Things to consider when making your legal website

Post by 
Alexandra Oumniaguina
Published 
September 15, 2021
A

s discussed in our previous article on Law firms and the digital age client’s nowadays make decisions based on online presence. This is why getting your website in tip-top shape is as important as having a business card to hand out at a conference. It is your online homebase and the top of your marketing funnel.

Remember the last time you looked up a restaurant, physician or other professional on Google? Exactly.

Those in need of a lawyer often either ask around for a referral or hit the ground running with Google. According to the 2019 Legal Trends Report, 57% of potential clients looked for a lawyer on their own and the most common of their methods was using an online search engine and visiting a lawyers website.

This following blog post will help you design an effective law firm website or you can just hire us.

Should I make my own website or hire a professional?

Well honestly, it really depends on you and whether or not you want to invest in your branding. It also depends on how complicated of a website you are making.

Do it yourself:

There are many tools out there that you can use to design your own website such as: Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, etc. These are all great tools to use and with some practice are incredibly manageable. But there is a difference between a professional design, logo, imagery, typography, site-flow, etc. and a DIY website. Additionally, sometimes it is better to focus on your clients and running your day-to-day than taking time out to learn a completely new skill.

Professional brand and web developers:

Branding can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over $100,000. It really depends on the kind of branding/website you need done and what your budget is.

Professional companies will help and guide you through the process and assist in fitting something into your budget. Don’t underestimate branding professionals - we really do know our craft and are there to help you not just establish your voice but also increase traction on your website and gain clients.

Questions you should ask when hiring a professional:

Professional web developers and branding strategists are there to help you. Look for the ones that you have an understanding of your business.

Here are some questions you should ask:

  • When will you be available to work on my website? How long will it take?
  • What training will you offer to show me how to use the site?
  • Will I be able to update content on my own?
  • Will you be available for support in the future? This may include software and security updates, or it could be for when something breaks on the site.
  • What steps will you take to optimize my site for search engines?
  • Will my site be responsive for mobile and tablet browsing?
  • Who will own the domain and hosting accounts?

A lot of these questions will have upfront answers but some  will need some time and discussion to assess what your true needs are such as cost and time of a project.

What should I think about when making a website?

  1. What tools should I use?

There are so many website builders online nowadays - Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, etc. We use Webflow and Squarespace with our clients. Have a look at this article for a comparison.

  1. Think about UI/UX

Make sure that your website is easy to use and that it flows. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to hire someone and not being able to find the right information or when the information you want is hidden behind several pages.

Remember to test the actual usability of your site by giving someone a task such as - to find a piece of information about you that you think is important and having them find that information. Look at their flow and whether that information was easy to find or not. Choose a variety of people for this task - it will help you get a better grasp on your usability.

  1. Design with mobile in mind:

Think responsively. When using Google do you usually look things up on your phone or do you head to your computer and do a full search. Mobile and tablet use currently exceeds desktop use and will only increase in the future. Additionally, having a mobile friendly website will increase your ranking on Google search.

Think mobile first. Since the screen size is much smaller on a mobile device, all of your content and images will need to flow in a similar and readable pattern.

  1. Logo, images and colour palette:

What you put out into the world is what will come back to you. Branding that represents your mission and vision will bring you closer towards your ideal clients. From your logo, images to your colour palette - these are all important aspects of your brand and should be of high quality and represent who you are.

When making your website you need to consider so many different aspects of your image. One way of surpassing a creativity block is always referring back to your true mission statement as a business. For a deeper insight into this have a look at these two articles: How to create a legal brand and Law firms, branding and the digital age.

  1. HTML headers

Although it looks like HTML headers are just there to make words bigger or smaller they have a much larger role to play. Using these tags signals the significance of the information and creates a content hierarchy. An easy way to look at it is as a table of contents in a textbook- imagine if you made everything a title - the information would be unreadable. This will also influence where you will display in the search results as Google wants to promote websites that work and are accessible.

  1. Accessibility:

Make a website with accessibility in mind. One way to make sure that your website is accessible is to check with ADA compliance guidelines. Here are a few of the big things to keep in mind:

  • Readable text
  • Alt tags / text descriptions / transcripts on any images or non-text content
  • Easy-to-use navigation
  • A structure that enables screen-reader technology to read all elements on a page
  • HTML coding
  • All website functionality accessible with a keyboard

You want your website to be accessible to all.

  1. Basic SEO

SEO is basically the key to making your website rankable and driving more traffic. SEO seems incredibly complicated but it can be broken down into the essentials.

  1. Writing good content
  2. Optimizing keywords
  3. Promoting your content across the internet
  4. Establishing your law firms reputation
  5. Staying on top of technical issues

We would recommend it when you are ready to hire an SEO expert. Integrating amazing SEO into your website is incredibly time consuming - check out our law firm SEO Checklist.

  1. Copywriting

Copywriting is also a craft in its own right, your website needs to be readable and engaging. The longer someone stays on your website the more likely they will be to reach out and hire you. Remember to:

  1. Understand who your client is: who are you targeting, what do they need to know, how will they want to reach out to you, can they understand your services (ahem… drop the legalese), etc.
  2. Be clear and use simple language. Most don’t go through a website and read everything thoroughly; they just want the headlines. Remember people are generally lazy.

7. Remember to include all the essential pages and make the contact information easily accessible.

Remember to think about your website flow and all the pages you will need to include to get what you do across to your client. Think about your homepage, about page, services, contact page, testimonial sections and even blogs. Also remember the 404 page and any redirect pages!

Make sure that your call to action is directly visible. A call to action is a grabbing headline that drives the user to either click on a link or contact you. There is nothing more frustrating than landing on a website and not seeing contact information or social media profiles.

8. Rules of professional conduct:

As lawyers you know there are plenty of rules around professional conduct when marketing online. Remember to conduct your legal marketing ethically and include disclaimers when need be.

Conclusion

There are plenty of things to consider when making a website. Take it slow and easy and figure out what is important to you and what you are looking for. We highly recommend hiring a branding specialist that can help you align your brand and put you out there. This will not only take an immense weight off your shoulders but also will help you attract your ideal clients. It is worth the investment.

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