Just because you have a pretty website doesn’t mean you have a good website.
Too often, attorneys equate “design” with “aesthetics”, but design goes much further than mere attractiveness. Your website needs to do something; it needs to accomplish your business goals. In the legal sphere, the primary goal is always to bring in the right clients – you want a stream of steady, qualified cases. So good web design, then, is that which helps turn visitors into clients (or at least entice them to take one step closer to trusting their case with you).
Here are 7 web design elements that your lawyer website should have if you want to enhance your online presence:
1. Form above the fold
The space that fills the browser window before a user scrolls is prime real estate because it gets most of the user’s attention. Prospective clients will decide in 0.05 seconds whether or not to leave your website, and what they see above the fold will likely influence their decision to hire you or not. That’s the area with the most visibility; that’s the place where you want to put information that’s most valuable to reaching your goals. Eye studies have shown that the amount of users decreases as the page scrolls. In order to keep your bounce rate low, grab their attention and give them an opportunity to convert above the fold. If you search around, you’ll find that many other lawyers have a contact form above the fold, a phone number, some sort of credibility (like awards or settlement amounts), and their photo. This is common because it works!
2. Clear calls-to-action (CTAs)
Having the form above the fold on the homepage of your lawyer website is important, but you also need to help the potential client keep their eyes on the prize as they explore the rest of your site. Include buttons like “Contact Us”, “Call Our Office”, “Free Case Evaluation”, etc., so that users have an easy way to get in touch with you wherever they are on your site. We recommend a few different copy options, as some people don’t like phone calls and prefer to communicate via email, form submission, or live chat.
3. Phone number/contact in the top right corner
One of the easiest ways to annoy visitors and get them to leave your website before they convert is to hide information they are trying to find. If potential clients want legal help, and they are trying to call your firm to speak with someone about their case or your track record, or just find out more about your firm, and a clickable phone number is not in the top right corner (which is the place they will expect to find it), your click through rates will decrease.
4. Prominent client testimonials/video
When people need legal counsel or representation, they do their research. Some critical aspect of their future is at stake, and they need to trust someone who can navigate the complex legal system for them. They need to know that you are credible, experienced, and that you can help win their case. Research shows that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If your firm has so far thrived on word of mouth, including client testimonials is a way for you to expand that trust online.
You can fill your site with engaging and compelling content, but stories that don’t come from you are going to be the most persuasive elements you can include on your site. Showcase client testimonials in a place where visitors will notice them! We typically use a text slider or include a video section on the home page like this. Videos are especially powerful, as users can see a real person talking about their experience. One study showed that law firms with quality video on their websites typically see a 41% increase in potential clients visiting their site.
5. Mobile responsiveness
On July 1, 2019, Google began mobile-first indexing. This means that now Google will index and rank your site – that is, decide whether it’s worthy to show to certain users and how to present it – based on your site’s mobile version. In one survey, 60% of people indicated that they would use a smartphone if searching online for a lawyer. This is more than the percentage of users who search for jobs from their smartphones (42%).
If your website isn’t mobile responsive (if it doesn’t adapt to the user’s device, if certain elements do not work on mobile) you risk frustrating and alienating a large portion of your audience, particularly your younger clients. And with the Google update, you run the even greater risk of not even appearing high enough in search results to be noticed by your desktop or mobile audience. Mobile responsiveness is critical to high-performing lawyer web design.
Slow websites have higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. We live in a fast-paced, instant gratification age. Over half of your visitors are likely to leave if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load. If you have bulky elements on your site (like improperly optimized media), and your site is slow, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convince a user to become a client!
7. Good photography/photo of you
Users like to see who will be handling their case. They dislike blurry or pixelated images. If you invest in quality photos of your firm/office space, legal team, and partners, it may go a long way in helping clients know what to expect and gaining their trust.
Of course, your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, as well. You are wooing clients in a highly competitive industry; looks do matter. Just not as much as function or element design. If you have a clean, easy-to-navigate, responsive website that includes these 7 elements, you are on your way to achieving your business goals and growing your firm!
Now, you just need to drive traffic to your website….
Empirical360 is a PPC agency that specializes in legal marketing. We help attorneys attract more clients, expand their online presence, and grow their firm! Our team is a Google Premier Partner who has managed over $15,000,000 in ad spend. Contact us today to hear our strategy for how to revamp your website and structure paid search campaigns that work!
Shea Antonucci - Author
Director of Content Marketing
Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!