When operating a law firm, it’s critical to have a website that is easy for prospective clients to find and navigate. Why? Because your law firm's website is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. It can determine whether potential clients are willing to connect with you rather than another law firm.
Since your website is where potential clients will start their research about your law firm, the design of your law firm’s website plays an important role in how well people will be able to see and understand what you offer on their first visit.
To help you avoid common blunders, this article will go over eight law firm web design mistakes and how to fix them.
1. Non-Responsive Design
A common law firm web design mistake is using a non-responsive design. This means that your law firm website will not be able to adapt to different screen sizes and devices, which can lead to a poor user experience. Another problem with a non-responsive design is too much text on your website. This can make it difficult for users to find the information they want.
Keep in mind that a mobile-friendly law firm website design is something that 72% of visitors expect from your website. So, make sure to use a responsive design so website visitors can view your site on all devices.
How Does a Non-responsive Design Affect Your Law Firm?
The following are the effects of non-responsive design on your website:
- It makes it hard to navigate because it doesn’t consider the browser window size or the device being used. This makes it difficult for users to click from one page to another to find relevant content.
- It also tends to use more bandwidth than responsive designs and may cause web pages to load slowly or not load at all.
How to Address the Issue
- Adjust the layout based on the screen size and ensure it’s easy to navigate on all devices.
- Run responsive tests on your website design. This helps in ensuring that your website is responsive across all devices tested. You can identify any problem before it negatively affects the user experience.
- Make sure all the buttons are big enough for a better touch experience.
2. Your Website Is Too Cluttered
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. Plus, cluttered sites can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index them appropriately. That’s why keeping things clean, simple, and easy to navigate on your website is essential.
When users arrive at your site, they want to easily find your blog posts, contact page, practice area, 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.
How to Reduce Clutter
- Simplify Your Site’s Layout. This is especially important for lawyers with a lot of content on their sites, such as those practicing intellectual property law or criminal defense. By breaking up your page into sections with clear headings and subheadings, website visitors can easily navigate and find what they’re looking for.
- Use White Space as Much as Possible. White space helps create a sense of order and lessens visual clutter. When designing your webpage, try to include plenty of empty space where you can put images and text, as well as plenty of empty space around the edges of your page where you can add links or buttons that call out important features of the site.
3. Generic 404 Pages
When visitors click 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 your firm's website altogether. This page could also affect your search engine optimization (SEO). Once your URL is broken, it will hinder Google from crawling your website.
Rather than using a generic 404 page telling them that the page is unavailable, you can do some digging to find out how to 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. Something that not all law firms do is edit your 404 page from there, so the language isn’t generic. Provide them with other links to explore and show 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 also applies to the best lawyer websites. A visual hierarchy can outline the specific information 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, ensure that there is thought put into how the information is displayed on your site.
5. You Have Poor Call-to-Actions
A call-to-action (CTA) is the text or button on your web page that you want visitors to click. Whether it’s to sign up for a newsletter or download a free e-book, a CTA should be clear and concise. That way, when visitors land on your website from a Google search, they know exactly what action to take next.
At the very least, you should have a CTA that says ‘Click Here’ or something similar. You need to add a straightforward CTA if you don’t have one to get more clients.
What to Consider When Creating a CTA
- Visibility: All web designers will tell you to make sure your call-to-action is visible and easy to understand. Ensure visitors can easily identify what action they should take next, and the wording is clear, concise, and easy to read.
- Layout: When creating websites, if you have multiple call-to-actions on your landing page, make sure they are separated to avoid confusing visitors.
- Visuals: Maintaining a consistent visual style throughout your law firm website design is important, so visitors don’t get lost or confused.
- Font style and size: You should choose fonts that are readable and simple at the same time—for example, Open Sans, Merriweather, or Roboto. And make sure the size of the font is easy to read on contact forms.
6. Your Website is Too Slow
83% of visitors expect mobile sites to load in three seconds or less. A slow website can frustrate visitors and leave them with the impression that your firm is not serious about customer service. For example, new clients trying to view a law firm’s website will exit the page in 3 seconds if the response time is too slow.
Nobody wants to sign up for a website that takes too long to load, so it’s no surprise that most law firms might lose web traffic on that page. A slow website can cause visitors to abandon their journey before they even get started.
Since your law firm website design slows down the firm webpage, here is what you can do to fix it:
- Invest in a dedicated server that allows heavy traffic without slowing down and monitor them regularly.
- Ensure your law firm website can handle all the different devices and platforms people use to access mobile devices, desktops, and browsers.
- Optimize the speed of your content by compressing images. Fewer page elements mean quicker load time.
- While redirects are sometimes necessary, you should not use them excessively. This is because they cause an additional HTTP request-response cycle and increase the time between requests; therefore, you should keep the frequency of redirects to a minimum.
7. Users Can’t See The Proof of Your Work
A big part of any lawyer’s job is to show off your work. A law firm’s website should be an extension of your brand, communicating your work and how you can help your clients. That means you must ensure that every piece of your website tells a story about what you do. This isn’t just about the visuals.
You also need to ensure that you’re showing off all of the key pieces of the law firm website's content, like your case studies, testimonials, awards, press releases, or press features.
These will give visitors a better sense of what to expect when they hire you.
8. Your Website Is Too Impersonal
While it’s important to include contact information and a logo on your site, it’s also important to make it easy for potential clients to understand who you are and what kind of legal services you offer.
Some of the most common law firm website mistakes to avoid are:
- Not tailoring your law firm website to the needs of your target audience.
- Using generic web design elements and stock photos that don’t stand out.
- Not including clear call-to-action buttons. As such, it should be designed with care to ensure that it is professional and engaging.
- Not taking the time to test different layouts and website content to find the right look and feel for your site.
In order to create the right impression, it’s important to demonstrate professionalism and brand identity. Additionally, stick to one design style and use subtle illustrations and visual elements that reinforce your brand’s message.
Build a Website Yourself or Hire It Out?
If you want to build a website for your law firm, you may be wondering if you should do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your budget and how much time you are willing to spend on the project.
Building a Lawyer Website Yourself
Creating an attorney website yourself or hiring an in-house web designer is a viable option to consider when you want to create a front page for your legal practice. There are several advantages to DIY lawyer website design:
- It's cheaper, you will save money.
- You have complete control over the design process and can make a website look however you like.
- You can learn a lot about maintaining the website which can make things easier in the long run.
However, there are also some drawbacks. It can be time-consuming to do an attorney website design yourself, which affects your law practice. Additionally, you may not have the skills or knowledge to create a professional-looking site.
So, if you have the resources to build your webpage, hire a professional lawyer website design agency to do it for you and reach your website goals.
Hiring a Law Firm Web Design Agency
If you are looking for a website built using best practices and maintained without any effort on your part, this is the ideal service for you.
Costs associated with this option may be higher, but your time can be freed up to devote to your law practice or other aspects of your business, which could result in a greater ROI overall. Not to mention the benefits of having a top-tier site. The pros of hiring an expert attorney website design agency are:
- You have more free time to dedicate to your legal duties.
- You can be sure that professionals can handle any arising issue.
- You will be kept up to date and the website will function perfectly.
Hiring a lawyer digital marketing and web design agency like Grow Law Firm (GLF) helps you build a website to save time and ensure that the website is built correctly. GLF is a digital marketing company specializing in website optimization to help law firms avoid the law firm website mistakes mentioned above and raise their revenue.