The Basics: Website Checklist for Law Firms

The Basics: Website Checklist for Law Firms

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The most effective websites for law firms must be visually appealing and glitch-free, with a straightforward layout and engaging, informative, and varied content.

Today, even the smallest law firms have professionally designed websites; it is almost impossible to practice some areas of law without one, since most clients of family law, personal injury, small business, and criminal defense law firms find their attorneys through Google searches. It used to be that merely having a web presence at all put you at an advantage, and if the text on your website displayed clearly and contained accurate information, new clients would be drawn to you like moths to a flame. Those were the old days. Website features that once seemed to signal that a law firm went above and beyond are now basic requirements. The following are some features that websites for law firms cannot do without.

Websites for Law Firms Need to Provide Excellent User Experience

Time on page is an important factor that Google’s algorithms consider when ranking your website among search results. Therefore, it is essential to create a website that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for quickly and is appealing enough that they want to stick around and keep reading and contact you when they are ready to hire a lawyer. In short, you need an impeccable user experience.

A Great First Impression

The best websites for law firms make visitors want to stay from the very first screen they see, the part “above the fold” before they scroll down or navigate away from the homepage. Simply showing your logo and some informative text is better than nothing, but the best websites for law firms have home page images that look positively Instagrammable.

Informative Content in a Variety of Formats

You have probably heard the old saying that content is king. Even the most eye-catching law firm website will not hold visitors’ attention or gain their trust if it does not contain information that helps them answer their legal questions or decide whether they need to hire a lawyer. At the minimum, your content should be fact-checked and grammatically correct.

Of course, the best content is less like a king and more like a ruling council consisting of several members. Text content is important for SEO as well as for visitors who are seriously considering hiring a lawyer, as well as to visitors who do not plan to hire a lawyer (and perhaps cannot afford to) but who are sufficiently committed to finding an answer to a specific question that they are willing to read multiple paragraphs of content. Video content is great for visitors who want to learn more about a legal issue but are not in a position to read when they access your site.  Prospective clients can stream the videos on your site, and make the decision that they will contact you in the near future, while they are exercising or cooking, but they cannot always read the text content on your site in detail while they are doing those things.

Ease of Navigation

Back in the 1990s, the inherently buggy nature of websites was part of the web’s mystique. It was a badge of honor that you loaded a web page 10 times; on the first nine attempts, it made your computer crash, at which point you dutifully rebooted the old geek box (and they were shaped like boxes in those days), but on the 10th attempt, it showed you an awesome image made of glorious pixels, so detailed that a first grader could have drawn it. A key difference between then and now is that, in the old days, the World Wide Web was just for fun. Today, no one will bother with a buggy website when they are broke, unable to work, and trying to find out if the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit has expired. There are too many other law firms from which to choose.

Your website should load quickly and display clearly on computer screens and mobile phones alike. It should have a menu bar at the top, with drop-down menus that appear when you hover your mouse over the menu options. Pop-up windows with overzealous chatbots initiating conversation are to be avoided.

A Regularly Updated Blog

A regularly updated blog is a great asset to your site. For one thing, it is great for SEO. Another advantage is that it enables you to address a wide variety of issues related to the practice areas on your website. Keep blogging long enough, and your website will be a veritable encyclopedia of legal knowledge for prospective clients.

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About the author

Nick Campbell Nick Campbell is Director of Client Relations at ONE400. Nick has over 10 years of experience in helping brands and startups develop digital marketing strategies and optimizing existing campaigns.

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