Ask 20 people what is best about a website’s design and you will likely receive 20 different answers. A good website, however, is one that delivers traffic and conversions. Ideally, a good website is also visually striking, with attractive design that goes hand-in-hand with performance. But not always.
Designing a website that holds visitors’ attention and convinces them to take action is a balance between listening to what users say they want and subtly pushing them to do what you want. To achieve that balance, your site should proactively answer your visitors’ questions, while providing reasons to contact you.
One item that makes almost every list of “top things an attorney website should have” is a responsive layout.
This item is not included on this version of BLF’s official list because it is, at this point, essential to all sites. Google lists its responsive web design articles in the “Web Fundamentals” section of its developer site, and mobile-friendliness has been an officially announced ranking factor for over a year. All websites should be responsive or have a dedicated mobile layout.
1. Clear contact information
For the purposes of conversion, your phone number should be on every page of your website, and for the purposes of local SEO, your address should, too. Your mobile site should display a clickable phone number prominently so that visitors can easily tap to call you. Links to additional information, like appointment forms, other office locations or office hours must be easy to find. You may also want to consider adding supplemental contact avenues, like an online chat. Be sure any forms you use to collect initial contact information are brief. The likelihood of a user finishing and submitting a form decreases with every input field.
Bottom line: Make contacting you easy, but do not force it. Too many pop-ups or over-the-top calls to action will turn visitors off.
2. Good attorney bios
Attorney bio pages are some of the most visited pages on a law firm website. Yet, they receive little attention. Many attorney bios are painfully boring and written with language so stilted that it is difficult to image the person behind the bio. Your attorney bio page is not your resume. Yes, you should include some basic information about education and experience, but beyond that you must talk to clients. Clients care how you can relate to them and solve their problems. Tell them what they can expect from working with you and why you are passionate about your practice areas. Include personal anecdotes. In short, be authentic and approachable.
3. Social Proof
Social proof includes reviews, testimonials and client videos, if available. Currently, 92 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 88 percent trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. And this trend is growing. Over 50 percent of people aged 18 to 34 report trusting online reviews more than opinions of friends and family. If you are avoiding using reviews, you are missing a valuable conversion opportunity.
Attorneys often hesitate to show too much personality for fear of seeming unprofessional. Strangely, this appears to be exclusively an online phenomenon. When meeting clients personally, attorneys do not use legalese; they connect on a human level. Try doing the same with your website. Incorporate natural, unposed photography and write content that displays empathy and understanding of client issues.
5. No generic filler
There is no excuse for using uninspiring content and generic photography on your website. You do not need to display images of gavels, courtrooms or the American flag. Your visitors understand they are dealing with the U.S. legal system. People who are searching for an attorney online are also looking for in-depth information about the law. Take the time to write helpful practice area pages. Offer case studies, or, if you cannot talk about your cases, present example scenarios. Invest in custom photography. Treating your visitors with respect will bring its own reward.