Let’s face it:
When you need a product or service, where do you search for sellers first?
Usually, online. This is equally true with legal clients — Google is their go-to source when looking for services.
There are many reasons why having a high-quality law firm website design is essential to your business’s success. For one, your top competitors already have one, and you could miss out on large opportunities without one.
And if you already own a website, does it have a client-winning design that leaves a stunning first impression on your prospects? Does it position you as the industry expert you are? Can people navigate through it quickly?
These factors and more, contribute to the success of your site.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
Why is Law Firm Website Design Important?
The internet has hiked competition, and as a law firm, you must stand out among your competitors.
According to a report, 93% of the US population uses the internet — making a high-quality website design crucial to be more discoverable to potential clients.
Besides visibility, let’s look at four other reasons why having a website is a must.
1. It Makes a Valuable First Impression on Prospects
Your website is a marketing tool. It directly links you to your target audience.
As such, you need to make a lasting impression on the people who view it. Luckily, it’s not a complicated process.
However, it needs time and careful planning to get right.
You should build a user-friendly website that’s easy for your prospects to navigate. When a visitor lands on your law firm website, they take about 3 seconds to judge your business and determine whether it’s reputable and if they can imagine doing business with you. So a high-quality website design can help shape the perception of your firm.
38% of visitors will stop interacting with your website if its design is unappealing or unattractive, so make sure it’s well-designed.
When this happens, you’ll lose out on potential customers, and it’ll hurt your SEO.
2. It Sets Yourself Up for SEO and PPC Success
There’s more to SEO (search engine optimization) than just targeting keywords. Many aspects of your website design will affect how your site is crawled and indexed by search engines, too.
Using the wrong website layout or structure makes it hard for search engine crawlers to index your pages, which can affect your rankings.
Having a slow website will hurt your UX, conversion rates, and search rankings.
To minimize this risk, guide your web designer through SEO best practices.
A well-designed website will increase your conversion rates from paid and organic traffic.
And a poorly designed website with just a 1 second delay in page loading speed can hurt conversions by 7% (this will hurt the chance of any lead converting).
3. It Helps Your Firm Get Ahead of Your Competition
Nearly every business now has a website, which means that simply owning one isn’t enough.
How people use the internet evolves every day. To match this, web designers are offering higher-quality web design services. You must keep up with this emerging trend.
Instead of mimicking your competitors’ websites, include features they don’t have. There’s no need for you to reinvent the wheel — but you should improve it.
This will help you stand out from the crowd.
4. It Generates Leads
A website optimized for drawing in organic traffic and conversions can bring you countless leads
Several factors play into a landing page’s conversion potential — but your number-one priority should be to speak to your target audience directly.
Study your audience. Know what they like and dislike, what drives their purchasing behavior, and their basic demographics. Use that info to design a site that connects with them.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so put them at the center of yours. Ensure that your website design gives them a great user experience, then take it from there.
For an excellent website design, make sure yours looks visually appealing. According to a report, 94% of first impressions result from an excellent website design. If you have an outdated appearance, the chances are your prospects will leave your site and look elsewhere.
If done right, your website can also reign in loads of organic search traffic. This is essentially website views that cost you nothing (unlike PPC ad campaigns).
Law Firm Website Design Guide: 9 Things You Need to Know
You have a vision in mind, and now it’s time to bring it to life.
Or, maybe you have no idea what kind of design you want.
Regardless of whether you’ve already planned your site or not, these 9 law firm website design tips will help you move the pin forward on your progress.
1. Decide Whether to Build a Website Yourself or Hire It Out
How much you invest in building a law firm website depends on your area of specialization. If your firm counts on repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals, then go with a simple website: incorporate basic information like phone number, physical address, and business name.
However, if you plan to stand out from your competitors, then you’ll need to dig deeper into your pockets for an exceptional website design. That said — you may decide to set up the site yourself or hire a web developer to help you out.
Building a Website Yourself
The following tools will help you set up a website at an affordable cost:
- WordPress – WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems. They offer built-in editor tools, mobile and desktop apps, and customer support.
- JurisPage – JurisPage is explicitly designed for law firms. Launched by an attorney, this website design helps firms generate new leads, get more potential clients, and impress referrals. With JurisPage, it’s easy to streamline your lead generation and admissions.
- LawLytics – LawLytics is a website builder for small law firms. Whether you want to improve your existing site or build a new one, the LawLytics support team will walk you through the entire design.
Working on the platforms mentioned above is simple. However, if you decide to go the DIY route, be sure to learn more about designing and managing a law firm’s website.
Hiring it Out
Many professional services offered to law firms can cost you anything from a few bucks to as much as $100k.
If you’re hiring for a small firm, the developer should come up with an in-depth and unique design theme for a few hundred dollars. The number of pages, support content, and additional features can make it more expensive.
2. Use High-Quality Images and Professional Photos
The legal industry is a highly professional field, and there are many risks involved. Therefore, your prospects place heavy importance on trust — and the images you use on your site say a lot about the trustworthiness of your business.
You can express 1,000 words in just one image, so that first impression is great. Polish all the images you’ll use in your website design. While the images need to be high-quality, don’t forget about best SEO practices — compress them to ensure fast page load times.
However, be sure not to overdo it. Use images sparingly — too many images could slow down your site and distract users
Also, try to stick to one highly relevant image per 200 words. In other words, if an image doesn’t deserve a spot, don’t include it.
Google encourages all businesses to consider mobile website speed. The slower your mobile site speed, the more customers and traffic you lose due to lower search engine rankings. So before you launch your website, consider testing the speed using different tools like Test My Site.
Using tools like CompressorJPEG or TinyJPG, you can compress your images, so they don’t cost you load time.
And don’t forget to include images of you and your team!
Potential clients always want to see people behind the scenes working hard to make the brand what it is. They want to interact and relate with them. Luckily, this is easy to do with a website on just about any page.
3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Mobile and tablet usage surpassed desktop usage in November 2016, and the number has risen steadily over the years.
Google now uses mobile-friendliness as a key ranking factor, so ensure your site is optimized for mobile.
Mobile screen sizes are smaller than desktop screens. So, ensure that your content flows well and is easy to view. And ensure that your images are viewable and load quickly on mobile devices.
If you want to get as much out of your website as possible, it must be extremely accessible. For example, there are a couple of ways to do so for low-visioned people or readers with mobility problems.
To test the accessibility of your site, there are multiple tools at your disposal.
One way is to go to the backend of your website and turn off the styling. Doing so will leave text so you can see whether your website has a proper layout.
Once you’ve confirmed that everything is all okay, use the disable-html extension to remove the link to your CSS file.
Put yourself into your ideal client’s shoes, and check your law firm website on a smartphone to see how it looks on mobile. Take note of how fast your website is and whether you can navigate it easily. Exploring your own site in this manner will help you identify areas that need adjustment.
Running these short and simple tests is a surefire way to determine whether your site is set up for a good user experience. And if you haven’t been generating leads, this is a good method of figuring out why.
4. Craft Clear and Compelling Copy
As you focus on building your firm’s website, don’t overlook the content. You want to keep your audience reading long enough, so make your content readable and engaging.
Whether you’re crafting new copy, improving existing copy, or paying a professional to write for your law firm site, the tips below will help you craft killer content.
- Know your reader. Knowing your target audience is key to understanding how to market to them. Remember, you’re not only targeting clients but also people who will refer others to your law firm. Have your readers in mind when creating content and avoid using technical terms.
- Focus on clarity and understanding. Be sure to keep your sentences short and to the point. Audiences love it when they can scan through content quickly but still see all the main points. Keep this Dr. Seuss quote in mind when writing: “The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
- Create content that sells. Marketing copy should attract, intrigue, and sell. If your firm is based on referrals, it’s more likely to convince readers to reach out to you. So when writing copy, focus on “benefits” rather than “features.”
- Make your copy informational. You want to educate your audience through your content — so you need to go in-depth. Most importantly, the copy should address your audience’s concerns and provide them with insights that help them better understand their pain points.
- Include a FAQs section. When people first visit your site, chances are they will get confused searching for legal information. You want to make this journey as easy as possible, so have an FAQs section.
- Use the right keywords. Incorporate both short and long-tail keywords into your copy, and most importantly, scatter them throughout your website. Let the keywords appear natural — do not do “keyword stuffing.”
5. Incorporate a CTA (call-to-action) as Soon as Possible
Visitors should know exactly who you are, what you do, and most importantly: what they should do next within the first few seconds of loading your website. This means a visitor shouldn’t have to scroll to find a CTA.
This is why you see many high-quality law firm websites placing a CTA button on the hero section. They want their website visitors to decide whether or not they should take action quickly.
A CTA is an attention-grabbing text that prompts prospects to take some form of action. It could be to purchase a service, book a free consultation, get a free quote, or join an email list.
CTAs are meant to steer potential clients or customers to take a specific action. On websites, you could include text, plus some design in the form of a button.
You shouldn’t just use CTAs anywhere. Your visitors should be able to spot your website’s CTAs easily.
Additionally, your CTA must be clear and simple to read. So, test out everything about your CTA — button color, text, any info you want to communicate, etc..
Position Your Call-to-Action Appropriately
Copywriters know how important CTAs are to the success of businesses. Instead of using cliché words like “submit,” use more urgent words like “get now.” Most law firm owners want to know where they should place their email addresses or phone number on their websites. This is critical.
So include your contact information on your website header. This is the place your website visitors are likely to interact with first.
Live Chat is the Next Big Thing
Live chat is fast-becoming one of the best features you can have on your website. It converts better than just having a contact page with a form on your website for your visitors to fill in. Instead, prospects are more likely to use the live chat option as they are guaranteed a response almost immediately.
Chances are, your prospects will have some issues they want sorting out, and they don’t want to wait long. What if you offered to solve their problems instantly and keep them happy? A live chat option will help you do this.
Additionally, live chat support converts better. When your target clients contact your customer support team, chances are that a rapport will be built which could lead to a sale. Customers are happy when their issues are solved. In fact, live chat support offers up to 73% of customer support.
It’s obvious that live chat support is the next big thing, and it’s predicted that 85% of businesses will have a live chat support system by 2022. Also, customers who use live chat support to solve an issue spend 60% more than their initial budget.
6. State Who You Are and What You Do Immediately
According to HubSpot, 55% of visitors spend no more than 15 seconds on a website.
So, just by launching your website, users should be able to tell who you are and what you do instantly.
An excellent example is the website we built for King and Jones, which states all of their services in just a couple of lines. Anyone who loads their homepage will instantly know what to expect.
The key here is to explain whatever services your law firm website offers in a matter of seconds. Ensure your potential clients don’t need to scroll down the page to find this out.
The next thing is to quickly tell your website visitors what differentiates your firm from others. Let’s face it: Most legal firms are filled with competitors striving for the finite attention of their targeted demographic. Even small firms may be facing stiff competition in the legal marketplace.
As such, the differences from one firm to another may vary a little. Even so, audiences are still interested to learn a little about your firm’s history, core values, associates, and more. That’s what makes having a unique online identity so crucial.
While it wouldn’t make sense to stuff your homepage with all these details, it helps demonstrate your prowess. You will also want to embrace the “psychology hack” by establishing social proof to validate your services before clients can opt-in. This way, your visitors are more likely to explore your website.
7. Build an Easy Site Navigation
Small Biz Trends reports that easy website navigation is now one of the most critical factors when it comes to SEO and how long visitors stay on your page.
Simple — because users value it tremendously.
The same report found that 94% of survey respondents say easy website navigation is the most critical website feature a law firm should invest in. To put this into practice, you’ll want your site to have a simple and straightforward menu structure, where prospects can look for anything they need from your website.
Many of the respondents also said that it would be best to find the “About Us” page, the blog page, and the social media handles easily. Most businesses place their social media handles on the footer of their website, but when you do so, ensure there’s a clear CTA such as “follow us” or “let’s connect.”
Easy navigation will increase visitors’ dwell time, which is a positive signal to Google. The more visitors stay on your site, the more Google ranks your website highly.
However, failing to retain visitors on your site for long — or having a high bounce rate — will hurt your ranking performance.
Since it’s clear that navigation is important for your law firm website, what should you do to improve it?
How to Improve Website Navigation
- Be consistent. If you’ve chosen to use a specific navigation style, be sure to use it throughout the site unless a change is needed. Changing your navigation from one page to the other means your website visitors are more likely to lose their patience and leave your site.
- Use categories. Categories should be sequential and have a pattern. Ensure your categories make intuitive sense so that your website visitors don’t have to click through lots of links to get to what they want. Not only is that bad for the user experience, but it could also minimize the chances of the search engine bots crawling and indexing your website.
- Make navigation elements clickable. Ensure that all the navigation elements included on your site are clickable, especially when you have many categories. This should be applied in all areas, including your drop-down menus.
- Write clear and accurate page titles. You’ll need to ensure that your navigation titles are clear and accurate. In other words, your website visitors should have a basic idea of where they are going when they click on a specific link. Don’t get too fancy with words, or don’t try to be so unique in areas that don’t require any uniqueness. A good example is using the text “How I Can Help You” instead of the usual “Service” for your service page.
- Check for broken links. If you have images with clickable links, make sure that the links are working perfectly. The worst thing website visitors ever want to experience is clicking on a link, only to be shown a 404 error message. There are many methods you can use to find broken links on your site. Take advantage of this and save your reputation in the process.
8. Include Testimonials and Social Proof
As mentioned before, social proof goes a long way to validate whatever services you’re selling. Others’ opinions influence most decisions, and as such, you need to incorporate social proof into your law firm website.
According to a study by Bigcommerce, using customer testimonials can increase revenue from every customer by 62%. However, this isn’t too shocking once you realize that a stunning 92% of consumers use testimonials to help make their purchasing decisions.
It’s obvious from studies like this that social proof is a critical aspect of decision-making.
It helps potential clients make rational decisions or alleviate uncertainty in ambiguous circumstances. Not because they’ve fallen victims before, but because they trust other people’s decisions to help steer their own.
Social proof within the legal marketplace entails testimonials and online reviews.
If a client reviews an attorney on Google, Facebook, Avvo, or another website, they help build social proof to your online presence. If any of these networks are scarce with client testimonials, consider adding a feedback operation into your client relationships.
When a potential client visits your law firm website, chances are they will skim through a few pages to learn your identity, understand what services you offer, and find out your area of expertise.
The testimonials page is often the critical part of your website, so make it as appealing as possible. Plus, you can incorporate testimonials into the other most-viewed pages when natural and complementary.
Consider Including Video Testimonials
Social proof integrated with videos has proven to be more persuasive. According to a study from Content Marketing Institute, videos ranked as the third most-used type of content used by marketers.
Combining testimonials with video content doesn’t just appear more engaging to users or savvy to marketers. It also assures users that your testimonial is coming from a real human who believes in you.
By adding video testimonials to your website, you’re enhancing your firm’s social proof and content marketing strategy at the same time. Plus, many legal firms prefer video testimonials because it’s more compelling and trustable.
9. Optimize Your Web Pages for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical for your law firm website because it brings high-quality leads through organic search traffic.
By optimizing your website, you are making it easier for the search engine bots to crawl and index it, which leads to higher search engine rankings.
However, it’s important to note that SEO is a long-term strategy, and it rarely ever brings websites success in the short-term. It can take 3 months to a couple of years to begin organically ranking for your desired keywords.
This largely depends on the industry you’re in (or in a lawyer’s case, specialization) and the keywords you target.
For example, most high-volume keywords — or search queries made by people over 1,000 times per month — have high competition. This makes it difficult for new sites to rank for them.
A better strategy would be to aim for the low-hanging fruit keywords. Or, long-tail keywords with low competition.
Most often, you trade low competition for high traffic. In other words, most keywords that are easy to rank for don’t bring in much traffic each month. However, they allow you to start ranking for keywords faster and build the web presence you need to eventually rank for the major money keywords.
The long-term SEO strategy is one that certainly pays off, so here are a few tips to get you started on the journey.
Use HTML Headings
While most marketers think that header tags aren’t that important, they are and could affect your user experience, according to Search Engine Journal.
Additionally, header tags could also influence your website’s search engine rankings. When users find your content easier to read and spend more time on your website, your chances of a high ranking are boosted.
Essentially, your header tags give readers a sense of direction and provide context for your content. Each one should give the reader a brief idea of what they can expect in the body.
There are different levels of headings, from Heading 1 to Heading 6. However, they should each be used carefully and strategically.
Heading 1 should always be your main heading, while Heading 2 should be any subheading within your discussion topic.
Depending on what you’re discussing, you’ll further format your content into Heading 3 and 4. Keep in mind that Heading 4 is the lowest most content marketers go, and it’s recommended to avoid using anything below it.
Also, any topic that can be divided into lower than a Heading 4 should probably be a blog post or web page of its own.
Target the Keywords in Your Industry
Researching and finding relevant low-competition keywords is the first step to take if you want to optimize your law firm website.
Relevant keywords will help bring targeted traffic to your website, which will eventually translate to more clients.
Researching keywords is a critical step, and it’s important that you first identify your target audience. You don’t want to be a generalist who targets nearly every keyword in the legal niche.
Instead, narrow down your keyword research to your legal specialization. For example, marketing personal injury legal services would differ from marketing any other specialization and so would differ the keywords used for it.
There are a couple of tools that can help you research keywords for your law firm website. There are many free and paid tools, so it’s possible to get started with SEO on any budget.
Besides the keyword research tools, checking the bottom of search engine results could also help you form keyword ideas. For example, check out Google’s “People also ask” and “related searches” features when you make a search query.
Use Keywords Sparingly
Keyword stuffing was the norm until Google realized users were consuming volumes of bad content. Thanks to the order brought by Google Panda and Google Hummingbird, making content king is essential again.
With these updates, keyword stuffing is now considered a black-hat SEO tactic, and your website could suffer serious consequences if you do it.
And if you don’t know what keyword stuffing is, it simply refers to using a keyword too many times, especially to the point where it sounds forced and unnatural. Therefore, use your target keywords sparingly.
Place them naturally throughout the content instead of adding them everywhere, thinking that it will give some insight to search engine bots about the topics you are covering.
To be sure that you aren’t keyword stuffing, upload your content on any of the tools that check your keyword density, such as SEO Review Tools. These tools will give you an insight into how you have sprinkled your target keywords and what percentage of the content they make up.
5 Examples of High-Quality Law Firm Websites
Now that you know the fundamentals of law firm website design, let’s look at five firms that are doing it right.
Gomez Trial Attorneys have got one of the best website designs in the industry. They quickly tell their website visitors what they need to do next with their call-to-action: “Free Case Evaluation.”
The menu navigation is simple and neatly arranged. They also have their phone number on the header, making it more convenient for prospects to get in touch with them.
Additionally, they also have a live chat feature, which allows their visitors to contact them directly. This isn’t like most of the live bot chats you’ve probably come across, though. I tested the feature and talked with a real customer support team member.
Knutson and Casey is a personal injury legal website, and they also have their phone number in the header and a live chat feature.
They have high-quality images on their homepage hero section, which quickly sends a message to any prospect that they are a professional company. They have a clear and concise CTA on their hero section that reads “request a free consultation.”
Trey Porter Law specializes in driving while intoxicated charges. They know the value of a CTA, so they’ve included two CTAs on their hero section — the first one being, “beat your DWI,” and the other, “request a free consultation.”
And in addition to those, Trey Porter Law even has a footer that prompts users to schedule their free consultation, too.
This law firm website features a couple of certificate awards that help with social proof, so any prospects who land on their website will quickly know that they are dealing with one of the most reputable law firms.
O’Meara law firm’s website is also one of the best designs you’ll ever come across.
While they haven’t included their phone number in the header, they have it on the hero section, which is also good since most website visitors can easily spot it.
Another thing they did differently from the previous three law firms was incorporate a CTA that isn’t clickable. They have “call attorney Michael O’Meara today” written just above the phone number, which consists of big, bold letters on the hero section.
Lastly, YLaw Group is a legal website that emphasizes family law and takes credit for being one of the best Vancouver family law firms.
When you first visit the site, you’ll find a summary of their services in the hero section. They also have a clear CTA to make it easier for potential clients to reach out to them.
They have solid social proof that confirms their expertise. Take inspiration from the YLaw Group, and incorporate even the slightest accomplishments you have in your firm’s website to establish credibility.
A High-Quality Law Firm Website Design Is Key to Internet Success
Building a website from scratch isn’t easy — and it’s not always fun. But it’s an essential factor for any law firm’s online success.
In today’s digital world, it isn’t enough to buy a domain and regurgitate copy. Search engines like Google are hot, being used over 5.4 billion times per day.
Get on par with your competitors, but don’t settle for their levels — exceed them. Be confident in your differentiation factors and seek to satisfy your users first.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, always go back to the golden rule: users first.
Once you nail your site’s user experience, you can always return to implement more advanced marketing strategies and web design techniques.