Excellent web design is important for any marketplace, but when it comes to making your legal services available to your target audience, form and function both take on an increased importance.
Law firms thrive on being perceived as worthy of trust. Your website is the virtual home of your firm, and the way it is designed can either draw new clients in or turn them away.
Everything from your domain name to your color scheme contributes to the overall perception of your firm as a whole. And even small details may help your potential client decide to give you a call rather than your competitors.
Here are seven non-negotiable touchpoints that must be included in your website design.
Excellent User Experience
This is a blanket term that covers a lot of details, but it absolutely belongs at number one on this list. The user experience comprise of every moment that the visitor interacts with the site. Each individual interaction is added to the pros or cons side of the user experience, and the sum that UX is the deciding factor on whether a visitor decides to become a client, or whether they back out of the site and go elsewhere.
User experience is about filling the needs of the visitor from beginning to end. Your site must fit the following:
- Easy to navigate
- Appealing design
- Readable, legible color and font choices
- Understandable, value-adding content
For your law firm, it’s important that you establish immediately whether your firm can fill the need of the client. Make your specialty clear on your home page, and avoid frustrating potential clients who are searching for specific help.
UX has so many features that it can be difficult to concentrate on just one at a time. Fortunately, the remaining six key features here will all contribute to the overall UX.
Branding is about more than just your logo, although you will learn that a law firm logo is an important part of a well-branded company.
Branding includes how your firm — and by extension, your site — interacts with your customers. The most immediate part of this is the visual: the colors, fonts, shapes, images, graphics, and styles that you use within the design.
Remember that your site is the home of your firm. It needs to be instantly recognizable as belonging to your company. It’s recommended to use the logo on each page of the site; statistics indicate that it’s more noticeable and memorable if placed in the top left-hand corner.
Your color palette should be in harmony with your logo and other existing pieces of branding, such as marketing materials. Most design experts recommend calm, reassuring colors for law firm site design, such as blue, green, or brown. Blue especially is a popular choice, as it’s viewed as the most calming, trustworthy color.
What about font choice? Serif fonts, typically seen as more traditional and reliable, are excellent choices for a law firm. But the most important factor comes down to legibility and readability. The letters of your chosen font must be easily identifiable, and it must be used in a size that is readable. It should also show up well against the background color, avoiding eye strain.
This one is important, because having a subdomain for your site — ie., a free domain that runs underneath a site like WordPress — is one of the big turnoffs for clients in search of trustworthy legal advice.
Subdomains are for amateur bloggers, not professional attorneys.
Choose a domain that is directly related to your law firm, either by name or profession. If possible, try to avoid a domain that is too unwieldy, difficult to spell, or just plain long. A monogram, using the first letters of each name in the law firm, is more preferable than a domain name that includes five or six names strung together.
It can be tempting to choose a buzzword phrase like “best legal representation in Dallas area” or something along those lines. But it’s better to keep it dignified and stick with name/area of expertise. You can add in locality if you need to make it more specific, but avoid praising your own firm right within the domain. That’s another sure turnoff for a lot of clients.
If there’s one unarguable fact about law firms, it’s that there is plenty of competition. To make your mark, it’s vital to drive traffic to your site. A key manner of doing this is including SEO-rich keywords within your content.
But it isn’t enough just to use legal terms — for the best results, incorporate targeted SEO phrases that will reach your target audience. Phrases should be centered around your area of expertise. It’s also smart to include local SEO, including the area in which you operate. Most clients would rather work with a lawyer in person, someone that they can interview with beforehand. Local SEO also boosts credibility and appeal.
Positioning yourself as an expert in your field is a key way to enhance credibility. When you demonstrate your knowledge of the legal field, it will increase your client’s trust that you can handle their case and advocate for their interests.
And they don’t have to wait until after they hire you to see your display of knowledge. Create content that simultaneously positions your firm as experts with experience, and also brings added value to the potential client.
A recommended way to do this is by including a blog on your site or linked to it. This gives you more opportunities for SEO content, expert content, and backlinks with shareable content.
It also provides you the chance to show potential clients that you know your stuff and you’re happy to share it with others for their benefit. Sharing “added value” content is actually a fantastic branding opportunity, as it makes your firm more relatable and compassionate.
Along with the added value, another key point to turn visitors into clients would be the inclusion of testimonials. Ask former clients if they’re willing to be interviewed for the site, give a soundbite, or encourage them to post honest reviews — and be ready to be selective in which testimonials you choose to include.
More than 70% of consumers state that positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business. Even the presence of customer testimonials, regardless of the specifics of what they say, can be enough to increase the trust that a potential client has in your firm.
A final key touchpoint that must be included in your website design is a point of immediate contact.
As you likely know, many who search for legal advice are in stressful situations and want help now. Show your willingness to accommodate them by including various forms of immediate feedback, contact, and assistance. Make the firm’s phone number, email, social media, and address easy to find. If possible, incorporate a chatbot for instant connectivity that can help you to discern the need and whether your firm can help.
When it comes to looking for legal representation, people search for firms that are trustworthy, reliable, and which make them feel that their needs are being met. Each of these seven points listed here — and especially the overall user experience — will contribute to that, and may give your potential client the trust they need to engage your services.