In modern times, the search for professional legal services usually begins online. What have we heard about first impressions – they last longer. Randomly, three out of four people admit they rate a company’s credibility based on its website’s design.
Your online marketing strategy should not be limited to digital advertising. Oftentimes, a potential client seeks your services because they have a problem. To these people, the ease and value of this first encounter is a measure of how well you can satisfy their specific needs.
A good website design is key to orchestrating an amazing client experience via the internet. If done properly, your law firm web design choices can clearly communicate the client’s main concerns, define your unique “selling point”, and position your services as the best solution.
By optimizing the design of your law firm website, you take better control over a target client’s journey. To build people’s trust in your services and gain new clients through your website you might want to consider the following:
- Make your websites responsive i.e. optimize it for mobile
- Make sure your website loads quickly
- Offer clear call-to-actions (CTA)
- Offer clear answers
- Focus on intuitive navigation
If your law firm website does not offer one or all of the following, then it is time to improve your website.
Main Purposes of Websites for Lawyers
Lawyer websites serve many purposes. These websites provide a medium to share information about who you are, highlight the services you offer, and offer target clients a way to access these services. A small law firm website design is often the first place your potential clients will visit. A website also helps to build credibility and trust.
A law firm website is also essential for any online marketing. Online marketing could be through social media, blog posts, SEO, and online advertising. A website is your salesperson that never takes a break. It works 24/7. It is therefore a very crucial business asset.
Reasons Why Your Law Firm Website’s Performance Is Bad
If your website is not performing as you expect it to, the first step is to diagnose the problem accurately. Generally, there are two reasons why your law firm website is not performing well.
- Your website does not attract a sufficient number of potential clients;
- Your website fails to convert viable potential clients into leads.
If your law firm’s website does not attract a sufficient number of qualified potential clients, nothing else you can do matters. Most times, this problem is due to poor search engine optimization (SEO) methods and/or buying into the wrong online client acquisition methods. Very often, this results in potential clients finding your competitor’s websites before they find yours.
On the other hand, if your website does attract qualified potential clients but they do not contact you, your website is failing. This problem is oftentimes due to the site design, the website’s content or both.
In most underperforming websites, content problems form the bulk of the problem. In search engine optimization (SEO), your website’s content is the most crucial element. SEO converts qualified visitors into engaged leads. Your website design is also important, as it is the first impression that many of your potential clients will have of you and your law firm.
How to Check if Your Law Firm Web Design Is Old
The first impression many of your potential clients will have about you and your law firm is your law firm’s website. In understanding how to design a law firm website, your website needs to create an emotional and intellectual connection with them. You need to design your website in a unique way so that your firm is set apart from competitors.
To determine if your law firm website is old, you might need to check out the following. You should consider updating your website if it:
Has Pop-up Ads:
People hate pop-ups, so you should try to eliminate them. Instead, use call-to-action (CTAs) on every page of your website and include compelling content to direct your website visitors.
Is not Mobile Friendly:
Do you know that people are five times more likely to leave a website that is not mobile-friendly? It is one thing for your website to be accessible on mobile devices; it is another thing for it to be mobile friendly. Does your website have tap-friendly buttons? Are the fonts legible enough? Does the layout allow visitors to call, buy or learn more about anything you offer?
Lacks a great User Experience (UX):
User experience defines how enjoyable it is for users to interact with your website. If you want to accomplish something with your law firm’s website, you need to optimize your website for a great user experience. User experience considers areas such as page speed and loading time, consistent message and design, well-placed calls to action, having a clean and uncluttered layout.
Does not include a way to share:
You should include social share buttons on your website so that visitors can share relevant information with other people. You can generate traffic to your website and gain new clients.
How to Improve Your Law Firm Website
In the previous section, we have discussed things to check out on your website to determine if it needs an upgrade. This section aims to discuss how to improve your law firm website. For slight improvements you may not need hiring specialist but when you need rankings, you may decide to hire marketer.
DIY or Hiring Professional?
Determining how much to spend on your law firm website usually depends on the industry and practice area you work in. For instance, you might only need a simple website if your law firm relies on word-of-mouth referrals. This kind of website usually includes your phone number, contact information, business name and other basic information. If on the other hand, there is a definite need to stand out from competing law firms, you might want to consider investing more into your general practice law firm website design.
Generally, there are two basic approaches to consider when setting up your website: Doing It Yourself (DIY) or hiring a professional web designer. For DIY websites, there are a number of tools available to set up your own law firm website for marginal cost, such as WordPress, JurisPage and Lawlytics. You can also Google law firm website best practices that will show you how marketers create websites for lawyers.
In hiring a professional web designer, you should note that there are diverse price ranges – from a few hundred bucks to as much as $100,000. For a small law firm website design, a developer should be able to create a comprehensive design scheme for a few thousand dollars.
Depending on the industry and practice area you work in, you can either choose the DIY route or pay a digital professional to create your website. You can also pay for an initial website build and then maintain it yourself – this could be cost-effective. Know that an investment in your website is an investment in your law firm’s growth.
Law Firm Website Marketing: How to Start
Marketing your law firm website is very important. If done properly, your law firm website will attract prospective clients and convert these potential clients into leads. Two important things to note are the high and low competitive areas of law and whether or not to have separate websites for different law firm practice areas.
High and Low Competitive Areas of Law
Law is a respected profession that has garnered many aspirants over the years. Due to this inflow of interest, law has become so competitive all over the world such that only the best thrive in it.
There are certain factors that are likely to affect the competitiveness that an area of law may bring in. Some of these factors include the geographical location of the legal practitioner, how good the legal practitioner is and the kind of law firm the legal practitioner works at.
With these factors in mind, the most competitive areas of law include Intellectual Property Law, Trial Lawyers, Chief Legal Officers, Judges and Law Professors. There is a dependence between budget and ranking in certain areas of the law. So before by hiring think about talking with marketer about your opportunities.
Separate Website for Different Law Firm Practice Areas
In understanding law firm website marketing, we might be faced with choosing between having a single website or having separate websites for different law firm practice areas.
Sometimes, it might be very complex to put practice areas side by side for instance DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Defense and Complex Government Contracts. This could even be more convoluted for small and solo law firms that may have extensive interests and experiences. Even though an attorney in your law firm may be great at more than one area of practice, it may prove difficult to create synergy between these two areas. Furthermore, these areas of practice may require different legal marketing strategies. It is therefore recommended to have separate websites for different practice areas. In some cases, EMD may work for some practices.