Creating a Lawyer Website: 3 Essential Design Principles
Keep these important considerations in mind when creating a lawyer website
In this post, we discuss the basic elements that every law firm website should have in order to attract leads and convert them into сlients. From layout, navigation, and content to SEO and performance, every detail is crucial if you’re serious about taking your legal practice to a completely new level.
These days, no one argues the importance of online presence for every type of business. Whether it’s a real estate agency or a financial or insurance company, most consumers begin searching for professional services on the Internet before dialing a phone number or driving to the office.
Legal businesses are no exception. A website is extremely important for every law firm, large or small. It serves as the first point of contact for your prospective clients and can become a powerful marketing medium to put your business in the spotlight.
A website is particularly valuable for small-time attorneys, who don’t have lavish resources to put up a decent fight with legal behemoths. It allows them to draw more organic traffic without having to splash out money on paid advertising.
Once you realize how vital it is to build a website for a lawyer, there are two common ways to approach this task.
The Main Options for Creating a Lawyer Website
Lawyer Website Development Option #1: Use a CMS/Page Builder to Create a Site Yourself
Know something about web development? Then, leverage the power of a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or a page builder such as Squarespace. They considerably facilitate the process of building a lawyer website for those who have never done it before.
With WordPress, you can use tons of free and commercial themes crafted specifically for law firms. Here are some examples. Just pick one and tweak it to match your brand. You can also add appropriate plugins to make your website more functional. For instance, you can integrate Google Analytics to learn about your visitors’ on-site behavior and preferences.
Using a CMS or page builder to create a lawyer website with no help from outside is a convenient and cheap method. That being said, it does have some serious drawbacks:
- Many websites built this way look very much alike, with the same architectural blocks and identical styles. In order to give them a more unique appearance, assistance by professional WordPress developers and designers is required. This will allow you to differentiate your practice from others — a critical factor in the fiercely competitive legal business sector.
- You can normally create only a simple lawyer website with page builders. If you need a more sophisticated one-of-a-kind feature, or if your site is content-heavy and has a complicated structure, you’d better choose the method below.
- You need to be well-versed in setting up and managing WordPress. Lots of things can go wrong, from performance to security. If you can’t handle them yourself, you may lose visitors, and your business may suffer.
The alternative method is to entrust the entire building process to expert WordPress developers.
Lawyer Website Development Option #2: Use the Expertise of Professional Designers and Engineers
Depending on your business needs and plans, building a lawyer website by professionals from the ground up can be more or less expensive. It certainly costs more than the previous approach does. The benefits it brings you in the end, though, are well worth your money and time.
- You get a unique website built by following the best UX and UI design practices. Your prospects or clients will enjoy navigating through your site and stay longer on it. More organic traffic, better search engine visibility.
- You can have any specific feature implemented right in the core of your website instead of relying on third-party tools. The latter may not be regularly updated, leading to errors and crashes.
- Your lawyer website development team will always ensure the ideal performance of your resource. No one wants to wait for a page to load. This is one of the most common causes of high bounce rates.
The PSD2HTML developers have successfully built a large number of websites for law firms of various sizes and complexity throughout 16+ years of the company’s history. If you decide to go down the custom path, too, we’re always happy to share our unrivaled expertise with you.
No matter the method you ultimately choose to build a website for your law firm, there are certain design considerations you can’t ignore. Let’s take a look at these next.
Key Design Principles to Follow When Building a Lawyer Website
Let Your Visitors Move around Your Website Easily
Have you ever been in a large building with lots of offices and corridors? Suppose you’re looking for the office of a specific law firm without knowing its exact location inside the building. There’s no directory on the ground floor to tell you how you can find the office, so you have to walk from floor to floor scanning doorplates.
Doesn’t seem a convenient method to find what you need, right? The same goes for a lawyer website. If your navigation is confusing and hard-to-follow, this will annoy your visitors, and they will leave your site once and for all.
There are several important rules to follow as far as website navigation is concerned:
- Your menus should be as “shallow” as possible. There should be just several submenus for one main navigation item. Ideally, your main navbar should only comprise links to the most important pages on your site, such as the Practice Areas page, Attorney Profiles page, Cases page, and others.
- The main navigation bar should be present on every page of your law firm website. This will allow visitors to switch from one page to another at any time.
- You can also consider including a local search box in the main navigation bar. This might be a good idea if your law firm provides multiple services and employs a large number of attorneys.
Easy-to-navigate lawyer websites are not only great from a UX perspective. The likes of Bing also rank them high. This is because robots can index the content on such sites effortlessly.
If you find it hard to come up with the optimal layout and navigation when building your lawyer website, our expert UX designers are always ready to assist you with this task.
Take the Visual Representation of Your Legal Business Very Seriously
Your law firm website can have the best navigation, layout, and content in the world, but if you neglect the visual representation of your law firm, don’t expect much value from your online resource.
The main goal of building your lawyer website is to convince your prospective clients that they can trust you implicitly. You can write thousands of words trying to prove that, but they won’t be even remotely as effective as one perfectly shot photo of your team or an engaging video where you talk about your successfully resolved cases.
A law firm website can’t do without great visuals. Here’s what you need to know regarding this aspect of lawyer website development:
- Use original, high-quality photos. When your visitors see real people in a real business setting, it instills higher confidence in their skills and competence. Alas, the best way to approach this task is to hire a professional photographer. It may cost you a pretty penny, but the end result should justify these expenses.
- Use images from online photo banks sparingly. There are lots of photos readily available on the Internet. You can either purchase them on premium sites or download them without paying a cent from sites like this. Approach these images with caution. Your prospects will instantly realize that they are not authentic. Who wants to deal with an attorney hiding behind someone else’s identity?
- Extend your visuals beyond the office walls. A photo of your team smiling from behind their desks is all good and well. However, you should also show your visitors a broader setting in which you do your legal business. Place a high-resolution, original image of the Statue of Liberty if your office is located in New York City, for example, or of the Golden Gate Bridge if you live and work in San Francisco. This will show your prospective clients that you know the local specifics and, thus, can be more helpful in solving their “home-grown” legal problems.
- Leverage the power of video when creating a lawyer website. This is a great way to get closer to your clients no matter the distance. A good video where you answer the most common questions about your practice or explain to your clients why your law firm is the best choice is worth a hundred pages of text. You can also order a professional loop video footage of your office and place it in your website header.
- Make sure your images are optimized for use online. One downside of high-quality images is that they can significantly affect page loading speed. This is a crucial factor for any business website. That’s why you should optimize all your images for use on the Internet with various tools like this. If you find this task challenging, our developers will be happy to help.
Let Your Prospects Connect with You in a Variety of Ways
After adding great-looking images, implementing a smooth navigation system, and writing engaging content for your website, you can expect that your prospective clients will want to establish a connection with you.
One important design principle to follow when building a website for a lawyer is to provide as many points of contact for your visitors as possible. Here are the key ones:
- Physical address, email address, and phone number prominently displayed not only in the header but also on each Attorney Profile page, Services page, Cases page, and other important pages of your website. Why? A visitor may stumble upon an important piece of information when reading about an attorney’s qualifications, realize that he or she needs this specific professional, and decide to give them a call immediately. Meet a new lead!
- A contact form. Ideally, it should be located in the upper portion of every page, normally on the right-hand side. If you place it below the fold, a visitor may not scroll down to it and leave the page. You will lose a lead. Don’t make the form mile-long. Ask visitors to provide essential contact info only, such as the name, email address, and phone number. You can obtain the rest of the details once the prospect contacts you in person.
- A live chat. This is a handy lead-capturing feature. You can answer your visitors’ questions in real time. This strengthens your reputation as a trustworthy provider of legal services who cares about your clients. If you’re creating your lawyer website based on WordPress, you can choose from among multiple plugins that serve this purpose. This is one of the most popular.
- Social media buttons. It’s hard to imagine a modern law firm without social media accounts. Most of your prospects should have these as well. So, why not let them visit your page on Facebook or Twitter? Place social media buttons on every page of your website for easy access to your accounts.
- Call-to-action buttons. A CTA button can also serve as a contact medium. For example, clicking on the GET A CONSULTATION button can open a window with an email form or live chat. Visitors can also be taken to the Contact page, where they can provide more detailed information about themselves and their cases. When adding a CTA button to your pages, keep in mind the following:
- There should be one call to action per page to avoid confusing your visitors.
- A CTA button should be clearly visible among the rest of the page elements. You can achieve this by making it larger or giving it a color different from the primary page colors.
- A call to action should be meaningful and precise. Instead of CONTACT US, for example, you could write something like GET LEGAL ADVICE NOW.
To Sum Up
Building a lawyer website is a wise move. It allows legal businesses to attract more clients and leads with less effort. The success or failure of a law firm website hinges upon many factors. Its proper design is one of the most crucial.
The 3 design principles we’ve discussed in this post are only some of many. We’ve just scratched the surface. Nothing can be ignored as far as a lawyer website goes.
However, first of all, you should make a favorable impression on your visitors with high-quality visuals, let them move around your website quickly, and enable them to get in touch with you in multiple ways. Then, fill the pages with engaging and informative content.
While you can use page builders to put together a simple website, turning to professional web developers for assistance will bring you more value at the end of the day. You will get a unique-looking website with excellent performance and desired functionality.
With 16+ years of commercial experience to our credit, the PSD2HTML WordPress development team is always ready to help you build the best website for your law firm. Entrust your project to professionals. Let’s talk today!