As many as 96% of all searches for an attorney begin online, making your website the first impression most potential clients get of your law firm. An identical percentage of people – 75% – say that they regularly judge the quality of a brand based on its website. As a result, the appearance and functionality of your site has the potential to define a client’s opinion of your firm long before you interact with them.
For example, a poorly designed site can give the impression that your firm doesn’t care how it is represented – which can translate as a similar lack of care regarding how you represent your clients. Similarly, a poorly functioning site can lead potential clients to believe that your firm is inferior as well. Thus, optimizing your firm’s website design is a digital marketing strategy that you just can’t afford to neglect.
Common Pitfalls of Law Firm Website Design
The legal market is highly competitive, and maintaining a successful presence online begins with successful web design. Some of the most important design must-haves are standard regardless of the type of business you operate and are key to effective SEO and client acquisition. Others are tailored to the type of firm you operate, as well as the nature of your practice areas.
However, across multiple firm types and practice areas, one issue persists – in a rush to establish an online presence, many law firms commit critical website errors that can wind up hurting the firm instead of helping it. Still, others fail to take essential steps to ensure the ongoing functionality and maintenance of their site. Read on for our top five common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.
Pitfall #1 – Assuming the Bare Minimum Will Cut It
At minimum, your law firm’s website should:
- Prominently feature your firm’s name
- Provide contact information, and
- Display your office’s address
The above information allows any potential clients that manage to find their way to your site to contact you directly for more information. However, as mentioned earlier, your website is a client’s first impression of your firm – and “bare minimum” is not the phrase you want potential clients to associate with your work.
Instead, you need to provide as much information as possible, including the strategic placement of your contact information. In addition, your website should reassure potential clients that you can help them. Neglecting to provide practice area information will likely cause them to abandon your site for another. Further, it is crucial to thoroughly explain each practice area, your fee structure, and then endeavor to answer as many potential client questions as possible before they navigate away from your page in favor of a competitor.
Pitfall #2 – Not Optimizing for SEO
While providing critical information to your potential clients is potentially the most important function of your law firm’s website, neither you nor your clients will benefit if your website does not appear prominently when users search for you. You must pay careful attention during the design process to ensure basic SEO-friendly design principles, including:
- Responsive design to ensure users can access your website from a mobile device
- Speed optimization, including avoiding redirects, minifying page elements, and limiting plugins
- Optimizing images to smooth and speed loading
In addition, your firm’s website should contain high-quality content to draw users to your site and provide potential for linkbacks from other pages. Content not only serves to help your users but allows proper indexing by Google and enables you to add relevant keywords that will boost your page in the search engine results.
Pitfall #3 – Failing to Update Your Website
Although you may be satisfied with your firm’s current website, a common mistake made by many law firm owners is failing to make necessary updates as time goes on. First and foremost, adjusting your website’s back-end as Google releases changes to its ranking requirements can help you stay on top of your SEO. In addition, you’ll also capture security updates and patches as soon as they are released, reassuring clients their information will remain safe.
Further, regularly addressing the content you provide – both by updating your landing page copy and by adding new and updated blog content – ensures you are providing current, useful content that helps your user and incorporating the most relevant keywords. Even more importantly, your website will not appear stagnant or stale to Google’s crawlers. Finally, occasionally updating your website’s visuals will ensure your site appears fresh and professional.
Pitfall #4 – Not Targeting Your Ideal Audience
Law firm websites should be as unique as the firms they represent. However, creating a generic website risks much more than failing to represent your brand authentically – you also stand to miss capturing the attention of your most important audience, as well. Prominently feature your specialties, so potential clients instantly know they’re in the right place within seconds of accessing your site and incorporate targeted keywords that your audience commonly searches.
Then, consider the types of clients you serve and tailor design elements like images, color schemes, and typography to reflect it. If you practice primarily in entertainment law, consider using images of local landmarks that reflect the entertainment industry. For family law, consider an approach that humanizes your attorneys.
Pitfall #5 – Neglecting Your Calls to Action
While appearing near the top of the SERP, providing essential information, and appealing to your target audience are all important, none of these factors matter if you cannot get your users to convert into clients. In fact, the entire end goal of your website is to achieve conversions in the form of a potential client contacting you and requesting a consultation.
However, featuring your contact information front and center is only the first step. You’ll also need to include other encouragements to convert, in the form of calls to action on your blog posts and landing pages, contact forms where clients can request more information, and action buttons for easy navigation to contact pages. In addition, you may also consider adding a chatbox to provide opportunities for contact without ever leaving the page.
Need Help? Consider a Professional Law Firm Website Design Company
At the end of the day, proper attention to website design for your law firm takes an enormous amount of time, dedication, and know-how. As a busy attorney concerned with the growth of your law firm, the above pitfalls and more have the potential to find their way into your website.
Fortunately, consulting with a professional website design team can help you ensure your website not only avoids these pitfalls but functions optimally for your firm. More Business Agency’s web design team will craft a custom-created, highly-functional website that helps you achieve your conversion goals and supplement healthy growth for your firm. For more information about our website design services, contact us online, or call