A great looking law firm website that runs smoothly, helps visitors locate the information they need, and is easily and organically found on search engines is the #1 way to gain new clients online. By now you may already know this, especially if you’ve read our spiel. What you may not know is how to turn a decent website into one clients won’t gloss over. Or, perhaps more imperatively, how do you turn a not-so-decent site into one that’s more than decent?
You do this by utilizing proven law firm web design techniques that combine excellent site coding, the best programs and tools out there, a little technical knowledge, and a whole lot of experience. When you know what doesn’t work, you can begin to discover what does work. When the legal web designers at Legal InSites, for instance, work with lawyers on an everyday basis who need help making their websites the best they can be, we learn what design techniques work best to create websites that make an impact.
We’d like to share some of our experiences with you. Let’s begin by taking a brief look at what doesn’t work in regards to web design specifically. Here are 5 of the most common law firm web design mistakes:
Poor Site Organization and Coding
We understand how challenging it can be to stay on top of a busy, successful law practice as well as a website, but one of the worst web design mistakes a firm can make is to keep adding new content to their site without updating the structural or technical organization of the site itself.
Are your best visual elements front and center? Is your content well-organized and easy to find? Do the site’s multiple elements spell out the right message to clients? Does everything work like it should? These questions matter, and if you’re unsure of how to answer them, there’s a good chance it’s time to consider some major changes and/or a complete overhaul of the design.
Not Being Mobile-Friendly/Responsive
Mobile-friendliness is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. If your site can’t be read on a smartphone or tablet device without having to zoom in, viewers won’t even bother reading anything on your site. These days, Google’s even penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. If your site isn’t made using elements that dynamically scale based on screen resolution (this is what’s referred to as “responsive”), it’s time to seriously consider a complete overhaul.
Long Contact Forms
Shorter and simpler is always better when it comes to contact forms. Leave the long questions for client calls. When potential clients fill out a law firm contact form online, they don’t want to tell you their whole life story. They simply want to know if they have a possible case on their hands. Make it easy for them to find out.
Non-Clickable Phone Links
If your viewers are using a smartphone or mobile device, can they click on your phone number to automatically dial that number? If your answer to this question is no, you need to have that functionality added. When you make it simple for potential clients to contact you, they’ll have a much easier time reaching out.
Overused Stock Images
Stock images are certainly useful, especially for quick updates and blog posts (that’s totally not a stock image above this article… I mean, uh…), but they don’t send the best message when used on the front page of your law firm’s website. Legal clients visit a firm’s site to find out more about the firm and its attorneys. Show them what they want to see.
Consider holding an office photo shoot where pictures of your attorneys, paralegals, and the actual office rooms and surrounding areas get used on your website. Take pictures of your city and building from the outside and include those, too. This gives your site a personal touch and helps clients feel more at ease.
A solid site design is awesome, but without the right features, and well-written content, that awesome design becomes obsolete. Take a close look at your firm’s website and see if you check off any of the above negatives. If so, it’s time to consider getting help from the experts.
Want to know how we can help? Get in touch today. We can help you modernize your firm’s website and receive new potential clients by doing so. Also, stay tuned for our next article in this series which goes over common mistakes we see on law firm websites in regards to SEO.