A lawyer’s website is more than just a vehicle to showcase a firm’s unique branding. The look, feel, and function of a law office’s website can all contribute to the firm’s success. A law firm website that’s secure, quick to load, and aesthetically pleasing is sure to attract more clients than a website that’s lacking even one of these qualities.
Whether you’re revamping your site or starting from scratch, the best law firm websites all incorporate similar features that you need to know about. We’ve created a primer to help you find out what you need in order to have one of the most competitive law firm websites on the net.
1. They’re fast
Nobody likes a slow website. A website that’s optimized to be as fast as possible keeps everyone happy. Visitors are happy because your content and images load quickly, and your firm is happy because search engines rank you higher in their search results.
Image and code optimization is crucial for both a website’s performance and SEO rankings. Image optimization involves reducing an image’s file size of without sacrificing its quality so that page load times remain low. When the images and code on your website are optimized, visitors can expect a speedy, no-hassle online experience and you can expect your images to be included in search engine rankings.
How? Images often take up a majority of a web page’s downloaded bytes, and the more bytes the browser has to download, the longer it will take to render content. Optimizing images can drastically reduce the amount of bytes the browser has to download, thus improving the speed and performance of a website.
The best law firm website developers also implement page caching for faster page loads. When a page is cached, the server saves all the information on it so that every time the page is revisited, the server doesn’t have to reconstruct the page all over again.
2. They’re mobile responsive
The best law firm websites are designed to adapt to all screen sizes, including desktop, tablet, and mobile. A website that’s mobile responsive is designed to automatically adjust to the device the user is viewing it on, allowing visitors to view the same content across a variety of different sized screens. The same page content will be served on all devices, but the CSS, HTML, font sizes, etc, will adapt at certain breakpoints to provide users a good experience on each screen size.
Mobile responsive design has become the industry standard, and it’s crucial to a law firm website’s success. Why? For one, it has a huge impact on the visibility of your website. In the past few years, mobile website traffic has surpassed desktop traffic — in 2018, 52.2% of web users used their phones as their primary method of browsing online. Limiting your website to one screen size will drastically lower the number of users who will visit it.
Plus, mobile responsiveness could increase the likeliness that a visitor will return to your website in the future. According to data collected by Search Engine Watch, 74% of mobile users are more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites.
Responsive design isn’t just important for your website’s online presence — it contributes greatly to its search engine success. When the same content is available on a variety of different devices, customers are happy, and search engines elevate your rankings. Websites that are mobile responsive are prioritized by Google’s search algorithm, and websites that aren’t prioritized by Google can suffer. According to a Moz study in 2014, the first five search engine results account for 67.60% of all organic clicks. That number drops down to 3.73% for results six through ten.
3. They’re visual
Your website should have a personality that reflects your firm’s value proposition. Remember that the Internet is a visual medium, so you don’t necessarily need to communicate this with words. On top of copy, utilize colors, images, and videos to communicate your message through the design of your website.
The law is black and white, but your firm’s website doesn’t have to be. Utilize color psychology to build your firm’s online image. For example, a family attorney may want to use a softer, pastel color scheme to appear more friendly, whereas a personal injury lawyer or medical malpractice lawyer may utilize a red color scheme to bolster clients’ anger.
The best law firm websites are designed to be visual, readable, and attractive to the eye. Some quick tips on improving the design of your law firm website include:
- Aim for a clean design that’s free of visual clutter
- Divide textual information with visual cues to improve readability and stimulate visitor interaction
- Choose readable fonts
- Highlight important info with bold colors
- Use large images
- Include a simple, sophisticated header and footer
- Consider adding a blog to further showcase your firm’s voice and personality
- Keep your text simple with short paragraphs and headers
- Include lawyer bio pages with professional portraits
4. They’re ADA compliant
Lawyers recognize that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in “any place of public accommodation.” The internet is no exception. While an absolute set of rules doesn’t exist, the WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provides recommendations for businesses to follow in order to be ADA compliant. These 61 (!) recommendations include creating alt tags for all image and video files for vision-impaired users to hear descriptions of images they may not be able to view, and writing text transcripts for audio content that hearing-impaired users may not be able to hear.
Sound like a lot? Don’t worry — you’re not in this alone. Good web developers know the rules like the back of their hands and can bring a website up to par in minutes.
5. They’re Search Engine Optimized
The most successful law firm websites are search engine optimized. According to Google, “Search engine optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content.” A website that incorporates words and phrases optimized for search engines will attract more targeted visitors who are looking for the types of services your firm offers. The higher your firm’s website is ranked in search engine searches, the higher the traffic to it will be.
Clients seek lawyers who are near them, so local SEO for law firms is extremely important. To optimize your website, start by doing a little research using tools like Google Analytics and Moz’s Keyword Explorer to discover what kind of keywords prospective clients in your area are searching for. Then, incorporate these keywords in your website’s home, service, and content pages.
Besides identifying and incorporating keywords into content, the best law firm websites also optimize the images on their site to ensure that they’ll appear in search engine rankings.
6. They have a good conversion rate
According to Moz, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the “systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.”
In other words, having a good conversion rate means that your website isn’t just attracting more visitors, it’s attracting more online interactions from visitors. A website with a higher conversion rate means that of all the people who visit the website, a higher percentage of them are choosing to interact with it. A practice whose website has a good conversion rate receives more calls, more emails, and eventually, more clients. Good developers create websites that are conversion focused so that clients don’t have to worry about this.
Law firm websites should aim for a conversion rate of 2-5%. That is to say, if 100 people were to visit your site, 2-5 of them would end up calling or emailing to make an appointment.
7. They’re Secure
Websites aren’t intrinsically safe unless you take measures to make them safe. Every day, over 90,000 websites are hacked. Don’t let your firm’s site be one of them. The most secure sites install security plugins and dividers for protection and follow the best practices in development so that any contributed plugins can be updated for security patches.
If your firm operates with online transactions, implement an SSL for HTTPS so that all online transactions are secure. Better yet, implement https everywhere as recommended by Google. It’s understood that being https everywhere is good for your site rank.
8. They cover all their bases legally
If your firm conducts business with clients in the European Union, your website must be GDPR compliant. The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a regulation in EU law that grants European citizens the “right to be forgotten” if they no longer want their personal information to be processed by the website that collected it. According to Article 3 of the GDPR, if your company or firm collects personal data from an EU citizen living in the EU, your company is subject to the requirements of the GDPR. These requirements include reporting security breaches and implementing data protection measures into the design and development of the website.
Now you’re familiar with what your law firm website needs to thrive, and maybe you’ve identified some ways in which your website could use some shaping up. Need help implementing these changes? We got you. At Entermedia, we create, update, and manage conversion focused websites with keen attention to site performance, design, SEO, and security.
Lawyers don’t have the time to design, manage, and update their own websites. Entermedia can make it easy on you. We build websites that are attractive, informative, intuitive and simple to use. We’ll build your site so that it can be maintained and upgraded over time and will remain operational for as long as you need. Get in touch today!