There is an old infographic circulating the web that perfectly sums up lawyer bios:
Sure it’s funny, but it’s truer than anything else I’ve seen try to explain lawyer web bios.
The main takeaway is that lawyer bios are often filled with unnecessary information, highlighting things that lawyers find interesting rather than clients. If your site exists solely to please yourself, clients will get bored and leave. If the people who read your bio don’t find the information relevant, they don’t call you and they leave your website.
The bio page is your biggest opportunity to sell yourself to clients, but you can’t do that effectively by adding content that merely checks off boxes. “Okay, here’s my practice area info, and now my publications, and law school, and…”
How to Evaluate Your Bio Page Effectiveness
Do you have analytics on your website? Can you see how long visitors have viewed your pages? If so, you should have access to website data including the amount of time people spend on a given page on average. You should also have data that lets you know what the bounce rate is (percentage of people who leave your website after visiting a given page).
If your bio page has an average view duration of less than 10 seconds, that is not a good sign.
If your bio page has a bounce rate of over 75%, that is not a good sign.
Recommendations for an Amazing Attorney Bio
So how can you best present yourself on your website? Here are two big recommendations that can keep your website visitors from leaving, and turn them into prospective clients.
Tell a story
Listing off your accomplishments is boring and gets your bio skipped quickly. Instead, write something compelling. Talk about your experience in a story/narrative format that makes the reader continue to read. Start off with how you are passionate about the law because of your experiences witnessing injustice first-hand, and how you took that drive and utilized it early on in your career to help a client fight the evil bank that was foreclosing on her house. Something like that.
As an exercise, go to the website of a lawyer you know. Go to their bio page. Do you end up actually reading the full bio? Probably not. If you’re like me, you probably read the first 5 words, then skim the paragraphs, picking out some keywords related to their practice areas.
Key takeaway: You have a very short window of opportunity to capture someone’s attention. A narrative can help.
In your bio you are effectively “selling” yourself. Keep in mind that while you do need to talk about your experience, clients are inherently distrustful of this because people hate being sold to. One way to diffuse the salesmanship aspect of a bio is to add a testimonial from a satisfied client.
A testimonial coming from someone else singing your praises is effectively someone bragging on your behalf. This is very powerful stuff. It’s why people choose restaurants after reading Yelp! reviews rather than restaurant advertisements. Of course Mario’s Pizza thinks they have the best pizza. They want you to buy pizza from them. But some random person? They have no stake in the outcome.
A testimonial can make you look good and humble at the same time. Testimonials show prospective clients that actual clients appreciate you and the work you do, so they probably will too. This is hugely important because clients need to trust a lawyer before they hire them, and showing that someone else trusts you helps them trust you also.
Your website bio is your personally crafted online image. Take the opportunity to put your best foot forward to impress your prospective clients, making them want to work with you.
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso Andrew Cabasso is a practicing attorney and VP of Web Services at Uptime Legal where he runs JurisPage, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in online presence solutions for law firms including website design, SEO, and search marketing. He has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.
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