Are you a complete web design novice? That’s fine; designing websites is a specialized job that brings together a lot of different tasks. Even web designers usually work in teams, and the profession requires you to always be learning something new.
In this article, we are not going to try to present a do-it-yourself guide for web design for lawyers. While there are tools that purport to give non-designers the ability to build a website for themselves, there are two main reasons we are not going to cover those in depth.
First, all of those services already have detailed guides specific to their own product. Second, these DIY tools do not typically end up efficiently creating the types of websites that law offices really need to be competitive.
Instead, we are going to go over some of the overarching principles and technical components of web design. Here are the topics we will discuss:
Reach out to our law firm web design team at any time to get started on a website design project. We do everything from updating existing sites to building new ones from scratch. Please call (888)590-9687 today to begin.
If you ask multiple marketing and design firms about the key components of websites for lawyers, you will probably get a similar answer from each of them. It will probably include some technical aspects, but it’s always important to remember why you’re using these technical components in the first place.
The website typically serves as your home base on the internet — the nexus of your business online. As such, you want it to be as easy as possible to use and access. You also want it to be able to do some of the same things you do in your office. For example, you probably want your website to provide general information and convert visitors into clients.
The first purpose of a website is to get attention. All of the information and resources you have on your website are only useful if people see them.
Having interesting or useful things on your website doesn’t guarantee that you will be getting attention. In fact, much of the subtle (or even unseen work) of web design involves making your site easier to find for the types of clients that your firm wants to attract.
Once people have visited your site, you want them to take the next step — you want them to become a client. This is the second purpose of most lawyer websites.
The conversion rate — in other words, the percentage of visitors that become clients — is usually relatively low for a normal web page. However, your site could include pages that are specifically designed to generate higher conversion rates. These types of pages usually correspond to advertising campaigns run on platforms such as Google.
Beyond purpose-built pages, good web design will often include multiple ways for visitors to reach out and become clients of your firm. Since the way that people hire lawyers differs from the way they engage other services or buy products, it’s important to have a web design firm that specializes in the legal profession.
The third goal of most lawyer websites is to promote the firm’s authority. This is a complex purpose that can sometimes seem like a moving target, but search engines have begun to quantify it. Here are some ways that businesses try to achieve this:
A final note: “Authority” can have an esoteric meaning in internet marketing jargon. There are comparative performance metrics that use this term.
To elaborate on a point from our introduction, we would recommend that you use a professional web design firm that specializes in websites for lawyers. The reason is that DIY tools, even with a good guide, simply do not get the job done as efficiently in most cases.
This depends on the amount of free time, marketing knowledge, and technical ability you have, but you will usually end up paying more and getting less with a DIY tool. Here are some reasons that going with a designer is often better:
There are other concerns, of course, depending on the exact nature of your business and your stage of development. Usually, the best way to make the right choice is to have a list of these concerns ready to talk about when you have a consultation with a professional designer.
When you see information about websites for lawyers, you’ll often see that it focuses on the technical aspects. Since that’s what marketers and designers do, that’s what we tend to accentuate. However, these components should always serve the overall purpose of your site: to drive business to your firm.
A large category of site components and improvements target increases in speed and higher levels of compatibility for various types of devices. Here are some examples:
The written content, graphics, and videos on a lawyer’s website are important in their own rights, but it’s also important for them to be technically optimized to pursue a variety of marketing goals. For example, the information you want people to find should be usually included in text form rather than (or at least in addition to) the form of an image. Web designers have to make sure that both automated search engine systems and human visitors can understand all of your content.
The internet is built on links. One of the important aspects of website performance is the number and quality of links to and from your site.
From a design perspective, you can increase the likelihood that people will link to your content by making focused, informative pages and posts on subjects that would be relevant to the types of clients you are trying to attract. Once you establish these knowledge bases, your marketing team might also share and promote your content to earn more incoming links.
Saving the best for last, the most compelling argument for hiring a professional designer is that you can also usually engage maintenance and tracking services from the same people who build your website. Tracking and performance measurement is crucial for lawyer websites, especially as your marketing and advertising efforts become more diverse and more complex.
Hiring a professional designer gives you someone there who understands your business goals and understands how to help you achieve them online. For more information on web design for lawyers, or to schedule a personalized consultation, please call FORWARD Lawyer Marketing at (888)590-9687 today.