Where do you turn when you’re looking for the best sushi spot in town? What about when you’re looking for a reputable accountant? Or a recommendation for an electrician? We’d bet our bottom dollar that you’re searching online and reviewing websites and reviews.
Your potential clients are doing the same thing with your legal website. This is why it’s so important to have a good one. Like they say: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Your law firm’s online presence is the key to turning potential clients into paying ones. We understand that it’s hard to know where to begin and when to begin again. In this blog post, we’ll help get you started with pointers, tips of the trade, and design inspiration.
You’ve got this.
What are some key legal website terms?
Before we get too far into the weeds, let’s start with the basics. We recommend reviewing this glossary of key legal website terms before diving into this article.
Call to action (CTA)
A CTA entices your website visitor to take the next step and get into contact with your law office. CTAs typically come in the form of phrases or buttons that encourage website readers to “contact us now” or “click here for more information.” CTAs make it easy for visitors and other leads to get more information and, hopefully, get into contact with your firm.
Conversion rates evaluate the effectiveness of your law firm’s website. Put simply, your conversion rate is the ratio of people who visit your firm’s website (or click on an ad) compared to people who convert into a lead. With the right reporting tools, your law firm can track how long a visitor stays on your website, which pages they view the most, which pages have the highest bounce rates (e.g., visitors leaving the site), which visits resulted from organic searches, and how many visitors turn into leads. Conversation rates are powerful tools for improving efficiency.
Landing pages are web pages created for specific marketing campaigns. They have a single goal: converting visitors into prospects. A visitor arrives at a landing page most often after clicking on a link in an email or ad from a search engine or social media. To be most effective, your landing page copy has to be persuasive and centered around getting your visitor to take a specific action (like signing up for a free consultation).
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to boost its online visibility. To improve your law firm website’s visibility, you must make your website relevant to users’ searches. That means your website content has to reflect the terms that users type into the Google search bar. The more relevant your content is to a user’s search terms, the more likely your content will appear at the top of a search page.
What makes a website stand out?
What makes anything stand out? It’s usually some combination of uniqueness and crisp design. The logic is no different for your law firm’s website.
You know how competitive the legal market is, and it’s important to give your firm the upper hand whenever and wherever possible. Good law firm web design is an easy way to do so.
When getting started with or revamping your legal website, we recommend following these principles to help it stand out.
The best law firm website is design-forward. Your website should anticipate its visitors’ needs and provide helpful design solutions. The user experience on your firm’s homepage and website is critical to ensuring that website visitors stay long enough to learn about your firm.
Given this, we recommend minimalistic streamlining. Don’t you hate it when a website bombards you with distracting animations and endless pop-ups? Your legal website should focus on professionalism with a bit of flavor. Opt out of the cluttered homepage and into something more sleek and high-quality. You don’t want to lose potential clients before they even get to the name of your firm.
Your firm brand should also be clear based on your lawyer website design. Typography, color palette, and font choice set the tone for the perception of your law firm. You can convey that your firm is contemporary and fresh by selecting a minimal and simplistic sans-serif font. A serif font can do the same but instead convey legacy and lineage.
There’s also room for creativity with your law firm website design. By choosing a unique, eye-catching design, you can set your law firm’s website apart from all the lookalike pages on the internet and stop possible clients from scrolling on by.
Accessibility and functionality should be top of mind
The best lawyer websites are accessible. As you know, accessibility can mean a lot of things. First, consider how your content (think blog posts and practice areas pages) will appear in layout. You want your website and all of its content to be accessible on all devices. A potential client should be able to read your firm’s newsletter on a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Remember to account for different browser types.
Further, your website should bolster accessibility with an intuitive and user-friendly layout. Ease of use is critical. We recommend making use of both bold headers and white space. Without these things, all the great content you’ve created may go to waste.
You should also make sure that people who have impairments can understand the content on your site so it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You are required to make sure your website accommodates people with disabilities. Here are some steps to take:
- Make sure to use alt text tags to describe your images.
- Use lots of clear headings to organize your content for screen readers.
- Use clear labels with descriptive HTML tags on your forms.
- Ensure all links on your site include descriptive anchor text.
- Offer an audio description, subtitles, and transcripts for any video content.
- Include a written caption for all audio files.
- Make sure all PDF files on your site are accessible.
- All of your fonts should be accessible.
- Ensure your website is accessible with keyboard navigation and that all pages have “skip navigation” links.
- Add column headers, row identifiers, and cell information to all HTML tables.
Connection is key
Attorney websites must be more than a homepage. An individual practice page for each legal service that your firm offers will enhance the user experience and encourage visitors to linger. You should also include pages for engaging attorney biographies and pages that detail your firm’s expertise, case studies, and testimonials.
Your law firm website should include CTA buttons on each page to make it simple for prospective clients to inquire about your law firm’s services. CTAs encourage website visitors to fill out a contact form to provide their contact information (think email and phone number). By having visible CTA buttons, you’ll be able to connect more easily with folks who might become new clients.
Whether you are a personal injury lawyer, work in real estate law, or run a small criminal defense firm, we highly recommend outsourcing the legwork to the marketing experts to help build you a new website or revamp your current one.
What are the first steps in website design?
The best law firm website designs are specific to your law firm. That means you have to think a bit about your firm’s identity and goals. Your website’s goal is to attract new clients, but before you put the cart before the horse, you’ll need to think about who those new clients are and how they might benefit from your firm’s legal services.
Start with inquiries into your firm’s target audience. Who are they? Where are they? Might they need specific family law advice or general guidance on how to create a parenting plan? Once you have a grasp on the audience, you can begin building or revamping a website to meet their discreet needs.
Once you’ve handled the theoretical, it’s time to move to the practical: graphic design and website features. If you’re new to web design, we recommend using a template to get started. We also recommend choosing wisely. Your choice of a template will inform a prospective client’s first impression of your practice.
When selecting a template. consider the following factors.
Ease of optimization
We know that you know how important SEO is. It’s the most cost-effective way to attract new clients and build your firm’s book of business. If you boost your SEO, your website will be primed to find and engage prospective clients.
When selecting a template and website builder, make sure they come with SEO tools that you can use to optimize your site. The best practice is to pick a template that allows your firm to update each page’s metadata and use keywords. We also recommend using a website builder and template that provides a sitemap to specific search engines.
Ease of use
If you or someone else in-house will be handling the design process, start simple and intuitive. Find the right balance between all the bells and whistles and something that might be too simplistic (you at least need some color in your color scheme). Consider starting with a law firm WordPress theme or a drag-and-drop page builder.
Ease of personalization
Your firm is unique, and your selection of template should showcase that. This is essential for both design and connective purposes. If it’s important that clients be able to make appointments online, pick a template that supports that function. If you’re looking to update your blog daily, make sure that your selected template has the capabilities for it. Personalization of your selected template through either built-in features or third-party plugins is key to setting your website apart from the competition and showcasing your firm’s uniqueness.
Many firms choose to outsource the legwork of SEO and website design to web design experts who know the ins and outs of creative design. These experts take the headaches of web work away so you can focus on helping clients.
What are some examples of inspirational law firm websites?
After thinking about your firm’s core message and considering the above tips on style and design, the next step is to dig into some great examples of inspirational law firm websites. The below websites are some of the best. Notice how each website establishes the law firm as professional and reputable while also being stylistically interesting.
Sisk Law Firm
The Sisk Law Firm website is immediately authoritative. The color scheme of deep blues and blacks conveys professionalism and competency but isn’t too dark or overwhelming. The homepage clearly sets out the law firm’s bankruptcy specialization, allowing visitors to see both the breadth and depth of the lawyers’ expertise. The homepage also states that the law firm offers free consultations, which will go a long way in the bankruptcy context.
Law Offices of Slape & Howard
Similar to the Sisk Law Firm, Slape & Howard has a signature color scheme. The navy blue and yellow palette strikes the perfect balance of professional yet approachable. The firm’s tagline, “We’re Here When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” is displayed prominently on the homepage, indicating to visitors that the firm does plaintiff-side work. The website also includes helpful accessibility features such as multiple translation options and the ability to make the website font larger and more visible.
Law Offices of John Della Rocca
The Law Offices of John Della Rocca website takes an immediately local approach. The website indicates clearly that the firm practices in the Philadelphia area and lists specific case results there. The homepage also states that the firm has adapted to the new reality of COVID and has video calling capabilities. The firm’s contact information is displayed prominently and notes that free consultations are available.
If you are looking to take your law firm’s website to the next level, we recommend working closely with marketing professionals that can do it all.
When is a good time to re-evaluate your website?
You should re-evaluate your legal website yearly or whenever your firm goes through a significant alteration. Design tastes change, and your website should keep up with current trends. We recommend looking at peer firm websites as a metric for comparison when it comes to design. You’ll be able to get a feel for the appropriateness of your own legal website this way.
An important component of this evaluation is tech. Does your law firm’s website feel outdated? If so, it might be time to switch templates or webpage hosts to something more modern and capable of supporting plugins. Backend tech is always evolving, and keeping up is an important part of staying in the game.
Tracking your conversation rate and the general effectiveness of your website can illuminate where your site is struggling and help you make informed decisions on redesign. If visitors are always bouncing on one page, it’s probably a good idea to redesign it.
You should also re-evaluate your law firm website in connection with an office move or change in practice area or expertise. This sort of assessment doesn’t require a radical design transformation, but changing this information will ensure that your website is up to date and will show clients that you’re detail-oriented.
Every year, you should also schedule an evaluation of your website to make sure it is still ADA-compliant. Refer to the list of steps above. You can also visit ADA.gov for more details on website compliance.
Ready! Set! Design!
Following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article can help accelerate the performance of your law firm’s website. Through compelling web design, enhanced SEO, and a keen sense of self, your firm will be off to the races. The right tools, solutions, and marketing experts are here to support your firm along the way.