Potential clients seek out legal services online every day. According to the 2019 Legal Trends Report, 57% of consumers looked for a lawyer on their own. The most common research methods were using an online search engine (17%) and visiting a lawyer’s website (17%). Therefore, for your law firm to draw in new clients and remain successful, a strong web presence is a must.
The foundation of your web presence is your law firm website. Use it to demonstrate your authority and expertise, as well as drive traffic and inquiries for your law firm. By understanding the importance of a high-quality law firm website, you can convert your visitors into leads for your firm. Most customers begin the buying process by conducting online research first.
Potential clients want to make an informed decision when choosing an attorney. Hence, your website is one of the first places they’ll visit to see if you’re the right choice. Use the opportunity to clearly communicate who you are and showcase your service areas. Beyond that, demonstrate your unique value proposition to your target client. Finally, make your law firm website both functional and accessible to all.
The Essential Pages to Include in Your Website
There are a few basic pages you must include on your website. That way you will fulfill the purpose of communicating your USP, as well as the information about your services. 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. Moreover, what makes you unique in your practice area.
- Bio. This page is about you, why you do what you do, who you do it for. In short, how can you help your clients specifically.
- Services. State the services you deliver and how they benefit your clients.
- Contact. The Contact page gives your visitors the chance to reach out to you for more information. List your address, email, phone number and social media links. Also include a contact form, since the information you collect can help you build a list of potential leads for follow-up.
- Testimonials and online reviews. Website visitors trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations. Therefore, feature testimonials on your website. Ask your clients to be specific with what they liked about your service. Quote their reviews on your site, after you’ve got their permission.
- Fees. If a potential client is considering you, fees will be a key part of this consideration. Do you charge by the hour or do you charge a flat fee? You don’t have to put an exact number down unless your jurisdiction requires it. However, give your clients a rough idea of what they can expect to pay.
Showcase Your Expertise
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. Hence, it should be visible throughout your law firm website design. To identify your unique value proposition:
- Identify your target client’s main concerns. These concerns will depend on your main service areas as well as the client you want to attract. Hence, include your client persona in this step.
- Define how your services solve their concerns. List the benefits of your services instead of the features.
- Position yourself as an expert and the provider of your unique value proposition. Place it front and center on your home page and throughout your website.
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. Therefore, start with improving your website’s 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 state exactly what your visitors can expect from that page. Hence, place your navigation at the top of your website. For pages that have sub-pages, include drop-down menus tied to your main navigation.
- Clean sitemap. Include a visual map of the pages on your website. This helps search engines such as Google boost your search engine optimization.
- Low scroll. Provide your visitors with the possibility to scan your website quickly. Be mindful of the length of your website pages and keep scrolling to a minimum.
- Search function. Include a search bar to make it easy for the visitors who are looking for something specific on your website. Add a simple search function to help your audience find the information they need fast.
- Mobile-friendly design. Make sure your law firm website design is responsive, meaning it fits the screen size of different devices automatically.
Make your Website Accessible
Having an accessible website is key for connecting with any and all potential clients. There are technical ways to make your website accessible to people with disabilities. Some of them might have low vision and maybe use screen readers and the others with mobility concerns may be using alternatives to a mouse. 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. Include alt text in all images so that screen readers can convey the image’s message to the user.
- Use headers. Appropriate labels such as book titles, section titles chapter titles make it easier to find information. Aside from categorizing information visually, proper headings are good for SEO and they’re key for accessibility.
- 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.
- 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.
Grow Traffic with Online and Offline Referrals
Generate qualified traffic to your website that’s suitable 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, 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 and online review websites such as Yelp. These websites showcase your practice to those searching for attorneys in their area.
- Take advantage of 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 from 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.
- 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.
Create an Offline Referral Program for Clients
Attorneys have the ability to add offline referral programs to their marketing strategy. To create an offline referral program:
- Choose your incentive. Decide what you’ll offer to clients who successfully refer a new client to your practice. This can be as simple as a percentage of a retainer or entry into a client-based referral contest.
- Create a simple referral process. 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. Track your 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 out in referrals, a simple Excel sheet may work best.
Drive traffic to your website using SEO
The key to making sure your web page shows up when potential clients are searching is law firm SEO. SEO is a practice of driving more traffic to your law firm website. It is done by improving the site’s position in search engine results. Basically, SEO means using strategies to ensure your site ranks well in search engines and is easy to find.
The five basic steps for law firm SEO are:
- Write great content
- Optimize that content for keywords
- Promote your site’s content across the internet
- Establish and maintain your law firm’s online reputation
- Stay on top of technical issues
However, SEO can be extremely time-consuming and it evolves all the time. Therefore, consider hiring an expert for it can save you time and money in the long term.
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves generating high-quality and useful content to stimulate interest in your services. Your website should be the place where all other contents such as blog posts and podcasts lead back to.
Improve your Marketing Strategy with Blogging
Blogging is an essential part of your content marketing efforts. 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. Furthermore, blogging results in 55% more website visitors. Therefore, don’t overlook this step and utilize blogging in order to improve your content marketing strategy.
Use Podcasting to Increase Law Firm Websites Traffic
Podcasts are easier ways to consume information while on the go, at work, or while relaxing at home. To get started, you’ll need to define your topic and decide what you’ll want to talk about. Afterward, 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 own website. Furthermore, consider purchasing high-quality audio and some video editing equipment.
Record and edit your files and save them to MP3 format. Finally, publish your podcast on your website. In addition, submit it to podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. As you progress, continue to explore new forms such as E-books, Videos, Social media, Email marketing, Webinars, Infographics and more.
Generating Leads and Inquiries from Your Law Firm Websites
To make your website work for you, you must use it to generate leads and inquiries for your law firm. For example, call-to-action buttons and lead magnets.
The Power of the Call-to-Action
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 tell your visitors 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 that 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 from law firm websites is to take advantage of the lead magnet. These tools 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 high-quality and extremely useful lead magnets. Afterward, create CTAs on your website and blog that lead to the lead magnet form.
Law Firm Websites 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. Website first impressions are mostly design-related and that first impression only lasts 0.5 seconds. To make a great first impression using your website design, it’s critical to follow a few law firm website design principles.
- Keep your design 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.
- 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 on the top right-hand side of your page. The rest of your elements should follow the pattern.
- Place emphasis on readability. Use plenty of whitespaces 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.
- 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. Create a brand style guide to use for designing your website and any future content.
How much is best to spend on your law firm website may depend on the industry and practice area you work in. For example, if your law firm relies on word-of-mouth referrals and repeats business, you might only need a simple website. It can include your phone number, address, business name and other basic information to confirm your identity online.
If there’s a definite need to stand out from other law firms or attorneys, it might be worth investing more into your law firm’s website design. As a lawyer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your law firm conducts its legal marketing ethically. Know the rules of your jurisdiction and look to the American Bar Association’s model rules of professional conduct for guidance. This way, you’ll be able to stay compliant with your ethical obligations as an attorney while still growing your firm.