When prospective clients come to your website, they’re usually looking for three things: 1) To get answers to their legal questions, 2) Find out what steps they need to take next, and 3) Find out if you’re the attorney they should be taking those steps with. Websites that don’t answer these questions in a clear and user-friendly manner will likely send a client searching for a site that will.

There are a lot of good attorney websites out there, but you can often learn more from websites that aren’t so good. From confusing navigation, to audio and visual overkill, and overall broken mechanics, here are 5 valuable tips to learn from a bad attorney website.

1. Legalese Ad Nauseum

Ipso facto, Bore-o. Prospective clients that come to your website aren’t attorneys—they’re people in need of legal help. If your site’s language consists primarily of legal jargon, you’ll confuse your audience, and viewers are likely to move on to another site; e.g. your competitor’s, that speaks in a more straightforward tone.

2. Superfluous Clicks

When site navigating, users shouldn’t have to stop where they don’t need to. Make sure all of your links are descriptive, and don’t link to a link of another link. Don’t tell readers to “Click Here,” if you’re not telling them what the link leads to. Better title is “Click Here for More Information on DUI Defense Tips.”

3. Confusing Navigation

Keep your site navigation simple. Menus, drop down or stationary, should be easy to read and use, and visitors should have an immediate way back to the home page, and to all contact forms. Content headings should be direct and short, so visitors can find exactly what they need through a quick overview of the page.

4. Audio and Visual Overkill

Audio on an attorney website is a bad idea; e.g. streaming music or click-activated tones, and should be removed. Not only does audio date your site, it’s distracting for those trying to read and retain information.

In addition, Flash animation and other graphics can freeze your site, even on speedy connections. This lag will annoy visitors, and hefty bounce rates will likely ensue.

5. Broken Mechanics

Pages and broken links that produce error messages reflect poorly on the competence and marketing value of your firm. Make sure that current links are functional, and updated links are added on a regular basis—weekly is preferred. This is important to maintain viewer interest, and boost SEO.

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