Best practices for creating a law firm website to help separate you from your competitors online.
There are loads of law firms out there of all shapes and sizes and the competition to not only be found, but to stand out and be unique is more fierce than just about any other industry. One of the key, if not the most utilized avenues potential clients use to source legal help is through local organic search so having a good law firm website is essential to your business.
As a Toronto web design firm, Parachute Design has not only provided professional web design for law firms for over a decade, we’ve also established an ironclad list of best web design and branding practices to rely on when creating a law firm website. Getting found is only half the battle. Keeping a visitor on your law firm website, and engaging them through professional website interface design and concise, effective content is equally important. Parachute Design is not only highly skilled in both facets, but we’ve also been honing our law firm website design for lawyers throughout Canada for more than ten years.
The process of building a website for your law firm can seem quite daunting at times for anyone that does not tackle these challenges on a day-to-day basis. We believe that our duty as a Toronto web design company is to guide law firms and lawyers through the creative website design and branding process, from discovery through implementation. When we’re finished, we don’t just hand over the keys; our goal is to ensure that you’ve also learned how to manage both your new law firm website and corporate brand more effectively going forward, to ultimately deliver improved results.
Web Design Best Practices
Let’s look at the best practices our Toronto web designers utilize when creating a law firm website for our clients.
Responsive Website Design
A fully responsive website design is a must-have for your new lawyer website. In our experience and research over recent years, we’ve found that a very large portion of web traffic to law firm websites arrives via the mobile web. Given the wide accessibility required, a law firm website design that is both fully responsive and optimized for mobile users is crucial to the success of the website as a key marketing tool for your law firm.
Identify Your Law Firm’s Areas of Practice
According to our analysis, when a person lands on your law firm’s website, there are two key pieces of information they are looking for; what services you offer and your lawyer profile page. First and foremost they want to know what legal services your law firm offers. A good law firm website design will promote your list of legal services quickly and efficiently while offering a very quick and positive user experience on the website. These services should be promoted both on your home page and on profile pages with direct links to more in-depth content about the services themselves.
Design Lawyer Profile Pages
The second most sought-after piece of information on your law firm’s website should be your lawyer or partner profiles. A key feature in our professional law firm website design is often featuring custom photography of each lawyer within the firm on a landing page that links through to each lawyer’s personal profile page. These pages offer a personal connection to the viewer in addition to building credibility, communicating your areas of expertise, and offering an opportunity to connect via email, phone, or social media.
Clear Calls to Action and Convenient Methods of Contact
After all the time, effort, and expense your law firm will invest in optimizing your lawyer website for search and building a larger visitor base, it’s very important that your law firm website design communicates effectively and funnels website users to the appropriate area of your website that holds not only the information they seek but also a clear method of contacting you. All pages of your law firm website design should offer some form of call-to-action, an avenue to contact the firm directly via email, web form, or phone, or perhaps even download additional information. They may also feature prominent calls to action that drives users to areas of the website that either feature information that your law firm wishes to promote (in order to increase conversions), or to other marketing opportunities.
Design Optimized Landing Pages
Law firm websites generally offer a range of different legal services and each service should have its own landing page that is optimised for organic search. Because each legal service is unique, this is a golden opportunity to not only cast a wider net when it comes to the search engine results pages (SERPs) and relevant keywords but also offer a much more robust corporate image to the viewer. By offering optimised landing pages for each legal service, the law firm website design can also help users focus on what they’ve come to your firm’s website in search of, without confusion or the distraction of other services that may not necessarily be relevant to them at the time.
Limit the Use of Stock Photos in the Law Firm Web Design
People connect with images of other people more efficiently than inanimate objects. Sourcing professional photography for a new law firm web design can be costly depending on the size of the firm, however, this investment goes a long way in both setting a personal tone within the website and helping to strengthen or develop the law firm’s branding. Stock photography can work if used sparingly and wisely, however many law firm websites feature widely used stock photography that in most cases is detrimental to user experience and brand perception as it quickly “stereotypes” the law firm. We too often see images used in a law firm’s website that appear on many other legal websites and feature common stereotypes such as a series of leather-bound legal books, a gavel, or even worse, the dreaded scales of justice.
If custom photography is not an option and stock photography must be used, we do so in moderation and try to theme the imagery in a way that avoids stereotypes or literal interpretations of a word, practice, or service, and create a consistent emotion that can be carried throughout your law firm’s website design. We often focus more on the end result of great legal service, rather than the service itself. This means showcasing imagery that may suggest an improved lifestyle or personal fulfilment following successful litigation.
Use Your Web Design to Recruit
Law firms often have a high personnel turnover rate and your website can be a valuable tool in recruiting new lawyers and support staff. Within your law firm website design we recommend a job board where your firm or website administrator can easily add new job postings and share these optimised pages on professional job boards and social media.
Use Testimonials as a Web Design Element
Testimonials can go a long way in creating a positive image for your law firm if used effectively within the website design. Through our years of Toronto website design experience, we’ve found that using testimonials as a design element (as opposed to creating a dedicated page of testimonials) is much more effective in conveying the message and sentiment to visitors. This is due to our ability to limit the number of testimonials – because visitors are not going to read many – and the opportunity we have to dress out the testimonial graphically making it more appealing to quickly scan or read.
Create a Law Firm Blog
One of the best ways to engage and attract an audience is to create a blog within your law firm website. Lawyers tend to be very busy and don’t always have the time to write new articles and post them, but with as much as a single blog post per month, your law firm can showcase value to potential clients, play a more active role by promoting events in the community, and help boost the attractiveness of your website to the search engines as well.
At Parachute Design, our Toronto website designers follow these website design best practices and have helped numerous lawyers and law firms within the GTA and across Canada to better reach and inform potential clients. Whether you are a small law firm or a large growing practice, we would love the opportunity to work with you and build a law firm website design specifically for your needs!
For more information on website design for law firms or to have us prepare a proposal for your legal business, contact Parachute Design, complete our online quote request form, or call our website design experts in Toronto at 416-901-8633.