General rules for other types of businesses do not always apply to law firm website design. If you want to convert, you’ll need to understand the diverse needs of different practice areas and observe the unique constraints of the legal profession as a whole.
We have twenty tips here to help you out, all based on our experience working directly with law firms and attorneys. More precisely, we have nineteen tips and one suggestion:
Feel free to call FORWARD Lawyer Marketing at (888) 590-9687 at any time to schedule an analysis and consultation. We’ll take a look at your web presence and discuss how our services can further your firm’s marketing goals.
The most essential aspect of a high conversion rate is the strategy that supports it. This happens both on and off of the web. You need a smooth, effective client intake process that kicks in as soon as people contact you, for example.
Also, web design is a process. A good approach is to focus on the aspects of web design that are most likely to convert first, fleshing out the rest of the site as it starts to generate business for your firm.
You might be surprised at how many people respond to a personal invitation posted on a public website. Calls to action work, more so when you pair them with contact forms, interactive phone numbers, or direct email links.
Depending on your area of practice, it’s also often appropriate to include a sense of urgency with your call to action. All of these areas typically take on new clients with tight schedules or pressing needs:
The purpose of your website is to convert visitors into new clients. Having them contact you is the only way that will happen. That’s why you should make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. Share your addresses and include maps with your location. Post contact forms on every page. Include your phone number in a prominent, permanent place and write it into the main text of your web pages. Another thing many of our clients utilize is live chat which allows potential clients to reach out in real time.
It’s natural to look at other attorneys’ websites and try to imitate what makes them successful. We would suggest that you resist that impulse.
Your website should underline your firm’s strengths, from the perspective of a potential client. Do you offer free consultations? Mention that when you invite people to contact you. Are you experienced and successful with certain highly specific types of cases? Include permanent pages dedicated to those cases.
Your firm is unique. Your web design should reflect that in the most persuasive way possible.
Conversion is about more than what is on your site. Another important factor is how people get to your site in the first place. Here are some examples of channels that tend to generate highly motivated visitors:
It’s a good idea to design pages differently for different types of traffic. At the very least, you’ll want to make custom pay-per-click landing pages when you start a new campaign.
Article length is an important factor in website rankings. The goal is to be complete enough to cover the topic thoroughly with an authoritative tone. Search engines also tend to rank websites higher for having longer, well-written content. Generating more organic traffic and getting that traffic to convert at a higher rate: Smart content length just makes sense. According to search engine experts content with word counts over 1500 ranks best.
Introducing your attorneys helps put a face to your services. Whether or not you include headshots is up to you, but a fair number of clients use biography pages as their first point of contact for a law firm. We recommend creating attorney profile pages that tell all about the attorney being featured, from the law school they attended, to awards, to hobbies. These attorney profile pages help potential clients get to know the attorneys and may help them find someone that they relate to and feel comfortable with.
People read further and engage more when you publish well-organized articles. High-level site organization is also essential for conversion. It is a good practice to separate longer content with headers and subheaders to make the content easier to read. Also, include internal links to other relevant content within the website. People don’t always land on the page that is most relevant to their needs. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they need — and then contact the firm about it.
Webpage titles are among the most underestimated aspects of your conversion rate. Make titles clear, specific, unique, and motivational. They’ll inform your potential client at nearly every stage of the decision-making process:
Graphics are almost synonymous with web design for many people, but graphic design is actually a relatively small aspect of the process. A good rule of thumb for most attorneys is to choose a design that implies stability and connection to the local community. Additionally, choose graphics that will look better at multiple resolutions, on multiple sizes of screens, and in different light levels.
People can’t contact you if they can’t load your website. Focus on designs that get the essential information in front of people as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to optimize your website for mobile. Another way is to organize your content so that potential clients see the most important things first. Page load time has become a ranking factor with Google’s Core Web Vitals update.
If you have read many lawyer websites, then you might have noticed an overall trend in technical speech. While it’s important to be precise about the law, it’s more important to motivate potential clients to contact your firm.
A good way to think about it is that you’re preparing a potential client to speak to an attorney. To that end, you can often forgo specifics in favor of lay-language overviews — or, if your word count allows, include both.
Blogs also contribute to client conversion. They can be a source of new clients directly by addressing specific topics that you would not necessarily make into a permanent webpage.
Blog posts also have a secondary persuasive aspect. Blogging is an illustration that your firm is actively engaged with the profession and therefore presumably up-to-date with the latest changes in the law. As a bonus, an active blog should increase traffic to your website by helping you climb search ranks. Some of the highest traffic pages our clients have tend to be informative blog posts about subjects potential clients are searching for online.
It helps to show authority in all the topics you discuss on your website. “Authoritative” in this context means showing the correct level of depth for your intended audience: people seeking the advice of attorneys. Google even has a principle for it that they recommend digital marketers to follow called Google E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Coupled with authoritative content, you can also show your expertise on subjects by adding hyperlinks to relevant resources. Google looks for both internal and external links from web pages that offer a better experience for the visitor. If you link to an authoritative page on a subject you are discussing Google considers that a good thing and it can impact ranking. Linking to a page that discusses a particular law is a best practice, for example. The anchor text being used should also be descriptive so that the visitors as well as search engine spiders know what the link is going to take them to.
A simpler, more straightforward way to up your conversion rate is to tell visitors where you are. Location is a major part of the decision-making process for potential clients in most practice areas, so it makes sense to reinforce your territory consistently throughout your website. The vast majority of law firms we work with focus on specific metropolitan areas or small towns. When we write content we make sure to mention landmarks, cross streets, etc. This tells the search engines that the website and conversely the business, are related to the local area and should be ranked as such.
If your website looks outdated or contains outdated information, that could impact your conversion rate. Update when necessary and, ideally, keep track of pages that might be getting stale. This is especially true with law firms because laws change and you don’t want incorrect or misleading information posted on your website. Regular site audits should be a part of your online strategy.
Part of the nature of content marketing for lawyers is that there is also a human aspect. To fully convert to becoming a new client, a web visitor has to go through your firm’s intake process.
One way to improve your success is to set the right expectations from the very beginning. In marketing terms, this means having a cohesive brand and a seamless client experience across your organization. Clients are simply more likely to follow through if they know what to expect.
The final aspect of improving your conversion rates is by tracking your progress. Different web design techniques have varying impacts depending on your audience. Initial strategies and statistically-informed design decisions only go so far — the next step is quantifying what works for your unique business.
With the right analytics and client-management systems in place, you should be able to keep track of which pages are leading to your best cases. This information should help you repeat your success and increase the return you’re collecting on your website investment.
Our last tip (one that’s more of a suggestion) is to hire a professional law firm web design agency that focuses on attorneys and law firms.
Your practice deserves to work with a team of law firm marketing specialists who know how to deliver results for your area of practice. We specialize in law firm marketing solutions that are customized to your unique practice.
FORWARD Lawyer Marketing has experience serving firms across the country, as well as providing white-label web design and content services to other marketing agencies. Give us a call at (888) 590-9687 to discuss how we might help grow your law firm online.