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With so many clients coming through referrals, some law firms debate the value and need for a strong web presence.
But considering that more than 90% of people looking for legal assistance begin by searching online, your legal website isn’t really a “nice to have” feature. In the highly competitive world of legal clients, it’s essential.
The same survey also indicates that more than 70% of those researching lawyers preferred reading or watching content directly on a law firm website compared to ads.
A website is the first and best opportunity to connect with new clients.
It’s crucial to ensure your website is free from common law firm website mistakes that can sour a visitor’s experience when they’ve only started researching you.
Without experience and know-how, legal web design and development can be fraught with needless errors and pitfalls. Here are 33 common law firm website mistakes to avoid so you can make your best impression online and convert more potential leads.
Where is the User’s Focus?
1. Too Much Going On
A common impulse is filling your site with as many eye-catching items as possible, such as attention-grabbing graphics, bright colors, and catchy slogans. Unfortunately, this usually has the exact opposite desired effect. Too much activity on your site confuses the reader from the get-go.
2. Too Much Space
Going in the polar opposite direction is also unwise.
While Google’s landing page is famous for being stark yet user-friendly, it also has only one function: to search.
Your law firm offers more complex services, and your site should convey that. If your site visitor thinks there’s not much here to check out, they might quickly move on.
3. Failing To Use Whitespace
A happy medium between the above law firm website mistakes is a streamlined layout that gives the targeted content you want to deliver.
“Whitespace” (or negative space) refers to the blank areas of the page that frame the information you want to convey.
Whitespace can be strategically used to punctuate essential items on the page. Remember, the pauses between the notes of music are just as important.
4. Including Flashing Images And Carousels
A popular graphic for many landing pages is called a “carousel,” a horizontal scroll of various images related to your product or service.
Like flashing graphics or video, carousels can hog code, slow download times, and annoy potential clients who just want to find solutions to their problems.
5. Unspecific Imagery
Make sure whatever images you decide to use are of high quality and professional caliber. These terms do not refer to “high resolution” (quite the opposite, see #30), but rather professionally composed and finished.
Avoid generic, clichéd stock images like gavels or money signs — this can make your site look amateur.
6. Unclear Navigation
Ensure the menu bar, search bar, and contact links are prominent or easily found on your landing page.
Another common mistake is to make the contact page too lengthy or complicated. Instead, make sure it’s easy for a new client to start a relationship with you.
7. Ad Overload
If you frequently blog or add new content to your site, you may be tempted to add advertisements to generate side revenue or associative marketing opportunities, by promoting referral partners for example.
But a poorly placed ad on your site can distract the reader, cheapen your value, or compromise your site design. Proceed with caution. There are better ways to strengthen your referral relationships.
8. A Non-Responsive Design
A responsive design is one of the most critical aspects of your website.
Prospective clients may access your website from any number of devices, such as tablets, desktops, mobile phones, watches, etc., of varying sizes and interfaces. If your design can’t adjust accordingly, the client may go elsewhere.
9. Forgetting The Favicon
As small of a detail as it might seem, the humble favicon is one of the simplest yet effective means to show professionality in your website design.
Many users frequently have multiple tabs open at the same time when working on a desktop or laptop. A unique icon that accompanies your tab makes navigation that much more user-friendly.
Pay Attention to Details
10. Being Verbose
Many people have a finite amount of time to locate the answers that they seek or perhaps possess a short attention span.
When creating content for your site, eliminate as many unnecessary words or subjects as possible. Be clear and direct in your messaging. Streamlining your content is the best practice.
11. Hidden Or Poorly Worded CTA
The Call-To-Action (CTA) is, arguably, the most crucial part of your website.
If your CTA is awkwardly phrased, challenging to find, such as a single link hidden way down at the bottom of your page, then you could be inadvertently closing off your funnel to new leads.
12. Poor Spelling Or Grammar
It seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often carless mistakes can ruin your reputation. See what we did there?
English grammar is finicky, and autocorrect won’t always pick up the errors in your content. Clients may potentially question your attention to detail in other matters if your website is riddled with mistakes.
13. Ignoring Details In Formatting
Leading, tracking, and kerning (the spacing between lines, words, and characters) are just a few overlooked formatting issues that can skew website appearances and reduce comprehension.
Check for Setup Errors
14. Not Owning Your Website Domain Name
One of the most common law firm website mistakes would be not owning the domain name, i.e., the website’s name.
If the company that owns the name goes out of business, has a billing dispute with you, or accidentally deletes the account, your website may vanish, perhaps without you even knowing about it.
15. Not Owning The Hosting Account
Another surprisingly common law firm website mistake is failing to own the hosting account where your website is stored.
A hosting account is a server that hosts your website information. A third-party hosting account carries the risk of being shut down or sabotaged without your knowledge.
16. No Setup Strategy
Law firm website mistakes can be more easily avoided by implementing an overall design strategy before coding even begins.
Website design options can be very subtle, and there are many to choose. Establishing your specific goals before you start development will help avoid significant overhauls.
17. Failing To Target Your Audience
A shotgun or generic approach for your site can get lost among the hundreds of other law firms on the web.
Zeroing in on your best customers and knowing your typical clients, how they think, and their needs can help you decide how you proceed.
18. Too Much Pride
Most law firms are justifiably proud of their team and the business they have grown. But promoting yourself or your firm in a personal manner from the start can be a mistake.
Prospective clients have a problem to solve and are often more interested in your abilities to help them, rather than who you are. Demonstrate your strengths first and brag later.
19. Going Cheap
There are many options for creating a website yourself or getting a family friend who’s “good with computers” to set something up.
However, if a client’s first impression of you is unprofessional in any way, it can cost you much more than going to the pros.
20. Ignorance Of Your Competition
Having a general knowledge of your biggest competitors and what their online presence looks like can give you a good idea of what you’re up against.
This comparison can be crucial during the initial setup — whether you are competing directly with another firm with the same apparent goals or offering clients a distinct alternative.
21. Lack Of Data Protection
Cyber-hacking and ransomware are almost ubiquitous stories in today’s news. Clients can have legitimate concerns about whether their personal information and privacy are vulnerable to data security breaches.
Having your security protocols in place before you launch and making that clear to your prospective clients is a must-have.
22. Sub-Optimal Domain Name
When at all possible, choose a domain name that is straightforward and related directly to your firm’s name or the type of law in which you specialize.
From an SEO point of view, unusual or offbeat names can make it difficult for potential clients to find you during searches.
23. Not Using PPC Ads
A PPC ad, or pay-per-click ad, is a type of digital advertising that enables you to place your website on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) when a user types in specific keywords/phrases into the search engine.
Implementing a professional PPC ad campaign can directly funnel traffic to your law firm’s website and result in quality leads. This is one of the most powerful and widely used digital marketing tools available — be sure to take advantage of it.
What Content Should You Include?
24. Not Proving You Have The Expertise
It’s one thing to say that you are the best law firm for the job, but it’s another thing to prove it.
Regular blogs or posted articles showing knowledge and successes in the target areas where you hope to attract clients can build trust and credibility.
25. Stale, Out-Of-Date Content
The law is a living organism. It is continually changing and evolving, establishing new precedents and expanding into uncharted territory. That means you need to show potential clients that you are up to date with the latest developments in the legal world.
This action will not only help to impress clients but also keep your SEO fresh and vibrant.
26. Not Using The Right Voice
If, for example, your clients may be victims of medical malpractice, being too blunt or direct may make it difficult for them to connect with you. Use more compassionate language to show you empathize with the hardship they’re facing.
Matching your client base’s voice, reading, and speaking style can keep readers interested and confident in your ability to communicate with them.
27. Legalese Overload
As legal professionals, you may effortlessly switch between “civilian” and legalese, citing cases to get your point across. But your clients might not be as fluent in these terms.
Throwing too many professional legal terms and references at your readers might confuse them and turn them away from your site. It’s best to keep it simple.
Going too far in the opposite direction can be just as detrimental. It’s a fine line between demonstrating your comprehensive legal knowledge and not patronizing potential clients.
A well-balanced mix of legal terminology (think of terms used on popular television legal shows that clients may have heard) in addition to clear, concise language and explanations will help your message resonate.
29. Amateur Copywriting
While there are numerous guides to SEO for law firms, going DIY on your content might save you money initially, but it will cost you much more in terms of search ranking and guiding visitors through your funnel if you don’t know what you’re doing.
In addition, SEO searches will generally overlook your site if your keywords aren’t attuned properly.
30. Super High-Resolution Images
In this particular case, there’s truth in “too much of a good thing.”
Populating your website with images that are particularly high resolution can create loading delays, especially if your client has weak bandwidth or connection issues. Long loading times can frustrate viewers, encouraging them to click elsewhere.
31. Unclear Font Or Mixing Fonts
Attracting and keeping your viewer’s attention is your website’s goal. If you get too creative with font choices or combine different fonts, you’re making prospective clients work harder to get the information they need. Keep it simple.
32. Being Unclear About What You do for Clients
Specialization allows a law firm to carve out a niche in a wide-ranging legal world. But many people have little to no idea why a law firm needs to specialize. For example, they may need a lawyer for a real estate problem — but what kind? Landlord/Tenant? Property tax? Foreclosure? Aren’t they all the same thing?
Be clear from the outset what service you provide. The more precise you are at the start will avoid dead-end contacts and funnel missteps.
33. The Trap Of New Content
Although it is essential to keep your site up to date with new content, avoid pushing out your best elements from center stage.
Keep your law firm’s structural and technical organization in line with the new content. This way, your best features are always prominent.
Many More Pitfalls To Avoid
These are only a sample of some of the types of common law firm website mistakes that can happen.
There are many aspects of web design and content creation that require detailed attention and strategic insight.
Having a professional and reliable legal marketing agency handle your website design’s dynamic details can help achieve your firm’s highest goals. But you don’t have to take our word for it. See for yourself how partnering with Kaleidico can help you reach your lead generation targets and objectives.
Contact us today to talk through your website needs.