What is a ‘Good’ Law Firm Website?
When we think of a “good” website, many determining factors come to mind. How does it look? How does it feel? Is it fun and interactive, or is it bland? There are many parameters we can use to determine if a website is good or not; this post will outline a few of them.
It Has an Original and Lasting Impression
One of the most important things about a website is that it gives a unique, original and lasting impression. Such an impression can be achieved through proper design. There are, in my opinion, four key elements to good design, they are:
The color palette of a website can be the fine line between an aesthetically pleasing experience and causing users to frantically hit the back button. There can easily be a right and wrong use of colors, and you can read my thoughts on that topic in a separate article. While there are many things to keep in mind when choosing colors for your site, the most important is ensuring your colors flow appropriately and match each other.
There are three main types of color schemes that are often used. It’s important to understand these to ensure your colors match appropriately.
The same hue, but various tints, tones and shades. This is often a conservative approach in an attempt to keep colors similar. Monochromatic colors are a safe approach and usually works well, but can often make a site feel bland or boring.
These are groups of colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. This is often found in nature and offers a subtle, natural contrast.
These colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and often provide a stark, powerful contrast. When done correctly, this is arguably the most effective design to create a powerful impact.
Inconsistency in a website completely undermines the user experience. The last thing you want is for a visitor to click on a link and watch your whole site layout change. Inconsistency will most likely leave a lasting impression, but I can guarantee it won’t be the one you’re aiming for. Keep your header, navigation and key elements uniform throughout your website. Let users always know where they are by including uniform breadcrumbs throughout your site, and keep the most common navigation areas in the same place.
Keep things simple and easy. Make sure the links on your page don’t blend with the text. Keep icons and graphics large enough to view, but small enough to not be overpowering. As I mentioned above, make sure the site is easy to navigate. One of the highest priorities of your site should be to keep your visitors engaged. This can not be done on hard-to-use sites. Don’t make visitors think; choose a design that will funnel people’s eyes right where you want them to look.
The Site is Valuable and Informative
updates-good-contentThe content on your website, when presented correctly, is what will set you apart from your competition. More importantly, the content that you serve up not only shows how credible you are, it can be an instant way to help potential clients see that you are the right firm for them. Produce valuable and up to date content that will be helpful for your visitors. If you’re going to blog, offer a forum or any sort of resource, keep it relevant. A major turnoff is when a user visits a site and sees that a blog or forum has not been updated in several months. It gives the appearance that you either are too busy, or don’t care about your website; it can make visitors assume you treat your clients the same way.
Having your site maintain current and valuable information will not only help your users once they get to your site, but it will also help potential clients find you. What exactly do I mean by that? Good question. Google and other major search engines index sites not by popularity, but by the most useful and relevant content. Having your site act not only as an outline of your services, but also as a resource for current and potential clients is a smart move.
It’s a Well Oiled Machine
Every component of a website should work seamlessly. Web designers should make sure they have completed thorough quality assurance assessments before publishing the site. Today’s site visitors want immediate results, so it’s important to make sure your website runs quickly with fast page loads. Also, the site’s copy should be free if errors (this includes facts and figures as well as grammatical and spelling mistakes.)
It Makes Visitors Feel Important
This is where many websites fall short. Remember, you’re promoting your services because you want to attract new clients. Why not have your website focus a little on them? Give users a custom, personalized feel. Allow visitors to fill out a form on how you can improve not only their browsing experience, but also how you handle business. Let them know you care by giving them several options to voice their opinions and several ways for them to easily contact you.
Things like client portals, customized welcome messages and custom 404 / error pages are a best practice and go a long way.
Determining whether or not a website is “good” is very subjective. This post has discussed some key elements that can give users a very good browsing experience and create that powerful, lasting impression needed turn leads into client. What do you think makes a website “good”? I’d love to hear your thoughts!