Not having a law firm website today is the digital equivalent of hiding under a rock. If people can’t find you, they can’t work with you.
But say you have a law firm website, but it hasn’t been updated since its original launch.
That isn’t doing your law firm any good, either.
- The Importance of Website Design for Law Firms
- What Makes A Law Firm Website Bad?
- Every business should be clear about what they do and who they serve
- The Most Important Elements in Attorney Website Design
- Navigation Bar
- Header & Subheader
- Social Proof
- Practice Areas
- Responsive Design
- Page Speed
- The Best Lawyer Web Design Templates
- A Unique Law Firm Web Design
Why potential clients won’t find you without an online presence
People believe everything they need is on the internet. That’s why 93% of consumers use the internet to research before purchasing or hiring a service. And you’re no exception
Imagine searching for a business and seeing that they don’t have a presence online. There’s no website, no reviews, and maybe one social media profile with a few posts from several years ago.
You probably wouldn’t see it as a legitimate business. And people looking for the service you provide wouldn’t either.
Properly designing, optimizing, and updating your law firm website turns it into a lead generation powerhouse. It becomes a hub of information that reels clients by sending clear messages about what you can do for them.
The Importance of Website Design for Law Firms
Websites are critical for every business across all industries. But there’s one thing that separates law firm websites from the rest.
For them, the stakes are a little higher than their average service search, leading them to spend more time vetting than they might otherwise.
And they’re already at the “bottom of the funnel.” Meaning they’re ready to buy. They have an immediate need for a lawyer. And, more often than not, they’re searching for a lawyer on their own.
57% of your potential clients search for a lawyer without help.
That tells you a lot about how to approach the development of your firm’s website.
How to build a website that attracts potential clients
First, don’t make it so hard for them to find you.
Make your site more visible to them by using the same language they do when they search. This is known as search engine optimization (SEO).
Second, there’s a lot of intent behind their search for your service.
For most industries, 61% of visitors to a website aren’t ready to “buy.” But this doesn’t apply to law firm websites.
Your potential clients already have a need, but they have a ton of questions they’re hoping you’ll answer on your website.
If you don’t answer those questions, they’ll look elsewhere. They can’t be sure they’ll get answers right away by calling, emailing, or filling out a form, and they don’t want to wait.
What happens when you do law firm web design right
Now you’re probably seeing that a basic website template and quality content simply isn’t enough. You need locally optimized content that provides solid answers to your future clients’ most common questions.
Do law firm web design right, and your site will:
- Bring in leads, even from your home page
- Answer your clients’ burning questions
- Rank higher on a Google search
- Make your job easier by bringing you only the most qualified and relevant leads
What Makes A Law Firm Website Bad?
A website is a website, right?
Every website should be responsive, fast, optimized for the right keywords, and loaded with quality content. And you’ve done that. That’s a great place to start.
But that’s not where it ends. Your website template has to work harder than that.
Ignore this, and your site will not answer visitor questions, provide social proof of expertise, or convince potential clients you can solve their problems.
Take a look at the image below. It’s a prime example of a legal website that doesn’t convert at all.
What do you see? Or rather, what don’t you see?
This image fills the entire screen, taking up all the space “above the fold” without giving visitors a compelling reason to stay.
“33 years of legal excellence” isn’t a terrible header. It speaks to the experience this lawyer has. But it’s not enough.
It doesn’t speak to the pain that brought the visitor to the page.
There is also no call to action (CTA).
Consumers really don’t need much to drive them away from a site. And if you’re not grabbing their attention immediately, you’ll lose them.
Here’s the rest of the site’s home page:
There are a couple of issues here.
First, the language isn’t consistent. The lawyer refers to himself in the third person— which isn’t very personable — then says “Our Legal Services” in the bottom header.
There’s a lack of social proof on this home page, and you miss any call to action in this section as well. “Learn More” is about as close as this firm gets to directing readers.
The one positive on this homepage is the bullet-pointed practice areas.
Every business should be clear about what they do and who they serve
Readers shouldn’t have to search for that information. This is especially true for a law firm website.
Your potential clients likely aren’t practicing lawyers, and there are many areas of practice to sort through. They want clear information, and they want it fast. So make it easy for them.
Remember that visitors are browsing websites quickly. They need only 2.66 seconds to focus on a website’s critical area. They need to find answers fast.
The Most Important Elements in Attorney Website Design
If you’ve done any research on law firm websites, you know there’s a lot of information out there. The trouble is that all of it is the same, and most of it isn’t helpful.
Taking a quick look, I see that most law firm website designers and marketing firms mention these same elements:
- Competitive keywords & SEO
- Client reviews
- Fast loading speeds
- A strong CTA
Strangely, they rarely tell you how those elements should look, where to put them, or how to implement them on your website.
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace only worsen this by hiding the challenge.
They create website templates that are user-friendly, automatically responsive, and easily adaptable to completely different industries.
That makes starting a business much simpler.
But this made-for-you notion lures unsuspecting business owners into a false sense of perfection. The site looks GREAT! It truly dazzles viewers …
But they still don’t convert because you’re forgetting or misusing crucial web design elements.
Below is a breakdown of good legal web designs from top to bottom.
Most templates will make it easy to create a navigation bar or menu at the top of your website.
Simple enough, right?
A navigation bar might not be a considerable challenge, but it’s easy to mess up.
When a potential client enters a law firm site, they’re looking for precise information. The navigation bar is one of the first things they see.
So your navigation tabs should point users to every piece of information they need.
The most common questions a user has when searching for a lawyer are:
- What kind of law do they practice?
- Where are they, and can they help me where I am?
- How many cases have they won?
- What are their results?
- Who will be helping me?
These are your audience’s most common questions, and your site needs to answer them immediately. Don’t make them hunt.
Be specific – “practice areas” and “case results” instead of “what we do” and “clients.”
Header & Subheader
While your navigation bar is one of the first elements your audience notices when they enter your website, your header is the first thing they see. So you need to get it right.
This call to action knocks it out of the park. Let’s start with the subheader – placed above the header. Not typical, but it’s striking.
“Peer voted #1 Attorney in San Diego”
Think back to the header in the example of poor design.
“33 years of legal excellence.”
People like hearing you have experience, but they care more about outcomes.
Reviews take it home. When they say they’re “voted #1”, they’re showing social proof that they’re exceptional.
THAT is what potential clients want to know.
There’s another part of that subheader that makes it stand out.
“Attorney in San Diego.”
It’s a local keyword phrase, which is likely the phrase people in the San Diego area are typing into Google to find a lawyer.
REAL TRIAL LAWYERS.
It works because it very clearly states what kind of law they practice. You know who they serve without having to think.
You don’t have to do the same in your header, but you should always make it clear what you do. Immediately.
Call to Action
Every homepage needs a call to action above the fold – under the header and subheader.
A header calls attention, stating clearly who you are or what you do. It’s the headline of the newspaper. The feature that says, “I’m important. Keep reading”.
The subheader nudges your interest further.
The CTA, usually a button under the subheader, directs the reader to get the ball rolling on their case in a way that removes the risk for them.
They haven’t wholly opted into your service yet, but they’re interested enough to click the button and give you their email address and phone number.
For law firms, the most compelling CTA is a free consultation.
Law firm clients are worried about costs, and they know guidance on their case doesn’t come cheap. They need a barrier-free way to find out if you can help them.
A free consultation helps you both decide if you can work well together. Take advantage of that.
Bonus tip: Put a context-appropriate call to action in every section of your home page.
Live Chat Box
You might not automatically think of using one, and it is very rarely included in a template. But chatbots can help businesses save up to 30% on their customer support costs.
Remember, people searching for a lawyer often have an immediate need.
A free consultation gives them a low-risk way to learn how a lawyer can help them, but a live-chat feature gives them instant access to a lawyer.
It works because it has the same instant gratification as texting your buddy for advice. You get their input right away, but you don’t have to follow it
Some of the best live-chat features for lawyers include:
- LiveChat. It allows you to label chats and even get a sneak peek into what the client is typing.
- LegalChat 24/7. It is specifically designed for lawyers and comes complete with legal scripts and a per lead payment system.
- ApexChat. Another live chat software that’s designed for lawyers. It’s been around for a while and has a great live call transferring feature.
- ZendeskChat. Zendesk offers extra live chat features like reporting, adding forms to a chat, chat ratings, branding, and more.
Word of mouth is the oldest marketing method in history, and it happens whether you like it or not.
If you’re an outstanding lawyer or firm that achieves healthy client relationships and profitable outcomes, people will talk about you.
They’ll refer you to a friend hurt in a car accident or a family member suffering from a workplace injury.
Today word of mouth marketing can also take another form – reviews.
Reviews are social proof that you’re worth hiring. They’re things like:
- High-profile clients
- High win/loss ratio based on a large number of cases
- Recognition from major publications
- Hard data about dollar amounts you’ve won for your clients
Put your social proof everywhere.
It should show up all over your website, but especially on your home page.
If you don’t have something concrete to put in your header, start with a banner under the fold, as the image above from Dolman Law.
Throughout the home page, your audience should see where you’ve been featured in the news or the testimonials you’ve earned. They should see you have a solid reputation.
The most challenging part of adding social proof to your site is collecting the data.
If you haven’t been doing that, it becomes a much bigger task when you’re overhauling your site.
Luckily, there are several simple ways to collect the data if you haven’t started yet:
- Give clients an incentive for writing a review
- Send out a survey in your email list
- Take a survey on your social media account
- Ask for a testimonial directly after working with a client (and provide them a link to make it easy for them)
- Pull reviews from review sites
- Set Google Alerts to review daily reports of mentions of your brands
One of the most vital pieces of information your audience is looking for on your site is your practice areas. They want to feel you understand their case and have dealt with relevant scenarios before.
They’re also trying to quickly eliminate law firms that don’t serve their situation,
Put your practice areas on your home page and make it as visually digestible as possible.
The image above appears towards the bottom of the Dolman Law home page. After the header, a banner of social proof and a chunk of information about the firm’s locations and processes is primarily for SEO purposes.
Despite not being immediately visible, most people are likely to scroll down the page a bit, and its simplicity makes it stands out well on the page.
Finally – a dive into the most commonly mentioned elements in lawyer website development.
Responsive design means that no matter the size of the user’s screen, your website will adapt to fit it. And since mobile devices make up more than 50% of all internet traffic, every part of your site must be mobile-friendly
Users will leave your website immediately if your site is too difficult to read, if images are too big or small, or if there’s so much white space they can’t find the content.
How do you build a responsive website?
The best way to build a responsive web design today is to use a responsive template right off the bat.
But just because you have a responsive template doesn’t mean you’re automatically set for all devices. Some responsive templates create a separate design for mobile. You’ll have to edit in the mobile view pane to see what it looks like on a phone.
It might appear on your website editor like this:
To switch to mobile view, click on the icon that looks like a phone.
Also, pay attention to fonts and images in your mobile preview.
Not all fonts are legible on smaller devices, and a responsive design might not make adjustments that make them more readable.
The images on your desktop site might not be responsive. Meaning they might not resize automatically, even if you have a responsive template.
If you’re getting in over your head redesigning a non-responsive design into a responsive one, you’ll need a web designer
The designer can adjust the CSS, add media queries and snippets of code to your HTML.
If you thought SEO was hard enough already, your page loading speed is now a significant ranking factor because it makes a profound difference in user experience
Speedy site = good user experience
Slow site = lousy user experience
A poor user experience harms your paid and social ads and lowers your conversion rate.
Here are the numbers: pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38%. (Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who open a page of your site but leave without viewing any other pages.)
Factors that affect your page load speed
Your page should load in three seconds or less.
This is impossible if your site is cluttered with unnecessary elements. But other factors affect load speed, too::
- Too many plugins
- Too many external CSS files
- You haven’t enabled OPcache
- “Dirty” code
- Your theme is missing files (simply restore your site)
How do you improve page download speed?
Those issues sound a bit technical, and you might need a website designer to solve them, but some problems you can fix yourself.
You might have plugins you don’t need. They’re loading assets your site doesn’t even use, and that slows it down.
You only need two CSS files. No, really. If you have more than two, have someone with CSS skills consolidate the stylesheets.
There are even more ways your web designer can increase your site speed, such as:
- Running a compression audit and enable compression
- Minimizing HTTP requests
- Minimizing files
… and so much more.
It’s estimated that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. So every page, block of text, and headline on your website should be optimized for search engines.
Have you included relevant keywords that help your users discover your site and learn what it’s about?
SEO best practices change over time.
Google tweaks its algorithms about 800 times a year, making it seem daunting to stay on top of SEO trends.
But most of those changes are small, and some best practices remain reasonably steady.
Like placing keywords in these locations:
- In your page’s metadata
- Image alt text
- Headers at the top of the page and each section
- In the intro of an article
But here are some things you might not know.
Google rewards you and your entire site for thoroughly covering your subject matter.
This has made semantic keywords more critical than ever.
Semantic keywords are keywords and phrases that are similar but don’t match exactly. In other words, Google knows that a user searching for “personal injury lawyers” will also want results for “slip and fall” and “car accidents.” You get the idea.
In most cases, you don’t have to think about semantic keywords because they occur naturally when writing about a subject.
Because it’s so common to overlook opportunities to add semantics (i.e., using “tools” instead of “optimization tools”), it’s helpful to find tools designed for this.
The Text Optimizer extension for your browser is your best friend if you’re trying to optimize content with semantic keywords.
How to choose the best keywords for your website
When selecting keywords for your website, don’t just choose the obvious industry keywords out there.
Let’s say you are looking for keywords for your personal injury marketing campaign. Right now, if you type “personal injury lawyer” into your search browser, you get millions of search results.
Imagine trying to outrank all your competitors with that overused keyword. It’ll never happen.
Make your keywords as specific as possible.
The goal is to use the exact words your target audience uses to look for you. Instead of using “personal injury lawyer,” use “personal injury lawyer in (your city).”
The right words get your audience to your website and tell them right away whether or not you’re right for them.
The Best Lawyer Web Design Templates
Now it’s time to show you what it looks like to put all these vital elements of legal website design into the best law firm website templates.
Website templates have made it easier than ever to create beautiful and responsive sites, but finding the right one for your business isn’t always easy.
These featured templates are specifically designed for law firms and likely to include these elements.
These are the best web design templates for lawyers.
The Attornix theme is sleek and modern, helping to shake away the stiff lawyer persona.
There’s plenty of white space so the information stands out.
Keep your design clean, so users immediately spot your most convincing messages.
Legal Stone has the same professional, clean appeal of Attornix, but with a little more personality and color.
It also offers bars for social proof, reviews, and a section to showcase your results.
And it’s compatible with essential plugins like Mailchimp and Appointment Calendar.
The Lawyers theme from Envato catches the eye and has everything you could want in legal website design.
Out of these, Lawyers is probably the best suited to a law firm’s needs out of the box.
It’s already coded to SEO best practices and is compatible with Yoast SEO, one of the best available plug-ins for SEO.
It also comes with eight homepage options, including a video homepage, and there are plenty of sections for social proof built right into the design.
This theme has a gorgeous design. It might need a little more work than some of the other themes, but it has the sections you need for areas of practice, testimonials, and others.
One of the biggest draws to this design is that it already includes 15 pages and a blog.
Don’t confuse this one with the Lawyers theme above. The Lawyer theme is quite a bit different.
The header image does make the page look a little cluttered, but that’s easy to resolve with an overlay or less busy photo of your team.
I would also remove the “learn more” next to the free consultation.
Giving your audience more than one CTA at a time tends to confuse them.
Looking over the design, you might also feel compelled to shift some sections around or even eliminate them altogether.
Despite having a few minor shortcomings, Lawyer offers a lot of versatility.
O’Connor is one of the sleekest, most appealing designs on this list.
It’s absolutely loaded with social proof areas, offers different blog layouts, and includes several pre-made web pages.
Huge benefit. Not every template includes additional branded pages.
Jurista boasts several above-the-fold images with changing headers. Though static headers are best for some, Jurista’s header is pretty captivating thanks to its video option.
One of the theme’s best features is practice banner areas sitting just above the fold.
Your audience can immediately judge whether or not you’re right for them without having to search for your practice areas
What sets Lawyer Zone Pro apart from the rest is its inclusion of a FAQ section on the home page.
This really helps your audience but not easy to find in most themes.
Lawyer Zone Pro showcases practice areas well and even leaves room for case studies.
If you look at the featured image above, you can also, just barely, make out the strip that separates everything above the fold from everything below it.
All you can make out now are symbols, which encourage visitors to keep scrolling.
This theme achieves a bold, professional look with an image that takes up the whole screen. It’s not even interrupted by a menu bar.
It highlights lawyers in your firm and your practice areas.
You might want to add a form at the bottom of the home page, additional CTA’s throughout, and more social proof.
If you want a theme that strays from the standard a bit, then Hicks & Hynson is a good theme for you.
It features a unique practice area strip and a case results section that stands out from the rest.
Another attractive feature of this theme is the interactive map at the bottom of the page. It’s integrated with Google Maps so users can even see your location with street view.
A Unique Law Firm Web Design
Today’s web design is far easier than it once was, thanks to hundreds of interactive and responsive templates.
But you must find the right template that offers all the features your law firm needs.
Find the right theme for you, including the vital elements your potential clients are looking for, and they will feel confident in reaching out to you.