5 Essential Elements of a Great Law Firm Website (2020)

lawyer straightening his tie

Law firms’ websites are largely lagging web design and user experience innovations, stuck in either very text-heavy circa-1990s designs or perhaps even worse a confusing mess of pop-ups, take-overs, and in your face requests to chat. 

Something like this:

Unfortunately, these websites rarely reflect the exceptional law firms that sit behind these “ambulance chasing” websites’ ethos. 

This condition is born out of a lack of purposeful design or, worse, the result of deficient counsel from a marketing agency. That lack of attention is understandable, considering that the online channel has traditionally been perceived as unimportant to case generation.

You might still assume that all cases come from referrals.

However, the data doesn’t support this common misperception. 

You simply can’t neglect this increasingly primary source of case inquires and leads any longer. 

Of course, if you’re reading this article, there is a good chance you already have a sense of this shift. So, let’s assume that you’re looking to generate more case leads online and discuss what makes an excellent law firm website. 

Keep your home page and navigation simple

The vast majority of people that visit law firm websites are doing so for the very first time. What’s more, they’ve probably never engaged a lawyer before and are probably uncertain or anxious about talking with you for the first time.

Assuming this context, most of your web visitors are going to be unsure of what to do. 

They probably don’t know if they have a case? They don’t know if they should talk to an attorney or just read about their issue? And, the big question is, “how much does it cost to hire an attorney?” 

All this goes to say that your web visitor won’t know what to do unless you tell them exactly what steps to take and what to expect next if they take those steps. 

So, make your navigation and home page very simple and limit the users’ options. 

In my experience, most visitors only have one of three objectives:

  1. Finding out if they have a case
  2. Determining if your firm can help me with my legal issue
  3. Finding an attorney that they have been referred to

Therefore, the home page and navigation should be limited to the following framework: 

  • A clear explanation of the type of law firm you are and how you’re different
  • A simple way to capture a case inquiry (i.e., web form and trackable phone number)
  • Navigation to your firm’s practice areas and case types
  • Navigation to your attorney profiles

That’s it. 

Don’t overwhelm already anxious web visitors

Stop with the pop-ups, take-overs, and aggressive chat invitations. 

Your prospective clients are already overwhelmed and confused by their potential legal situation. You’re merely working against yourself if you add to the anxiety. 

Instead, provide an empathetic, informative, and safe on-ramp to your presumably exceptional legal counsel. Ideally, this will be a well-thought-out Case Type page. 

Practice Area or Case Type pages should be less about legal advice and more a guide to common scenarios and situations that lead to these case types. The goal of this page is to educate and give your web visitors confidence. 

Understanding that most web visitors DON’T start on the home page

Another common misperception is that your home page is the most visited part of your website. The fact of the matter is that most of your traffic, especially on a well-optimized website, never see your home page.

This is why we put so much emphasis on the design and content on our clients’ Practice Areas/Case Types and Attorney Profile pages. Typically, these are the most common entry points to law firm websites. 

Again, remember how people find lawyers and law firms:

  1. Searching for an attorney in their area to handle their legal issue – 62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: “Phoenix divorce attorney,” etc.)
  2. Searching for an attorney’s name that they were referred to

Work as hard or harder on your Case Type and Attorney Profile pages than your Home Page.

Compelling attorney profile pages

You might feel that I’m redundant, but honestly, there are only a few essential components of a useful law firm website. As I have mentioned, the Attorney Profile page is one of those crucial elements.

Even in the digital age, excellent law firms are built on exceptional attorneys and the referrals they garner. In fact, in our experience, the average law firm website will get about 25-50% of their visitors from people searching for attorney names. 

My approach to designing and optimizing attorney profile pages follows this general framework: 

  • Use the attorney’s name as the primary page headline
  • Write a clear and detailed description of the attorney’s legal expertise
  • Provide direct contact information
  • Include a high-quality headshot
  • If possible, include a personal video. A short video is a great way to connect the attorney to web visitors and prospective clients 
  • Attorneys that write and speak have an additional edge on their profile pages. By listing titles and talks, these profiles often attract more visits and enhance credibility

Wrap these critical copy and media elements in a considered design, and you will have a powerful SEO-driven user experience that converts.

Here is an excellent example of an attorney profile page Kaleidico has created.

Informative practice area & case type pages

Second only to a great attorney profile page is informative content and guides around your practice areas and case types. 

Remember that 62% of legal searches (the majority) are for case type keywords. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that these pages are why most prospective clients visit your website. 

More specifically, they are trying to answer the question: “Do I have a case?” And, it is through this lens that you should create these articles, guides, and landing pages. 

Make sure to construct these pages to answer the common questions around a particular case type, for example:

  • Common scenarios that create these legal situations
  • Educate on the essential elements of these types of cases
  • Provide guidance on facts to know or documentation to collect

Here is an example of a Kaleidico created law firm case type page

Next Steps to a Better Law Firm Website

Take the time to carefully review your website through the lens of a new client.

  • Do a few Google searches and see if you can quickly find your attorneys?
  • Do your attorney pages inspire confidence and quickly connect visitors to an attorney?
  • Do your practice area and case type pages educate visitors and quickly connect them to an attorney?
  • Are your website pages simple, uncluttered, and straightforward?
  • Do you make it clear and straightforward how to get connected with an attorney?

What questions do you have? 

How can we help make your website a more significant part of your firm’s case generation?

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.

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