I'm going to share with you the four simple things you need to create a basic website for your law firm in just a few hours. I’ll then let you know what you need to do to make sure it generates loads of enquiries for your firm.
You can do the basics and have a law firm website set up in an hour or two or you can invest a bit more time and money to have a website that is part of a marketing and sales strategy to drive your law firm more enquiries.
How do I create a basic law firm website?
To create a basic law firm website you’ll need just four things:
1. Domain name
Your website domain name is the thing that people enter into a web browser in order to visit your website. This is unique to your law firm, for example solicitor.com or inboundthings.com in my case.
If you don't yet have a website it's possible that you don't have a domain name yet, in which case you can take the the name of your law firm and go to a domain name provider such as GoDaddy where you can enter in your desired domain name and see if it is available to purchase.
Ideally, keep it as simple as possible so that people can easily find your website and reduce the amount of mistakes from miss-typing and misspelling.
You want to make sure that you own your own domain name.
The last thing you want is for it to be registered in someone else's name and you struggle to get access to it when you need to swap website hosting providers in future.
Next, find some hosting.
Website hosting can make or break how fast your website is when visited.
Hosting determines where your website’s content will be housed. The hosting provider has servers which speak to your website and then presents the visual representation of it to the world on the internet.
A good hosting provider allocates enough space on its server for your website files, code and images to ensure that they are viewable online.
Your hosting provider will also commonly provide your email hosting or at least need to partner with your email hosting provider, so be aware of the relationship between the two when switching website hosts as you may need to change MX records.
As your website grows, you may need more space to allow more website visitors. To start with though we recommend reliable shared hosting providers and then you can move onto something fancier as needed.
3. Content management system
This is where the real magic happens.
Your website’s content can be uploaded and edited via a content management system and this is also where you will apply any styles and themes that determine how your website will look across mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
You should have full access to your content management system and be able to make any changes that you require now and in future.
We recommend wordpress.org for ease of use and adaptability.
Top tip: ensure if you’re using a web design company that you have full access to make changes to the website and aren’t reliant on having to pay for changes each time.
4. Website content
You might find that the content dictates how your website will look, for example if you have a particularly illustrious “about us” section, you may want to make more of that page.
You may also want to lead with more information about you on the homepage so don't get too worked up about how it looks at the start as you can always make iterative changes as your website ages.
Basic content you'll need to get your website up and running is:
- Homepage content - a little bit about who and what you are and why people should care
- Contact page or form - the place that you want people to make an enquiry with you or find out more details about how to get in touch.
- About us page - this information could be on your homepage but it's always a good idea to have more about you particularly if you have a team of people who want to showcase.
- Service pages - Each of these acts as a mini sales page for every service that you provide, for example you may focus on personal injury as well as landlord disputes in which case you need distinct pages for each audience because each audience has distinctive problems.
How to create a law firm website that gets loads of enquiries
Now you understand the basics of creating a law firm website, with a domain name, hosting and a content management system, it's time to understand what you need to do to drive lots of relevant enquiries.
What is your website for?
I’ve said it time and time again, but it doesn't really matter what you think about your website.
It matters what your website visitors and potential clients think about it.
For most law firms, their website strategy is about generating enquiries and there are a series of steps that you need to take to make sure that it is fit for purpose.
Enquiries may come via forms on your website, emails or calls. Your website should be set up to increase the volume of each of these.
This is about the promises that you make and keep to potential clients.
It's about more than just having a logo that you like.
Sure, your branding colours and fonts need to be consistent, but you also need to think more about why people should choose you as opposed to competitors.
In most cases, you have less than 15 seconds to make an impression on website visitors, so you need to be succinct and make sure that your branding reflects how you can help potential clients and why they should choose you ahead of competitors.
Remember that somebody looking for a family law solicitor or a solicitor to help with conveyancing, will likely have looked at two or three other legal websites.
How will you make yours stand out?
What does your website offer that visitors cannot get elsewhere?
Do you have free consultations with an experienced solicitor?
Do enquiries get dealt with directly by so this is?
Are you able to offer money off or benefits with partners?
Do you just offer a really slick website experience that makes it very easy for visitors to make an enquiry with you?
Some examples of website features that can make a difference include:
- Conveyancing fees calculators
- Compensation calculator
- Quotes for legal services
- FAQs on a particular legal topic
Whatever your offer or value proposition is, it’s important to make it as clear as possible on your website pages.
What can you do better than them?
Take a look at the websites of some of your local and national competitors and see what they do well. This could be something like the layout of the service pages:
- What content do they lead with?
- What questions do they answer?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- How do they encourage visitors to make an enquiry or get in touch with them?
- How does the site look on mobile
What content types to include in your website
It isn't just about words, although they obviously play a very important part. If your website is rich with images and videos that are unique and help sell your value proposition, you stand a great chance of engaging visitors getting more enquiries.
Video is a great idea. Can you create an explainer video to support your text?
Do you have original images that look different to competitors. E.g. a visualisation of where the fees go when paying for conveyancing services.
Remember your website is a moveable feast and does not need to be all singing all dancing at the time of launch. You can always add additional pages and silos for different services as you go on.
Setting the website up for long-term SEO success is a great way to ensure that you keep enquires coming in for months and years to come.
Some web design companies will tell you that your website is SEO optimised. That may be true, but the reality is that SEO is an ongoing process whereby you look at opportunities to optimise existing content, create new content and generate links from other websites as well as address any technical issues that may arise on your own website.
Depending on how new your website is and how competitive the industry, it can take a good few months for your SEO strategy to kick in and for you to start seeing results.
So be patient.
SEO for law firms works. If you don't believe me, see this law firm seo case study.
When creating a law firm website to you should consider all of the technical and content specific factors that go into a winning SEO strategy:
Technical SEO for law firm websites
This is about ensuring that Google can efficiently crawl all of the important pages on your website.
Crawlability issues ranging from duplicate content to security issues as well as slow load times and coding errors can prevent Google and other search engines from crawling your site, indexing it and ranking it highly in search results.
A great internal linking strategy can ensure that the key pages on your site are given prominence in search engines so it’s a great idea to think about structure and how each page relates to each page from the start.
Some of the issues you need to be aware of for a successful, technical SEO strategy include:
- Error pages and dead links
- How you use nofollow and noindex tags
- How secure your site is (you need an SSL)
- 301 redirect errors
- Missing meta title and description tags
- No structured data
- Duplicate content
And there are quite a few more.
SEO content for law firms
This is the process of understanding which content you need to create so that you can rank for relevant search terms in Google. If you rank for relevant search terms, you get more relevant traffic and you get more relevant enquiries.
It’s not just a case of picking the most popular search terms and creating content around it them, you need to be aware of a few factors and variables including the ability to write engaging copy.
Great SEO content involves:
- Keyword research to find low competition yet high-volume searches that your content can rank for
- Competitor analysis to see what other sites are ranking for similar search terms and this will give you a steer on things like content structure and word count
- Structured data such as FAQs that can appear in Google Search results
- Understand the content that gets ranked in Google, for example original content where you use your experience, statistics and value to the reader is more likely to rank thank regurgitated content.
Links from other legal niche websites to yours
The third wheel ofSEO for law firms is links from other external websites to yours.
If you create good content, there's a chance that other people will link to it.
Link building can be a time-consuming yet worthwhile process to show Google that your website is authoritative. Each link acts like a vote of confidence to your website that can help you to rank higher in Google.
Find out more about link building for law firms.
Remember when we said that your website strategy was to try and get more enquiries?
Well, every page on your website should be geared towards selling your services and generating those enquiries.
Service pages are where you show website visitors that you can help them.
Why should they make an enquiry with you and how easy are you making it for them to do so?
Every page has a number of elements you must consider in order to persuade visitors to make an enquiry.
- A perfectly optimised headline
- A compelling opening sentence
- Clear list of benefits to the website visitor (not to be confused with features)
- Proof that you've helped other clients and you know what you're doing. This could be in the form of reviews of case studies
- Value; can you tell the visitor something they don't know about the legal process, a case you’ve worked on or something relevant to their legal issue?
Most importantly, understand that website copywriting is a skill and if you aren’t experienced in writing copy that gets enquiries, it may be a good idea to hand it over the the professionals.
Get some tracking code on your website to measure what visitors do and whether they are enquiring or not.
How do you know what's working if you do not measure activity on your website?
At a minimum you should understand how many visits you have per day, week, month and year, then where they come from.