Most lawyers want to have the best possible website for their firm.
Having a truly great website for one’s law firm is a visible differentiator.
If potential clients are evaluating multiple firms, the quality of a firm’s website leaves an impression and is especially important.
In my day-to-day as an online marketer for lawyers, I often speak with lawyers wanting to make the best possible web presence for their law firm.
But, the “best” law firm website is going to vary based on each firm’s goals.
Let’s take a look at some elements that can separate out your firm’s website and make it more of a best lawyer website than an OK lawyer website.
Who Are You Reaching?
Starting from the beginning, first you need to ask – whom are you trying to reach?
Does your audience consist of other lawyers?
People facing criminal charges?
Each audience is going to want and expect different things from a lawyer’s website.
I know this sounds like homework, but if you want to make your firm’s website stand out your site needs to identify with your audience.
Write up a profile of your target audience.
Why are they coming to your website?
What are their concerns?
What are they looking for?
Once you have that written down, you can better tailor your website experience to that audience.
Once you’ve profiled your client, the site needs to be crafted with your audience in mind.
Next you need to ask, how will your audience want to interact with your website?
And hopefully you’re working with a good law firm web designer that can help you implement that vision.
One example of a law firm website that I love from Lawyerist’s* 2016 Best Lawyer Website competition is C.A. Goldberg – a law firm serving victims of blackmail and harassment. The site is designed with the audience in mind. It provides a lot of information for potential clients based on their unique situations. And, one particularly impressive element of the site is its unique “fast exit” button, designed to help a visitor “escape” the website in case the visitor is interrupted and does not want anyone else to see that they are looking at the firm’s website. It’s smart given the audience.
Beyond that, the site has a clean layout and easy-to-understand messaging that can resonate with the intended audience.
Ultimately, what makes a website a best lawyer website is the fact that it appeals to its intended audience.
If your firm does DUI defense, your client likely has an urgent situation. Your site must be mobile-responsive because your website visitor is not necessarily in front of a computer. Moreover, you have to make it very easy for your potential client to reach out to you via a contact form or phone call.
User experience is key.
No Cheap Filler
If you take a look at some truly great law firm websites, you’ll see that they have none of the cheap filler that you can find on a lot of websites.
There are no gavels.
There are no eagles or American flags.
The text copy is not bland.
It takes work to make a site unique.
It takes investment.
Having good pictures, for example, makes a big difference.
So does a good logo.
Since the firm’s logo appears at the top of the page, it’s usually the first thing a visitor notices.
Moreover, the best law firm websites ensure that the website design and layout complements the firm’s logo.
If a firm logo uses particular colors, the site should use the same or complementary colors.
If a firm logo is more of a classic or a modern design (e.g. sans-serif fonts) the website should similarly convey that aesthetic.
Modern Layout / Design
This one’s tough because it changes every few years.
Years ago, textures and gradients were “in”.
A “good” law firm website featured a rotating carousel of images on the homepage.
Now, the trend is towards a flat design with one main “hero” image on the homepage that does not rotate.
You may have it out of the park in 2008 with your firm’s website, but in 2016 it probably looks real dated.
The homepage should guide visitors to their next destination, whether it’s a very specific practice area page, your bio, or the contact us page.
Every law firm wants to have the best law firm website, but if you take that goal seriously, you’ll need to make sure you sweat the small stuff. Messaging, branding, and layout are hugely important
*Full disclosure and disclaimer: I was on Lawyerist’s 2016 panel that chose the best websites. In this article I am only speaking for my opinion.