How Should I Structure My Law Firm Website’s Navigation?

by Dec 3, 2017

Your law firm website’s navigation is an important piece of running a successful web presence.

We often get questions from attorneys about how to develop a site navigation that makes sense.

Organizing your law firm website content can seem daunting. But, there are some simple ways to think about site navigation that can help you develop and arrange content that engages your potential clients and encourages them to reach out to you.

Why attorneys need user-friendly law firm website navigation

Potential clients are likely to enter your law firm’s website from a number of different pages.

But, once they’re there, where will they go?

If your law firm’s navigation is unclear, potential clients will have a hard time finding other information they need or that may be of interest to them. And, if that’s the case, they’re likely to leave your site and go elsewhere to find the information they’re looking for.

Good website content is one part of the user experience equation for your potential clients. But website navigation is another part of that.

Even if you’re publishing a large volume of useful content, your potential clients may turn away from your site if you arrange site information in a way that doesn’t make sense to them and/or doesn’t quickly provide them with the information that they need to know.

How do your potential clients consume law firm website content?

Thinking like your potential clients is valuable for a number of reasons. It helps you answer the questions that they’re most likely to ask. It also helps you focus on specific content for your audience.

When you think like your potential clients, you’ll be able to address their concerns in a way that helps them learn about their case or matter and encourages them to engage your law firm.

(For more on getting into the mindset of your potential clients, see our podcast on law firm client personas.)

Thinking like your potential clients is also useful when it comes to developing your law firm’s website navigation. How are they going to approach the content you write?

One method that often makes sense to potential clients is to arrange your site content in a cascading fashion from broad to specific.

This arrangement often works well because it helps a potential client quickly find and narrow in on topics of interest. It’s also a visual arrangement that we see in other everyday places, such as the grocery store:

If you’re looking for apples, you know that you’re not likely to find them at the deli counter or in the aisle for breakfast cereal. You’ll likely:

  • Walk to the produce section;
  • Find the fruit section;
  • And then narrow in on the apples.

Think about how confusing and inefficient a trip to the grocery store would be if every item had its own aisle.

The way items are grouped in the grocery store allows people to find what they need quickly and efficiently without too much extra effort. The same kind of principle can be applied to your site’s navigation.

An example of useful law firm site navigation

As an example, let’s look at a DUI attorney who is just beginning a law firm website. At first, this attorney might begin with a few practice area pages that serve as a broad overview, leaving room to add more content in the future.

At first, this website might contain just a few practice area pages. It might look something like this:

These pages might provide a broad but useful overview to potential clients. For example, the “DUI Penalties” page might provide a broad overview of the potential penalties for a DUI in the geographic area where you practice.

Developing pages and navigation over time

Over time, this DUI Penalties page might develop to include specific subpages for first, second, and third DUI penalties; the penalties for an underage DUI; professional licenses and DUIs; a page dedicated to license suspensions, and more.

Each of these subpages should include a high level of detail that educates potential clients about the subtopic that they’re interested in. Arranging topics in this way allows you to grow and develop your site over time in a way that makes sense to potential clients and works nicely in a law firm content plan, as well.

Here’s another example. On the “DUI Tests” page above, a new law firm website might provide a broad outline of what a person can expect if they’re pulled over by a police officer or stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.

But over time, the DUI tests page might develop to look like image below, providing detailed information about individual types of tests that a person might be subjected to:

Notice the efficiency of the groupings. Potential clients might get confused by this law firm website’s navigation if each subtopic was included in the top-level navigation, or grouped with an unrelated topic.

Instead, this arrangement allows a potential DUI client to quickly find the main topic, “DUI Tests” and then scan the grouping for the information that they’re interested in.

For more information on adding substantive practice area pages the right way, see our blog post, “Strategies For Growing Your Law Firm’s Web Presence.”

How will your law firm website’s navigation develop over time?

A crucial part of successful content marketing is a regular publication schedule. You should be publishing new and useful content for your potential clients often. As a result, your site size is likely to grow quite a bit over time.

It’s important to use good technology that lets you alter your site navigation as you develop a robust web presence. The LawLytics platform lets you easily add and edit new pages and change their arrangement on your site with just a few clicks.

When it comes to your site navigation, content planning is extremely valuable. It can help you see what pages you’ll be adding well in advance. That way, you can envision what your navigation will look like ahead of time as the site expands. Content planning also helps you keep up with accountabilities and deadlines — even if you’re the only one writing your website content.

For more information on law firm website content planning, you can listen to our content planning podcast episode.

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