For nine years, we have been finding examples of the best law firm websites from numerous nominations. Our selection criteria include best practices for website design, basic search engine optimization, and website security.

The Best Law Firm Websites of 2018

See the best law firm websites of 2018

Best Practices for Law Firm Websites

Good design is the foundation of a website that brings in business. Here’s are the best practices we have identified over the years:

  1. Start with a well defined goal.
  2. Highlight your call to action.
  3. Focus on your client-centered value proposition.
  4. Welcome mobile devices with responsive design.
  5. Avoid visual clutter.
  6. Use bold colors and striking images.
  7. Take advantage of typography.
  8. Design for accessibility.
  9. Optimize for search engines.
  10. Secure your website.

You should follow these best practices when building a website, and then you should experiment, evaluate, and update your website based on what you learn. The most effective websites evolve over time based on objective data.

For more about these best practices and how to implement them on your website, get our guide, 10 Things the Best Website Designs Have in Common.

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The Winners

About the Contest and Judging

Our approach to judging has evolved over the years to include more objective criteria. Starting in 2018, we judged in two stages. First, we collected data about the nominations to eliminate sites that weren’t real contenders for the top 10. After all, it doesn’t matter how great a site looks if nobody can find it, or if it is difficult or risky to use. So some really beautiful websites didn’t make it past the elimination round. Here are the objective criteria we used:

  • Mobile-friendliness. We used Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to determine mobile friendliness. Sites that were rated not mobile-friendly were retested, then eliminated.
  • SSL certificate. Websites collect information about visitors, with and without their knowledge, which is why law firm websites in particular should be secured with SSL. We visited each site to determine whether it had a valid SSL certificate. Sites without a valid SSL certificate, or with SSL errors, were eliminated.
  • Accessibility. According to the US Census, nearly 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, and it is safe to assume many of them hire lawyers for many of the same reasons the other 4 in 5 Americans do. So law firm websites should be accessible. We used the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool to look for accessibility errors. It’s worth noting that since many accessibility errors are also SEO errors, this test is also a proxy (albeit an imperfect one) for search engine optimization. Sites with more than 20 errors were eliminated—although that’s probably too forgiving. (On the egregious end of the scale, one site had 133 accessibility errors!)
  • (Very) basic SEO. It’s not practical to do a full SEO audit of 200+ websites, but we do check one of the most basic elements, the homepage <title> tag, for some evidence of customization. Sites still using “Home” in the title tag—the default in popular website platforms like WordPress—were eliminated.
  • Homepage call to action. We looked for a call to action on the home page. We gave a check mark to prominently placed phone numbers and contact forms. We did not give a check mark to “learn more” buttons. Sites without a call to action were eliminated.
  • Page load speed. We used GTmetrix to analyze page load speed, and DOM interactive as the marker. DOM interactive should represent the time someone has to wait before clicking a link or starting to fill out a contact form. Sites that took more than 2 seconds to DOM interactive were retested, then eliminated.
  • Blocking pop-ups. Pop-ups that block the website or make it difficult to use are bad for users and for SEO. We visited each site to check for pop-ups blocking useful page elements, and eliminated them. Sites with blocking pop-ups were eliminated.

Second, we handed the remaining sites over to our panel of experts for subjective rating. We asked our panel of judges to rate the sites subjectively, and include these criteria when doing so:

  • A well-defined goal.
  • A clear call to action.
  • A client-centered value proposition.
  • Clean design.
  • Bold colors and striking images.
  • Great typography.

Thanks to our experts, Karin Conroy, Gyi Tsakalakis, Andrew Cabasso, and Cari Twitchell, for their help!

Interested in submitting your website to next year’s contest? Look for our call for nominations the first week in January.