Much Ado About ‘About’ Pages

Last week, I noted 10 tips for better blogging from Bob Ambrogi, and one of those tips was not to neglect your blog’s “About” page. Today I want to focus a little more on the topic of “About” pages in general, by highlighting some excellent advice that Allison Shields recently published.

Writing on the ABA’s Law Technology Today, Allison shares a bunch of dos and don’ts for creating better “About” pages for law firm websites. Several of them stood out to me and I thought I’d build a bit on them. Allison writes,

“Don’t … Treat your About or Firm Overview page as an afterthought.”

Agreed. When Stem works with clients on re-doing their websites or creating one from scratch for a brand-new firm, the “About” page is often the very first piece of content we hash out. Its message and contents set the tone for the whole website – get this page right, and developing complementary content for the rest of site is far easier. This likely won’t be a quick process, but it’s well worth the effort and investment. Allison goes on,

“Do… Spend time making your About page a good representation of your firm, its culture, philosophy and clients. Think of it as a summary or introduction to the specifics contained in the rest of your site. As with all online properties, your About page should keep keywords in mind. That doesn’t mean keyword stuffing, but it does mean being strategic about how you describe your firm and including those keywords in your About page with links to places on the site where visitors can find more information about that topic.”

Similar to the other core landing pages on your firm website, the “About” page may well be the first page a visitor arrives at. Ask yourself:

  • Does it convey an accurate message about how your lawyers can help?
  • Does it encourage them to keep looking around the site?
  • Has the message been written using the audience’s language?

We always tell clients that whatever terms they’d like to be found for in the search engines must be included in the copy of the website. Make sure your “About” page includes the topics and phrases that people actually search for.  And on a related note, Allison touches on adding some substance within the message itself,

“Do… Demonstrate your expertise, rather than talking about it. Instead of saying you have experience, show you know you’re doing by providing resources and information, answering frequently asked questions and explaining the process.”

The best lawyer-authored content is immediately useful to the client – it provides step-by-step instructions or practical advice on what happens in the “real world” of legal process, it’s written in simple language, and offers real value. As Allison mentions, the “About” page is your chance to link freely to that content, which is helpful for potential clients. (Same goes for your practice or service pages!) And from a technical standpoint, it’s an SEO best practice because it improves internal link relationships and results in a deeper crawl of your website.

Finally, Allison notes,

“Do…Use real photographs of your firm, including partners, associates and staff. Your clients may deal with staff more than with the lawyers in your office. Humanize that contact.”

Absolutely. Nothing sets off a bigger red flag than when there are no “real people” to be found on a website. Especially in law; this is a people business. Including photography of all the core members of your firm – which as Allison reminds us, includes staff – sends a clear message both externally and internally about what each person delivers back to the client. Not many people love having their photo taken, so try to make it a pleasant experience by hiring a professional photographer, and giving your lawyers and staff lots of notice and time to prepare. Avoid making it seem like a chore or obligation. (And while you’re at it, make sure your staff also have website bios.)

For more of Allison’s sage advice, be sure to also check out her post: Law Firm About Pages: Just Platitudes?

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