A great law firm website requires more than uploading your current firm brochure to the web. With your top competitors just a click away, you need more information than simply showcasing your firm’s attorneys, practice areas and contact information to generate legal inquiries online.
There are generally two main approaches to law firm website design:
- Firm-centric – Here, the focus is conveying information the partners want to showcase. Usually, it involves highlighting recent wins, articles published, awards, practice areas and attorney bios so the focus is all about what the firm has done and can do. Often, bells and whistles are added, like animation and high-end photography to give the impression the firm is “cutting-edge.”
- Client-centric – With client-centric design, rather than start with what information the firm partners want to showcase, you start with the prospects you want to attract and put yourself in their shoes. What information do they need to make a purchasing decision? What information do they want to read? What problems are they having? What are their main wants and needs that you can solve?
Because the web is interactive, client-centric web design works much better than firm-centric design. When visitors come to your website, they are usually looking for specific information. They will skim your page and make a two-second decision whether to click onto other content or visit another page. In other words, your visitor has to actively make the choice to continue reading your website. If your content is boring, irrelevant, or difficult to find, your visitors won’t bother reading it.
Is Your Law Firm Website Client-Centric?
How appealing is your website to your target audience? Here are six questions to help you evaluate your site’s effectiveness.
- Does your homepage describe who you are, what you do, and how clients can benefit from your content and services in a clear, concise manner? If visitors can’t figure out “what’s in it for them,” they won’t stick around.
- Does your site have clear, consistent navigation options? Your visitors won’t take the time to learn how to use your website. They want relevant information quickly, so make your navigation intuitive with easy-to-understand links.
- Is your site user-friendly? Is it easy to find information, download files, read articles, and consume your content? Can visitors read your site on a mobile device like a blackberry or iPad? If you make your site too complicated or require visitors to submit too much information, they will take their business elsewhere.
- Is your contact information displayed prominently? Do you list your phone number or a contact form on most pages? Can visitors find your contact page in one click?
- Is your content up-to-date and error-free? Do you have fresh content that is free from spelling and grammar errors? Do all your links work properly? Think like a publisher and create engaging, informative content rather than hype-filled marketing drivel.
- Does your design look professional? There’s no excuse for your site to look homemade these days. There are a number of do-it-yourself options to create a nice-looking site quickly (Weebly, Jimdo, Yola, SnapPages, SiteKreator). For more tech-savvy lawyers, WordPress is a free content management system with many cheap professional themes available.
Creating your law firm’s website with your visitors in mind helps you focus on what is most important – good content, clear navigation, and user-friendly design.