One of the most important aspects of effective law firm marketing is having a high quality, well-designed website. People make judgments about the quality and prestige of the company behind a website within a matter of seconds after landing on the homepage. Nothing is likely to turn away a prospective client like a poorly designed, dated-looking website. This post contains 5 design tips for law firm websites to help you maintain a professional image on the web and convert more web visitors into paying clients.
Design Tips for Law Firm Websites
Even if you’re a small firm or solo who does little to no online marketing, it’s still essential to have a website. Studies estimate that 38% of people begin their search for legal help online. Of the remaining 65% who look to a referral or other offline source first, a large percentage will still look for further information online before making a hiring decision.
Point being, your prospective clients are going to look you up online, and you need to have a good presence online so they can find you. You should be on Avvo, you should definitely have a good LinkedIn profile, and above all you need a website that looks good and encourages prospects to contact you.
These 5 design tips will give you some great pointers for a top notch law firm website:
1. Less is More
In the past, websites tended to look more like information directories with tons of navigation links, and large blocks of text all over the page. But as the internet has evolved, things are becoming much simpler and more design driven.
The primary benefit of a clean, simple design is that it helps focus visitors on your message. People don’t have the time or attention span to read every link or paragraph of text on your site. You’ve got to get to the point and immediately communicate your message in a simple and direct way.
Here are some tips to simplify your website design:
- Reduce the overall amount of text and combine text with images to convey your message
- Use large headers and contrasting colors to help people navigate the page
- Break up long paragraphs into shorter ones
- Write simple sentences that are easy to read and understand
- Utilize white space to separate content and make the site easier on the eyes
- Have a “one liner” value proposition that instantly tells people what you do
2. Professionalism Matters
Think about the feeling you get when you land on an unprofessional looking website, compared to a site with a sleek, modern appearance. You immediately make a reactive, subconscious judgment about the two companies behind the sites, regardless of the actual quality or professionalism of the products or services they offer.
Professionalism is especially important in the legal industry, where building trust and establishing relationships are the keys to growing your law practice. So it’s essential that your website conveys professionalism and trustworthiness. Using high resolution stock photos, an appealing color scheme, and professional looking typography are great ways to maintain a professional appearance on your website.
Don’t skimp and take photos of your office with your iPhone. And don’t use bright neon colors on dark backgrounds, or have silly looking fonts. These types of design choices are sure to make you come across as amateur and reduce the effectiveness of your website as a marketing tool.
3. Single Call to Action
There’s a strong trend in modern web design toward having a single call to action on each page. If you’ve noticed a lot of websites that have a big image as the background, some large text overlaying it, and a huge green button encouraging you to click, this is exactly the reason why.
People should not have to think to use your website. It should be as seamless as possible. Decide on the most important action you want every visitor to your website to take, and emphasize it to the point where it is incredibly obvious. Don’t give them many other options.
For a law firm, assuming your goal is retaining more clients, that single action would most likely be to contact you. So you should have big buttons saying “Contact Us” in multiple places. You should also consider using contrasting colors to accent these buttons and make them stand out from the rest of the page. There’s no such thing as being too obvious here.
4. Mobile Accessibility
Did you know that as of 2013, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their smartphones to go online? And also that 34% of mobile internet users use their smartphone as the primary means of going online over a computer?
If those stats don’t make it alarmingly clear that you need to make your website accessible on mobile devices, maybe this fact will get your attention: 60% of law firms either do not have mobile accessible websites or do not know whether their website is mobile-friendly or not. This means that you’ll be ahead of the pack if you are one of the few to have a website experience optimized for mobile.
But what does mobile accessibility actually mean? Will you have to maintain 2 different websites now? No. Fortunately, the trend of having separate mobile and desktop versions of a website was short-lived. The norm these days is responsive design.
Responsive web design just means that your website can detect the screen size of an incoming visitor, and adjust the layout and size of the elements accordingly. A responsive site literally scales down for optimal viewing on any device.
It’s tough to view a desktop-sized website on a mobile device. And if you’ve learned anything from the other web design principles in this post, you should realize why it’s important for your mobile website to look good, be easy to use, and have a strong call to action.
5. Quality Content and Proper Organization
Last but not least comes the actual content of the site, meaning the words on the page, the video introductions, the blog posts, the press stories, the attorney profiles, etc. When it comes to content, there are a few design tips to keep in mind, primarily around the type of content you provide, and the placement and use of content throughout the site.
The 3 most important website design tips for content are:
1) Don’t overdo it
This point goes back to the emphasis on simplicity in web design discussed above. It’s very possible to have too much content on your site, or content that is too high-level, dense, or cluttered for the average web visitor to actually want to read it.
Keep the amount of text on your primary web pages to a minimum. Break up any long paragraphs or large blocks of text with white space. Write short and simple sentences and avoid using legal jargon or highbrow vocabulary.
You want to encourage people to engage with your website and actually read your content. So it needs to be content that is tasteful and easy to read for the average person.
2) Structure content according to your goals
Your goal is most likely to get clients to hire you. But think about why visitors go to your website…it’s probably one of a few reasons:
Either they are (1) looking you up based on a referral, and they are already considering hiring you; (2) looking for a lawyer and found your website via search or some other source; (3) looking for free information that pertains to their current legal issue.
You should plan your website accordingly with content to address each different scenario. For instance, positive client reviews are great for establishing trust with new prospects, so they should be highlighted on the homepage.
On the other hand, blogposts, informational articles, and videos are great for generating traffic, and useful to visitors in the research phase, but not as important toward converting prospects into clients. This type of content should not be featured as prominently.
3) Focus on quality
Lastly, the quality of your content matters for several reasons. Quality content is important for establishing your credibility and professionalism. It’s also more likely to be shared on social media, and it’s good for search engine optimization and generating traffic.
You should spend considerable time writing and producing your website. This alone can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of your website. Although you may decide to outsource your website development and design, you should think twice before outsourcing your content. If you do, just be careful and make sure that you work with reputable people.
Need Website Help?
Now that you know our 5 design tips for law firm websites, you might be realizing some issues with your website that you would like to fix. If that’s the case, you’re in luck!
We’re offering FREE website reviews and consultations to our law firm blog readers. If you’d like help improving your web design, optimizing your website for mobile, or making it it more effective at bringing in new clients, please contact us for a free consultation.