Website Design for Lawyers: A How-to Guide

It’s not uncommon that when people are looking for the best restaurant, physio or any other professional, they turn to the internet first. Your clients aren’t any different. Having a well designed website for your law firm is key to bringing in new business.

The truth is that potential clients will base their decisions on your presence. If you don’t have a law firm site, if you’re a lawyer without a website, you could be losing out on potential clients who would rather work with lawyers who have an online presence. The best way to make sure that potential clients can find you online is to have an effective website that’s informative and  easy-to-read.

A basic web design guide for lawyers and law firms

This how-to guide is packed with information on website design, based on my vast experience in managing websites and serving lawyers. You’ll find everything you need to know about key areas like:

  • Website development
  • SEO to get more traffic
  • Design basics to simple utilization
  • Website writing tips for good communication for law institutes
  • Website design tips for law firms
  • Ethical marketing 

Keep reading if you want to learn how to create an optimized website for your law firm from the ground up. This guide covers the basics of design as well as complex topics.

Law firm web design can help you achieve rapid growth

If you’re a lawyer, chances are creating a website is not your forte. However, all businesses – especially law firms – need to have an online presence in today’s age.

Legal Trends Report, 2019 says that the most common ways consumers find lawyers is through a search engine or by visiting a lawyer’s website.  Other popular methods include recommendations from friends/family (15%), legal directories such as Avvo or Nolo (9%), and online advertisements (6%).

Even if a potential client received referrals from somebody they know and trust, it’s highly probable that they will look up the recommended law firm online. And for those people who go straight to the internet when needing legal assistance because they don’t have anyone else to ask your law firm’s online marketing becomes even more important.

The basics of website development and design

If you’ve choosed to invest in a new law firm website, your next step is to consider the design and what type of site will fit your firm’s needs best.

Should you design your law firm’s website on your own or hire a professional?

The amount you ought to spend on your website might differ based on the industry and area of practice you work in. As an example, when law firm is supported mainly by mouth referrals and returning clients, you may only need a basic website with information like your phone number, business name, address, etc. This would be sufficient to confirm identity. If you want your law firm to be unique, you should invest in a professionally designed website. You can either try to design it yourself or hire someone experienced.

1. Make your own Web Design

If you’re feeling confident, there are plenty of available tools to help you build your own law firm site.

Have you ever wanted to build a professional website but didn't know where to start? Clio Grow offers simple, effective solutions. Just choose your theme and fill out a form- no design or coding skills required. By having an easily accessible site, you're allowing clients to reach to you with ease, schedule consultations, pay online, as well as gather data from prospective clients. Why wait? Build your site now.

This is a popular platform for good reason--it's trusted and easy to use. With its website editor tool, desktopan intuitive interface, mobile apps, as well as great customer support, you're guaranteed satisfaction.

Jurispage is a website design agency that was created specifically for law firms. Clio will automatically create new client contacts from your JurisPage-powered website's contact form submissions, creating ability to simplify your lead generation as well as the intake process.

Jurispages' goal is to help lawyers succeed by potential clients, impressing referrals, and colleagues with their websites.

LawLytics is the ideal website platform for small law firms. You can use LawLytics to build or improve your current website with ease. Additionally, Clio Manage and Clio Grow integrate seamlessly, so it's a breeze to transfer any new client or lead information from your website into either program.

If you can’t decide whether to spend money on someone else or do it yourself, consider that paying for a professional could save you time and give you an end result that more closely reflects your vision. But, if going independent is what you’ve decided, make sure to read our guide below so law firms know all they need about designing and maintaining their websites before getting started.

2. Professional web developers

Depending on the size and complexity of your law firm, professional services can cost anywhere from a few hundred to over one-hundred thousand dollars (not including support costs).

For a few thousand dollars, a developer who’s properly trained and supported can create a unique design for small law firms. 

When people want to create a website, they often think they have three options: They can teach themselves how to do it, hire someone expensive to build it from scratch, or find an in-between option. The latter would be finding someone who is willing to construct your site for less money with the assumption that you will maintain it yourself later on. This way, you’re still ensuring success while also saving some cash. Regardless of which route you decide to take though, always keep learning and evolving—it’s crucial for the future growth of your law firm (and any other business).

Tips to hire a good website designer

If you’re not comfortable coding your own law firm website, the next best step is to hire a professional web designer. To make sure you get what you want for a fair price, comparison shop and ask lots of questions. Here are some key queries to keep in mind during interviews:

  • When would you be able to begin work on my website? Do you have an estimate for how long it will take?
  • What sort of training do you offer to help me understand how to use the website?
  • Can I edit my website’s content by myself?
  • Will you be able to offer support in the future if needed? This might entail security and software, or it could mean resolving issues on the site.
  • What SEO strategies will you use to improve my website’s ranking on search engines?
  • Is your website accessible and easy-to-use for mobile and tablet users?
  • Who will be the administrator of the domain as well as the host?

You can answer some questions immediately, but others, such as cost and time, might need more discussion to figure out what you want. Look for a developer whose services fit your budget, time and level of knowledge.

Images and accessibility

There are a few key reasons why the design of your law firm’s website is important. First impressions matter, so it needs to give off the right vibe about you and your business. It should also be easy to use and navigate for potential clients. Plus, making sure your site is accessible to everyone is always important. To make sure you’re making the best choices for your firm, consider these questions:

Are you choosing the correct images?

The images on your law firm’s website play a crucial role in communicate your business’ message to visitors. Always use high quality and professional pictures to help create the brand identity that you want for your company. A great way of showing potential clients that you’re reliable is by using professional headshots.

Is your website’s performance suffering because of large images?

Mixed in with ensuring your photos are high-quality, you must also be aware of their size. If users find too many high-definition pictures on your website, it will run slowly and end up costing you more funds eventually.

If you’re still unconvinced that your law firm needs to focus on its mobile site speed, then perhaps this will persuade you: not only does Google think it’s important for businesses’ growth, but potential clients are also likely to be driven away by a slow experience and drawn in by a fast one. Fortunately, you can figure out how quickly your website loads with Google’s tool called Test My Site.

Use the smallest image size possible without compromising quality. To optimize images, start with the basics: Large files should be avoided, and quality should only be lowered slightly so it’s unnoticeable.

Utilize your site on mobile devices

For the first time in 2016, usage of mobile as well as tablets surpassed desktop web use. The trend has continued throughout present day. Even if Google Analytics indicates more users on your site using desktop devices, keep in mind that Google utilizes mobile-friendliness as a key ranking signal for all searchers. So even though your clients might prefer the desktop experience, it’s still important to ensure your site looks great on mobile so they can find you easily on search results pages.

Mobile devices have much smaller screens, which means your content needs to be structured in a linear way that flows logically. You’ll also want to make sure your images can scale down without losing quality. The example below demonstrates an uncomplicated way to design your law firm’s mobile site.

Do you have an accessible website?

To reach the largest audience possible, your website should be accessible to everyone–including those with visual or mobility impairments. People who are blind or have low vision can use screen readers, while those with dexterity issues may utilize alternative input devices instead of a standard mouse. By implementing these accommodations into your site design, you’ll ensure that every potential customer can enjoy using your site. Improve your website’s design by creating a high level of contrast between the colors of your text and background. Another way to do this is by choosing colors that will be visible to those who are color-blind.

A great way to test if your law firm’s website is accessible is by ‘turning off’ the stylish design features. This lets you evaluate if the content on your site has been arranged correctly.

If you understand the code for your website,  remove the link where to reach the CSS file. If that concept is confusing, try a  disable-html extension. This will allow you turn off sections of your website’s code and see what components are left after refreshing the page.

For instance, here is a website with active styling:

Here is the same website without any styling.

To make your law firm website accessible, ensure the headings are clear and concise. You may have information only appearing in images—something that makes a site inaccessible.

To get more reach to the website, SEO is key.

If you want potential clients to be able to find your law firm website, it needs to be optimized for search engines. Relevance and frequency of updates are both factors that contribute to whether or not your web page appears on the first page of a search engine’s results. This means that with good SEO, potential clients are more likely to come across your site and engage with your content.

Although SEO might appear difficult, it is essentially about deploying methods to boost your website’s ranking in search engine results. In other words, more individuals will be able to uncover your law firm online. By improving your site’s position in search results, you can significantly increase traffic to your website

If you want your law firm to succeed, you need to know how to SEO. Here are the 5 basic steps:

  1. Write high-quality content that will engage your reader.
  2. Choose keywords for your content, and place them strategically throughout to ensure high traffic.
  3. Place your site’s content 
  4. It is essential to establish and protect your institutions online presence and image.
  5. Constantly monitor technical issues.

Unless you’re already an expert in law firm SEO, it’s usually more sensible to hire one. Search engine optimization is time-consuming and always changing, so working with someone who already has experience will save you both time and money eventually–provided that you know what questions to ask during the interview process.

3 copywriting tips to your website

To keep potential clients interested in your law firm, it is not only important that your website looks appealing, but also that the copy is easy to read and interesting. Good copywriting will ensure visitors want to stay on your site long enough to reach out and contact you.

Here are some tips for writing effective website copy that converts, whether you’re editing existing copy or starting from scratch:

Know your audience.

Copywriting well means understanding your audience and what will resonate with them. You want to score clients, as well those who refer potential customers– but only if you can keep them reading. Ditch the confusing legal terms and being too lecturer-like; Instead, focus on building a rapport with your reader.

Make sure to be clear.

Keep your writing clear and easy to understand. This may involve using simpler words and sentences, but it will be betterc to the audience. Make sure your website has clear calls-to-action so that visitors know what to do next.

The entrance, or home page, of your law firm’s website is likely the most crucial aspect as it can determine if a potential client continues scrolling or exits the site. Customarily, the goal of any law firm site should be to change browsers into customers through CTA buttons. By gently guiding visitors towards these conversion objectives – whether that be signing up for a consultation or subscribing to a newsletter – you’re more inclined to see paying customers instead general leads.

Draw your readers in with calls-to-action! These phrases are brief, eye-catching, and encourage visitors to take specific next steps. By placing calls-to–action throughout your website strategically, you can guide your readers to related content or pages that will be of interest to them.

The language you use on your website depends on its purpose. The call-to-action below, for example, is clear and concise. It asks visitors to book a consultation with Sound Immigration. To make the message easy to read, it’s highlighted in blue. And , we’ve included the mobile number so it will be handy.

A comprehensive guide on ethical considerations for marketing your website.

Although online marketing of your law firm provides a great opportunity to expand your business, it also requires lawyers to remain highly responsible.

Adhering to the marketing guidelines set by your state bar association and the American Bar Association will help ensure that your law firm’s marketing practices are ethical. As you design your law firm’s website and consider online marketing, be sure to stay compliant with these ethical obligations:

  • Know the rules.
  • Avoid common mistakes.
  • Avoid common mistakes.
  • Blogs

7 best practices and tips for a law firm website

The following best practices should be reviewed before starting to build your law firm website in order to confirm that it will meet all the necessary expectations:

1.Prioritize your website visitors

While your law firm’s website is primarily a marketing tool, remember that the most successful ones also serve their client’s needs. Creating a site whose only purpose is marketing would be counterproductive.

Always keep your law firm’s target demographic in mind when constructing or improving your website. Use web analytics to see who is visiting, how they interact with the content and what changes could be made to improve performance.

These three questions should jumpstart your process:

  • Who is my ideal client? Try to remember lots of details about your target clients, like for example their age range, where they come from, how they found out about your company, and which communication channels they prefer. That way you can more effectively connect with them.
  • What are they thinking? Always remember that your customers are people, not just statistics. Consider when they would visit your website and what their frame of mind might be during those times. This will help you better understand how they would use your site.”
  • What emotions are they experiencing? For example, if someone was fired from their job unjustly, they would likely be feeling a range of intense emotions including anger, hurt and frustration. If this person came across your website while looking for help online, it’s important that they see you have successfully navigated similar cases before they continue reading your site.

2. Your potential clients should be able to easily find your contact information

It’s happened to all of us before- being stressed and needing help, then frantically looking for contact information on a website that is nowhere to be found. Then we remember how paramount it is to have that info easily accessible. If people can’t locate what they’re searching for quickly and effortlessly on your site, they’ll go elsewhere where it’s simpler for them.

3. Design your law firm website to be user-friendly

You should make sure that your law firm website is easy to use. A fantastic way to test usability is by having somebody try and complete a specific task such as booking an appointment. Doing this with different people for various tasks will give you the best results possible. As technology rapidly changes, it can be hard to stay current. 

4. Make sure to consider the important pages.

You can pick and choose which sections you would like for us to design for your website. Based on your law firm and desired practice area, here are a few of our most popular section designs:

About page

Sharing your personal story on your website will help clients feel like they know you, and build trust. By writing casually, as though you’re talking to them in person, they’ll get a sense of your personality – making it more likely that they’ll reach out to hire you.

Contact page

Although there are many reasons to include a contact page on your website, did you know that in some areas it is required by law? If that’s not enough to convince you, consider the following benefits:

Your contact page should at least list:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Social media links (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram)

The contact form is a way to collect information from potential leads. For example, Clio Grow offers online forms that input this information directly from your site into the app so you don’t have to retype it all.

Blog

Your blog is a great platform to discuss your expert area of law and how it affects people’s lives. If you can cooperate in anything newsworthy, that’s even better! This will make your future clients see your content as both useful AND interesting, rather than just a bunch of legal jargon.

Testimonials

If you have clients that love your work, ask them for a detailed testimonial and post it on your website! Having in-depth quotes from satisfied customers is not only credible, but also shows potential new clients why they should pick your business over others.

Fees

Fees are always a deciding factor for clients when they weigh you against other providers. Be frank about how you charge- hourly, flat rate, etc. You don’t need to include an exact number unless the law requires it, but giving them a range shows that you’re candid and dependable.

5. Try HTML headers

Using headers might make text look bigger on a page, but they do more than that. By using header tags in your HTML, you emphasize the importance of the information beneath the heading and establish a content hierarchy.

Heading tags can be thought of as the table of contents in a textbook. When all labels, such as book title, section titles, and chapter titles have been used earlier appropriately, it becomes easier to find information. However, if every title is given equal attention without much fuss, it turns into an unordered list. By using heading tags on each page of your website smartly allows search engines understand what the content present on that particular page is about; this eventually impacts when they’re displayed as results after a query has been made in any search engine?

This not only sorts information for easy consumption but also improves SEO and accessibility. For example, people with disabilities who use screen readers to browse the internet depend on header tags to help them skip between sections of websites.

6. Consider if your law firm website is actually helpful to viewers.

Always consider your target audience before changing anything on your law firm website. For example, would a link to counselling services be helpful in a blog post about surviving divorce? Links on a contact page can be overwhelming and unnecessary. Most people visiting this page are likely just trying to find your contact information as quickly as possible and don’t need any additional resources.

7. Catch digital errors

The website of any law firm should truthfully depict the brand. Furthermore, it’s crucial to vet all links before adding them to your site–think of broken links as digital typos. You should also test these regularly because pages on other websites are always deleted or renamed. While you’re at it, do a basic spell-check and grammar check too.

3 great law firm sites

Just as every legal practice is different, there is no such thing as an “ideal” law firm website. Similarly to how there cannot be a one-size fits all solution, the advantages and disadvantages of each site – along with its purpose and target audience – will differ. What works best for your law firm’s website depends entirely on what you hope to achieve in the end.

If you’re feeling uninspired by your current law firm website, don’t worry–you’re not alone. There are plenty of other websites out there that serve as great examples to follow. To get you started, here are three well-designed, helpful, and effective law firm websites.

When it comes to calls-to-action, Palace Law has the best law firm website.

At Palace Law, we use effective methods, like call-to-action buttons that stand out, to show potential clients where they need to click to get the information they seek. Our Tacoma-based personal injury and worker’s compensation law firm is dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible service.

Fresh Legal has the best law firm website, with stunning professional photography.

At Fresh Legal, we pride ourselves on being a law firm that is professional but not uptight. As soon as you enter our website, you are greeted by a professional photo and tagline that suits our focus on family law. This makes it clear that we are here to help you with all of your legal needs.

At Vela Wood, we have a team of experienced lawyers who are dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible resources.

Vela Wood’s corporate law firm website not only looks sleek and professional, but it also offers potential clients a wide variety of resources. Through blogs, podcasts, and infographics, the site provides valuable information that can help people make informed decisions about their legal needs.

Law Firm website designing can be simple.

Attracting clients becomes much simpler when you have a well-thought-out website. Not to mention, a site that looks amazing will make someone more likely to trust your law firm than others. Decide if it’s in your best interest to design the site yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Your website’s success depends on more than just its contact information. You must also consider your target client’s perspective when designing the layout. A successful law firm will always invest in their website accordingly.