Do you know what goes into designing law firm websites?
If you have some background in web design services, you may think you’ve got web design for law firms handled. After all, you know all about the importance of creating a mobile-friendly website, and you can find law firm keywords for SEO. So what more is there to know?
As it turns out, a lot more—if you want to do it right.
Whether you’ve had experience designing business websites or not, getting started with law firm site design is no easy feat. Not only is the legal marketing industry a very competitive one, but it’s also all too easy to misrepresent law firms online. As a result, lawyers often find that their websites don’t deliver them the right kinds of clients or that they don’t seem to deliver clients at all.
As a web designer for a legal firm, you do not want this to happen. So what can you do to ensure your law firm website stands out and gets results?
Fortunately, by applying the following 10 tips, you can have a professional law firm website set up in no time. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Use Web Design to Tell the Law Firm’s Story
You might say that web design is all about storytelling: telling the story of a business and its brand in a way that connects with the target customer and inspires them to act. That’s even more true when it comes to law firm web design. You’ve got to tell a story that the firm’s target clients can see themselves as part of.
Web design as storytelling isn’t an obvious connection to make, especially not when it comes to legal services. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
When people are looking for legal services, they’re usually in the middle of a very dramatic story themselves. So they need to see the law firm as their key to a happy ending.
To do this, use video to let the attorneys at the firm tell their own stories. Feature lots of testimonials from the kinds of clients that the firm wants more of. Showcase the unique benefits that this firm can offer its clients—most notably, court cases resolved in their favor.
2. Use Professional Photography and Avoid Stock Images
Most lawyers know they need professional photos of themselves for their promotional materials and website. But one problem you sometimes see on law firm sites is the use of generic stock photos.
High-quality photos are a must, but they should not be meaningless stock photography that you could find on any other site. You want prospective clients to feel like this legal firm is staffed by real people who will care about them and get them results. Unfortunately, stock photos usually feel too corporate and spammy for this.
Instead of generic stock photos, consider using professionally-taken lifestyle photos from the lawyers’ personal lives. Pictures of their family, home, or pets, and even vacation photos, work well. As long as the images are tasteful, attractive, and taken by a professional, they add a relatable, reassuring presence to any good law firm website.
3. Optimize Content for People, Not Search Engines
When people first start learning about search engine optimization, they’re often tempted to use every SEO tactic they can find without thinking about how it will affect user experience. This is a serious mistake. Not only can it lead to problems like keyword stuffing, which Google penalizes, but it overlooks the entire point of the website: potential clients.
When you design a law firm site, you must design it easy for real people to understand and navigate. Every graphic element and text section must lead prospects through the firm’s buyer’s journey. If you do that well, search engines like Google will recognize it and promote the site in relevant search results.
If you make the mistake of designing the site based only on what you think Google will like, the result could be a mess of useless copy and confusing graphic elements. Instead, practice good SEO, but focus on informing prospective clients first.
4. Use Calls-to-Action, but Not Too Many
We just finished explaining the importance of optimizing content for the people who will actually visit the site. One way of doing that is to use calls-to-action or CTAs. A CTA is basically a request to the website visitor to take a certain action, such as signing up for an email list or booking a consultation.
CTAs are important, not only as a sales tactic but also to help prospects know what to do to get the information or services they need. If you’re afraid to sell to potential clients, they’ll be left wandering through a dead-end website. Calls-to-action help would-be clients get the results they came for.
However, you want your CTAs to help clients, not confuse them. Using too many CTAs can overwhelm prospects, causing them to abandon the site completely instead of wading through its content to find what they need. Instead, identify what the firm wants prospects to do—such as booking a phone consultation or downloading a free ebook—and focus your calls-to-action on that.
5. Keep Navigation Simple and Straightforward
Website navigation is how visitors get from one part of a site to another. Good website navigation allows visitors to find the webpage they want in as few clicks as possible.
To make a website that’s as useful as possible, make your navigation make sense and keep it as simple as you can. For example, don’t make a dozen different web pages if you can get away with six just as well and group pages together in a logical way.
A good way to figure out if your navigation makes sense is to imagine that you’re a prospective client and try navigating the site from their point of view. It should be easy to find the information a prospect would need.
6. Prioritize Keyword Research
Earlier, we said you should optimize website content for people, not for search engines. However, that doesn’t mean you should overlook search engine optimization. It means that your SEO should be in service to the people who will be using your site.
One part of SEO you must not overlook is keyword research. Unfortunately, some web designers try to guess what keywords they should optimize for based on what they know about the business. That can be a big mistake.
Instead of guessing what keywords potential clients will search for, do some keyword research to find out for sure. Learn everything you can about the specific kinds of clients the legal firm wants to attract, then try to learn about those people’s online habits. What are they interested in, and what search queries would they use to look for legal help?
The more you can learn about the target audience, the better, especially where keywords are concerned.
7. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
You may think that people visiting a legal firm website would be sitting down at a desktop computer to do so. After all, smartphones are for more casual browsing, not legal research—right?
Actually, you never know what circumstances people will be in when they need legal help. People who find themselves in legal trouble can’t always do things the way they would like to. For example, if they’re stranded away from home and don’t have the luxury of a computer they can borrow, they might be frantically using their phone to find the answers they need.
However, don’t assume you can set up a responsive website theme and call it a day. Although responsive themes are supposed to reorient websites to fit the screen they’re being viewed on automatically, they can’t do everything independently. For example, you’ll still need to make sure the font and graphic sizes are suitable for mobile viewing.
8. Optimize for Speed
Few things are more obnoxious than a slow website, and that’s never more true than when you’re in legal trouble and looking for help. If the website you’re designing takes a long time to load, would-be clients won’t wait around for it. They’ll go to one of the firm’s competitors’ websites instead.
Not only are prospects unlikely to wait for a slow website to load, but they’re also unlikely to find it altogether. This is because search engines rank slow websites below those that load quickly, especially sites with a high bounce rate.
There are lots of tricks and tips you can try to speed up a sluggish website. The best thing you can do is use a reliable web host with fast loading times. You should also try to avoid using unnecessary plugins and needlessly large media files and watch out for code bloat.
9. Optimize for Security
Website security is critical, no matter who you are. When you’re creating a website for a legal firm, it’s even more important.
Like improving loading speed, there are many tips out there for improving a website’s security. One tip you’re sure to find is to use HTTPS or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure.
Domain names have started with “HTTP” since the beginning of the web, although browsers know to fill it in automatically. More recently, websites have started using “https,” which indicates that visitors’ data is protected with SSL encryption on those sites.
Although it may sound like an unnecessary upgrade, some browsers have started marking websites without HTTPS as not secure, including the latest version of Google Chrome. If you don’t want to scare away potential clients, you’d better use HTTPS. You will need to buy an SSL certificate for the domain, but it’s well worth it.
10. Compare to Other Law Firm Websites
There are dozens of factors to consider when you’re building a law firm website. But, of course, this list only scratches the surface. Unfortunately, finding all the information you need can be difficult, especially if you’ve never designed a law firm site before.
Fortunately, there’s a good solution for this. Once you’ve done your research and figured out what you think you need to do, try comparing your site design to other law firm websites that are succeeding.
Comparison is often the best teacher. Instead of simply reading what other people think you should do, look at what’s actually working in real-time. This will tell you more about professional web design than any number of books or articles ever could.
See this excellent website for personal injury lawyers in St. Petersburg to learn more about good law firm site design first-hand.
Designing Law Firm Websites and More
There are a lot of intricate parts that go into effective law firm web design. Unfortunately, law firm marketing is a highly competitive field, and it’s easy to get website design wrong, so you can’t afford to take any chances with your law firm site design. Fortunately, these tips should get you on track to creating a great website.
On PostBattles.com, designing law firm websites is just the beginning. From home and lifestyle to auto and video, our blog goes beyond designing business websites into many niche areas of interest. So return to our homepage and discover something new today.