Law firm website content is important, even as AI has crept into the digital marketing space. Human legal writers, by and large, are still much better at developing the voice of a law firm than any machine. However, it’s easy to get bogged down in complicated legal jargon, and it’s easy to craft a page that just “looks” unappealing.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
“If I do what you’re asking me to do, it’ll be dumbing down the material.”
That’s what an attorney told me once as I was coaching him through the process of crafting the content on his webpage. At the time, I didn’t have the exact data that I’m going to share with you today, but I had been a public school teacher. I understand the importance of being able to communicate with your audience.
One thing I know for certain is this – complex legal terms, long sentences, and bulky paragraphs are a non-starter for law firm websites.
For the purposes of law firm website content, you can’t write as “lawyers.” You aren’t at a law conference, and you aren’t going head-to-head with opposing counsel. You’re trying to talk to someone who needs your help, and the best law firm content writers will help you connect more deeply with prospective clients.
The literacy problem in the US
Content for law firm websites is all about knowing your audience, but do you really know yours? The National Literacy Directory has some alarming statistics about the state of literacy in this country:
- 14% of the employed population has low literacy skills.
- 1 out of every 6 adults in this country lacks basic reading skills
- Approximately 36 million people in the US cannot read a job application, understand basic written instructions, or properly interpret what they find on the Internet.
Data provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) shows that 21% of adults in the United States (about 43 million) fall into the illiterate/functionally illiterate category.
To be sure, even people who have excellent literacy skills are still likely to struggle with complicated legal terms that they do not hear every day. The reality is that you do need written content on your law firm’s website, but you need to make it as simple as possible for the reader while still maintaining authoritative integrity. This can be hard to do when you’re used to crafting legal briefs or writing research papers.
You Can Create Legal Content Everyone Can Read
- Use everyday words. There is no need to use anything other than simple English when you are creating your law firm website content. At Blue Seven Content, we’ve previously discussed why using complex legal terms is a bad idea.
- Explain legal terms if you have to use them. If you find that using a legal term is absolutely necessary, then you should properly explain it to your readers using plain English.
- Shorter sentences. Your sentences should generally be short and to the point. If you find yourself creating multiple complex sentences, go back and think about how you can shorten them. Reading your post out loud really helps catch these longer sentences.
- Shorter paragraphs. Big and long paragraphs or an immediate turn-off to a reader. In fact, your reader is very likely to either hit the back button or skip over long paragraphs altogether. Seriously, if you find yourself using more than three sentences in a paragraph, ask yourself why and if the additional sentences are necessary.
- Bullet points all the way. We love using bullet points because our readers love having bullet points. We’re willing to bet that regardless of what type of information you are looking for, you scroll right to the bullet points to get the gist of the post. Your law firm’s prospective clients do the same thing.
- A clear CTA. Regardless of the type of information you are creating for your law firm website, every page should have a clear call-to-action for the reader. They need a sentence or two pushing them in the direction you need them to go, which is to call your law firm or fill out a contact form.
Your Prospective Clients Should Not Feel Shamed – They Should Feel Welcomed
Any person reading your webpage should never feel ashamed for not understanding what your page says. Regardless of what type of practice areas you handle, the reality is that most people only need your services if they are at a particularly low point in their lives. They’re already going through something tremendous, and they just want some help. Your law firm’s website should convey to the reader that you can help them and that they will not feel any shame when they call you.
We should take the concept of knowing your prospective clients/audience a little deeper. How much do you know about the literacy and education levels of your specific geographic area? Are you in an area where literacy is fairly high, average, or below average? When crafting your pages, you should always have this thought in the back of your mind – “Will the person who needs to read this be able to understand everything on the page?”
Now, this doesn’t mean they have to understand every aspect of their case or the law surrounding what they need. That’s your job to explain when they come to you for a free consultation and after they’re your client.
But they should understand the content on your page.
Law Firm Content Complexity Based on Practice Areas
Another factor to consider when creating content for lawyer websites is practice areas. There are certainly cases where the reading level of the page should be elevated. For example, law firms that cater to specific types of professionals or businesses, such as doctors, academics, inventors, investors, and other “white collar” professionals may need to examine how to get their writing closer to a college level. These are individuals and organizations who won’t need a seventh- or eighth-grade reading level to understand their issue.
However, just because you handle higher-level issues doesn’t mean you should fill the page with legal terms and compound sentences. After all, consider that almost everyone, regardless of their education level, will skim through a page. You still want your desired audience to understand the page, find the information they need, and call you for help.
Blue Seven Content Takes Complex Law Firm Website Content and Turns it Into Conversion Material
A team at Blue Seven Content understands the need to craft law firm website content that is readable by a wide audience. In fact, many of our writers have a background in education. We all have stories of being young teachers walking into the classroom full of what we think is high-level pedagogical understanding only to realize we know nothing about communicating with our audience. We learned the hard way, and we want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. If you have any questions about how to craft the following, we are here to help:
- Law firm practice area pages
- Law firm blog posts
- Law firm landing pages
- Press releases
- Attorney bio pages
- Law firm “about us” pages
- Law firm homepages
You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 843-580-3158. Our team is ready to talk to you today.
Written by Allen Watson – CEO and Co-Founder of Blue Seven Content