Websites - Your most effective marketing tool (LexisNexis - Sole practitioner's site)

For most solicitors, the majority of new business will come from existing clients or referrals and recommendations by those clients and other contacts.  Upon receiving a recommendation our natural reaction is to Google that organisation or person, partly to obtain contact details and partly to gather further information.

Therefore it is important to ensure that your contact information is easily available on the home page.  However, as many sole practitioners work from home and do not wish this to be too obvious, the address and phone number can often be buried away within the site or in the very small print at the bottom.

What sort of impression do you want a visitor to have when they visit your web site?  The graphic design and layout makes a big difference to the look and feel of a web site and consequently the perception of you and your practice.
Whilst budgets are tight, it is understandable that some solicitors might see good web design as a luxury, when they have a “nephew at University who can design a web site for peanuts”.  Well you know what they say about paying peanuts....

The creation of a web site usually requires different skills for graphic design, which produces the look feel, colour scheme etc, and programming which builds the engine under the bonnet.  The more complicated your site in terms of structure and interactivity – the more experienced programmer you will need.
An example of a beautifully designed small web site for a sole practitioner is that of IP specialist James Love at

The third key element of your web site is the content.  You need to be realistic about how much time you will have available to keep it up to date with fresh information.  A blog can do wonders for your search position, but only if you feed it regularly.  The golden rule here is to add little and often.  Set yourself a diary reminder to add something once per week or once per fortnight, otherwise you are likely to forget when you get busy.

Professional photography makes a huge impact and there are many low cost royalty-free services such as where you can buy pictures for a few pounds nowadays.

Our top ten tips for a good web site are:

  1. Invest in good graphic design.
  2. Keep the site structure simple and easy to navigate.
  3. Ensure contact details are up front.
  4. Be clear about what you are selling.
  5. Only start a blog if you will be able to continue it.
  6. Periodically check all content and links.
  7. Use forms to drive new enquiries.
  8. Demonstrate your expertise.
  9. Invest in professional photography.
  10. Make sure you adhere to Law Society Regulations about information that must be shown on the home page.

Sue Bramall is Director of Berners Marketing a consultancy specialising in providing marketing support to the legal profession.

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