Have you ever clicked a link from an old Tweet or Facebook post, only to have it lead to a broken page? Or gone to a website that didn’t have the page with the info you searched for? Maybe you’ve visited a jumbled website that’s just impossible to navigate? So, frustrated and annoyed, you go back to the Google search page. You, my friend, have been a victim of bad website architecture.
What is Website Architecture?
Website architecture is how information is organized and prioritized on your website. It’s the hierarchical structure of your website pages, as indicated by internal linking. Your law firm’s site architecture should do two things. First, it should help potential clients easily find the information they’re looking for. Second, it should help search engines better understand your pages. You can think of website structure like a rooted tree graph, where the home page and other high-level content pages sprout branches. Then those branches then link to each other.
Good website architecture can help potential clients have a better user experience. It also helps you organize and plan for growth, improve your site’s search engine rankings, and sets you apart from other law firm websites. Planning your site architecture means you avoid having a jumbled website, broken links, or duplicate content down the line. It can also save you money in the long run.
Before you do anything related to site architecture, navigation, designing your pages, and other elements of your website, you need to prepare. Sit down, plan out, and really think about what you want from your website.
As you start thinking about your website, ask yourself a few questions. What do you really need and what do you need your future clients to understand about your practice? What kind of content do you want to include? How do you want to guide your clients there? What do you need, at a minimum, to launch your site?
Understanding the information you want to structure helps you plan the layout of your site. But to get started, you’ll want to have at least the following pages:
- A homepage
- An about page
- Content (practice areas, blog, etc.)
- A contact page
- A results page
How to Structure Your Site: The Basics
Structuring Your Site
Using the rooted tree graph model, or multi-level numbering in Word, start by listing your top-level pages. Think about the pages you may see on a website’s top menu bar:
- Practice Areas
Then ask, what subcategories would go under those? Practice Areas might include Personal Injury, Probate and Estate, and Family Law. Personal Injury subcategories might include Car Accidents, Premises Liability, and Workplace Accidents. All of these pages have unique and relevant information that should have their own page.
You don’t want to go too deep into subcategories. A good rule of thumb is for users to get to most of your pages within 3-4 clicks. (Advanced tip: This is called having flat architecture rather than deep architecture.)
Is using Word or writing out a tree graph not for you? There is software out there to help you visualize and create your website’s structure. Common options include Miro, Google Jamboard, and Lucidspark, but any whiteboard app can help you map your website architecture.
Adding Detail to Structure
After you’ve designed your basic structure and pages, it’s time to add detail. Ask, what is the intent of each page? Generally, each page will have one of three intents:
- Transactional – You want your visitor to take an action
- Informational – You want to educate your visitor on something
- Navigational – You want to guide your visitor somewhere else.
Once you’ve determined the intent of your pages, think about the following:
- What will the page URL for each page be?
- What content will be on each page?
- What SEO terms do you want each page to rank in?
- How do you want the pages to link?
- What do you want the top navigation to look like?
- What do you want your website to look like?
- Do you want to include an HTML and XML sitemap?
Building a Scalable Website
If this all sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is. Website architecture is not something you can afford to be careless about. Your website’s architecture is important from a user experience and SEO perspective. Good site architecture can mean the difference between getting a new client lead or having that potential client go somewhere else. But you don’t have to do this alone.
Postali is a full-service marketing agency that works exclusively with lawyers. They offer a host of products and services spanning website design and Development (including website architecture), SEO, content writing, PPC ads, and social media marketing. They also offer video and photo production, and even direct mail campaigns. While you can choose which services you’d like, they also offer packages to help your firm grow based on your firm’s needs.
Postali prides itself on being an extension of your team to achieve the best possible results for your firm. They strive to always provide services and advice that is in the best interest of your goals, regardless of how much they may benefit. So if you’re looking for a reliable partner in structuring, building, and designing a custom site for your law firm, Postali may be a great fit for you.
Want to learn more about the importance of a results page, how a page differs from a blog, and advanced tips on website architecture? Watch as Jim Christy, CEO of Postali, chats with Legal Tech Advisor Zack Glaser. They talk about how to plan your website for scalability, usability, and with SEO in mind. Take a look at the video below to check out their discussion!
How to Get It
If you’d like to learn more about Postali and how it can help you scale your website and practice, check out postali.com/lawyerist.
Want to learn even more about Postali? Check out our full review, where you can see a features list, other demo videos, and community comments. Remember that Lawyerist readers get an affinity benefit through the review page.
Last updated September 9th, 2022