A law firm’s website that is well designed has the potential to attract new clients and establish your firm as an expert in your specialist area of law. A good design not only contains useful information, but it also reflects your values as a company and presents a professional image.Law firm web design is a crucial part of any law firm’s marketing strategy. In a fiercely competitive, saturated market, it is vital you stand out from the crowd.
A well-designed, professional website can help your firm to attain:
- Trust from potential clients
- An increase in the rate of conversion from traffic to contract agreements
In this article, we explain exactly how a good website can achieve these lofty ambitions. Additionally, we’ll cover all the features that should be a part of any lawyer web design. Read on for some pro tips to give your website that extra edge against your competition.
Preparation for lawyer website design
Before diving right into attorney website design, it’s important to plan out your law firm’s website. We’ll cover the preparation necessary for a smooth design process.
By planning, you can ensure that no features or areas of your business are missed. Considering all the requirements of your firm’s website is the equivalent of creating blueprints before starting construction on a building.
Without a clear plan, you could end up leaving a lot to assumption, which results in miscommunication and potentially a poorly structured, incoherent website. Always create a plan with a clear direction to avoid missed deadlines and unnecessary restructuring.
Designing a website map
A sitemap is a brilliantly simple and clear way to begin your plan. Sitemaps clearly demonstrate any goals you have for your website and are easy for web designers to understand. A great way to get started is to open a Google docs sheet and start writing down all the pages you envision for your website.
Consider the following:
- Areas of Practice
- “About Us”
- Location and Contact
- Case Studies
- Anything else you think might be useful to your site’s visitors
Assigning content to the pages
With a sitemap designed, it should be easy to identify the content requirements for your site’s pages. Consider what content each page or page type needs, and decide if you need copy, images, video, or any other medium to communicate your message effectively. You know what best appeals to your ideal client, so use your intuition to plan your content for maximum effectiveness.
Design mockup evaluation process
Once you have a sitemap in place and are happy with it, your web designer typically submits a mock-up of the website’s design for your evaluation. This is your opportunity to assess the design aesthetic of your website and consider how it presents your company to potential clients. Raise any concerns with your designer at this stage so they can offer you an explanation or present you with alternatives before settling on a final design.
At this stage, pay the most attention to the core elements and layout, since these are more difficult to change at the later stages of the attorney web design process. Look at the call-to-action elements on your site and consider whether they would appeal to your intended clientele. At this stage, make sure you are happy that the design, brand consistency, and aesthetic of your website and that all the elements line up to meet your marketing goals.
Key ingredients for a great law firm web design
The critical consideration here is the time it takes for your potential clients to access key information. Ask yourself how long it would take them to find information about:
- Your lawyers
- Your services
- Your contact information
- Your case studies
- Factors that reinforce your credibility and authority, such as Avvo and Nolo ratings, Google and Yelp reviews, and more
It should be easy to access any of these via as few clicks as possible on your navigation bar or website menu.
Pro Tip: Check other law firm websites to compare the ease of navigation your design offers to theirs. Don’t limit your comparison to other local firms – analyze a range of designs to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, incorporating the best ideas into your design.
Clean design with sufficient white space
A common problem we have observed on law firm websites is an overload of information.
It’s great to have comprehensive coverage over every aspect of your service, but don’t try to fit too much into your homepage and landing pages. This only serves to overwhelm your potential clients and risks losing their interest. An ideal antidote to this problem is “white space.”
White space, or negative space, is empty space on a web page that can help draw focus to page elements, such as copy or a call-to-action. It doesn’t need to be white – this may vary depending on your design – it just needs to be empty to reduce clutter and help create a visual hierarchy on the page.
By using design intelligently, it is possible to illustrate the importance of different page elements to your site visitors, improve comprehension, and hold their attention for longer. The goal of most pages is to gain your potential client’s interest and direct them towards a call-to-action, where you can establish contact.
Pro Tip: Avoid the common pitfalls of law firm website design and use white space liberally. Communicate this clearly, and a good web designer should accommodate your request. Well-spaced websites are also more aesthetically pleasing, which can make their portfolio look better. It’s a win-win scenario.
There are many legal areas of expertise, so visitors to your side need to see exactly what you offer through your headline. In doing so, you are granting your site visitors the most important piece of information they require straight away. As soon as they visit your site, they should have an idea of if you are a good fit for their situation. This should make them more inclined to keep reading and progress to a point of contact.
Consider the following characteristics for an ideal and appealing headline:
- Clarity – Make it easy for your potential client to know what’s on offer. Any ambiguity increases the risk of losing a visitor’s interest.
- Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – What does your firm offer that sets you aside from the competition? Make this clear, and your message could have a lasting impact in the mind of your potential client while they consider alternative options in the area.
Pro Tip: Directly mention the city or state in which you operate, in your title. This appeals more to potential clients, as most are looking to work with a local law firm.
High-quality content that is persuasive and informative helps to convert your traffic into new business.
Get your point across and offer real value to your site visitors. Bear the following traits in mind when planning content:
- Quantity – Use words sparingly and always communicate clearly but concisely. Too much copy can put off an interested party and risks lowering your conversion rate. For example, offering a downloadable guideline titled “The Top 10 Signs You Have Been Harassed at Work,” probably won’t need a lot of copy. Just provide details of what the resource contains and a download link.On the other hand, a full “Home Buying Guide” might include tens of thousands of words. Clients typically understand the need for detail if your content is clear and information rich.
- Style – Try to use words that are customer-centric, such as “you” and “your” while keeping “we” and “our” to a minimum. This emphasizes your focus on providing a solution to your client’s problem.It is also valuable to highlight any aspects of your firm that set you apart from the competition. These might be years of experience, large settlements, significant cases, rock star attorneys, or other similar notable features.
- Formatting – Use clear sub-headers and mix up your formatting with bullet points, bold and italic text, lists, and anything that might help a potential client digest information more easily. Most visitors only scan your content, so ensuring it stands out improves communication between you and your average reader.
Pro Tip: Avoid legal jargon. Lawyers often tend to use language that is easy for them to understand but confuses potential clients. Keeping the language simple allows you to appeal to a broader range of potential clients.
A strong call-to-action (CTA) helps direct interested visitors toward a point of contact, which is the first step to converting traffic into new clients. Repeat your CTA throughout longer pages and make sure it stands out among the rest of your content. Don’t leave any room for confusion as to where your client needs to go.
Factor these elements into your CTA button or form for a strong proposition:
- Placement – Don’t put your client off by placing a CTA too early on your page. Allow clients to understand your proposition and offer them some helpful information to earn their favor. Use white space to help draw attention towards your CTA button, and place it right where they can best see its value. For example, if you have just explained the usefulness of a divorce attorney, following up with a CTA stating “call now to book a FREE consultation” directly below allows you to catch them when they are most interested.
- Size – Make your CTA button big enough so your client can see it. Don’t ruin your page aesthetic, but don’t undersell yourself either!
- Color – A great CTA button should “pop” out of the page, contrasting with the design to draw attention to itself.
Pro Tip: Regardless of the page they are on, clients should never feel forced to search far and wide for a way to contact you. Good legal website design provides a clear CTA whenever a site visitor might need it.
Lead capture form
Lead capture forms are an alternative to the CTA button that allows you to establish contact without the need for a phone conversation or back-and-forth email chain. Forms allow your potential clients to get in touch day or night, so you can avoid missing a single opportunity to convert a site visitor into a new client.
Well-designed forms should incorporate the following ideas to function effectively and collect information from visitors to your site:
- Ease of completion – so that potential clients can enter their details correctly, without frustration.
- Strategic placement, much like the CTA button. It is no longer necessary to place content “above the fold,” as mobile phones feature a different, taller perspective, and nowadays, almost all users are more inclined to scroll.
Pro Tip: Only ask your prospective client for essential information. Keep it easy for them to fill out the form quickly and maintain their trust by avoiding demands for copious personal details. Name, email, phone number and a brief case description are enough to get started and establish contact, and you can always obtain other necessary details further down the line. Remember that every additional field in your form can reduce conversion rates.
Achievements and publications
List your achievements clearly to make the most of your experience as a valuable marketing tool. This can help build your credibility in the eyes of site visitors, who need convincing. It shows that not only are you capable of taking their case; you’re also capable of winning it. Don’t be afraid to show off any achievements, awards and key results to your potential clients.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss out on an opportunity to highlight any success. Word of mouth is great, but don’t rely on it to inform all your prospective clients of your achievement. Make sure it’s something your site visitors simply can’t miss. Unfortunately for one of our law clients, this is something they had to learn the hard way.
Trust indicators are a way to build your credibility in the eyes of site visitors, so they don’t have to take your word for it. These are an essential part of any law firm website, where your potential clients are looking for a reliable option.
Here are some common trust indicators you can use on your landing pages:
- Statistical evidence – Hard facts don’t lie, which is why they carry more weight than words alone. Include impressive statistics in headlines or sub-headlines, or make them stand out prominently in copy, making sure to reference sources to back up your claims.
- Client testimonials – This is a powerful way to build trust in the eyes of site visitors. If possible, include a headshot, full name, company, and job title to improve the credibility of your testimonials.
- Avvo and Nolo ratings, Google and Yelp reviews – These are another way of demonstrating the credibility of your firm since many internet users already equate these sites with trustworthiness. External ratings and reviews are more credible, as they exist online independent of your own website.
Pro Tip: Encourage satisfied clients to post reviews on Google and Yelp using a personalized newsletter. You might be surprised at how many responses you receive. Follow up and thank your clients for the reviews they posted.
Visual elements can help to spice up your law firm website design and hold the attention of visitors to your website. Some of the visuals you can include are:
- Pictures – Only use high-resolution, professionally created images. Any low-quality content reflects poorly on your firm, presenting a poor image. This applies to any visual content, including photos, videos, and logos. Use real photographs to humanize your law firm and let your potential clients see who might handle their case.
- Videos or slideshows – Any moving images are an effective way to grab attention. Consider the following important points:
- Roughly 98% of consumers report they find videos helpful when making decisions to buy online.
- About 58% of the consumers that find videos helpful also consider any brands that produce videos to be more trustworthy.
- The average amount of time a visitor spends on a web page that contains a video is much longer (6 minutes) than it is for a web page with just images and text (43 seconds).
- A slideshow inserted into a header can rotate between your different areas of expertise and take clients directly to the appropriate page.
Pro Tip: Compress all visual content properly to reduce page loading times. Longer loading times massively increases the bounce rate for web pages. You can use any of these tools for video compression and these tools for image compression.
Additional valuable elements
List of attorneys with their bio, achievements, and LinkedIn or other social media links
Individual pages for all your attorneys with recent headshots are ideal inclusions in any lawyer web design project. Your attorneys are your greatest assets, so highlight them and their experience, as it can only serve to boost your reputation. List their experience, areas of expertise, contact information, and any relevant social media links.
Pro Tip: Humanize your attorneys by including additional associations, charity work, or other positive activities they engage in. Potential clients react better when they believe their lawyers to be upstanding, established members of their community.
A good case study serves to highlight your expertise and convince prospective clients of your experience and competence in a given area of law.
Create rich and informative case studies with the following aims:
- Build trust – Using a client’s account of your company’s performance is much better than relying on your own word, where you have an obvious bias.
- Market your success – Case studies rarely become outdated so, once written, they are a continuing source of traffic and positive image for your firm.
Pro Tip: Provide a high level of detail for case studies. Although it may not always be possible to reveal specifics, offer enough information for the study to be interesting and relevant.
Law Firm Webdesign FAQ
FAQs satisfy your information-hungry visitors’ need for direct answers to their questions. It is a direct and user-friendly way to cater to the needs of a range of different prospective clients.
Not only are FAQs useful, many readers expect them on any site they visit. Expect these types of users to actively look for an FAQ while using your website. If you can’t provide one, you risk losing their interest.
An FAQ for a law firm needs to reassure site visitors, easing their concerns while also clearly mapping out the steps they need to take. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients and try to answer any questions that come to mind, referring also to common queries you receive via phone or email.
Pro Tip: FAQ pages are helpful for customer satisfaction, but they also improve your SEO. Providing direct answers to specific questions can help boost your ranking in search results pages.
Around 72% of marketers agree that the most effective SEO tactic is relevant content creation. Although not quite a consensus, it’s vital you consider content creation as part of your attorney website design marketing strategy. Include a place for your attorneys to produce regular content, such as a blog, to boost your SEO rankings and provide valuable information to your clients.
Pro Tip: Be specific about targeting the most valuable keywords for your area of expertise. If your firm specializes in personal injury law, produce content that covers the subject in depth for your blog. Check our recent article to get more blogging tips for lawyers.
Speed, speed, speed
Slow sites suffer most according to Kissmetrics, which estimated that up to 47% of users expect a site page to load in 2 seconds or less. Large, uncompressed visuals and overloaded pages are the likely candidates for slowing down your load times.
Keep visitors on your site by dividing up pages, compressing images and video properly, and using a reliable web host.
Pro Tip: Use Google PageSpeed Insights for a reliable picture of where your site stands. Check for slow-loading pages and speak to your professional web designer about optimizing them for faster loading.
Is your site mobile responsive? If your answer is yes, does that apply to all major devices and browsers?
As use patterns increasingly shift towards mobile (already surpassing desktop traffic), any sites that aren’t mobile-friendly lose out. Double check your site works on all major devices, so you don’t leave potential clients squinting at their phones before moving on to another firm’s website.
Mobile responsive sites must contain almost as much information as desktop sites. Cut out unnecessary images or videos to improve loading times on mobile networks while making sure text is easy to read and properly aligned.
Pro Tip: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool can help you determine your site’s mobile-friendly credentials.
One common myth about legal web design
One common myth persists relating to online law firm design: that a good-looking website also performs well in search results. This error neglects the importance of lawyer SEO, which is important for the following reasons:
- An optimized website earns more traffic: Superficially, the goal of SEO is to rank higher in search results. However, the deeper goal is to attract more real traffic and convert it into business. SEO is crucial in bringing more users to your website. You can learn more about new website SEO on our blog.
- It helps your target audience find your site SEO helps put your law firm before the eyes of your target audience, right when they are looking for information. Two-thirds of consumers first use a search engine when looking for more information about a law service company. To participate in that process for more users, your business needs to rank highly in search results for relevant keywords to your areas of expertise.
Good SEO can help you reach your marketing goals and additionally, present more information to your potential clients while they research available options.
It is high time to take action
With everything in mind, and all the pieces of your law firm website design puzzle put together, let’s have a quick recap of the key ingredients for success:
- Intuitive navigation
- Clean design with sufficient white space
- Compelling headline
- Effective content
- Strong call-to-action
- Lead capture form
- Achievements and publications
- Trust indicators
- High-quality visuals
You probably already know how competitive the market is for law firms. Standing out among the crowd online hinges on having attractive law firm website design.
First impressions stick, which is why you should always consider professional assistance when planning and designing a website. Lasting Trend can help with the entire process and offer a free website evaluation.
Appearance isn’t everything, but it shouldn’t be discarded. We have legal web design examples where simple aesthetic improvements have increased lead generation by up to 63%, with revenue seeing a 27% gain.
When you take part in the process of designing your website from the very start, working with a professional design team to build a website from scratch, you’re more likely to get a result that truly reflects your company’s values. It’s no good having a website that nobody sees, so you need a web design solution that incorporates SEO for improved visibility online.
You know the value to your clients of contacting a professional when they need legal assistance, so why should you treat your web design needs any differently?
Lasting Trend knows and understands the law industry. Contact us for an appointment for professional web design that delivers measurable results for your legal practice.
October 3, 2018