Over the past couple of years we’ve helped loads of law firms both in the UK and internationally to create and improve their websites by turning them into lead generation machines. A Law firm website should not only look good, but be fast, intuitive, engaging, value-driven, SEO optimised and flexible.
If you want more enquiries, here are the things that your law firm website should have.
Purpose - what is your website for?
If I've said it once I've said it 1000 times, it does not matter what you think of your website, it matters whether it is performing.
So tell me what your website is for?
Is it for you, your colleagues, friends and family to pat yourselves on the back and say it looks nice?
Or is it to be an industry leader in getting visibility, traffic and enquiries that can drive revenue for your law firm?
Of course, it’s possible to do both of the above, but your starting point really needs to be the customer.
Law firm websites that work, have strategies and the strategy usually has the end goal of generating more enquiries for the law firm.
There are secondary benefits such as providing great customer service for existing clients or impressing partners.
Let's assume your end goal is the same as 99% of law firms that we work with; you want to drive revenue with more quality enquiries.
You therefore need to go into any website project with the right mindset, which is very simple: get it live and make improvements as you go along.
Making your website live as soon as you can allows you to measure the data and see what works, what doesn't and get feedback from clients, colleagues and partners.
Your reliance on your own opinion, which let's face it may be a great opinion, but you aren’t a web designer, you’re a legal professional, may mean you aren’t designing for enquiries.
You may even be a legal professional who is an amateur web designer, but even then it's very unlikely that you're a marketer and understand the strategies that can go into creating a great website design for enquiries.
So now we know your objective is to get more enquiries, you can start to work backwards to create the best possible website strategy for your law firm. Before you start you should:
- Make a list of local and national competitors, visit their websites and decide what you like and what you don't like. Pay attention to how their website looks and behaves on mobile devices (the majority of your traffic will come from mobile devices).
- Who are you targeting? Create user-personas based on who you are targeting, whether you are a family law solicitor looking for high net worth clients or you're a commercial solicitor looking to get involved in lease deals. Understand the pain points of your target customers and you can create content and a web experience that fits into these.
- Think about a website structure. What do you want your website to say and what are the things that are going to attract your target audience? Do you only provide one or two services? Then you need one or two service sales pages. Don't try and bulk out the website by creating pointless pages with “thin” content.
Your website’s value proposition is more than just a tagline, it's something that is part of your brand and part of your promise to potential clients.
From Uber's “the smartest way to get around” to Apple’s “the experience is the product”, Value proposition is often made succinct, but has a number of branches that go into a company's values and brand principles.
A word of warning on value proposition and promises; When making statements you kind of need to prove it.
For example you may be shocked to learn that you aren’t the only law firm in your local area who tells people that they are friendly, local and experienced.
Customers would expect most of these traits as a minimum.
In terms of translating your value proposition to your legal website, be aware that visitors often make fast decisions so something short, concise and value-driven is a great idea.
Here's another shocking truth; your website headlines may not even need to be “creative”.
How a visitor came to your website,for example if they came from a search in Google where they entered the term “conveyancing solicitors in Southampton”, they're probably going to want to know that the page they land on is relevant to what they've just searched.
Therefore, a tagline that says “Conveyancing solicitors in Southampton” Is more likely to let them know they're in the right place and hang around than platitudes such as:
“We understand you and do things differently”. What does that really mean? Get to the point
A value proposition for a law firm website should do the following:
- Be relevant
- Add value to the visitor
- Build trust and authority
Content sections and silos
When you work on the design, look and feel of your website, you should consider the types of content that you have or would like to have.
This includes the resources to create the content. It's all very well having 15 different web page templates designed but if you don't have the content to fill them you've wasted time and money.
Content sections and silos for law firm websites include:
- Homepage content
- About us and the team
- Contact page
- Service pages and sub service pages
- Blogging section for blogs news and insights
- Privacy and cookies policy
This is the place that visitors will most likely land if they've heard of you from referrals or if they searched for your law firm’s name in Google.
It’s the place where you want to keep things broad and demonstrate that you have expertise across the board. If you are catering for a few different audiences then you need to clearly signpost the content sections that matter to each audience.
Think of a pyramid. What's the first thing that you want people to see at the top of the pyramid (the top of your web page). That's your headline (your H1).
Go back to the strategy and think about the things that are most likely to engage your target audience. Are you telling them about yourself or are you saying something that helps them know they're in the right place?
On the homepage you'll also want to communicate the services that you offer clients if you offer more than one area of law.
This could be a simple list of links or it could be linked with icons or it could be images with descriptions. All of these things work and can quickly demonstrate to visitors that they are there in the right place.
Visitors may want to quickly get in touch or get a quick quote, so your contact options should be clearly visible in the header or a homepage banner.
An intro sentence can go a long way to quickly support your main headline and tell people why they should care. Should they scroll down or move on through your website? Create something that quickly summarises why they should work with you as a law firm and what you can offer them.
Your homepage should link to other pages on your site that you think are important, for example you may have a great brand story to showcase your own personality in which case you send people off to the “about us” page.
You may have a particularly important piece of blog content that you want to direct people to, in which case that should be prominent.
Most commonly though you want to direct people to one of your service pages to give them more information, create a connection and encourage them to enquire with you.
About us and the team page
Potential clients want to know who they'll be dealing with, so it's no surprise that on most websites we work with one of the most popular pages or section is the “about us” section.
In fact, for over 70% of our clients, pages that are about the business or its employees account are among the top three most visited pages on their websites.
Everyone has a story and the reason why they set up their own law firm or started working for this particular law firm in this particular area. Even if you don't have loads of experience, you have personality and a reason for people to get in touch with you.
This is where a picture is worth 1000 words. Make sure you have images of yourself and your staff on the about us section.
Depending on your flow for enquiries, you may also offer the opportunity for people to contact individual solicitors within your firm.
Accessible contact details are another great trust signal for both search engines and website visitors.
Build trust by showing your physical location as well as contact details such as phone number, email address and contact forms.
Be aware of how much work you are making visitors do when enquiring.
If your website is new then you want to keep the amount of information that you've asked for in a form to a minimum.
If you find you're getting an awful lot of enquiries and some of them are more relevant than others then you can start to add additional details to help filter out irrelevant enquiries.
Service pages and sub-service pages
This page that you create should act like a mini sales page that is really relevant to a specific problem or problems that a website visitor may have.
This is where sub category pages can be useful. For example you may create a parent page that is for accident and injury, but then by having sub-service pages that focus on a specific accident or injury, you'll be more relevant to visitors and demonstrate that you understand this specific problem, generating more enquiries along the way.
For example your parent page could be “Accidents and injuries” where you demonstrate your expertise in this area and talk people through some of the processes as well as demonstrating some other customers that you have helped.
Then your sub-service pages could be “whiplash claims” or “industrial injuries” or “accidents at work”.
You have a great handle on the type of enquiry you're looking for in terms of it being high value or high volume and this should help you decide on the types of pages you create.
Again there's no harm in starting small and building out as the need arises.
The blogging section
Let’s get this right; no one really cares about news and insights from your law firm, about your awards or even about things that have happened in your office.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh but in reality, very few people are going to regularly visit your website to see which news / blogs you’ve added.
Sure it might be worth posting these things on LinkedIn if you can demonstrate growth etc. but the real value behind the blog section is the simple fact that people use Google and other search engines to ask questions about the areas of law that you are an expert in.
This is where your blogging section is vital.
You need to research keywords that people are entering into Google that are relevant to your law firm and create content around these keywords. In doing this you can consider:
- Level of competition
- Ideal length of the blog
- Structure and sections
- Number of images and headings
- Internal link structure how you link to this blog from your own site and external websites
Your blogging content, if well-written, original, well-researched, value-driven and authoritative is likely to attract links from other websites which in turn will help your SEO strategy.
Find out more about SEO for solicitors here.
You're a legal expert. I'm sure you've got this one covered, but it's important that you build trust and let people, as well I search engines, know how you're going to handle their data including cookies or any other private information that you hold.
Great User Design
Once you have the content roughly designed, you can take a look at the user design and how people flow through your site.
This could include the various entry points, for example it could be through a well-designed how to guide and then from there, they may flow onto your contact page or contact form.
By referring back to the work you did around your ideal audience, you can determine what types of behaviours, including types of devices (mobile / desktop) that your target audience will use and this can help inform your user design.
You don't need to reinvent the wheel here.
The work you looked at around competitor websites and how well they wor is something that can easily be replicated on your website.
This could be things like simple contact forms or page layouts.
If you're unsure about how to go about creating a law firm website see how do I create a law firm website.
Many law firm website designs don't even think about how it will look on a mobile device until the last minute i.e. as long as it looks great on desktop then it is good to go.
The reality is that we don't have a single client who has more desktop or tablet traffic than they do mobile traffic.
So consider the following important mobile design issues:
- Designer for people with “fat fingers”
- Make a clickable links for apart - it's not easy to click the wrong thing and
- Make sure all fonts are big enough to be legible on mobile devices.
Google has a great tool where you can test your website’s mobile friendliness here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
A CMS is a “content management system” and your law firm website should have one. If it doesn't, it means you're not going to be able to make changes or add new website content when you want to.
We always advise that clients should have full access to the content management system and if you're working with a partner who is charging you every time you need to make changes, then you may want to reconsider.
Content management systems such as WordPress give you flexibility to make any changes at any time and this may include changes to templates and layouts if you're not happy with the design or you want something tweaked.
New websites need new content so you should have a process in place for creating, uploading and publishing new content that is going to help your SEO strategy. Your CMS should be secure and prevent you from getting lots of spam.
Data and analytics tracking
Tracking your new law firm website will help you determine how hard it is working for you.
You should be able to track things that can help you make better decisions and see how well your website is working as an enquiry engine.
You don't have to get carried away with what you measure, but look at some basic things such as:
- Number of visits
- Where the visits came from
- Number for enquiries
- Whether enquiries came from
Then as you get more website traffic flowing through the website are there any particularly unfriendly pages where people bounce straight off your site or are not spending enough time on it.
How can you provide visitors with more of the content with this working?