The Complete Guide To Making Your Law Firm Website

The Complete Guide To Making Your Law Firm Website

It was hard to imagine any business being successful amongst its competitors without an online presence before, however since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevalence of online stores, it is now nearly impossible to maintain a business without an ecommerce digital footprint.

However, when it comes to creating your web presence for your successful business, it’s simply not enough to tick boxes and call it a day. A focus on the quality of your content makes all the difference.

Here are the website design essentials that make a great law firm website:

Your Unique Value

In a perfect world you’d want to demonstrate that no other law firm can provide the same unique value that you can to potential clients, but in the real world, there are a lot of law firms out there. That’s okay though, because the market for people who need legal services is also huge. In fact, it’s actually a lot more important to focus on coming to your clients' mind at just the right time, when they need legal services. It’s not as valuable if they know about you before they need a lawyer, or if they know about you when they need a lawyer but don’t need one urgently or aren’t about to buy right away. If your marketing is focused on engaging clients at the exact stage in their ‘buying window’ when they actually read to retain a lawyer, then your money and time spent on marketing your firm will yield more results for the money you spend. To clarify, you don’t want to waste your marketing efforts ‘educating’ your target market.

I’ll explain how this principle operates in the tech world; When a tech startup is ‘early to market’, it means they are attempting to sell a product before the majority of their target market is accustomed enough to their type of services/product to want to purchase their product. Does it mean that no one will purchase their product? No, early adopters or hard core enthusiasts of their product will already be educated in the area and will purchase it. It just means the mass population is not going to purchase it because they don’t understand it fully and it is still too new and cutting edge for them. This is turns means that the company’s marketing efforts will be spent ‘educating’ the mass market on what it does, instead of the optimal situation where the mass market is already educated on what their product would be used for, have heard of other people who use similar products, so will eventually seek out the best version of that product to buy, or will know that when X problem occurs, they can buy that product to solve it.

Engaging website visitors at the stage in their buying journey when they are ready to purchase can be achieved by making your website appear in Google when they google a specific question (search engine optimization), as well as through Google’s local services Ads.

Take Wealth Simple’s release of their crypto currency trading functionality as an example. What if they had released this 5 years ago and spent a lot of money marketing “we enable you to trade Bitcoin”? They simply would have spent a huge marketing budget educating the average investor what Bitcoin was, but they wouldn’t have acquired many customers as a result because people were just not comfortable enough with the idea of owning Bitcoin yet. So instead they launched five years later, when average investors are already ‘educated’ on what Bitcoin was from reading it from other news websites.

How does this relate back to capturing your clients at the ideal time in their buying journey?

The lesson here is that if you are marketing to people who are not ready to retain a lawyer, you are wasting your marketing budget educating people who will not be ready to buy for a long time, when really you should be marketing to people who are already educated about the legal service they need help with and are urgently looking to retain a lawyer in the short-term. Of course it is true that people are more likely to buy from the companies who have blogs posts that educate them about legal services, however ensure the information you educate them on is information they would seek out when they are just about to retain a lawyer rather than information they might read a few months or years in advance of retaining a lawyer. Example? If you are publishing a blog about preparing a Will, write it about how to choose your beneficiaries or executors, rather than what the purpose of a Will is because they won’t think about the former until they are already educated on what a Will is and are already convinced they should prepare one.

If it is your website that they find at that stage in their buying journey, then you want your website to demonstrate that:

  • You are competent in the specific service they need, and

  • The price they are paying is a good deal for what they will receive from your firm.

Your First Impression

First impressions are almost everything for potential clients who sift through tons of web pages in a manner of minutes to find their potential lawyer. Style and image on your platform are major factors to creating a beautiful website. The way your website presents itself reflects directly on you. A lazy and low effort website implies to clients that this lawyer could be lazy and provide low-effort. This probably doesn’t surprise you, but what appears ‘lazy and low-effort’ might. A free website builder can build the highest quality of sites nowadays, don't make the mistake of thinking that hiring a web developer to code a website from scratch will lead to a higher quality site than using the free tools available for landing pages. A simple exercise is to build the kind of website you enjoy visiting yourself. Here are best practices that lawyers can make not of on their website build:

  • Niche - Most lawyers assume that the more practice areas they cover the more clients they’ll get, when in reality it reduces their credibility. It makes it appear that they aren’t especially competent or experienced in any one practice area. This article states that the specialist lawyers will remain in demand, while the demand for generalist lawyers will decrease as corporations assign the work of generalist lawyers to non-lawyer staff and technology. From a business and digital marketing standpoint, it is better to choose one or two practice areas to specialize in, and then if you want to service clients in other practice areas as well, present them on your site as ‘additional’ practice areas to complement your primary practice area. E.g. you could specialize in family law and then make it a habit to help your divorce clients update their Wills after their divorce. In this case the homepage of your site would make it clear you specialize in family law, with another page listing all the ‘complimentary’ services you offer.

  • Easy Navigation - Your website should have an intuitive and easy layout for clients to find what they need. This is much easier nowadays with drag and drop website templates such as squarespace or godaddy. Include navigation at the top with a drop-down menu that lists your practice areas. When they click a practice area it should go to a page for that practice area. Therefore each practice area should have it’s own separate page on your site. It will appear juvenile to have all your practice areas listed on the same page. A web designer may be a worthwhile investment for you.

  • Low scroll - This builds off the easy navigation point, but warrants an explicit tip. Nobody wants to skip pages and scroll forever to find their information. Be mindful of your length.

  • Search function - Visitors will often look for a search bar to save time if looking for something specific. Provide it to them.

  • Mobile-friendly design - Many potential clients are busy themselves and research during commutes, on their work breaks, or waiting for an elevator/appointment/meeting. A good mobile website platform is essential.

Be Accessible and Showcase our work

Simple things like captioning your videos, adding links on your website or to blogs you have written, videos you have made, or places you have been featured or writing that has been featured/published. Some find a live chat add-on to websites helpful.

Core Content You Need to Provide on Your Professional Website

  • A simple Custom Domain Name. Something easy for clients to write, memorable, and relevant to you.

  • A Home Page

  • Your logo

  • An About page communicating your vision and values and what separates you from the rest.

  • A Bio. Who are you, what is your career journey, what do you do and what is your unique approach? Why do you do what you do?

  • Services. Visitors need to know whether their issue or question is something you’re able to help with.

  • Contact. Of course you need a way for visitors to contact you to start your business dealings. Contact forms can quickly collect potential client data. Be sure to list your social media presence as well. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok are all platforms you may want to look into. These can also be used for to promote and market yourself and are only gaining importance as social media marketing becomes bigger.

  • Practice Area(s). Sites that are specific to one practice area generally do better. While many solo practitioners start off as a general practice firm, they normally end up specializing. Sites also appear more credible when they demonstrate that the lawyer is a specialist in one specific practice area. So you may want your homepage to be for one specific practice area, with other 'additional' practice areas that also complete your main one. E.g. We are experienced real-estate lawyers, but we also help our clients with estate matters and commercial litigation when when need be.

  • SEO Tools, this is necessary in the background so that when your website is searched, it appears higher on the list of matches than it otherwise would.

  • add a feedback page so you can easily collect reviews of your services or your own website.

Remember the purpose of your website in the client’s legal services buying journey:

Because of the nature of a law firm, lawyers rarely do outreach or email marketing. It would be strange to receive a message or email from a lawyer saying ‘in case you ever need legal advice on corporate matters for your business, feel free to reach out!’ would it not? This means all your marketing is inbound and you need to top of mind for clients at a certain time in their life, but only at that certain time. You have a time window to peak the interest of a potential client and it’s when they’ve realized they have a legal problem that is urgent, a.k.a they need help and it’s urgent enough that they’re willing to pay for it. Once that is running through their heads they will either (and most likely both):

  • Search Google for information on their problem and for law firms that handle it - which is when you want them to find your site.

  • Think of any law firms they already know of or friends they have who are lawyers - which might sometimes make them think of you, but they need to be reminded that you exist.

Hopefully you find these marketing tools and tips useful and can put them into practice to be on your way to your successful firm! Good luck!!

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