Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common
For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.
Your website is not perfect and never will be. It should be a constantly changing and improving thing, not unlike a living and breathing organism. There are always improvements you can make, things you can change, and features you can add but determining what to do can be overwhelming and often times paralyzes the entire process.
Rather than a complete overhaul or extensive additional renovation, consider these five minor improvements for your site. Sometimes starting slowly with a few small improvements can put you on the path to greater goals.
Icons are visual indicators
Using icons is a great way to provide a small visual indicator of the type of content in that area. Icons and/or titles are especially useful in areas with paragraphs of text where a heading and image can provide a visual pause. Law firm websites are generally very heavy on text and can have long articles that are visually difficult to wade through. To break up all the content, be sure to use icons that coordinate with your website’s color scheme – it’s the minor details that make some designs so excellent.
Use thumbnail images for posts
Thumbnails make lists look so much more attractive and images communicate faster than words. Similar to using icons, using thumbnails allow your readers to scan through a page to find content more easily. Images break up the content and provide supporting emotion to your posts and are just another way to improve your overall user experience. As a side note, this requires that you have images in each post which is another requirement in my book (more about this here: Enhance Your Law Blog). Having thumbnails display on your posts is a simple setting in WordPress.
A few basic SEO ideas
I know, I know – there are a million articles about what you should be doing for SEO. At the very least make sure to check a few things. To keep it under five minutes, send your webmaster an email with these questions:
- Confirm that your website’s robots.txt allows search engines to index the homepage
- Confirm your website has a sitemap, and create and submit an XML Google Sitemap
- Insert your site’s main keywords in the <TITLE> of your homepage
- Insert your site’s main keywords in the <BODY> of your homepage
A few more in-depth articles can be found here:
Use a favicon to differentiate
A favicon, also known as a shortcut icon, website icon, URL icon, or bookmark icon is a small square icon associated with a particular website or webpage that shows up at the very top left corner of your screen as well as on your browser tabs. This minor detail is great for branding. Also, if you always have a number of open internet windows it makes it much easier to differentiate one page from another.
To create a favicon, visit the Favicon generator.
Put your footer to work
A footer will anchor your webpage with function and graphic impact. A strong footer has great contrast to differentiate it from the main content. Giving the footer a drastically darker (or lighter) background color steers your attention toward the content within the footer. Once you have their attention, be sure to include functional items to convey important information quickly and shortly. Contact information, address, sitemap, main sections are often be found in the footer. Other functional items such as RSS-feed, e-mail-subscription and tag clouds can be placed there too.
Some common elements you might consider for your footer include:
- site map
- contact info and/or contact form
- newsletter signup form
- search form
- social media buttons
- recent news or Tweets
- tag cloud
- summary of “about us” section
- featured work or content
- awards and accolades
For more ideas, a few examples of creative footers can be found here.