You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but when it comes to finding law firms online, few witticisms are further from the truth. For attorneys, an outdated law firm website is more than embarrassing; it’s a liability. While updating your site may feel costly and time-consuming, repelling potential cases will cost you more in the long run.
Think about it like this: selecting a law firm online is a lot like searching for a hotel. Chipped paint, neglected landscaping, and a half-lit neon sign are warning signs for the average hotel customer. It doesn’t matter how spacious the rooms are, or whether the desk clerk offers stellar customer service. You’ll never find out because you won’t bother walking through the front door.
When it comes to web design, the same principle applies. Without the right aesthetic, clients (and their cases) will move on without giving your legal services a second thought.
Why You Need a Better Website Design For Your Law Firm
A compelling website design makes clients take your business seriously. Even the smallest investment in a potential customer will encourage them to invest in you. Simply put, a potential buyer is more likely to pick up the phone, fill out a contact form, read content, etc., when you take the time to provide a welcoming and informative site.
Identify Your Target Audience
It’s impossible to please everyone, even with a fantastic law firm website design. That’s why you need to identify your target audience and create a site that meets their needs and expectations. If your target demographic is older, consider a design that uses a larger font, for example.
The Most Important Element of Your Website
The answer to the question, “Why should clients choose your law firm?” is elemental to your website design. This is the message of your site, what motivates a potential buyer to contact you.
Questions to consider:
- How many years of experience does your law firm offer?
- How do you show clients you care about them?
- Has your law firm earned any special accreditation or awards?
- Is there something you offer that competitors don’t (or can’t)?
- What is your business’ philosophy or core values?
The answers to these questions – and others like them – will create a strong marketing message for your website. Make sure your design reflects these values.
What to Avoid (Besides an Outdated Design)
- Flashy, Overly Complicated Designs
A site is too complicated when it keeps clients from contacting you, even if the design is aesthetically pleasing. In the same way, a flashy website will distract visitors from their goal: picking up the phone. Your design should strategically draw visitors toward their objective, not deter them from it.
- Telling clients They Need Your Services
You don’t have to explain why a client needs your business. If you’re browsing a personal injury lawyer website, chances are you’re already looking for legal counsel. Instead, explain why your business the best place to get those services.
- Targeting Everyone
In the realm of business, “my target audience is everyone” is a dangerous statement. It’s better to give your niche audience a first-rate sales pitch than offer feeble marketing to a broader demographic.
Getting Technical: Design Affects SEO
Most people wouldn’t place “search engine optimization” and “website design” in the same sentence. SEO is content, and content is keyword stuffing, right? Wrong. Gone are the days of keyword-rich content and spammy link schemes; your site needs more to impress search engines.
High-quality content is essential, but Google considers another factor now: user experience, and nothing ruins this experience like an ineffective design.
Responsive web design is an integral part of your law firm SEO strategy. Old websites are rarely mobile-friendly (easy to navigate on mobile devices, such as smartphones). A responsive web design ensures that your site is easy to navigate on any platform.
Pictures should scale to fit the screen of smart phone, for instance. Users should never scroll horizontally to read content. These situations are the definition of a bad user experience, and a responsive design eliminates them.
About the Author
Emily Brady is a SEO manager and writer for Scorpion Design, in Southern California. She graduated from The Master’s College, where she developed an interest in writing and communications that led her to pursue a career in online marketing. Emily lives with her husband and their two cats in Santa Clarita, CA.