Posted at May 15, 2019 12:13:00 PM by thatagency | Share
Law firm website design faces some tough obstacles. The competition is fierce and there's a real danger of looking too much like everyone else's site. That won't get you noticed. At the same time, it's hard to stand out without seeming gimmicky. That gets you noticed in the wrong ways. The best law firm websites deliver information in a straightforward way, and look visually unique without seeming unprofessional. That's easy enough to say. How do you actually get there?
1. Simple design doesn't mean template design
It seems like the simplest design would be to work with a template. It's also cheap. The downside of this is that this template looks exactly like all the other websites that use a similar template. There's so much information and advertising online that people learn to filter information out very effectively. Something that looks like everything else will get subconsciously thrown into a pile that includes a bunch of similar looking, cheap junk.
Simple design doesn't mean basic design. It can take a high level of expertise and experience to craft a website that's simple yet still contains a large amount of information. You need to translate everything your firm is about in one digital resource, and it has to compel visitors to contact you to learn more.
2. You're a law firm, not just one lawyer
Start with this. Many law firms include on the home page of their websites an image of one stern-looking male lawyer on one side of the page, and text on the other side. More information might be listed below, perhaps too much. There's nothing wrong with that. It's effective. It's also a third of law firm websites.
Here's an alternative approach. You're a law firm, not just one lawyer. You work to build your personal brand, but many people looking for a lawyer these days want to be supported by a team. Your team likely has women and men of a diverse range of backgrounds. That range of backgrounds will appeal to a more diverse range of clients. It's also OK to smile. Your website's home page is like answering the front door. You want to invite someone in and make them feel welcome. It's still their decision whether to cross the threshold.
3. Work with a professional photographer
Having a professional photographer will make a world of difference. Obviously, you know to hire one for your home page image. Yet, you'd be surprised at the amount of law firms that use a variety of other images that are just taken around the office to fill in the visual side of their website.
If you work with a professional web design agency, they'll know the right photographer to bring in or they'll have one on staff. They'll also be able to identify the right head shots that capture the correct tone for your website.
4. Avoid easy rejections
Easy rejections are when some element of a law firm website design turns someone away. It has nothing to do with the substance of your law firm or its website. It has to do with layout and copy editing. An image that seems out of place communicates a lack of attention to detail. A word spelled wrong raises a red flag in the mind of a potential client. Text that includes too much shadowing can be hard to read – especially for older visitors.
These are each simple to avoid. The problem is how many of these easy rejections there are. When you also factor in the range of devices people use to access the website, you need to make sure that your site is presented correctly on all of them. Even if you clean up 99% of these easy rejections, you'll still have a few remaining. It takes an experienced eye that knows where to look and how to achieve this level of editing in an efficient way.
5. Loading times will turn clients away
If your website contains too many moving parts that make it take too long to load, a potential client will go back to Google to click on the next website. Even a five-second extra delay can make someone frustrated and turn back.
If you have a graphically intense website design, you need to make sure you have the bandwidth and infrastructure to support it. These won't be the least expensive hosting options. A clean design doesn't necessarily demand this, and chances are you don't need all the graphical intensity you think you do. If you want to evaluate loading times, use Google's PageSpeed Tool to compare how quickly two different sites load.
6. Attorney profiles should be front and center
Don't make people dig to find your services or your attorney profiles. These are the two elements they're seeking out most immediately. They should be the sections that are easiest to find visually, and they should load quickly.
These pages should always include an image of the attorney, but they shouldn't include a lot of extra visual information. This confuses the eye. When potential clients click through, their eyes should be able to find relevant information very quickly. Negative space is your friend. It helps to separate different sections and pieces of information. Don't feel like you have to fill up every inch of the screen. When you click through, your eye should land on separate, distinct sections that each communicate the most important information a client would be seeking.
7. Use a web design agency with experience
These are the places to start. Look at the best law firm websites you know and ask what elements make you admire them. Which elements make you click further without thinking? What seems trustworthy and consistent in their design? Now ask those same questions to someone you know outside of the industry. What do they like about those sites? What do they think of yours? Get honest answers.
Finally, don't be afraid to use a professional web design agency. Make sure they're experienced in law firm website design specifically. Ask to see what they've designed for others and whether you like it. This is one of the best investments you can make. When people need someone experienced in the law, they turn to you because you're an expert in the law. When law firms need someone experienced in web design, they turn to an agency that's an expert in law firm website design.