Part of a successful law firm website is understanding your potential clients’ intent when they visit your website. This intent should influence the choices you make for your website design and the content you share with your web visitors. For most potential clients visiting a law firm’s website, their intent is to learn more about their legal issue and to determine if you are the best choice to represent them.
Read on for five website elements your clients will thank you for and how to know if you need a new website.
Five website elements to best serve your clients
While it’s important for your law firm website to be engaging and attractive, the intent is different from entertainment or e-commerce sites and it should be organized accordingly. Formatting is the foundation of a successful legal website and should be considered a high priority in your website design.
To maximize the readability of your content and best serve the intent of your potential clients, refer to the following guidelines for formatting your website:
- Apply intuitive navigation. The information on your website should flow logically, and pages should be organized under pillar topics and subcategories. If it takes more than three clicks to get a desired page, you may need to simplify your navigation.
- Always use headers. Headers help Google index your pages and understand the relevance of your content to a search query. They’re also essential to readers to understand the key concepts of your web page. Additionally, they support the structure and style of your website.
- Prioritize important information. Your web visitors aren’t likely to read your web pages word for word, so make it easy to get the main idea of a page at a glance. (Kind of like we’re doing with this bulleted list.)
- Use internal linking. The use of links throughout your pages will aid in further exploration of your website, help to answer the questions of your potential clients, and keep them on your website longer.
- Choose a clear font and font color. The written content on your law firm’s website is important: It can attract new clients and convince them to reach out to you. As a result, it’s important that your content – and your site – look professional. To achieve this, use of well-designed fonts in highly readable colors.
A potential client’s first impression of your firm is important. Your website can help to quickly position you as the right choice with smart and informed visual elements. The following are three best practices when applying visual elements on your website.
- Less is better. For a potential client looking to find answers to their legal questions, they are in need of simple, straightforward web design. Your website should help guide them to answers and to a call-to-action with little to no obstruction in between. This includes the use of unnecessary and flashy design elements such as excessive image sliders, excessive videos, or the use of pop-up elements that block the reader from the page. Not only do these elements confuse and distract your web visitor, they can also slow down your page load speed and lead to more site bounces.
- Color matters. Color is useful for evoking emotion, facilitating a logical order of information, and directing your potential clients to a call-to-action. Understanding color and what it communicates to your potential clients or how it influences their experience is important to the success of your website.
- Use the right images and videos. Too many images on your website can overwhelm your web visitors or distract from the information you’re providing them. Low quality or generic images tend to feel unprofessional or give a negative first impression to your potential clients. Focus on displaying images on your website when appropriate and ensure they are high-quality, engaging, and relevant to the general page topic.
Part of crafting a positive user experience for your firm’s website is guiding your web visitors to a call-to-action (CTA) with clear visual and written cues. Your potential clients are looking for answers to their legal questions, and they need to know what their next step is after they decide to get in touch.
CTAs can be delivered a few ways throughout your website. For example, include a CTA in the final paragraph of every piece of written content. Click-to-call phone numbers tend to be the easiest way to link your phone number in your written content and can also be used in the header or footer of each web page for quick access. You can also provide web visitors with a quick online form to complete that will alert your firm of their interest in learning more about your services.
Potential clients appreciate modern, attractive websites. They also expect it. An outdated or stale website can ultimately overshadow the fact that you’re a competent and qualified attorney. If you’re looking to outperform your local competitors, it’s important to take the appearance of your website seriously.
One major element of keeping your website looking fresh is regularly posting new content. Fresh content will provide your potential clients with the most recent and relevant information they need when making a relevant search and in turn help you establish yourself as a trusted source of information. High-quality written content signals to Google that your website is of value to its users and helps those making relevant, local queries get matched with your site.
Consider keeping your website updated with new case results and positive client reviews as you get them. Case results are useful for potential clients to understand how you ‘ve helped others with similar legal issues and the work that you’re committed to doing to get them a desired result. Client reviews provide powerful validation for potential clients when they’re deciding whether you’re the best fit for their needs.
It’s also useful to keep your website design updated to always deliver the best possible user experience. Design refreshes with LawLytics are included with your membership and can be requested anytime, on demand. Whether you are making small changes or a total design overhaul, focus on design elements that create a positive emotional impact for your potential clients such as visibility, accessibility, and comprehensive formatting.
Although the back end of your website is not customer-facing, an optimized site is essential to its function and the user experience of your web visitors. LawLytics websites are optimized for page load speed and functionality, always up to date, secure, and backed up to eliminate maintenance concerns. If you are using a do-it-yourself website builder or want to look into potential issues on your website’s back end, check the following areas:
- 404/broken web pages. If you have a non-functioning link on your firm’s website, this can be frustrating to your potential clients and may lead them to abandon your site. Keep an eye out for malfunctioning links on your website.
- Page load speed. A fast-loading website is one of the best ways to help keep web visitors engaged with your website for longer. A good rule of thumb is ensure your pages load in under three seconds to avoid a web visitor abandoning your site. Be sure to check the load speed on mobile devices to confirm your website is working properly for mobile users.
- Website performance data. This data can tell you a lot about how well your website is functioning, but can also be used to help you make better marketing decisions. For example, if there’s a blog post that regularly gets a lot of traffic, this may be a sign to expand on that topic because there is already some interest generated by potential clients. Ways to expand on a topic include creating a blog series, video, social media series, ebook, email drip, or other marketing assets.
How to know when you need a new website
If you find any of the above elements to be missing from your website, there may be a way to fix this quickly and affordably. However, there are some instances where a new website is the best option for your business due to the complexity or severity of the issue:
- Your website has been penalized. If your website provider has engaged in unethical SEO “hacks” for your website such as link building or keyword stuffing, your website may be penalized by Google. These penalties will negatively affect your website’s ranking on Google and make it more difficult for potential clients to discover your website from relevant and local searches. If you or your website provider are able to identify and resolve the issue that prompted your penalty, you may be able to restore your website’s good standing with Google. However, this is not always easy to do and could take a considerable amount of time.
- Your website is unresponsive. A responsive website will be accessible and functional from any device. This is especially important for mobile users who are likely to make up a good portion of your website visitors. If your website is not optimized for mobile, you may be losing out on business and this should be addressed immediately.
- Your website provider has ghosted you or is difficult to work with. How easy or fast is it for you to make simple changes to your website? If your answer is hours, days, or weeks, you may need a new website provider. The time spent going back and forth with your website provider is time taken away from your clients and growing your business. This among other red flags with your marketing provider may be holding you back from reaching your marketing goals.
Your firm’s website is the foundation of your online marketing and can be a major needle-mover for growing your business. In an increasingly digital age, more and more of your potential clients will utilize your website to see answers to their legal questions and to learn more about you and your practice. A poorly designed website will be obvious to clients and may result in the loss of potential business.
LawLytics is the only done-for-you website solution that is specific to lawyers. We take care of building the website and optimizing any technical details so that you’re able to make any changes you need in real time. Our platform is simple to use and puts lawyers in control of their digital marketing while our support team provides you with all the help and resources you need to succeed online. If you’d like to learn more about how LawLytics can help you grow your business, schedule a demo with our team.