You know you need a law firm website. It’s what comes next that isn’t always clear.
This guide will help you define a purpose for your law firm’s website, consider your value proposition, and learn basics about functionality, accessibility, and structure. We’ll also give you tips about how to use content marketing to increase exposure and the power of the call-to-action (CTA) and lead magnets. You’ll learn the importance of website design principles, where to start, and how to find help.
On this Page
Why a Website Matters
By understanding the importance of a high-quality law firm website, how to build a website that’s accessible and useful, plus the basic elements you need for success, you can convert your visitors into leads for your firm.
Potential clients seek out legal services online every day. For your law firm to draw in new clients and remain successful, a strong web presence is a must. The cornerstone of your web presence is your website, the place to demonstrate your authority and expertise, as well as drive traffic and inquiries for your law firm.
Most customers begin the buying process by conducting online research first. This is true for both eCommerce and service providers. Potential clients want to make an informed decision when choosing an attorney. Your website is one of the first places they’ll visit to see if you’re the right choice.
The Purpose of Law Firm Websites
Law firm websites serve many purposes. They share information about who you are, showcase your service areas, and offer potential clients a way to reach out for those services. Beyond that, your website should communicate what makes you unique—your value proposition—to your target client.
Your Unique Value Proposition
A value proposition defines the unique value you deliver to your clients that other attorneys don’t. It outlines the reasons why your client should choose you and should ring throughout your law firm website design. If you don’t know your unique value proposition, follow these steps.
- Identify your target client’s main concerns. Take some time to define your client’s main concerns. These concerns will depend on your main service areas as well as the client you want to attract. This is the perfect place to use your client persona or avatar.
- Define how your services solve these concerns by listing the benefits. Now, define how your services solve these concerns. List the benefits of your services instead of the features.
- Position yourself as the provider of the value. Using your website, position yourself as the provider of this unique value by placing it front and center on your home page and throughout your website.
Functionality & Accessibility
A website should be two things: both functional and accessible to all. Legal websites that don’t work scare away visitors, reducing the number of leads you receive.
How to Enhance the Functionality of Your Website
Functionality refers to the interactive parts of your website and the process a client must go through to find the information they’re looking for. Around 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. To avoid any negativity stemming from your website, start with simple functionality.
Here are some of the most important elements your law firm website design needs to function properly:
- Easy navigation. Your website navigation should be easy to understand and follow. For example, each page title should say exactly what your visitors can expect from the page. Place your navigation at the top of your website. For pages that have sub-pages, include those in drop-down menus tied to your main navigation.
- Clean sitemap. Include a sitemap which is a visual map of the pages on your website. This helps search engines, such as Google, crawl your website, which boosts your search engine optimization.
- Low scroll. Your website visitors don’t want to scroll forever to find what they’re looking for. Instead, they want to scan. Be mindful of the length of your website pages and keep scrolling to a minimum.
- Search function. If your visitors are looking for something specific on your website, they’ll often look for a search bar. Add a simple search function to help your audience find the information they need fast.
- Mobile-friendly design. Around 85% of consumers think a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than the desktop. Make sure your law firm website design is responsive, meaning it fits the screen size of different devices automatically.
Why You Should Create a Website with Accessibility in Mind
When creating your website, it’s critical to remove all barriers that may keep your users from having a great user experience. This means emphasizing accessibility, a practice that ensures users with disabilities and without can engage with your content seamlessly.
- Use alt text for your images. All images should include alt text so that screen readers can convey the image’s message to the user. If the image is for decoration purposes only, leave the alt text blank.
- Use headers. Used by screen readers for scanning, headers break up your content.
- Use captioning for all video content. Videos should have captioning, or a text-based, on-screen script.
- Add a skip navigation feature. Include a skip navigation feature that enables screen readers to skip reading the sometimes cumbersome navigation of a website.
- Make sure links have descriptive names. In-text links should be descriptive, defining exactly what the user can expect from the next page after clicking the link.
These tips are only the beginning. True accessibility requires an in-depth audit of your website from the inside out. To learn more about accessibility standards, search for the Web Accessibility Initiative.
The Basic Pages Your Law Firm Websites Need
To fulfill the purpose of communicating your unique value proposition as well as information about your firm and your services, there are a few basic pages you must have on your website. These pages include:
- Home. This page is probably the first place your visitors will land. It’s the best place to capture your audience’s attention and make a great first impression.
- About. The About page should communicate your mission, vision, and values as well as what makes you unique from other law firms in your practice area.
- Bio. The Bio page is about you, why you do what you do, who you do it for, and how you help your clients specifically.
- Services. The Services page is all about the services you deliver and how they benefit your clients.
- Contact. One of the most important pages on your website, the Contact page gives your visitors the chance to reach out to you for more information.
Grow Traffic with Online and Offline Referrals
Not all website traffic is the best traffic. You must generate qualified traffic to your website that’s ripe for conversion. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on your online and offline referrals.
Boost Your Online Referral Traffic
To boost your website’s qualified lead traffic, you must enhance your online referral process. Referral traffic comes from online sources such as other websites and social media. To boost your online referral traffic:
- Use online directories and review websites. Add your practice to online legal directories. Also, add your practice to online review websites such as Yelp. These websites showcase your practice to those searching for attorneys in their area. Plus, they’ll list your website for more information.
- Take advantage of social media. Yes, attorneys should also use social media. By sharing your website content consistently on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll generate traffic back to your website.
- Engage with online content by other sources. Engage with online content such as videos, social media posts, blogs, and more. For example, comment on a blog post that another attorney shared. Remember, make sure all your engagements add to the original content.
- Publish high-quality shareable content. Every time a client or social media follower shares your content, you’re exposed to potential clients. Make sure the content you’re producing is high-quality and worth sharing. For example, infographics perform well and are easily shared and consumed online.
Create an Offline Referral Program for Clients
Just like any other business out there, attorneys can add robust offline referral programs to their marketing strategy. To create an offline referral program:
- Choose your incentive. Decide what you’ll offer clients who successfully refer a new client to your practice. This can be as simple as a percentage off a retainer or as complex as entry into a client-based referral contest.
- Create a simple referral process. Make it easy for clients to turn in their referrals. For example, create a referral code new clients must enter into your website contact form. This will generate website traffic and capture warm leads.
- Implement a tracking tool. You’ll need to track these referrals for proper incentivizing. You can use the practice management software you currently use or adopt a new CRM tool. If you’re just starting on referrals, a simple Excel sheet may work best.
Testimonials and Online Reviews
Website visitors trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That’s why it’s important to feature testimonials on your website. To earn client testimonials, simply ask for them. Make it a part of your process. You can then add a dedicated page to your website for testimonials, feature them throughout other pages, or both.
Blog Posts, Podcasting, and Content Marketing
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves generating high-quality and useful content to stimulate interest in your services. Your website is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. It’s the content hub, the place where all other contents such as blog posts and podcasts lead back to.
The Importance of Having a Blog
Blogging is an essential part of your content marketing efforts, even as a law firm. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate information, which is critical to your clients. Businesses that post daily get 5 times more traffic than those who don’t. If that isn’t enough, blogging results in 55% more website visitors.
Attorneys are busy. We get it. Yet, the amount of time you spend on blogging will come back with an even greater return. It’s time to prioritize it.
- Schedule time for content creation. Make time for creating new blog posts by scheduling time on your calendar to do so. Carve out a few hours each week to plan your posts, write them, and schedule them to publish. Start with a couple of posts a week and then scale up.
- Recycle previous content. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Use previous content to generate new content. For example, take a previous blog and add more information to make it more in-depth. Or, expand on a topic from your website in a blog post.
- Outsource content creation. If you find that you simply can’t make it happen on your own, reach out for help. Outsource your content creation efforts to a content marketing agency or professional copywriter.
Use Podcasting to Increase Law Firm Websites Traffic
Around 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast and nearly one-quarter of Americans listen to podcasts weekly. Podcasts are easier ways to consume information while on-the-go, at work, or while relaxing at home.
Although an undertaking, at the most basic level, podcasts are simple to create. To get started, simply follow these quick-start steps:
- Define your topic. Decide what you’ll want to talk about on your podcast and come up with an enticing podcast name. Make sure you choose a unique name.
- Find a podcast host. You’ll want to find a website to use as a host for your podcasts. You can then choose to market your podcast directly from that website or your website.
- Purchase audio equipment. As a beginner podcaster, you’ll need a high-quality microphone, a sound recorder, and some video editing equipment.
- Record and edit your files. Once you’re set up and ready to go, you’ll need to record, edit, and save your audio files to MP3 format.
- Publish your podcast. Finally, you’ll need to publish your podcast on your website and submit them to podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
Blogging and podcasting are only two forms of content marketing you can use in your marketing strategy. As you learn and grow, continue to explore new forms such as:
- Social media
- Email marketing
Generating Leads and Inquiries from Your Law Firm Website
It’s not enough to have a solid website. You can increase your website traffic exponentially and still not see any benefits. To make your website work for you, you must use it to generate leads and inquiries for your law firm.
The Power of the Call-to-Action
Your law firm website visitors who are ready to take the next step with you need to know what that next step is. That’s where your CTAs come in. A call-to-action (CTA) is a tool used to inspire action from your website visitors.
Your website should have a contact page, as well as a CTA on every page. Your CTA may differ depending on your goals. Do you want to simply generate leads from clients looking for your legal services? Placing a contact button or contact form on your website pages might be enough. Or, if you want to generate email addresses for your email list, a CTA to sign up for your newsletter might be best. To create compelling CTAs:
- Keep them short and simple. CTAs should be concise, telling the visitor exactly what they’ll get when they follow through.
- Make them stand out. Use call-out boxes, pop-ups, headings, and more to make your CTA stand out from the rest of your webpage content.
- Use your power words. These words generate an emotional response which compels the reader to take the next step. For example, use words like inspiring, free, impressive, new, etc.
Using Lead Magnets
Another way to gather leads for legal websites is to take advantage of the lead magnet. These tools are also known as freebies and come in many forms including:
In exchange for a website visitor’s contact information, they’ll receive your lead magnet. The goal is to create lead magnets that are high-quality and extremely useful. Your visitors won’t give up their email address or phone number for subpar content. Once created, create CTAs on your website and blog that lead to the lead magnet form. It’s simple and effective.
Law Firm Website Design Principles
Law firm website design refers to the aesthetics of a website or the visual aspects involved in website creation. It includes the creation of the overall layout from images to text. Believe it or not, law firm website design can make or break your online presence. Website first impressions are mostly design-related and that first impression only lasts .05 seconds.
To make a great first impression using your website design, it’s critical to follow a few law firm website design principles.
- Keep it simple. All the design features on your website should serve a purpose. A cluttered design makes it difficult to consume your content. Don’t leave your audience searching through piles of graphics and visual elements. Keep your design simple.
- Create easy to follow navigation. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: create easy to follow navigation and place it near the top of your website. This helps your audience find what they’re looking for quickly.
- Follow an “F” pattern in your design. Most users follow and “F” pattern when reading content online. This means they read the top of the page first, down the left-side and then across the page again. Anything you want your audience to notice first should be in the top right-hand side of your page (such as your logo). The rest of your elements should follow the pattern.
- Emphasize readability. Use plenty of whitespace and spread visual elements out across the page. Use headings in your text as well as easy to read typography. Make sure to use good font sizes. A 16 px font is best for main body text.
- Stay on brand. Your website design should communicate your brand. Use your brand colors and your logo. Create images and elements that are consistent with your message. We recommend creating a brand style guide to use for designing your website and any future content.
Most clients look online before reaching out to a firm will visit your law firm website. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on leads that could mean the difference between success or struggle. Now’s the time to update a website that’s not converting or create one to get started.
Gain the Skills Required to Build a Successful Law Firm Websites
Creating legal websites takes skill and a bit of knowledge on how law firm website design and development work. Lucky for you, we have the experts in place to help you bring your new website to life. Visit our SEO and Marketing Product Review pages or use our SEO and Marketing Product Match Tool to find the right expert for you. To learn from other attorneys with years of experience and to start creating a website that converts, become a Lawyerist Insider today.