Call it a title or slogan or headline. Whatever the term, the headline on the home page your law firm’s website is the most important piece of content you have to get a potential client engaged in what you have to say.

There is no more prominently featured real estate on your site, no more central place where the highest percentage of views will be collected. And if you’re not using that space to make your best case for why a potential client should hire you, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

So you need to think carefully about how you craft your headline (or title or slogan). Sure, you might attract a lot of visitors if you used a headline for, say, your family law practice that reads, “The Best Attorney You Can Get for Your Divorce.” But you’d be too busy trying not to get disbarred to follow up on the leads.

So how do you write a headline that’s both ethical and engaging? First, let’s look at what to avoid.

Not using a headline at all
Your firm might have a national reputation and a history of multi-million-dollar verdicts. Your website mentions that, somewhere. So you might think: Why does our firm’s website need a headline? Because if you don’t sell your capabilities at least partially in the headline or slogan, visitors to your site might just move on to another firm. Simply having a nice photo of you and your partners with your arms folded isn’t enough to convince them to contact you.

Clichés
Anyone who has ever taught you writing has told you to steer clear of clichés. Still, it remains standard practice in law-firm websites to use a phrase or two from the Big List of Attorney Descriptive Phrases — Effective, Aggressive, Experienced, Tireless, Working for You, On Your Side, Fighting for Your Rights, etc. Why do what everyone else does? You’re blending yourself into the competition and not standing out from it.

Saying that you’re going to do what you should be doing isn’t a particularly strong selling point either. For instance, we’ve all seen “Fighting for Your Rights.” What attorney isn’t going to fight for the client’s rights?

Instead, a potential client might well ask, “Why should I care about how tough, experienced or skilled you are? Why should that matter to me? What will your skills do for me and my legal needs?”

So that’s what not to do. In the next post we’ll offer some tips for crafting a strong, engaging headline.

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