I recently tried to make my own website. I had a vivid image in mind, a vague idea of how to achieve it, and a lot of good faith that it couldn’t be too difficult. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a long Saturday before me, thinking I’d devote the day to making my site perfect, and then I’d be on my merry way.
You can see where this is going.
By six that evening I had completely broken the WordPress theme I thought I was customizing, with no idea of how to fix it. The sketch I’d done of my ideal front page seemed as far away and as impossible to achieve as a swim to Tahiti. I found myself on the phone with a friend who designs WordPress themes as part of her job, desperately trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong.
Law Firm Website Design
As it turns out, designing a website, even one with a host and easily-installed themes, is difficult. It’s not as simple as downloading a law practice management software and letting it do all the work. If you’ve recently approached setting up your law firm’s website, thinking you could cut out the web-designing middleman and do it yourself, you know this struggle all too well.
Is there hope? Where would you even start?
You could try these tips.
1. Consider the pages you want
Alright, so you’ve got your homepage. Great! Now what? You know that most websites have more than just a homepage, but now that you’re actually doing your own design, you can’t for the life of you think of what else you need to add.
You don’t need to cluster all of your information on the main page. As long as you have clear links to other pages, it’s okay to divide your web content between different pages. Let your main page focus on one or two major elements of your practice, then move the rest to other pages.
Some suggestions for other pages:
- A landing page When people are directed to your site from elsewhere on the internet, consider having a landing page to direct them to, rather than a homepage.
- Client testimonials You want prospective clients to know that you’ve had many satisfied clients in the past, right? Let those satisfied clients do the talking for you.
- Publications Have you written articles for any legal publications? Did you have any law school or master’s degree work published? Feature your expertise on its own page.
- Contact and social media page This page is an absolute must. You should offer multiple ways to get in touch with you (telephone and email are standard places to start), as well as featuring any official social media outlets you use.
Don’t worry about pages being too short or looking too sparse. That’s what good header images and design are for.
2. Make sure you’re mobile-optimized
Mobile is where your clients are, with a high percentage of people using smartphones and tablets on the regular. If you want them to stick around on your website, you’ll need a website that they can actually view.
Mobilizing (see what I did there?) isn’t a hard prospect. There’s lots of ways you can go about it.
Don’t expect a ton of extra coding in going mobile, either. Plenty of website templates are automatically coded to be mobile-friendly
3. Consider a blog
I’m a little biased towards blogging, as I’m sure you could guess. But I love blogging and content marketing because it works so well.
Running a blog about your thoughts, opinions, and experiences in the legal field does several great things for your firm. It makes your business (and you!) into an industry leader. It gives you more authority and builds huge trust in your client base by displaying that, yes, you really do know what you’re talking about and you really do have something valuable to do for them. It also gives you publicity (as a good article will likely be shared and re-shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), and helps generate traffic to your website.
Blogging is a great way to help bolster your website and make your firm look better than ever.
4. Make your contact info as clear as possible
Remember what I said about having a contact page? I’m repeating it here because it’s so vital to your business.
A solid contact page includes multiple forms of contact and may include business hours or a mailing address as well. Start with your firm’s email and telephone number. Having buttons for social media is a great next step; just make sure that you’re linking to your official business pages and not your personal facebook or twitter.
Consider having an embedded contact form on the website itself, so that harried potential clients (who, depending on the type of law you practice, might be pretty darn stressed out anyway by the time they find your contact page) don’t even need to open up a separate email client to reach out to your firm.
An address isn’t a bad idea, even if you don’t expect mail, since your contact page is the first place your client will look for where to go when coming to an appointment.
Good design has a place on this page as well, just keep in mind that clarity and simplicity are your best friends.
5. Don’t fear the prefab
While they aren’t foolproof (see above: me breaking my webpage), prefab website hosts and templates are a huge help, especially for beginners.
Just as you wouldn’t try to film a TV ad spot all on your own with no experience in film or advertising (at least, I hope you wouldn’t), you don’t want to try and code a website from scratch with no prior experience.
While there are service that will design a website for you, if you’re a firm on a budget you can use the offerings from many hosting websites to get started. Blogger, Typepad, and WordPress are all solid options.
How will you improve your law firm’s website design?
Have you updated your law firm’s site recently? How did you fare? Was it as bad as me? Tell me about it in the comments.
Looking for Law Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Law Practice Management software solutions.