07 November 2018

Where Law Firm Web Design Goes Wrong

By John Hogg

Law firm web design is an interesting topic. For some lawyers it is their pride and joy and a shining example of all that is good at their firm, whilst for others they couldn't care less, they paid for a website five years ago and that's it, job done!

What is quite worrying is that I once saw a stat which said almost 40% of small law firms don't have a website. Even if this is only half true that's still a lot of firms without one of their best chances of bringing in new business and helping to grow their practice.

To bring a focus to the "things" we feel your law firm website needs to avoid, we have prepared our BIG LIST of where we often see Law Firm Web Design going wrong.  Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below.  Feel free to add any others you think we've missed out.

  1. Content Never Changes
    When was the last time you updated the content on your website? Is it an ancient text or do you regularly update it? Top Tip: a regular blog is a great way to achieve this!

  2. It’s All About You!
    “We do this. We do that. We won this. We are wonderful!” Is your website just about you?” Why not write the content on your website to your prospective clients and the challenges they suffer?

  3. Every Address & Fax Number Going
    OK, you may want to have your details on the Contact Us page but don’t take up one third of every screen on your website with an excessively deep footer showing every single one of your contact details.

  4. Scary Profile Pics
    You’re a professional firm and I'm sure you want to portray a professional image, so... don’t add any old picture from your family album or holiday snaps. Do it right and decide on a style and a theme which portrays your firm the best. Bonus Tip: please don't look as if you're about to be shot. Crack a smile - you are allowed to be human!

  5. Endless Lists
    Are your Service pages simply lists of bullet point after bullet point listing all the various sub sections for each particular area of the law? There is a time and a place for a list (yes, I know this is a list you're reading!), but try and think about who your clients are and write to the pains and challenges they face (and then demonstrate how you can solve these issues).

  6. Paragraphs & Paragraphs Of Text
    Lawyers love to draft as an old boss of mine once reminded me, however, leave the pages and pages of Legalease behind. Write succinct and engaging content that someone actually wants to read. Not pages and pages when only one page would do!

  7. Nothing To Interact/ Engage With
    Give your visitors something to do. Add interesting content on a regular basis, introduce a Survey, develop an online Calculator (have you checked out our Revenue Growth Calculator?), provide Content to download. Engage them so that they have a much better chance of becoming a client. Don’t just say, “Here I Am. I Am Great! Do Business With Me!”

  8. No Calls To Action
    Visitors aren’t going to get in touch with you if you don’t give them a reason to. Add several Calls to Action throughout your website to entice people to get in touch, download some information or book an appointment. If you like the sound of this, take the concept further forward and map out the conversion path you want you prospects to take as they arrive at your site, consume your content and then get in touch with you.

  9. No Differentiation
    How many law firm websites lead with, "We are one of the leading law firms in XYZ…”. This doesn’t inspire much confidence and if you think about it, it is actually telling visitors there are others out there who are also “leading” and could service their needs as well!

  10. No Journey
    Closely related to your conversion path, have you thought about the journey your visitor takes as they browse your website? Do your research and develop a plan so that your website addresses your visitors' needs. Top Tip:  there are 3 main steps in the Buyers' Journey (Awareness, Considersation & Decision) - make sure you write about each.

  11. Poor Navigation
    OK, you've mapped out Journeys and Conversion Paths for your website but what if your navigation isn't up to it. Make sure your navigation is clear so that visitors can easily get to where they want (and back again!).

  12. Unsecured
    If your website doesn't have https:// at the beginning and the little padlock icon then your site isn't secure leaving you and your visitors at risk. Even worse, browsers like Chrome and Safari will now be blocking your website so if someone tries to navigate to your page they will receive a warning page advising them not to visit your lovely website! (Did You Know: if you move your website hosting to us we provide a SSL certificate for free?)

  13. Unresponsive
    How many times a day do you glance at your mobile phone? (Don't worry, you are not alone!) This means your website needs to be "responsive" and can be viewed on mobile devices. Sounds simple but you would be amazed at how many websites still aren't responsive.

  14. Slow To Load
    A major signal for Google is how long it takes your website to load. Is your website set up correctly or is it bloated with huge images taking up bandwidth? Optimise your website and make sure it loads in at least 5 seconds. Do you think your visitors will hang around otherwise?

  15. No SEO
    We don't want to get too technical but make sure you conduct some Technical SEO on your website to ensure is at least presented properly to search engines for indexing, add some On Page SEO as well with meta descriptions, H1s, etc and try to build good quality links from reputable websites.

We hope this list has helped to shine a light on some of the areas where law firm websites can fall down? Have a look and get them fixed ASAP to give your firm the best possible chance of success. Your website probably isn't failing on all these counts, however, if there are any of these issues that you would like to resolve, or alternatively, if you would like to build a great website for your firm from the ground up, please get in touch for a quick chat to discuss your requirements.

You may also want to download a copy of our guide to Using Your Law Firm Website To Help Grow Your Legal Business.

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John Hogg

John is managing director of Enlighten IC and has been involved in legal marketing and technology marketing for over 25 years. He is passionate about how an inbound approach to marketing can help firms to drive leads and grow their business.

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