6 Design Action Items Every Law Firm Website Must Take
Website design is the face of your business. It’s the nicest suit you wear to a meeting with your client, the neatly combed hair and shiny shoes.
Not all of us have been born to be Web designers or coders, but a few simple changes can help your law firm’s website to stand out just like a brand new suit.
1. Put a polished image forward
Do not skimp on photos, content or design, these will all affect the initial impression every client will have about your firm.
In fact, customers need less than 3 seconds to form an initial impression of a website. Visual elements like layout, photos and structure are crucial in retaining visitors who land on your website.
Use professional photography
It is a common practice for attorney websites to feature stock imagery of car accidents, Themis holding the scales or a striking gavel. Instead of these, using custom imagery will create a much stronger message when a prospect arrives on your site.
The company I work for, Consultwebs.com, has data that shows a lift in conversions when putting brand up front and offering the user professional photos of the firm. Our designers combine these brand images with a clear message on why this firm is different the any others.
Sometimes great amateur photographers can be found among your own workers, but hiring a professional will ensure that you will get great quality photos to boost your professional image online and encourage prospects to convert.
Avoid mixing too many colors, fonts and font sizes
Too many colors make your webpage busy and unprofessional, while too little color can make it boring. The safest route for a beginner-level designer is to stop at about 3 colors, or get inspiration from pre-selected color-schemes put together by professional designers – for example by Color Combos. Also think about the mood various colors create by reading Color Psychology and Online Marketing for Law Firms.
Font styles need to be consistent. Period.
Font sizes, on the contrary, are essential in highlighting headings and sub-headings and visually breaking up the page. Bufrom too much variation. Four font sizes normally meet the needs of every page: title, heading, sub-heading, normal text.
Don’t ignore the attorney bio page
This is one of the most often clicked pages on an attorney website. Users want to see the person behind the words, someone they can trust. A narrative biography works better than a list of bullet points or a resume. A professional photo of the attorney is also very important in establishing a personal connection.
Here is a sample of how an attorney biography page can be organized:
But don’t forget to also offer credentials, testimonials and any memberships or awards the attorney can claim on this page as well. In these cases, bullets and pictures can help add variety to the page.
Users are looking for a clear path to find information on either the attorney or the issue they are involved in.
Make sure your webpage offers a streamlined experience. This means offering smooth navigation to the attorney biographies and to additional information about the types of cases your law firm handles. In addition to clear navigation menus, you can offer sidebar links to the most accessed content or an easy to locate search box.
De-cluttering your home page also means cutting down on wordy descriptions and distracting images. Shorter, sharper paragraphs explaining the core values and the essence of your law firm work better than wordy phrases.
Rule of thumb: If something will not aid conversions, don’t put it on your landing pages. Landing pages include your homepage, main practice area pages and attorney bio pages.
3. Make your phone number visible on every page
Always keep your main conversion point, the phone number, in an easily accessible and noticeable place at the top on every page. Notice the position in those three examples:
The upper-right hand corner is a common spot for contact information and a phone number. In a professional custom design, you can request design elements like this easily.
If you want to design your own site, an easy way ensure consistent representation is by picking a theme for your website that allows you to place the number in a prominent spot. For those willing to invest the time and energy, I recommend usingWordPress, an open source publishing platform with a large number of free and premium themes available to fit your law firm’s needs.
4. Utilize Videos
Instead of extensive video libraries, use videos to supplement relevant content on your practice area pages. If your law firm deals with personal injury, create an FAQ video for car accident cases or share statistics about workers’ compensation lawsuits. A bio video on an attorney page can help you connect with your clients on a more personal level.
But, beware! The attention span for online video is fairly limited for most users. Most research suggests that 1.5-2 minutes is the optimal length to ensure your audience stays with you until the end.
Keep your videos short and enticing, 60 seconds or less.
5. Keep form fields to a minimum
Contact forms on your website are an important conversion point. Long forms require too much effort from a browsing user, so try to keep the required fields to three: Name, Contact Information and Questions/Suggestions. See examples below:
Any fields after 3 will decrease the conversion rate by 40% per field, the data say. That means that by adding just 2 extra fields, you risk losing almost a half of potential leads.
6. Optimize for mobile!
Optimizing your website for mobile devices is not optional anymore. One in five searches online happen on mobile devices and the number keeps rising.
The most important aspect of going mobile is to create a streamlined experience for your users. Making sure your website looks good on a small screen is very important. Mobile users usually want less content, so that they don’t have to keep scrolling down to read more. Mobile optimization also involves putting the most important information, literally, right at the user’s fingertips: key practice areas, attorney bios and contact information should be readily accessible in the navigation menu of the mobile version of your site.
A simple suggestion for optimizing your website for mobile devices is using themes that utilize responsible design – a design that adjusts the width of your website and navigation menu to the width of screen of a user’s device, whether it is a tablet, smartphone or desktop computer. Responsive design will ensure that your branding stays consistent and recognizable across different devices and your potential clients get page that looks great on any screen. To search for responsive themes in WordPress Theme Directory, try filtering them by “flexible-width.”
7. Bringing it all together.
Here are three principles to guide you through the process of improving your website’s design:
Put a polished image forward by using professional photography and design and developing a strong attorney biography page.
Create a clear path towards conversion by de-cluttering your landing pages, simplifying the contact forms and prominently displayed your phone number
Stay on top of the latest technology by creating a mobile-friendly site and utilizing multi-media content.
Lina Larina contributed to this article.