These are the 10 most important things every barristers’ chambers should consider when evaluating their website.
1. Allow people to easily search for barristers.
Solicitors visiting your website must be able to easily search your set’s barristers by name, year of call and practice area in order to give them instant access to the required information. Having a search facility at the centre of the website and importantly on the home page itself is therefore of fundamental importance.
2. Create multiple paths to entry.
Different people use websites in different ways, much like people view newspaper stories in a variety of patterns. It is important to allow choice to cater for everyone with search utilities and cross linking related areas in order to facilitate their quest for information.
3. Make sure that your portrait photography is good.
Usually the first time you will meet the solicitor who is instructing you is in court; their first impression is therefore made on the basis of what they have available to them: in this case the photograph online.
4. Ensure that you exhibit and promote your record.
Inclusion (and regular updating) of both ‘Publications & Articles’ and ‘Recorded Cases’ enable users to rapidly research previous experience and track record. Making their jobs easier can only help.
5. Copy must be short, sharp and to the point.
Reams of text, reminiscent of the papers from a landmark case, will not be comfortably digested by your users. The attention span of online viewers is considerably shorter than with books or hard-copy; it is therefore of tantamount importance to get your message across in as few words as possible.
6. Clear, intuitive navigation.
Ensuring that navigating your website is both clear and simple makes it far easier for people to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. Before they give up to find it on another set’s website.
7. Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.
For many solicitors the websites of these two respected publications now form the starting point of their search for an appropriate barrister. It is therefore absolutely essential that your profiles utilize complimentary, useful and persuasive copy in order to maximize your appeal to them.
8. Appealing and suitable design.
Whilst the ease of use, functionality and facilities of a website are by far and away the most important aspects to get right, in fact design is probably the easiest thing to get right. It’s amazing how many ugly websites there are out there and so this gives you a chance to be different.
9. Google Rankings.
Whilst a solicitor is highly unlikely to instruct a new barrister having searched for them on Google, it is important to appear in the relevant Google results in order to ensure strong brand awareness. More along the lines of sports sponsorship than direct sales this will help you in the long run.
10. Prominent placement of contact information
The number one objective of your website is to encourage potential clients to make contact with you and for them to use your services. It is therefore crucial to include the contact details (including DX) in the header to make this all-important information easy to find when they want it.