Practicing law is a demanding, time-consuming, often high-stress job. You have hours to bill, deadlines to meet, and clients to serve. And if you run a solo practice or are a partner in a small- to mid-size firm, you probably have other responsibilities on your plate: like running your business.
Changing how you operate — and how you promote yourself — may not be high on your list. And you’re not alone. The legal profession is notorious for doing things the way they’ve always been done. But the facts are that modernizing your law practice by strategically integrating the right technologies can benefit you in big ways. Why bother? Modernizing your practice will not only streamline your processes, but also give you more time to do what clients hire you to do: practice law. In many ways you can’t afford not to come up to speed. So where do you begin?
Start with the first impression that most people have of your law firm: your website. Legal practice management software company MyCase polled 800 solo and small-firm lawyers to ask what steps they would take to modernize their firms in 2015. The website was the biggest focus listed by respondents, with 49 percent saying that revamping their site was a top priority. If you plan to upgrade your website this year, here are some things you should address in the process:
Good design — A site that is unappealing visually will turn customers away. Color, fonts, presentation, images, and organization are all important, but also make sure that the content and message are on target and offer an accurate picture of who you are as a firm and what you do. And keep responsive design in mind as you develop your site. This means your website adjusts to look good to visitors on all types of screens — including smartphones and tablets. In the spring of 2015, Google changed how it ranks mobile-friendly sites, so that non-mobile enabled sites are penalized in search rankings.
Improve search engine optimization (SEO) — SEO is the practice of increasing the visibility or ranking of your website in a search engine’s organic (or unpaid) results. To improve your site’s SEO you can:
- Use strategic keywords
- Post fresh content to your website regularly
- Fill in the text descriptions of photos on your site
- Add video content
Launch a blog and social media channels — Blogging allows you to build credibility and position yourself as an expert in your field.
- Publish regularly to both the blog and social media
- Add backlinks to your content to help with SEO
- Need ideas for content? Try these eight tools and tips from LawFuel.
Get social — Publishing is only the first step. Pew Research reports that 71 percent of online adults use Facebook, 28 percent use LinkedIn, and 23 percent use Twitter. And the American Bar Association Legal Technology Report indicates that lawyers are using social media more than ever before. So share your blog posts, new hire announcements, event announcements, or articles from other sources that your audience might find interesting.
Need more tips on how to enhance your website? Download our free eBook, Modernize Your Law Practice in 3 Steps.
What else is in the eBook? Insights and practical advice on:
- Cutting down on paper to go digital. The federal courts have been paperless for years and even state courts are converting to electronic filing and paperless case files. Get information on switching to digital forms and practice management software.
- Setting up remote work capabilities. Advances in mobile and cloud technology give you more flexibility than ever before. Learn how the cloud can boost productivity and benefit your practice
- Strengthening your online presence. Get more details on getting your practice’s website in shape for your audience.