7 Tips for Creating an Exceptional Law Firm Website
September 26, 2022 | Written by Rachel Reynolds
Every law firm wants a stand-out website that gives them a competitive edge. But with so many law firms in your market – not to mention the huge national firms – how do you ensure that your website and online marketing efforts cut through the noise and gain visibility? Here are 7 tips for creating an exceptional law firm website that can help drive online traffic and increase click-through rates. Focus on:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these …
1. Strong Design
Design is the workhorse of your website. It directly impacts the conversion of visitors into leads and leads into clients.
Design is more than simple picture selection and template choice. Behind the scenes, in the nitty gritty world of search engine optimization (SEO), a calculated and well-executed design can leverage conversions and drive Google rankings to forge a powerful online tool that boosts your bottom line. Design is so much more than a pretty face. It’s the scientific brain behind effective law firm marketing. Think of it this way … when hiring a designer for your website, you want an Einstein, a Tesla, or a Spielberg. You don’t want someone with just a colorful box of crayons.
IF YOUR CURRENT DESIGN ISN’T INCREASING LEADS THAT GENERATE CASH FLOW, THEN IT’S NOT DOING ITS JOB.
There’s a whole science to design, and well-trained practitioners know how to leverage it to achieve your business goals. The look and feel of your website drives your brand and directly impacts how you are perceived by potential clients and your competitors. The effectiveness of your design at engaging with prospective clients influences the conversion rate of your site and, consequently, the profitability of your practice. Professional designers for law firms understand underlying legal matters and know that Google holds law firms’ websites to its highest “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) standards, which are more exacting than Google’s standards for more common websites like retail and food services. So, the next time you’re tempted to hire a low-cost “design firm” or your neighbor’s teenage son to build your firm’s website, ask these folks to analyze and discuss load speed, mobile-friendly compatibility, hidden content indexing, E.A.T design, and content formatting. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Effective SEO
A great website should not only be visually appealing, but it should also be steeped in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Keyword research, competitor analysis, assessment of click-through rates, and time-on-page all inform effective SEO. SEO infuses the content on your website, meta descriptions, back-end programming, and various other elements that work together harmoniously. A data-driven approach to your law firm website SEO can boost your conversion rate and enhance your bottom line. There are no short-cuts to good SEO, and SEO is something most lawyers don’t have time to learn or do themselves. That’s where professionals can help.
3. Compelling Content
When it comes to Google ranking factors, recent algorithm updates confirm that the quality of on-page content remains one of the strongest indicators. It is imperative that your webpages have substantive and relevant content that is related to each page’s specific topic. When determining rankings, Google considers …
how long a visitor stays on your page
how far they scroll
how they interact with a page of content.
If your website is structured to simply drop 2,000 words into a large wall of unstyled content, you’re in trouble. This approach will harm your SEO, because the user experience will be poor.
FEW WEBSITE VISITORS HAVE THE PATIENCE OR DESIRE TO READ A LONG PAGE OF TEXT, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO SEEK AN ATTORNEY’S SERVICES. LOSE A VISITOR’S INTEREST, AND YOU COULD HARM YOUR SITE’S SEO. LOSE A VISITOR, AND YOU DIRECTLY HARM YOUR POTENTIAL LEADS.
Content elements to consider include:
Scan-ability– Most visitors will scan your webpage first, even if they scroll back up the page to dig into the content that interests them most. That’s why your design needs strong headers, clear section breaks, sub-headings and other design techniques that make the content easy to scan.
Multi-Media Integration– Inserting infographics, videos, slide show presentations and other topic-related visual assets will break up the content into manageable bites and provide engagement opportunities to your visitors. This encourages visitors to stay longer, interact and boost the usability of your site – enhancing your SEO.
Content Formatting– Design should provide for a wide range of content styling, including bulleted lists, quotes, on-page links and other visual cues to improve the readability of your content.
When your content doesn’t hold a user’s attention but instead loses them to the Back button, it signals to Google that your page content is low quality.
4. Responsive Mobile
Google offers specific and direct guidance to create a mobile-friendly website experience, yet many law firms still maintain websites with no thought or adjustment for mobile users. This is a big mistake! Google announced Mobile-First Indexing, prioritizing the mobile-friendliness of your website as a ranking factor. Ignore this at your own peril. Law firm websites should be “responsive,” which means that the size, orientation, and placement of on-page elements adjust dynamically to the size of a visitor’s device. A responsively programmed website will appear correctly on computers, tablets, and mobile devices automatically.
5. Seamless UX
Most of us know what “UX” means – User Experience. It’s a collection of metrics that determine the friendliness and usability of your online presence. Google rewards websites that provide a positive experience. You’re not going to rank well if your site takes a long time to load, information is difficult to find, or content is vague and repetitive. Among the metrics Google uses to measure UX are the “Bounce Rate” and “Time-on-Page.” These metrics determine whether your visitors are getting a positive UX … or getting frustrated. Your site must be intuitive and easy to navigate. Google’s Core Web Vitals – including visual stability – also affect your site’s UX. Your firm’s site must remain stable whether viewed on a laptop or a cell phone. You don’t want any visual shimmying or bumping around – this harms UX. Consider these factors that can affect load speed and visual stability:
Number of Images– Is your website’s design really image heavy? If you have 15+ photo and image files on your homepage, then you better believe it’s probably slow to load. It’s not just the number of images that matters. The size of images does, too.
Image Size– What are the width/height of images on your site? Are they too big and improperly cropped? The larger the file size of those images, the slower your site loads and the longer a prospective client has to wait.
Image Compression – Did you know there are several design tools that can compress and optimize images (without diminishing quality) to ensure the smallest possible file size? Yep, there are! One example is tinypng.com. For firms running WordPress websites, we also recommend the Smushit! and EWWW Optimizer plugins.
The key to an effective and fast website is moderation and balance. You want a website that is sharp and visually striking because this helps bring in new business. But you also want one that loads quickly and is stable. Internet users have a virtual addiction to speed. Anything slower than what they expect will turn off prospective clients and harm your organic search rankings.
6. Outstanding Reviews
Always include client testimonials on your website – often a separate tab – and link to these from various inner pages. Customers listen to other customers, and there’s nothing more powerful than a positive review or testimonial from an existing client who is happy with your legal services. Getting outstanding reviews on third-party platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp!, Avvo, and others also significantly improves your favorability ratings from Google’s point of view. If you get a negative review, don’t panic. There are steps to take that can mitigate the impact of a negative review.
7. Convincing E.A.T.
Google has made it very clear that Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust (E.A.T.) are essential elements in designing and creating an outstanding website. When a person needs an attorney, they benefit from working with a well-qualified expert, not a law firm that will take their money and provide poor results. Google will evaluate the qualifications of the attorneys in your firm. The better the qualifications, the more they help your site’s SEO. There are specific ways a design can function to feature elements that emphasize your firm’s E.A.T.:
Feature the expertise of your attorneys through use of logos and badges, emphasizing the credentials of their professional organizations and listing their educational background.
Highlight attorneys’ quotes that have appeared in local newspapers and magazines. Include conferences where your attorneys have been keynote speakers. List lawyers’ legal articles that have been published in trade publications. All of these speak to the authority of your firm.
Be very transparent about how to reach your firm. Your website should make contact information and office locations easy to find.
Want to learn more? We have a full discussion of the importance of E.A.T. and techniques to achieve it on your website.
Assess the Performance of Your Law Firm Website
When assessing the quality of your current law firm website, ask yourself these questions:
Does your website immediately convey what type of law you practice and where?
Does your website provide clear, easy-to-use navigation that allows your visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for?
Does your website engage visitors, draw them in with compelling and informative content, and provide a clear path to additional information about your firm such as your bio pages, verdicts/settlements, and main practice area pages?
Are there clear calls to action that urge visitors to contact your firm now?
If you answer “yes” to these questions — and your site presents well formatted content, has a mobile-optimized design, loads quickly, and elicits trust — then you may have a well-designed site. If you answer “no,” then it’s time to take action.
A Website Redesign that Pays You Dividends
The one-time investment you make in a website redesign for your practice will pay dividends for years to come. Not only can a professional, custom-crafted website design enhance your brand and help convert potential clients already coming to your website, but it can deliver new business for your firm. A new website design offers positive return on investment. Our award-winning designers not only understand SEO, but they specialize in the legal field and law firm websites, in particular. The professionals at Gladiator Law Marketing have deep experience working with law firms nationwide; we understand how each design element impacts SEO; and we have many satisfied clients. We are always available to review your website and offer helpful recommendations to increase its effectiveness. For more information, contact us at (888) 683-3212.