Websites are an essential part of life in the twenty-first century. People access information and services through the Internet on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean that everyone fully retains what they read online. A recent study found that only about 28% of Internet users understand the content on websites. That means it’s vitally important to make sure your law firm website is easy to understand, as legal jargon can be difficult to digest and firmly grasp.
Fortunately, there are ways you can make the content on your law firm website easier for your visitors to get.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to create a website that is boring or bland. In fact, you can make your content and site’s design entertaining for your readership.
You can also make it clear and concise so that anyone who comes across it knows what you’re offering and how they can contact you with any questions.
Whether your ideal client is another business or an individual, the following tips will give the people who land on your site a keen understanding of what you’re offering without needing to re-read the content.
Use Plain Language
Legal professionals often have their own unique way of communication.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone understands what you’re saying.
If you’re writing content for your law firm website, you need to make sure you use language that can be understood by everyone. Use short, simple sentences. And avoid jargon wherever you can.
If you do use legal terms, define them succinctly and provide examples.
Use conversational words, like “you” instead of “the client” and “we” instead of “the lawyers”. You might also consider using question-and-answer formats.
Avoid Legal Jargon
Legal jargon is confusing to most people, even, sometimes, to those in the legal profession. You should try to avoid using it as much as possible in your website content.
If you use a word or phrase that only a legal professional understands, try rewording it in a more straightforward way. Keep in mind that the people who visit your site are from various backgrounds or living situations.
Let’s look at an example of how you can simplify a legally written article.
For instance, the following information, when given as a direction, is much too formal and will quickly lose the attention of a website visitor:
- The applicant shall be notified by mail in cases where a permit application is not granted and shall be given 10 days within which to dispute or appeal the decision.
Using the word “shall” is quickly being replaced with less formal language, such as “must.” To elaborate, writing experts recommend that instead of shall, you replace it with:
- “Must” when you speaking about an obligation;
- “Must not” when referring to a restriction;
- “May” when talking about a discretionary activity; or
- “Should” when giving a recommendation
Again, to make the information easier to read, you need to write conversationally. Below is how the above phrase should be reworded:
- We’ll contact you by registered mail if your application is rejected. You’ll need to file an appeal within 10 days.
Maybe you’re introducing a legal service. Here, again, you need to make sure the reader understands what you’re saying so they’re not left wondering what you may mean.
For example, if you represent clients charged with embezzlement, you need to define embezzlement in clear and simple terms.
Explain, in layperson’s language, what faces they may charge if they’ve been arrested for this crime. Remember that you’re not speaking to another attorney but to someone who typically has little to no legal experience or legal background.
When you write articles, it’s not the same as writing a legal brief. So, you have to skip the legal jargon. Those kinds of terms are meant for other lawyers, the court system, and judges.
That is why writing content on a legal website often needs some analysis, if not editing.
Provide a Transcription of Audio Content
If you have audio content, consider providing a transcription of what the audio says.
This feature can also help if you’re providing legal information, such as a contract or terms and conditions.
People can listen to the audio as well as read the content for increased understanding. It also is useful for anyone who may have a hearing problem.
Use Visual Hooks
Provide visual content wherever you can. Visual hooks can help give your website visitors an idea of what you do and what you have to offer them without having to read through pages of text.
This is particularly important if you work in a specific field, such as criminal defense. If you’re trying to attract more clients, you want to make sure they understand what you do and why you’re the best option. Visuals can help you do that much more quickly and effectively.
The show, Don’t Just Tell
When it comes to your law firm website, show people what you mean, don’t just tell a story or define terms.
For instance, include examples that show people what you can do for them. This may be done through a video or an infographic.
Keep Your Content Short and Sweet
While you don’t want to miss out on providing important information for your legal website, you also don’t want to go overboard. Keep your content short and sweet. Make sure each section is no more than a couple of paragraphs long, and that each sentence is, again, short and to the point.
If you find yourself writing a lot of long paragraphs, it’s probably a sign that you need to rethink your approach. Focus on the most important information and leave out the rest of the superfluous stuff.
Summing It All Up
Whether you’re an old hand at running a website or this is your first time, the above tips are simple but important to remember. Legal websites can be an excellent way to bring in new business and keep your existing clients coming back. Therefore, you can make your website easier to read and understand with a few basic changes to your content.
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