Improve your Content

Are you providing legal help content that people can use for their issues?

Does your content match their needs? Is it up-to-date? And is it presented in a friendly, engaging manner?

This Legal Help Website Content Guide can help you make a plan for improving what your site has to offer people in need.

#1

Topics that match user needs

The website should have content that match the most common legal needs that people have.

  • Family problems like divorce, custody, support, restraining orders, and estates
  • Housing problems like landlord/tenant and eviciton, habitability, neighbors, and foreclosures
  • Money problems like debt, credit, medical bills
  • Work problems like wage theft, garnishment, misclassification, and harassment

Check your site map & navigation to make sure that you have the content topics that your visitors are searching for.

Check out these common Google Searches, and rename your pages & headings to match them. http://betterinternet.law.stanford.edu/design-guide/content-guide-legal/ We have been collecting popular search queries around housing, debt, and other legal problems. If you can rephrase your existing content to match these questions & keywords, you can better match with people online.

#2

Format that works for people & for search engines. (And no PDF reliance!)

Present your information in formats that are more likely to be used by visitors & featured by search engines:

  • Bullet point lists
  • Numbered lists
  • FAQs
  • Sliders or stories

Take your current content and find where you can make it into lists or Q-and-A formats.

Any content that is in PDF should be put on a live webpage as well, so the text is searchable, resizable, and adaptable.

Make sure you are using proper HTML web formatting and Schema markup that formalize these lists and FAQs so search engines can find them.

#3

Fresh and Frequent posts that respond to current events & searches

Someone should be in charge of updating existing resources & adding new posts, guides, and emergency bulletins.

You should be responding to the ‘hot topics’ that people are seeking help for.

The frequent posting — especially in response to common, current questions — can also get your content featured more prominently on search engines.

Your site should have a blog that:

  • Has posts titled with FAQs you are seeing from clients & the public. For example “Do I qualify for COVID-19 eviction protections?”, or “How do I get house repairs after a flood?”
  • Packages up your existing guides and resources into short articles

#4

Referral Links to forms, courts, service providers, and other help

Your website likely has legal information on it.

But what about next steps & hand-offs?

Link to other legal help sites, and have them link to you. https://legalhelpdashboard.org/master-list/ Find lots of public interest legal help sites here. Can you put in a referral or links page, to hand off visitors who are coming from other jurisdictions? And can you write to these other sites, to have them link to you?

#5

Limited English Proficiency friendly content

Can your different visitors use the site?

Is translation to relevant languages available?

Is the content written in short, active sentences?

Is it written with minimal legalese? And in phrases that would be understandable to a 4th grader?

Make sure you have a clear language access plan, plain language, and readable format.