Law firm website design is an interesting topic. For some lawyers their website 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 lawyer website needs to avoid, we have prepared our BIG LIST of where we often see Law Firm Website Design going wrong. Check it out and let us know what you think. Feel free to add any others you think we've missed out...
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!
It’s All About You!
“We do this. We do that. We won this. We are wonderful!” Is your law firm website just about you?” Why not write the content on your website to your prospective clients and answer the challenges they suffer?
Every Address & Fax Number Going
OK, you may want to have all your details on the Contact Us page but don’t take up one third of every screen on your legal website with an excessively deep footer showing absolutely every single detail.
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 law firm best.
Bonus Tip: please don't look as if you're about to be shot either. Why not crack a smile and show you are a fully paid up member of the human race?
Are your Service pages just full of bullet points? There is a time and a place for a list (and yes, I know this is a list you're reading!), but try and think about who your clients are and write about the pains and challenges they face (and then demonstrate how you can solve these issues). Don't just list the relevant legal areas.
Paragraphs & Paragraphs Of Text
Lawyers love to draft as an old boss of mine once reminded me, however, leave the pages of Legalease behind. Write succinct and engaging content that someone would actually want to read. And less is definitely more - why write 3,000 words when 1,200 will do?
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 (Psst have you checked out our Interactive Growth Calculator?); or offer more detailed Content to download. Engage your audience and they will be more likely to become a client. Don’t just say, “Here I Am. I Am Great! Do Business With Me!”
No Calls To Action
Visitors aren’t going to get in touch with you if you don’t give them a reason. Add several Calls to Action throughout your law firm 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 by mapping out the conversion path you want your prospects to take as they arrive at your site, consume your content and get in touch to find out more.
How many lawyer websites lead with, "We are one of the leading law firms in XYZ…”. This doesn’t really impress people as everyone is saying it, 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!
Closely related to your conversion path, have you thought about the journey your visitor takes as they browse your legal website? Do your research and develop a plan so that your law firm website addresses the needs of your visitors.
Top Tip: there are 3 main steps in the Buyers' Journey (Awareness, Consideration & Decision) - make sure you write about each of them.
OK, you've mapped out Journeys and Conversion Paths for your legal 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!).
If your law firm website doesn't have https:// at the beginning and the little padlock icon then your website isn't secure leaving you and your visitors at risk. Even worse, browsers like Chrome and Safari will now be blocking your law firm's website so if someone tries to navigate to your page they will receive a warning page advising them not to visit your lovely new website!
Did You Know: if you move your lawyer website hosting to us we will provide a SSL certificate for free?
How many times a day do you glance at your mobile phone? (Don't worry, you are not alone!) This means your law firm website design needs to be "responsive" and have the ability to be viewed properly on mobile devices. Sounds simple but you would be amazed at how many legal websites aren't!
Slow To Load
A major signal for Google is how long it takes your website to load. Is your law firm 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?
We don't want to get too technical but make sure you conduct some Technical SEO on your website to ensure it is at least presented properly to search engines for indexing. Also add some On Page SEO with good 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 website design can fall down? Have a look and get them fixed ASAP to give your firm the best possible chance of success.
Your legal website probably isn't failing on all these counts, however, if there are any of these issues that you would like to fix or you would just like to start from scratch with a brand new website, please get in touch for a quick chat to discuss your requirements.
You may also want to download a free copy of our guide How To Design The Best Lawyer Website. Click the link below to get your copy...