Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant

Email or Call (415) 302-9589

Guide to a Great Expert Witness Website: Wins and Fixable Fails

By Beryl Vaughan

The Medical-Legal Expert Website is unlike that of any other profession.

These values must guide content on your site.

  • Law
  • Professional Ethics
  • Best Practices
  • Reputation for impartial opinions
Build a Great Website and They Will Come…and Stay

Whether you have a Website or are starting fresh, a site functions best when you give the user something of value.

Attorneys who receive answers to their questions and relevant information are more likely to call you. That means cases and forensic work.

Do you need to fix an existing website? 
Assumption: Site is more than 2 years old (starting threshold for browser results.) 

How many apply? 

  1. Produces calls about cases that result in your retention. The income returns your investment in building the site.
  2. Produces emails from the Contact page or from a regular email that references the site AND which result in your retention.*
  3. Have more than 3 engaging articles or case studies.
  4. Appears on Google pages 1-4 responsive to logical attorney search queries-for someone like you. 
  5. Attorneys report they found you “online somewhere” and then saw your website.
  6. Data (e.g., Google Analytics) confirms users are viewing and reading content with meaning, i.e. staying on the site long enough to read through an article.

More than 4 don’t apply: Your site isn’t functioning to capacity. 

Audit– Run a Test

Don’t know what to “fix”? Human feedback is the best. Audit your user’s experience.

Watch a (few) people use your website. The more guinea pigs, the better. Sample size counts. Then fix it.

  • Can they read it? Are they squinting? Do they increase browser size above 100%?
  • On a phone, are they “pinching to enlarge?”
  •  Are they clicking on something more than once, without a result? (They expect something is a link, but it isn’t.)
  • Test on multiple types of computers/mobile devices.
  • Use more than one browser. Chrome and Firefox are the most common.

*Google reCaptcha limits “bot” responses on a submittable contact form to reduce spam emails. It is that checkbox above “Submit” that says “I am a Human” or similar.

The Medical-Legal Expert Website is unlike that of any other profession.

These values must guide content on your site.

  • Law
  • Professional Ethics
  • Best Practices
  • Reputation for impartial opinions

Let me know if page gets all the fixable tips right or wrong! (I may have put in a few fails to see if you’re reading 🙂


Audit this Page

Any mistakes on this page? Let me know. I may have hidden a few intentionally. Let’s see what you find.

The Dated or Amateurish Website

DIY: If you’ve used Wix, Squarespace or other website builder–or are considering one, I recommend taking a look at my blog on that topic DIY Websites.

Audit – Run a Test

A web designer-built site on WordPress that is more than 5 years old should show up on searches about your area of medical-legal expertise within the first 4 pages–assuming content and design are solid.

Not showing up on searches? Possible reasons:

  • It is visually and functionally (out)dated. For example, sites older than 5 years may have been written in html which works intermittently. Older sites can be off-center and too small. Content is packed together. I won’t call out anyone, but I know of several medical expert witnesses with this issue.
  • Content is boring or off -point.
  • Key contact information is missing or hard to find.
  • Content has not been updated or added in more than 6 months
  • It is built by you on a DIY site. Google’s algorithm is not fond of Wix. Squarespace gets a little more love. WordPress is the gold standard. 

Is it built for Mobile Devices-phones and tablets?

Look on your phone and see.

There are dozens of mobile phone sizes and the site should look good on all of them-iPhone, Samsung and tablets. Ditto browsers. Test on a random Android phone and a random iPhone and you’ll get the gist.

Successful Mobile features:

  • Texting your site to a colleague. Make it easy for an attorney user to text a link to your site to a colleague or client. You can manually include this on your site. The mobile Chrome browser has a  an option to share the URL, if your user is Chrome-saavy.
  • Clickable address to find on Google Maps (if you have a business address, as many clinicians do).
  • “Return to top” button – for mobile. This is the little arrow on the right. Ever scroll way down a page on your tiny phone but you can’t get back to the menu or info higher up? You need a “back to top” option and if you do, make it a brighter darker color!,
  • Pinch to enlarge. If your text is small on a phone, people expect to enlarge it with their fingers.
Security Updates and Back-End Considerations for an Older SIte
Security and encryption is valued by Google and should be for you too. Older sites may lack low-hanging fruit.

The back-end of web development has come a long way. Back-end means the coding behind the visual interface of your site. But it can include the tech that’s out of sight: security features (firewall/hacking protection), hosting services, SEO which are all standard in a new site.

Reverse engineering is possible on most older sites. Ask your web developer to run an assessment to see what’s possible, what’s needed, and provide an estimate to bring it up to date.

If you are your own site designer (see DIY below), do a little research to ensure you have a secure site. Click on it from several sources. In your online search for yourself, click on the links to your website.

Do you go to the website including home page? If not, security is the problem:

  • A link goes to someone else’s site you did not intend. These can be malware downloads or, in the case of one expert, a  porn site.
  • Message from browser “Site Not Found” or that the site is not secure.
  • Your domain name begins http:// and not https:// (this means you do not have the necessary SSL or Security Certificate)
  • Page on your site that goes to “404 Page Not Found.”
  • You are getting spam emails from the site’s contact page.

Basics everyone will appreciate. Add them!

Add a Search feature.

Make it easy to find your phone number.

Video conference scheduling with a clickable button. Finding that option on your site will mean (a) you know how it works, (b) are available for long-distance consultations, (c) want it to be easy for your visitors to work with you by video. This is not telemedicine, a discussion outside the scope of this article.
Internal and External links.


What are Internal vs. External Links? External: Clicking on the link takes the user to a site that is relevant. For example, check out how the American Bar Association helps attorneys use an Expert Witness and my favorite Laws, Rules of Procedure, Precedent

Internal: Within your site. E.g., That will take you to an article on this site about Data.” or a “CTA” or Call-to-Action. Here is an Internal Call to Action Link: Let’s schedule a time to talk about what’s next in your practice.

You can improve your user’s experience (aka “UX“) without changing the original elements that made your site successful.

However, if you aren’t getting any inquiries from the website, it isn’t functioning as it should.

Return on Investment

Assessment and improvement can be more cost-effective than designing a new site if it is functioning “adequately.” 

If your existing website produces $40,000+ annually, improvements like those in this article (not a design overhaul) will likely be a worthwhile investment.

Baseline Content

CV on Steroids or A Business Card  

Many doctors make a basic website and leave it alone….for years. Their website essentially functions like a Rolodex: Name, address, phone number and a note. That isn’t a bad thing, but it taps existing clients who already know you–it doesn’t attract a new client.

The “About” page is your CV. Experts have to be qualified with the appropriate credentials. An About page assists the attorney to filter Experts and also perform their initial due diligence. Every website should have this page as credentials, experience and expertise are at the heart of Expert Witness practice.

An effective Business Card is in the website design itself.

This site dominates my monitor. Hunting for the phone # led me down the path of many turns of the scroll wheel, another leap to the Contact Page, more scroll wheel turns and finally, a phone #. Completely fixable.

New or Old Websites should provide contact info. front and center. 

Put your phone # in the menu bar and footer. These appear on every page of a website.

When will your user decide to look for your #? Ideally, the decision is made while they are reading your CV/About page, or the article you wrote that is on-topic for the attorney’s case.

No matter what the user is reading, you will want it to be easy to call you.

Rage Quitting.  This is a gaming term applied to website use: a site visitor becomes so frustrated with the site’s function that get fed up and leave.

If you’ve experienced this, you know the negative consequences can even cause the user to avoid even exclude the site thereafter. You may not only lose cases once, but for that user-you may lose them forever.  Even if you are the precisely right Expert Witness for their type of case.

A rage quit can produce spiteful even punitive behavior. I bet you’ve experienced this yourself. Think about what frustrates you and make sure your site doesn’t make the same mistakes.

I recently went to the site of a doctor and you had to click on several pages to get to a phone number. That’s not intuitive for users and they may not know when they are going to decide to call you.

Change is Good.  If your site is static and no calls are coming in, then ignoring it will not produce a different outcome.

New Website. When you’re building a website from scratch, take a leaf from ideas given above. Find a talented web developer–someone who is a good designer / artist and CSS Coder. Asking colleagues or using a service like Upwork could be a solution.

What’s up with the competition?

I track the sites of your competitors and clients almost every day, and am surprised at how easy it can be to outperform other experts’ sites. Sites are unattractive or confusing. Information is hard to find.

And that’s if a site exists at all. Med-legal sites for physicians, like a forensic psychiatrist, are few and far between.

Having a site that is simple and straightforward will be a relief for attorneys. It’s just that hard to find an Expert Witness in a medical field at all.

Finding the time: whose is best? To improve your website yourself, you’ll need to master the tech learning curve, or find someone who has. That’s why I recommend a Website Developer over a home-cooked site.

You’re a busy person. It isn’t surprising websites take a back burner.

Consider if the “busy”ness is keeping you from having an engaging website. Remember, a less than stellar site is forestalling better cases, so it comes with a price tag.

Perfectly Fixable. 

Text is easy to read. (Is text hard to read?) 

Broken links. You click on something and it doesn’t take the user where they thought it would, or to the dreaded “404”[1] page.  This is a broken link.  Changing the destination for the link is very straightforward on all website platforms/builds.

Navigation is Awkward. We expect a Menu to look a certain way and use it predictably. Ensure you have a Contact Tab and form (and that it works!), the item on the menu tells you what the user will find. I have seen websites with no Contact page. That makes it a little tricky to…contact you.

Templates and Themes.  Because of changes in technology, it’s common now to use “templates” of site design that are cookie-cutter.  These can be timesavers, but they won’t distinguish you. My advice? Stand out or be invisible.

Check out common “themes” (aka templates) WordPress offers. Some are identical to those found on Wix, Squarespace and other common website platforms. They are not very customizable without the benefit of a skilled CSS coder.  More about this on–yup, I’m going to say it again–because so many doctors struggle with the topic: I recommend my blog on that topic for tips and tricks, DIY Websites.

Looking Good on the Phone 

Look up your site on your phone. Does it work? Does it look ok? Make note of what doesn’t work and fix it.

If your site doesn’t look right on your phone, the solution is “responsive design,” meaning whatever code ensures your site features as they appear on a desktop, are reformatted to the smaller screen (e.g. large font becomes smaller, images resize).  A Web Developer can handle that.

If you don’t have a site, check out a colleague’s site. Or just type in big words for your field. Try relevant words specific to legal matters (med mal neurologist or personal injury psych.)

Getting on the first page of Google is a goal for 2 years down the road but you have to start now to get that result.  Google keeps upping the ante on its algorithm. For best SEO, do the basics. In 2015 they announced a preference for mobile-friendly sites. That’s old news. In 2020 they added multi-media, video and privacy pages to their algorithm for prominence. Now, we’re having updates like “last Monday’s”–tweaks are happening all the time. But what matters most is solidly interesting content. 

Forensic information is text-heavy. Break it up for readability. Chunky blocks of color and huge photos  — the norm for most websites — are not suited to a profession where knowledge, not spa services, are your stock in trade.

Forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology or any Expert Witness in a medical specialty are wordy professions. It’s all about what you know. If your site has too much “wall of text” readers may be turned off.

Use graphics and color to break up the text. Subheadings and bullet points are actually part of the Google algorithm! Readability, Google identifies, is what drives a successful website.

Content. An attorney must know what you do and what you know. This will never rely on a large photo of a mountain range, floating lotus blossoms, two suited hands shaking, or a model smilingly chatting on her headset (ubiquitous imagery).

You might benefit from a few quick suggestions, or you may prefer to hand over door-to-door design and management of your site. Either way, implementing even the shortest shortlist is better than altogether ignoring your website and what it conveys to your potential clients.

[1] A “404” is the page you get when nothing is found. 

Cheat Sheet to Excellent User Experience “UX”


Links work. Clicking takes you to the right destination.

Fast loading speed

click to call actually dials (on cell)

Font is easy to read

click to email sends an email

Menu is logical and accurate


Design, images and color are not “just like everyone else”

Engaging content; interesting topics, good writing.

Explains your field Answers questions lawyers ask

Answers questions juries ask

Demonstrates your ability to communicate fluidly

Documenting Results

Attorneys report the site motivated them to call

Data analytics confirm users are responding positively
“Calls to Action (CTA)” are used

Users found the site with logical search terms for your field (Google Analytics provides search queries used)