There are a number of factors you have to keep in mind when building a website for your law practice. Your website is the first impression that your clients will have of you and your firm, so it’s critical to get it right. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Modern and responsive design. Your site needs to be up-to-date and look like a modern site. Design standards change constantly and what looked good in 2008 simply doesn’t look good today. You don’t want to look like you’re out of the loop! In addition, nearly half of all website visits are done on mobile devices, so you need to make sure that your site works perfectly on those. Even today (2013), many legal website design firms are not creating responsive designs — designs that automatically detect the size and type of browser and then create a version for that device. Many companies will try to sell you a separate, mobile site. Ugh. That means you have to pay (and maintain) two separate sites! With responsive designs, you don’t need to do this.
- No Flash! Some companies are still producing Flash animations or videos. Apple doesn’t support Flash on iPhones or iPads, so your site visitors won’t be able to see the cool animations you have if they’re using those devices. The modern technique is HTML5, which works on all modern browsers and phones, including Android, Apple, and Microsoft. The sites we build at Waxwing are all based on the latest programming techniques.
- Content, content, content. People don’t usually check out law firm websites for the fun of it. (OK, we do, but that’s our job.) They visit your site looking for an answer to their problem. So, your site needs to provide the solution. If someone is searching for, “contract law in Portland, Oregon,” make a page (or more) on that topic and explain how you have expertise in the area and can help. Articles and blog posts are critical parts of your website, and you won’t get many new clients without them. Content also helps with search engine optimization, or getting your site to rank well in Google and Bing.
- Use video. A large percentage of web traffic is from video, and that’s because your site visitors enjoy watching videos that are relevant to their interests. It’s a great way to educate your clients, introduce you and your staff, and show your expertise. Video production needs to be professional to reflect your image, but will pay off many times over the years. In future posts, we’ll explain tips on getting the most of your law firm videos.
- Clear Call-to-Action. This point is critical. It’s great to get people to your website, but you need to get them to take the next step. You need them to pick up the phone or fill out something on the page asking for more information. Converting site visitors into clients is an art, but it’s the key difference between a successful legal website and a money pit.
- Landing pages. If you’re serious about your online marketing, you’re going to probably need to do some PPC advertising, like AdWords. When you run your ads, don’t make the common mistake of directing the ads to your home page. Make sure you direct those to carefully targeted and designed landing pages specifically aimed at the keywords your advertising. If a person is looking for a solution to a problem, and they click on your ad, they’re much more likely to take action if they find the answer to their problem on the page they land on. If they don’t, they’ll simply look for something else on another site.
- Social media integration. Make sure that your clients can share content on your blog or site on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Also make sure that you share your new blog posts with your followers. Each year, a larger and larger share of site traffic is coming from social media, so it’s important to be active on those services.
These are the basics of what you need for a good law firm site. If you’re ready to update your website with modern features, we’re here to help. Just give us a call at (855) 780-1081 and our staff will be happy to answer your questions.