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Wonder why your website is not converting leads the way you think it should? You might be the victim of design-based conversion killers.

Attorneys’ websites are not simply online brochures.

A website serves many functions for a firm, and one of the most important of these functions is lead generation.

Your website should be bringing clients to your door. It follows that design must facilitate conversions. One central organizing theory that should support every website design decision you make is simple:

Do not make your users think.

People who are investing their time in research need only to worry about finding what they are looking for, not how navigation works, where you phone number is or why the page is loading so slowly. Here are five ways to prevent your design from getting in the way of your lead generation.

1. Make conversion easy with calls to action
Lawyers are famously prolific with calls to action. Few attorneys can be accused of forgetting to tell people to “call now!” On a website, calls to action must be carefully crafted to encourage conversions without overwhelming the visitor. Prioritize your calls to action. A landing page should have one clear call to action, ideally located above the scroll. Anything else you ask a visitor to do is secondary and should be obviously so.

Additionally, make sure your call to action clearly tells a visitor what is going to happen when they follow through. The text “submit” or “get started” is much less informative than a detailed phrase like “schedule a free consultation” or “start my case evaluation” and will likely not convert as well.

2. Use only actionable features
The breadth of things one can do with web design and development is exciting. Developers are constantly inventing new ways to code features from simple mouse interactions to highly-advanced animations. The temptation to use these advanced features can be great. However, what appeals to you can be irritating to a visitor. If you add animations or other advanced items, make sure each one serves to further a visitor’s goal and does not get in the way of website navigation.

3. Forget rotating banners
Rotating header banners are popular with law firms because they allow each department to have its say above the scroll. However, research shows that users largely ignore banner sliders and conversions increase when sliders are replaced with static images. This could be because people see the slider as one big ad, which is easy to disregard, or because they never get to the part that is relevant to them. Either way, banner sliders prevent your website from presenting a single, unified message, are counter-effective and should be phased out.

4. Tell a story
An attorney website can not operate like a storefront, nor can it function like the website of a large retailer. Such entities rely on browsing. In this model, consumers will check out a lot of things, perhaps without much direction, and the law of averages says they are likely to pick one or two to purchase.

Law firms, no matter their size, are not large retailers. They are selling a service or suite of services to specific types of clients. Your website must be a complete sales pitch, from start to finish, with graphics and copy that tell the story of why a visitor should hire you.

On your site, use design to clearly delineate ideas and highlight actionable items. Intentionally emphasize copy that explains the benefits of working with your firm, then use colors and graphics that support such concepts. Remember you are designing a sales journey, not a sales table.

5. Test everything
One firm might find a 50 percent increase in conversions by changing a button from red to blue, while another may have luck removing certain navigation options from landing pages. These are highly individualized results that may or may not also work for your firm. They key to understanding what increases your conversions is testing: test language, colors, graphics (vs. no graphics) and content placement. You may be surprised to find that a feature you like or copy you find helpful is actually turning users off. You can only know what design features might be killing your conversions until you receive feedback from the people who matter most.

About Author

Kristen Friend is a staff contributor for Bigger Law Firm Magazine. She has covered political stories on radio stations like WMNF in Florida and has had her work broadcast by Free Speech Radio News (FSNR). As an Award Winning Art Director, Kristen has been recognized by the WebAwards, Davey’s Award, W3 Awards, Webby Awards, and others for her work with law firms.

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