that trust is built by people, not machines so always provide honest and correct information regarding your firm and your services.

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