Your law firm’s website is its most important marketing tool. Sure, you might get some word-of-mouth and social media referrals. But a large percentage of those people will go straight to your website to confirm your legitimacy before making contact.
The legal space is only getting more competitive. A good law firm website is an essential tool to generate and cultivate leads, which helps your firm grow. So it’s important to get the design of your website correct from the start.
If you’re creating a website from scratch or thinking about a re-design, it’s tempting to jump straight to the visual aspects. But there’s a lot more to it. Visitors of legal websites are usually dealing with pressing legal challenges and are searching for the advice of a highly-skilled professional. Your website must showcase that the firm has the experience and skill to help.
So, what makes the perfect law firm website? Here are some key components we believe are must-haves for every law firm website.
- Clean and Professional Design
According to Google, visitors form opinions about websites in less than a second. This means your law firm’s website needs to make an incredible first impression. Only after that will users take the time to engage with your content.
A poorly-designed website is often associated with feelings of mistrust by online users. In other words, if you can’t do this “right,” how can you be expected to solve their legal troubles? When a person arrives at a website they find unattractive, they’ll be quick to leave.
So the first order of business is to create a website that has a professional and clean design that reflects your law firm’s branding and instills confidence. It should have a visually appealing layout, use a consistent color scheme, and incorporate easy-to-read fonts.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For a law firm website to qualify as “perfect,” it must have comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO). This refers to the efforts necessary to achieve strong organic search engine rankings for keywords and phrases that will draw in your target audience and produce results.
SEO starts with keyword research, and it involves a lot of on-page and off-page activities. On your website, every page will need to be optimized using title tags and proper headings. There should be meta descriptions and proper permalinks for pages. Local SEO and off-page linking programs can improve overall rankings.
- User-Friendly Navigation
Several years ago, Google began emphasizing the user experience (UX). A big part of the UX is the ability of visitors to your law firm’s website to find what they need quickly. This requires user-friendly and intuitive navigation.
If your firm’s website is too difficult to navigate, you will lose visitors in favor of competitors. Visitors might land on your website for a variety of reasons — to learn more about a legal challenge, research a law firm recommended to them, or schedule an appointment for a consultation.
A good UX design can help visitors achieve their goals by making finding the information they need easy and seamless. Menus should be clear with logical organization for effortless navigation.
- Mobile-Friendly & Responsive Design
Smartphones and mobile devices comprise over 55% of the total browser usage worldwide. Your law firm’s website should be designed to be mobile-friendly and responsive. This means your site will appear professional and functional no matter what size screen or type of device the visitor uses. Also, websites designed for desktops tend to load slowly on smartphones. When you have a responsive design, this will enhance the user experience for everyone.
- Delay-Free Speed
Another aspect of delivering a positive user experience, which also happens to be one of Google’s search engine ranking factors, is website speed. And for good reason. Studies have shown that conversion rates drop as website load time increases.
Ideally, your law firm’s website needs to load in three seconds or less. Your website designer will use a variety of technical tools to speed up this process and prevent potential clients from abandoning their efforts.
- Website Accessibility
Continuing with the theme of delivering a stellar user experience, your law firm’s website must also be accessible. What does this mean? An accessible website provides solutions for anyone with limitations, such as poor eyesight or lack of mobility.
Google tends to reward accessible websites with better search engine rankings. Conversely, businesses that don’t make their sites accessible have faced lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Clear Legal Practice Areas
Most consumers aren’t well-versed in the law. They just know they have a problem and need help. Some aren’t even sure what type of attorney can or should take on their case. Your website should be crystal clear about the kinds of cases you handle.
You should state your legal practice areas in several different ways to avoid confusion. For example, you say you’re a “family law attorney.” But you’ll also want to emphasize that you handle divorces, child custody matters, adoptions, and anything else in that area of practice.
- Case Results
When a potential client is facing a legal challenge, they’re usually looking for a law firm that can produce results. If you have years of experience, have won hundreds of cases, or secured millions in compensation on behalf of past clients, you should say so explicitly on your website.
Many law firms dedicate a page on their sites to their firm’s outcomes and case results for clients. The more results you can post on your site, the greater impact it will have on building trust and getting prospects to choose your firm.
- Testimonials and Reviews
Another thing you want to list, in addition to talking about your past successes, is testimonials and reviews from prior clients. Consumers love reading online reviews, whether it’s to choose a restaurant, a new vacuum cleaner, or a personal injury lawyer.
Many resources are available for client reviews, including Google, Facebook, legal directories, and testimonials sent directly to your firm. Regardless of the source, you can dedicate a page or section of your website to provide social proof that backs up what you’re saying about your experience and capabilities.
- Calls-to-Action and Contact Info
Not every visitor to your law firm’s website will know what they should do next. This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come in. Throughout your website’s content, there should be prompts encouraging the reader to take some desired action, such as “call now to schedule an initial consultation.”
And if your visitor decides they want to contact you, don’t make them work too hard to do it. Your firm’s phone number and/or email link should be posted prominently on every page.
- Professional Photos
Having a website full of words alone isn’t going to get you the results you need. While there are a ton of image options for your law firm’s website, you need ones that are inspiring and produce results.
Your images should be of the highest quality possible. But you also want to avoid the same photos you’re likely to see on other legal websites, like gavels and law books. The photos you choose should also have a consistent look to go with your branding style.
- Attorney Profiles
Many consumers facing legal issues aren’t interested in hiring a law firm. They want to hire a lawyer. Your firm’s overall branding is important, but so is showcasing the individual backgrounds and accomplishments of each lawyer. Your website should include a section of attorney profiles that includes professional headshots, experience, qualifications, areas of practice, and any other relevant certifications or accolades.
- Educational Content
One of the best ways to attract visitors to your law firm’s website is through the use of educational content. Your firm’s blog, FAQs, and white papers can address a wide variety of common questions people have related to your practice areas.
This content also establishes your firm as an authority in its field, builds trust with prospects, and provides excellent SEO material for the search engines. Educational content should be an ongoing effort to ensure you are providing a fresh and engaging experience for your audience.
- Video Content
When it comes to building trust and rapport with potential clients, there’s no substitute for video content. Adding video content to your home page and blog that introduces your firm, explains various aspects of the law, and even relays testimonials, is a great way to reach an audience that prefers to consume information this way rather than read what you’ve written.
- Secure Website (SSL/TLS)
Finally, your law firm’s website will never be perfect if it isn’t secure. If you use contact forms or have a live chat feature, encryption is a must. Without an SSL certificate, hackers could intercept data sent to your firm, which jeopardizes your clients. Google also places value on having a secure website, so this could impact your search engine rankings.
Are You Ready to Create the Perfect Law Firm Website?
Planning for and creating a winning law firm website might seem like a major undertaking. But when you do it right, it can transform your business results. You’ll build awareness about your law firm’s brand, improve your search engine rankings, and convert more visitors into clients.
At Too Darn Loud Legal Marketing, we specialize in helping law firms get found and chosen in their designated markets. Our digital marketing specialists spend time getting to know your firm and its goals before customizing a strategy designed to produce results. We create award-winning law firm websites that present your firm’s face to the world and help grow your business. To get started or for more information, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.