Websites can be a one-stop-shop for marketing oneself. A law firm website typically contains information about the firm, the services it offers, the team of lawyers the firm has, contact details etc. In some cases, a brief list of clientele is also mentioned to give an idea to the potential client of the expertise of the lawyer/law firm.
Let us first discuss what are the reasons why a lawyer or a law firm would require a website and then we would move on to discuss the nitty-gritty which goes behind building a good law firm website.
Why Do Lawyers Need a Website?
Below listed are some of the reasons why lawyers/law firms need a website:
One of the foremost reasons to have a website is to make oneself visible among public Individuals who did not know about you or the services you offer can now reach you through your website.
Potential clients can approach you by merely clicking on a button from the comfort of their homes. Hence, a website would put you on the map.
A website is hosted on the internet, which is accessible by all across the globe. It is not a billboard in your locality. Hence, one of the most important reasons to have a website is to have a global reach and appeal.
If a foreign law firm wants to outsource work to your country, they can approach you through your website. The information available there regarding the work and the services would enable them to understand what kind of a law firm you are and what are your areas of expertise.
Building Trust and Credibility
In today’s era, “Consumer is the King.” A person even while buying a new commodity scrutinizes hundreds of reviews to be sure of their choice than choosing a lawyer with limited reviews is a gamble of trust among the parties.
The safeguard of the party is dependent on the lawyer/law firm and so a proper background check will only assist a person in making an informed choice and a better decision to fulfil their purpose.
Websites are one of the most effective marketing tools used by the marketing industry.
As mentioned above, it can increase the outreach of a lawyer/firm to a larger audience. A strong online marketing game leads to brand awareness. An attractive website with a user-friendly interface, showing top recommendations based on their problem, a page for testimonials can attract a lot of clients to the lawyer/firm.
Building a Website
Now that you know, why do you require a website, let us focus on how to build a website? Luckily, websites are not very hard to make.
One of the quickest ways to make a good website today is by taking the help of platforms that allow you to create a website of your own. One such popular platform is WordPress. WordPress is one of the most user-friendly platforms to create a website. It provides many functionalities such as choice of themes, plugins to increase the utility of your website etc.
Typically, the following steps are involved in building a website:
- Buy a domain name and a hosting plan: Search for a domain name which is unique and does not conflict with an existing domain name. A professional hosting plan allows you to put more features on your website.
- Choose the theme which best suits the personality of your business.
- Curate content for your website and choose the placement: This would involve writing a brief description of your firm, the services you offer, your team of lawyers etc.
- Write simple but catchy content.
- Use SEO and use commonly used keywords to drive traffic to your website.
You need not have a big budget because remember most attorneys and law firms keep websites cheap and simple–even Latham & Watkins, one of the biggest law firms in the US, has a minimalist website.
No two companies should have exactly the same target audience–even if they are both parts of the same industry. It’s no different for attorneys and law firms – you should stress your distinctions. Find your unique points and turn them into selling points.
Hiring a Professional web designer vs. Building the Website on Your Own
Designing a website has been fairly simple these days, owing to the creation of tools such as Wix.com, which allow one to build a website from scratch or by using a template. There are various other services that make creating a site and hosting it on the internet, a straightforward task. Using these tools does not require special skills.
One can follow the various guides that are available which take a user through the basics such as color themes, web layout to file-hosting and linking social media accounts. These services also offer domain names for sale and hence a website can be designed and hosted on the internet without switching between tools and applications.
However, the option of having a professional web designer is always available to individuals and organizations that are themselves not familiar with web design tools and design language. Other considerations may also involve lack of time owing to work loads. In such a circumstance, a professional designer would be the recommended option.
Do note that there is a difference between design and maintenance. A web designer will create a website and hand it over to you. The maintenance of a website involves listening to visitor feedback and making improvements, updating information and constantly monitoring web traffic to make minor tweaks as necessary.
The simple truth is that professional designers have a better knowledge of web designing, layouts and most importantly, the trends in web designing, which give them a massive advantage over those building for themselves. Even if you may feel that you would be able to design a website, a professional will be able to do it quicker and better, albeit for a fee.
In conclusion, the major reasons for choosing a professional may boil down to personal inability, lack of time, and an accommodating budget. In any case, consulting a professional should always be considered owing to the obvious benefits.
Basics of a Legal Website
The most basic step towards building a digital presence for a law firm would be a website, a digital home that defines and explains the services and nature of the organization or individual. It is not surprising that almost all forms of online engagement have a link or reference to a website, which builds on the attention caught through information nuggets shared on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
A law firm website should ideally encompass the spirit and character of the services on offer by the law firm while also detailing each service. It should additionally include snippets of work previously done, such as a noted case argued for a client or an important transaction advised on. Finally, it must be accompanied with testimonials of clients to allay any fears that viewers may have.
Before actually building a website, you should assess the target audience and prospective clientele that would benefit most from a website. It is only after an assessment should one move towards building a website either by themselves or by having a professional do it for them. The objective of a tool like a website is to improve conversion rates i.e. turn prospective customers into clients.
A website for a legal practitioner or organization is, fortunately, towards the easier end of the spectrum when it comes to design complexities and requirements. One need not bother about payment gateways and other elements that demand round-the-clock security monitoring. And to add to the ease of design, the general elements of the website can easily be constructed using a plethora of design services available on the web.
Components of a Good Law Firm Website
While designing your law firm website, it is extremely crucial to have a clear objective and purpose. The website could merely outline the qualitative and quantitative scope of work, or, it could also contain elements aimed at engaging directly with the viewer, for example, an online assistant. Following are good to have components of a website:
- Your website should be consumer-centric.
- It must be easy to use, view, navigate.
- The website should at all times indicate the viewer where he/she is.
- Focusing on the backend details of the website is also important to ensure a seamless function.
- The design should have a good color scheme and website template that creates a positive impression on the viewer about the individual/organization.
- The other aspect of a website is the dissemination of information. An information overload, owing to ill-advised formatting choices such as excessively fancy fonts or minuscule font sizes often create an unfavorable image in the mind of the visitor. The website should provide crisp and condensed information which could be expanded at the option of the visitor.
- If a legal practitioner has more than one area of practice, the same should be conveyed as a capsule with the option of expanding on any one field resting with the viewer himself/herself.
Quite simply, a law firm website must ideally contain as much information as necessary (practice, lawyers, contact) packaged in a comfortably spaced out layout, with subtle color and element design. It should encapsulate the entire range of services, from transactional advisory to litigation and representation before all of the courts and tribunals. Any contact information, if provided, must be easily accessible.
Importance of User Interaction on a Website
User experience, often referred to as User Interface (UI) design, is the process of designing what happens as a user moves through a web application. The behaviour and response of the website on given user input must support the user and should in all simplicity be desirable and must improve the website’s general usability.
One aspect of UI design is ensuring the content is easy to comprehend and navigation across the website is facilitated. The elements of the website must be intuitive and in line with a general layout found across various websites that the user is accustomed to browsing, thus capitalising on the user’s familiarity with the general layout.
Even if one wishes to stray from the trodden path in terms of design, the website must cater to the basic needs of the viewer and sufficient care and testing should be undertaken to ensure that using the site does not become an unnecessarily challenging task.
The other aspect of UI design is actively implanting elements that encourage user interaction and reduce bounce (exit) rates. This may be done by making the content engaging through the use of blog posts, case studies and videos.
Equally important is frequently updating the content already uploaded to adapt to the changes with time. A website with outdated information is immediately considered unreliable and the likelihood of converting the viewer to a client drops drastically.
You may also choose to incorporate a chat function, wherein any visitor may be able to engage with a representative of the organization for answering their queries. This will considerably improve the visitor’s experience and increase your chances of retaining him/her as a client.
You can also enable social media sharing options. This would increase traffic on your website as well as enable users to smoothly interface with social media networks while navigating your site.
Monitoring Website Traffic
How would you know how your website is faring? How would you assess the performance of your website to understand what potential efforts are required? Website traffic analysis is the process of collecting and interpreting key data points that describe the web traffic to and from your site. Web traffic is information about every user that visits your site.
While the general rule of thumb is the more traffic, the better, high traffic numbers alone don’t always translate to increased sales or lead generation.
There are various tools that provide crucial monitoring and data such as Google Analytics. Once you have the data, you will effectively be able to assess where your traffic is coming from, be it search engines like Google, or from your social handles like LinkedIn and Facebook.
You can also look at metrics such as pageviews, which essentially mean the number of views on any specific page of the site, thus indicating a strong interest in the content displayed by that page.
When you’re equipped with accurate and immediate website traffic data, it’s possible to develop pattern models that identify potential weak points in your web design and inform ongoing development decisions.
Only after you know what kind of traffic you are receiving will you be able to optimize your website and therefore improve conversion rates.
Ever since the disruption of the mobile telecommunications landscape, a huge chunk of web traffic has moved to mobile devices (smartphones). This has also partly been aided by the increase in performance of smartphones and tablets. From simple Google searches to committed web surfing, mobile devices have become the go-to option when looking for almost anything under the sun.
According to Statista, over half of all website traffic (52.2%) was mobile-generated. Granted, in some countries, this number will be lower. But in others, it will be higher. This trend has led to what we now call mobile-first website development. As the name suggests, it’s when websites are created for mobile initially and are later adapted for desktop browsers.
In light of this shift, it is necessary now more than ever, to adapt a website for better viewing on mobile devices. A website well-designed is worthless when it has not been adapted for a change in the screen size, screen orientation and other visual properties. The most common effect is that the website appears extremely concentrated which has a higher chance of putting off visitors. Another disadvantage of not having a mobile-friendly website is that the website itself may not function as intended and lead to unresponsiveness.
Fortunately, almost all web design services and professionals are aware of the need for a website adapted to mobile design. Wix.com for example, allows a user to preview the website for mobile devices and make necessary layout changes. Once adapted, the website will work as seamlessly on mobile devices as it does on desktops and personal computers, thus effectively addressing the audience engagement through smartphones.
Keeping Your Law Firm Website Current
Keeping a website current is an arduous and demanding job, which pays great dividends in terms of viewer retention and attraction. Viewers will instantly notice a website that is updated not just in terms of content but design trends as well.
Updating a website has many aspects ranging from improving the time taken to load, to reducing bounce rates, while employing improved content that caters to the usual audience of the website.
The benefits of updating your website’s design, code, and SEO are huge. Regularly updated quality content can bring you to the top of organic search rankings (ex. Google search results), and a modern look shows your customers you’re keeping up with the times. Using the latest technology keeps your website safe and earns trust among users and search engines alike.
Another benefit of keeping the website updated is that it gives you an edge over competitors thereby improving the number of visitors and consequentially, conversion rates.
So how often should you redesign your website? Experts say that 2 to 3 years is the maximum lifetime for a website design-wise. Longer than that and it faces the danger of falling into oblivion. Using new technologies can bring many benefits to your website and your business, help you attract new customers, and eventually improve your conversion rates.
Read more Guides on Digital Marketing for Lawyers
Digital marketing is the new traditional marketing! Read our guides on digital marketing for lawyers and law firms to get tips and strategy to grow your law practice in 2021:
- Blogging for Lawyers
- Video Marketing for Lawyers
- Law Firm SEO Marketing
- Law Firm Digital Marketing
- Law Firm Content Marketing
We can help you with your marketing initiatives to generate more leads and get you more clients, Contact Us now and we will reach out to discuss your marketing strategy. At Altclik, we believe in moving ahead together and we are there to help you at each and every step of your marketing journey!
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This post was first published on January 14, 2021