Every lawyer knows that a website is critical to long-term success, but beyond that, it can be difficult to see a clear path forward toward success. Not only does an impressive website help you stand out from your competitors, but it can attract your ideal clients and increase brand exposure.
Finding the right company to handle web design services for law firms can be trying, but the right team can help you build a foundation that will serve your firm for years to come. In this guide, we'll outline the basics that you need to know to build an effective law firm website to help you get more attorney leads and grow your law firm.
How Website Design for Law Firms Can Grow Your Practice
As soon as someone needs a lawyer, the first step they often take is to turn to the internet to do research. They want to seek and collect information that helps them understand how a potential law firm will be able to assist them with their case. Your website visitors will undoubtedly browse through best law firm websites before they make their decision, meaning your website needs to make a positive and compelling case from the jump. Here are some reasons why your lawyer website design can help grow your practice.
Creates Trust and Valuable First Impression
One of the most important roles of a law firm website is to build trust with your audience. As thousands of search results are going to populate after a search, you need to do everything that you can to help your website stand out from a sea of competitors. Your website acts as a marketing tool to attract and convert visitors into tangible results for your law firm.
Before you rush into a building or updating your website, make sure to put some thought into your law firm's website strategy. It needs to be user-friendly and easy to navigate so your visitors can get the information that they need. It only takes a matter of seconds for potential clients to look at your website and make a decision about whether or not they're interested in your services, so make sure your site is clean, engaging, and professional. If your site is outdated, dull, or doesn't provide your audience with the information they need, they'll quickly move on to the next website.
Lays a Foundation for SEO and PPC Success of Your Law Firm
Search engine optimization services go beyond targeting keywords that are relevant to your practice. There are many different aspects of your law firm website that will dictate how search engines such as Google crawl and rank your website. If you opt for the wrong layout or you don't use an intuitive website structure, it makes it harder for search engine crawlers to index your pages and could result in lower rankings. Make sure that you provide a high-quality legal website content that helps answer questions and demonstrates to potential clients how you can help them.
In addition to website layout, you should also make sure that your website loads quickly. A slow website will undoubtedly impact your user experience, search rankings, and conversion rates.
Helps Your Law Firm to Stand Out
Every law firm that you're up against will have a website so it's essential that your lawyer website design attracts and holds the attention of your target audience. Through high-quality images and videos, testimonials, reviews, resource pages, attorney blogs, and much more, you can harness your website to grow your business through more qualified leads.
Finally Brings New Clients
The better optimized your website is, the more traffic it will see. The top priority on your law firm landing pages is to speak to your audience directly and efficiently so they immediately understand why they should choose you. Your site can increase traffic through both law firm PPC management and SEO tactics to grow your clientele.
Law Firm Website Design Best Practices
Now that we've discussed the basics of your law firm website design, let's delve into the best practices that you should consider.
Emphasize Your Local Presence
Even if you’re a successful lawyer with statewide, regional, or national reach, it’s still beneficial to integrate your law firm with your local community. Potential clients want to be able to envision themselves working with your law firm and turn to your site to get a sense of what it would be like. With so much unknown in the process of searching for a lawyer, the more that you can paint a picture for your potential clients of what it’s like to work with you, the more comfortable they will feel in choosing your firm. Plus, potential clients will appreciate the fact that you are a local firm that can provide them with hands-on service.
Although it may seem basic or unnecessary, you can take photos of yourself, your offices, or your team in the community to help solidify your practice in the minds of locals who might need a lawyer. Head out to your local spots, landmarks, or other areas of importance to capture some professional images that you can use on your site. Not only should you include photos that represent your local presence, but you can also use specific city names throughout your site to demonstrate where your business is. By appealing to a local audience, it helps your firm seem more human as opposed to a large or anonymous corporation.
Create A Great Visual Presentation
By now, it’s clear that the content on your website design for lawyers needs to be quality, but we aren’t only talking about written content. In addition, you should invest in high-quality, original photos to use throughout your site versus using stock photos. As soon as a website visitor sees a stock photo, chances are high that they’ll be immediately turned off and click out of your website. But as soon as they see a photo of you and your team in a professional business setting, it helps increase their confidence that their experience will be personal. To achieve this, you’ll want to invest in a professional photographer to come into your practice to take photos. Although it might be expensive, the end result and return on investment will be worth it. Photos that are high-quality have the potential to reduce your page loading speed. This means you’ll have to optimize your videos for online usage to make sure your site doesn’t suffer from the consequences.
Don’t forget to harness the power of video when you’re putting together your website. Consider shooting videos on frequently asked questions or to convey why your law firm stands out from your competitors. Some law firms even take general videos about their practice and use it on the heading of their site so visitors immediately see it. Videos can be used not only on a website but on social media platforms for lawyers as well to drive traffic and create brand awareness.
Make a Large Hero Section
The hero section of your law firm web design is the first thing that your visitors will see when they enter your website. The hero section is located immediately underneath your top-screen menu navigation bar. Make sure that whatever the image or video you use in that section has a significant impact on the audience. It shouldn’t be distracting, rather, it should be engaging and help draw in your audience and make them want to learn more about your offerings. In the hero section, make sure that you convey what you have to offer and why your audience should trust you.
As we hinted at above, one step above a quality image in the hero section is an engaging video about your law firm. The best law firm websites often showcase professional videos in this section of their sites. This doesn’t need to have audio and it can simply be a creative and intelligent way to convey to your audience who your law firm is and what your unique selling points are. The hero section of your site should be large enough that it makes an impact but not so large that it’s overpowering the entire home page. The overlay text that you use should be easy to read, personable, and interesting enough that your audience wants to take the time to learn more.
Make Sure to Use Clean Fonts
Believe it or not, something as small as the type of font that you use can have a direct impact on how well your attorney website design performs. Consider a time that you’ve tried to read something online when the font is small, difficult to read, or simply unattractive to look at. As there will be a significant amount of copy on your page, you want to choose a font that is easy to read regardless of the audience. Factor in the size, style, and weight of your fonts for both desktop and mobile devices as there will be visitors from a range of devices visiting your site. If you want to make a certain point easier to read or add emphasis, you can always bold them, but use this strategy sparingly as it can be distracting.
Some fonts may be easy to read on a large desktop computer, but they may not translate well if someone is trying to read one of your blogs or service pages from their mobile device. The last thing you want is to cause eye strain for the reader as they’ll be less inclined to spend time on your website and dig through the information they need to make their decision. However, if you use a font size that is too large, it could turn off your website visitors and make it difficult for them to get through your content.
Choose the Right Colors
When you think of your law firm web design, you likely don’t think of colors right away. As you delve deeper into the process of establishing your brand, make sure to factor in the colors that you’ll use as they will infiltrate nearly all aspects of what you do. From your attorney business cards to your law firm logo to your website, your brand colors are everywhere. Color is known to have an impact on your audiences’ emotions in addition to impacting the readability of your site. According to research, red, yellow, and orange are associated with higher arousal emotions such as happiness, passion, or anger. Cool colors such as purple, green, or blue are often associated with indifference, sadness, and calmness. Although this is a generalization, it is something to keep in mind when choosing your brand colors.
When it comes to using the colors on your website, make sure to do so sparingly without being too over the top. If you choose a light blue for your main brand color, it doesn’t need to appear on every last square inch of your website. Rather, make sure the colors you choose are subtly and strategically incorporated in the right places to have the intended impact on your audience.
Implement Intuitive Navigation
Your website navigation is one of the most important factors to consider when putting together your law firm website design. Consider a time that you’ve been on a site that is difficult or confusing to navigate. Chances are high that you didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out the navigation; instead, you clicked back to the Google search results page and found a different site for the product or information you need. The same can be said for your law firm’s website. The easier your navigation is, the less dwell time that your visitors will have. This sends a positive sign to Google which can have a positive impact on your rankings.
Potential clients tremendously value simple and intuitive navigation. In fact, a report conducted by Small Biz Trends reports that 94% of respondents say that easy navigation is the single more important feature when determining which law firm to move forward with. This means that your site should feature a straightforward menu that makes it easy to find any of your offerings.
Respondents from the same survey also reported that it’s best to find the “about us” page, social media handles, and blog pages easily on a lawyer’s website. While it’s standard practice to include your social media handles on your site, make sure that you also include a call to action such as “follow us” or “stay connected.”
Prioritize Your Page Load Speed
Let’s face it: people are impatient when it comes to the internet. The slower the load time, the worse the conversion rate. Law firm websites that load faster often have a higher ranking on the search engine results page. Did you know that only a 1-second delay in page loading speed can decrease your conversions by as much as 7%? While one second might not seem like a huge deal, it can make a world of difference to a potential client who needs information quickly. The slower your website loads, the more potential customers and traffic that you’ll lose due to lower search engine result rankings. Not only do you need to factor in page load speed on a desktop or laptop device, but you should also do so for mobile devices.
As we previously mentioned, in the case that your website has a lot of huge images or videos, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right hardware infrastructure and bandwidth in place to support the designs. One easy way to do this is by compressing the media or using a more simplistic design. On the flip side, the best law firm websites often load incredibly fast. This is appealing to both the user and to search engines, ultimately improving your organic rankings.
Use a Mobile-Friendly Design
According to ComScore, “mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online.” In other words, if you aren’t factoring in a mobile-friendly law firm website into your strategy, you’re missing out on a huge volume of traffic. But what does it mean for a website to be mobile-friendly?
- Visitors won’t have a hard time finding the information that they need easily and quickly regardless of the type of device they’re using
- The text is minimal and broken up by headers to make it easier to read
- Any steps that a potential client needs to get in touch with your law firm are compressed to the bare minimum
- The call-to-action buttons are big enough for fingers to click on
- All forms are simple and the information that you’re requesting from the lead should be absolutely necessary
Despite the fact that your law firm marketing site isn’t asking your audience to purchase a product, it’s equally as important as eCommerce websites. Make sure that the journey that you take your mobile visitors on is streamlined. This means that contact forms and phone numbers are straightforward and easy to access. Plus, with more searches performed on mobile devices over desktops, you’ll want to gain a leg-up on your competitors by making your site as mobile-friendly as possible.
Design with SEO In Mind
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a pillar on which all law firm websites are built. The right law firm SEO strategy can bring you more high-quality leads through organic search traffic. There are many ways that you can make your law firm’s site SEO friendly. First, it should be optimized. Optimized websites undergo a process of using different tools, strategies, and experiments to drive traffic. Another advantage of optimized websites is that it’s easier for the search engine bots to go through your site, crawl it, and index it. Doing so can result in higher organic rankings and help you meet your business goals for your law firm.
One noteworthy aspect of your SEO strategy is that it could take some time to see results. It’s rare that SEO brings short-term success to a website, rather, it’s more common for SEO strategies to move the needle after three months or so. Sometimes, it can even take years to see the full scope of results from your SEO strategies. Always remain patient and trust the process. How quickly you’ll start to see movement in your rankings from SEO will also depend largely on your specialization and the specific keywords that you want to target.
For example, it’s common for high-volume keywords to have a significant amount of competition. Most high-volume keywords are searched over 1,000 times per month which means new lawyer websites will have an even more difficult time ranking for them. Instead, you can try going after low-hanging fruit or long-tail keywords that might now have as much competition. Always do sufficient research so you know what keywords you should be going after to find success. While it may be tempting to include countless keywords throughout your website copy, including too many can negatively impact your rankings.
When building your long-term SEO strategy, there are many tips that can help you succeed. Always use HTML headings and header tags as they can impact your rankings. Use a strategic mixture of different headings in your content all ranging from Heading 1 to Heading 6. All of the content on your website should be high quality and easy to read. The most important takeaway surrounding your SEO strategy is patience!
Make Your Lawyer Website Inclusive
Not only are great law firm websites properly optimized, but they’re also inclusive. If you aren’t currently focusing on diversity and inclusivity in your law firm digital marketing efforts, you’re missing out on a large opportunity to grow your legal business and provide assistance for those who need it. Inclusivity can be a difficult consideration as you might not have any idea where to start. The first step in building a legal industry site that appeals to everyone is to be honest with yourself about where your law firm currently is in terms of diversity and inclusion. Do you have any systems in place that prevent your firm from being more inclusive? One easy approach is to audit the content that you’ve already released such as blogs or service pages. What is your messaging like and how does it appeal to different groups of people? For example, maybe you’re using a lot of “he” or “she” pronouns, but you can easily switch it to “they” to be more inclusive.
Another audit that you can conduct of your current law firm website is simply looking at your media. What types of imagery are you using throughout your website and does it only appeal to certain types of people? You can also go through your social media profiles, attorney bios, and other areas of your digital marketing efforts to see if there are easy ways that you can improve your approach.
Implement Effective Call to Actions
Make sure that your law firm website has plenty of call-to-action buttons located throughout. A CTA button is also a way to include more contact points throughout your site. For example, if you offer free consultations, encouraging your website visitors to click on the “get a free consultation” button can open a window that has an email form or a live chat. The contact us page is another easy way to provide your visitors with additional information about their background and their case.
When including CTAs throughout your website, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Only include one call-to-action button per page to avoid causing confusion to your visitors
- Make it easy to find the CTA button compared with the other page elements. For example, you can make it a different color or increase the font size so it stands out.
- Make each CTA precise and meaningful. For example, instead of writing “contact us,” you can write “get legal advice now.”
Let Clients Contact You Easily
One of the main points of your law firm website design should be making it as easy as possible for your prospective clients to get in touch with you. Here are some different points of contact that you should include throughout your site:
- Physical address, email address, and phone number: Include this information prominently on the header but also on your attorney profile page, cases pages, and other pages throughout your site. You never know how a visitor will land on a certain page and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to reach out to you to learn more.
- A contact form: Your law practice should include a contact form in the upper portion of every page. This allows prospective clients to reach out to you even if they haven't navigated to the bottom half of the screen. Only ask for essential contact information as you'll be able to collect more details when the prospect connects with you in person.
- A live chat: Many new websites of successful law firms have live chats to capture leads. It allows you to answer questions in real-time and helps to strengthen your overall reputation.
- Social media buttons: The most successful law firms are often very active on social media. Regardless of whether you're a small law firm or a huge practice, staying active on social media can help you get more clients.
Don’t Forget About Trust Badges and Testimonials
If you want to be a successful law firm, you'll need to build trust with your audience. Creating the best law firm website means you'll need to provide social proof to validate that your legal services are reliable and successful. According to a study conducted by Bigcommerce, using customer testimonials can increase revenue from each customer by as much as 62%. This number isn't shocking considering that 92% of consumers turn to testimonials to testimonials to help make their purchasing decision. If other law firms already have shown a prospective client how great it is to work with them, your new website will have to tap into more law firm SEO techniques to stay competitive. Let's say your practice family law and you want to build trust with your audience. You can ask a recent client to provide their experience of working with your modern firm and how you helped them obtain custody over your kids. The more you can build trust around your legal practice, the better your law firm stands out from the crowd.
You can also learn more about law firm website best practices.
What to Avoid In Attorney Website Design?
1. Non-Responsive Design
Law firms need to have websites that are functional on both desktop and mobile devices to capture as many leads as possible. While you are building your law firm website, make sure that it looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. This doesn’t mean that you need to have separate designs for both versions as this can be time-consuming and expensive. Having separate versions will also confuse your visitors. This means that as you are building your site, it should have a responsive design. Sites with this type of design automatically adjust based on the screen size from which the user is navigating. Not only does it benefit the user, but there are search engine visibility benefits that accompany it including faster page loading time, fewer maintenance needs, stronger backlinks, and better bounce rates. Responsive website design helps to avoid the issue of duplicate content as well.
2. Too Complicated Designs
You might be tempted to support your online marketing efforts with a complicated and impressive website design, but legal websites that take this approach are doing more harm than good. When a user arrives at your site, they want it easy to navigate to your blog posts, contact page, practice areas, etc. If you make the menu difficult to follow or if there are multiple menu bars with different and confusing navigation, chances are high that you'll lose this visitor to other law firm websites. A simple website will always do a better job in driving traffic than complicated websites.
3. Generic 404 Pages
When a site visitor clicks on a broken link on your site, they'll be automatically directed to a 404 error page. In this case, it's not uncommon for the individual to assume that they are in the wrong place and exit out of your site altogether. Rather than using a generic 404 page telling them that the page is unavailable, you can do some digging to find out how you can make it function properly. Of course, eliminating the source of the error is the first step that you should take to fix that dedicated page. From there, you can edit your 404 page so the language isn't generic. Provide them with other links they should explore and make it known that they didn't do anything wrong.
4. Unclear Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is another content marketing strategy to keep in mind. It's commonly used in eCommerce stores but the same value proposition applies to the best lawyer websites as well. Using a visual hierarchy can outline the specific information that you want your site visitors to see so they aren't overwhelmed with information. Even if you have a solid website with online reviews and client testimonials, make sure that there is thought into how the information is displayed on your site.
Build a Website Yourself or Hire It Out?
While it's possible for all lawyers, from solo attorneys to small law firms to giants, to build a website from scratch, why not turn to a professional law firm marketing agency to help? Hiring a team ensures that you're following all of the above best practices and avoiding pitfalls that other law firms might fall into. You could end up spending a ton of time and resources on building a modern design when other websites are already doing a better job.
Want to Get Outstanding Lawyer Web Design?
We know you're focusing on your practice area so your site might not be top of mind. At the Grow Law Firm, we have extensive experience producing competitive-grade website designs that will impress your new clients and help them feel confident that they are making the right choice. We encourage you to download our free resource below and contact a high-performing law firm marketing company to learn more about how we can help!