3 Fundamental Design Principles for Building a Lawyer Website
In this article, we will explore the essential components that every lawyer website should include to attract leads and convert them into clients. From design and navigation to content and SEO, every detail is critical if you want to take your legal practice to new heights.
In today’s digital age, having an online presence is crucial for businesses in every industry. Whether you’re a real estate agency or a financial institution, consumers mostly turn to the Internet when searching for professional services.
Law firms are no exception. A website is essential for every law firm, regardless of its size. It serves as the initial point of contact for potential clients and can also serve as a powerful marketing tool to showcase your business.
Websites are especially valuable for smaller law firms that may not have extensive resources to compete with larger legal practices. A well-designed website can attract organic traffic without the need for expensive advertising campaigns.
Once you recognize the importance of having a website for your law firm, there are two common approaches to consider.
Option 1: Use a CMS / Page Builder
If you have some knowledge of web development, you can leverage content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or page builders like Squarespace. These tools simplify the process of building a lawyer website, even for those with no prior experience.
WordPress offers a wide range of free and premium themes specifically designed for law firms. Simply choose a theme that aligns with your brand and customize it accordingly. You can also enhance your website’s functionality by adding plugins, such as Google Analytics, to gain insights into your visitors’ behavior.
Using a CMS or page builder to create your own lawyer website is a convenient and cost-effective method. However, it does come with a few drawbacks:
- Websites built using these tools often look similar, lacking a unique appearance. To stand out from the competition, you may require assistance from professional developers and designers.
- These tools are best suited for simple websites. If you need advanced features or have a complex site structure, you may need to explore other options.
- Managing a WordPress website requires technical expertise. Without proper knowledge, you may encounter performance and security issues that could negatively impact your business.
The second option for developing a lawyer website is hiring professionals.
Option 2: Harness the Skills of Experienced Designers and Engineers
Depending on your business needs and plans, opting to have professionals build your lawyer website from scratch can be more or less expensive compared to other approaches. Although it may cost more upfront, the benefits it brings are certainly worth your investment of both money and time.
Here are some advantages of hiring professional developers for your lawyer website:
- You will have a unique website built following the best UX and UI design practices. This will enhance the user experience and encourage visitors to stay longer on your site, resulting in more organic traffic and better search engine visibility.
- Specific features can be implemented directly into the core of your website, eliminating the need to rely on third-party tools that may not be regularly updated and could lead to errors and crashes.
- Your dedicated lawyer website development team will ensure optimal performance, minimizing page load times. Slow-loading pages are a common cause of high bounce rates, and by addressing this issue, you can retain more visitors.
The Site Slinger, with over 16 years of experience, has successfully built numerous websites for law firms of various sizes and complexities. If you choose to follow the custom approach, our team is ready to share our unrivaled expertise with you.
Regardless of the method you ultimately choose to build your law firm’s website, there are certain design considerations that cannot be ignored. Let’s explore these further.
3 Essential Design Guidelines for Building a Lawyer Website
Ensure Smooth and Effortless Navigation
Have you ever found yourself in a sprawling building, trying to locate a specific law firm without any guidance or directory? The frustrating experience of wandering through floors and scanning door plates is far from convenient.
The same holds true for a lawyer website. If your navigation is confusing and difficult to follow, it will only frustrate your visitors, leading them to leave your site for good.
Here are some crucial rules to adhere to when it comes to website navigation:
- Keep your menus concise and straightforward. Limit the number of submenus under each main navigation item. Ideally, your main navbar should feature links to the most essential pages, such as Practice Areas, Attorney Profiles, Cases, and more.
- Ensure that the main navigation bar is present on every page of your law firm website. This allows visitors to seamlessly switch between different pages at any point.
- Consider incorporating a local search box within the main navigation bar, especially if your law firm offers multiple services and employs a large number of attorneys.
User-friendly lawyer websites not only provide a great user experience but also receive higher rankings from search engines like Bing. Such websites are easily indexed by search engine robots, enhancing your visibility online.
If you find it challenging to design the optimal layout and navigation for your lawyer website, our team of expert UX designers is always available to assist you with this crucial task.
Give Utmost Importance to the Visual Representation of Your Legal Business
No matter how impeccable the navigation, layout, and content of your law firm website may be, neglecting its visual representation will render it less valuable as an online resource.
The primary objective of building your lawyer website is to establish unwavering trust with potential clients. While a multitude of words can attempt to demonstrate this, nothing compares to the impact of a perfectly captured photo of your team or an engaging video showcasing your triumphs in resolved cases.
Exceptional visuals are indispensable for a law firm website. Here’s what you should know about this aspect of lawyer website development:
- Use original, high-quality photographs. When visitors encounter real individuals in a genuine business environment, their confidence in your skills and competence grows. However, this task is best entrusted to a professional photographer, even if it comes at a cost.
- Exercise caution when using images from online photo banks. The Internet is flooded with readily available photos that can be purchased from premium sites or obtained for free from various platforms. Approach these images with skepticism as prospects can discern their lack of authenticity. It’s unwise to present an attorney hiding behind someone else’s identity.
- Extend your visuals beyond the confines of your office. While a photo of your team smiling at their desks is commendable, it’s vital to showcase a broader context in which your legal business operates.
For instance, if your office is based in New York City, include a high-resolution, original image of the Statue of Liberty, or if you work in San Francisco, feature the Golden Gate Bridge. This demonstrates to prospective clients that you possess knowledge of local intricacies and can better assist them with their “home-grown” legal concerns.
- Harness the power of video in crafting your lawyer website. This medium allows you to bridge geographical distances and connect with clients. A well-executed video where you address common questions or explain why your law firm stands above the rest holds more weight than a hundred pages of text. Additionally, consider incorporating a professional loop video footage of your office in the website header.
- Optimize your images for online use. One drawback of high-quality visuals is their potential to hamper page loading speed, a critical factor for any business website. To mitigate this, ensure all images are optimized for the Internet using tools like this. If you find this task challenging, our developers are ready to lend their expertise.
Enable Various Communication Channels to Engage Your Prospects
When developing your lawyer website, it’s crucial to provide multiple contact options for potential clients. After incorporating captivating visuals, user-friendly navigation, and compelling content, it’s natural that your prospects will want to connect with you.
A vital design principle for attorneys’ websites is to offer several touch points throughout the pages. Here are the essential ones:
- Prominently display your physical address, email address, and phone number not only in the header but also on Attorney Profile, Services, Cases, and other significant pages. This ensures that visitors easily find your contact details when they come across a lawyer’s qualifications that meet their specific needs, prompting them to call and become potential leads.
- Include a contact form positioned preferably at the top of each page, typically on the right-hand side. Placing it below the fold may cause visitors to miss it, resulting in lost lead opportunities. Keep the form concise, asking for essential contact information like name, email address, and phone number. Once the prospect reaches out, you can gather more details personally.
- Incorporate a live chat feature to capture leads effectively. By answering visitors’ questions in real-time, you establish yourself as a trustworthy provider who genuinely cares about your clients. If your lawyer website is built on WordPress, explore various plugins that offer live chat functionality, such as LiveChat.
- Integrate social media buttons across all pages of your website. In today’s digital landscape, it’s essential for law firms and potential clients to have a presence on platforms like Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). By including these buttons, you make it easy for prospects to visit your social media accounts and engage with your brand.
- Use call-to-action (CTA) buttons as another means of contact. For instance, clicking on the “GET A CONSULTATION” button can open an email form or initiate a live chat. Alternatively, it can redirect visitors to a dedicated contact page where they can provide more detailed information about their case. When incorporating CTA buttons, remember the following:
- Limit each page to one clear call-to-action to avoid confusion.
- Make sure the CTA button stands out from other elements on the page, either by increasing its size or using a distinct color.
- Craft meaningful and precise CTAs, such as “GET LEGAL ADVICE NOW” instead of a generic “CONTACT US” message.
By enabling various communication channels, you increase the chances of connecting with potential clients and converting them into valuable leads.
Creating a lawyer website is a smart decision. It helps legal businesses attract clients and leads with ease. The success or failure of a law firm website depends on various factors, with proper design being one of the most important.
The three design principles discussed above are just a glimpse into the many considerations for a lawyer website. Every aspect must be taken seriously.
However, it is crucial to make a positive impact on visitors with top-notch visuals, provide easy navigation, and offer multiple ways to contact you. Additionally, filling the pages with engaging and informative content is essential too.
While using page builders can help create a basic website, seeking assistance from professional web developers will provide greater value in the long run. You’ll have a unique and impressive website with exceptional performance and desired functionality.