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A Better Firm Website: Video is a Game Changer

Part III in a continuing series on improving your firm’s website
Part I: 7 Tips to Improve Your Bio Page
Part II: 5 Best Practices for your Practice Areas
Part III: Video is a Game Changer
Part IV: 4 Reasons You Should Blog
Part V: 3 Videos You Need to Have
Part VI: 4 Reasons to Ignore SEO
Part VII: 4 Steps to Know (and Track) Your Audience

You’ve taken steps to improve the content of your pages. Your attorney bio page has been shifted to make the best possible use of the real estate available. Your skills, now phrased in terms of how your skills help your client, are listed first, and your accomplishments of lesser importance to your clients have been minimized. Your firm’s practice areas have a sleek new look, with an emphasis on readability and placing the important information for your clients up front.

Excellent. Your content looks good. Now, it’s time to talk about a few things that will help your website stand out. Extra content that, while not absolutely essential, will help vault your firm ahead of others by providing a more satisfying, interactive experience for clients. Today, let’s talk about what adding video can do for your website.

I hate to seem redundant, but your website is an advertisement. You’re selling visitors to your sites on your ability and expertise in a certain area of law. However, as any marketing expert will tell you, the best way to sell professional services is to do so personally. Well, this is a website, so you don’t have that option. So ask yourself, what is the best way to make a personal connection with someone whose only exposure to you is via your firm website?

That’s right, by using video. Why? Because video is a game changer.

Back in 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek published this article, discussing the three major benefits you get from adding video content to your website: 1) Video makes your website “sticky” – it provides an interactive experience that is likely to keep visitors on your site longer (which is the TRUE goal of any good website design); 2) Video helps you “upsell” – meaning you are able to provide more information than a static page, and users get all the information without having to “click through” multiple pages; and 3) Video drives traffic – most search engines now provide what amounts to heightened awareness to websites containing video, increasing your search rankings.

Ok, so some businesses might benefit from using video, but what is the true advertising advantage? Well, a recent survey of advertising professionals indicate that as of April 2013, the general consensus is that a video ad on the internet is more effective than on television. Just so you got that right, a video ad on a service that combines text and video is MORE effective than a televised ad – a medium that operates SOLELY based on video.

Ok, you’ve sold me on general advertising, but why does including video of myself help my website as an attorney? Aha, the truly specific question. Attorney/Journalist Brian Albert, founder of TheLaw.tv, advises that “online video creates trust, showcases legal aptitude, and improves conversion rates. It also helps lawyers convey knowledge, compassion, and personality.”

Imagine a scenario that your firm’s practice areas section opens with a video, occupying no more than 33% of the prime real estate (to allow the user to interact with other areas of the page as well), showing the top attorney in your office that practices in that area, briefly describing how attorneys in his or her department help their clients. Think of how effective it could be if a video of an attorney discussing what a client should expect to handle in the litigation process came up next to your “contact us” page.

(Example: Nominee, Lawyerist’s Best Law Firm Websites 2013, Morris Anderson’s About Us page.)

Professional quality video does leave a lot to be managed, though. Once you determine THAT you want to use video, you have to figure out HOW to use video. One significant problem is that video tends to be significant in size. Remember that 10 users each viewing one 10-MB video that is located directly on your site uses 100 MB of bandwidth, likely increasing the load on your website’s hosting provider (a subject that will be discussed in a subsequent post). Other options include the use of YouTube videos, which will not create the same drag on your host provider, but have the same downsides that using YouTube for other videos have. (As an alternative, particularly if you are creating a significant number of videos, creating your own YouTube channel to host those videos could actually increase viewership of your site.)

(Example: Animation that utilizes YouTube for video, which I created for my own firm’s splash page here.)

The whole purpose of building a website is to advertise your firm’s services. Adding video, particularly of a variety of your firm’s attorneys, will help add even more personality to your firm’s page, while providing an element of interaction for your prospective clients. By developing a personal and professional connection with your clients, you are more likely to keep them on your firm’s site, and more likely to turn them from a potential client into an actual client.