Most potential clients will start their search online. So establishing a presence online has become imperative, no matter the business, and the same applies to law firms. Regardless of your firm type, having a robust website can have a major impact on your business.
In those few seconds where firms get a chance to connect with customers through the website, it is important to make a great first impression. Choosing the right web host and maintaining a quality website determines whether the law firm can be competitive online. To build that quality website, here are some web design mistakes to avoid.
No Clearly Set Goals For Your Website
To effectively reach your target audience, your goals should be specific and clear. Even though the ultimate goal of all law firms is to gain more clients, if it is too broad, it will be less effective.
The site layout design should be dependent on your niche. It has to have the needs of your ideal customer at the forefront. For instance, if personal injury is your firm’s niche, the customers may need to reach you immediately. For that, you will have to ensure that the contact number is visible and working so that they can set up a quick appointment. Add content like guides and whitepapers to nurture your clients and build trust.
When considering the website goals, here are a few questions to ask:
- How do you want customers to contact you? Is it through the contact form, phone, or chat?
- If you list the phone number and it starts ringing, do you have a phone answering system in place?
- Is SEO needed for your website, or you are planning to run the business through referrals only?
Answers to these questions are essential for proper design and content.
Creating A Cluttered, Difficult To Navigate Web Design
The next mistake with most law firm website designs is having too many things on their homepage. That gives a disorganized look and also makes it challenging to navigate. When that happens, the services and the firm may lose credibility. The customers cannot get clarity on what the firm is all about.
Many firms also make the mistake of having a homepage with slider banners. With people having less attention span, they are unlikely to spend so much time on the banner. That can cause a decrease in leads or conversions.
The website design should be such that it should answer the below questions in quick time:
- What is the website all about? To answer that in quick time, add a logo or a slogan.
- Include high-quality images and not typical stock images of attorneys. The design and images should attract attention and make customers stay longer.
- Add space for a proper CTA so that clients get what they need.
The website design should be such that it passes the seven-second test. That is the time the site gets to convince the visitors to stay. If the design is difficult to navigate or is too cluttered, you will lose them. So have a website design that is simple, easy to navigate, and assures them that they have come to a professional firm that would solve their legal problems.
Using Heavy Images
Images are an important and integral part of a website. Without these, it becomes difficult to make an impact on the visitor. High-quality images keep the visitor engaged and also reduces the bounce rate.
But, the advantages are only when the images are not heavy. If they are heavy, it can lead to a slow-performing website. Heavy images increase the page loading time, which search engine crawlers dislike. Moreover, a slow-speed page is annoying as it hampers the viewing experience for the users.
This results in visitors exiting from the page even before the page gets loaded. Thus the firms do not get a chance to showcase their services. Additionally, the site gets a lower ranking as the page load is slow. Again, this means fewer visits to the website.
Some of the solutions to slow loading law websites is to follow the below design tips when adding images:
- Resize the images before uploading them to the server.
- If the file resize is not possible, use HTML to define the height and width.
- Compress the images to reduce the file size.
- Use appropriate file format.
- Use browser caching.
Several tools can detect issues with page speed and images. Use them to test and fix the issues to improve the page speed.
What is a responsive design, and why have one?
Responsive design is creating websites that look good and work great on all devices. It can be a large screen device like a laptop or a small smartphone or in-between. By creating a responsive web design, the website optimizes the screen the user views from.
Since as much as 60% of the search is from mobile devices, having a responsive design that adjusts to the user’s device becomes imperative. It ensures better engagement and more time spent on browsing.
But most law firms build a website for online exposure only. They underestimate the need for having responsive designs. So they continue to work on outdated, old, or lousy website designs making the site unimpressive.
To avoid that mistake, web designers and developers should choose the mobile-first approach. First, they should ensure that the design components load and work on small screens. Then, post that, work upwards to the larger screens like laptops.
Emphasis on better UI and UX for mobile devices is a must when creating website designs. Use the available tools to adjust content screen resolutions and size as per the size of devices. That helps to make the site more responsive.
More often than not, people do not spend time reading web pages. Instead, they scan for something catchy. It can be an image, phrase, or word. So when a visitor visits a website with loads of text, it is a tedious experience.
Additionally, animations, videos, and hyperlinks added to the distraction. That results in people not reading long-format content and losing interest in the site.
The solution to these mistakes is to make the content on the website scannable. The writing style for website content is different from that of traditional print. To embrace scannability, avoid:
- Long content that is not precise and to the point.
- Following a traditional style of writing.
- Adding unnecessary details.
- Using long paragraphs and sentences.
Besides, to make the content scannable ensure that you use:
- Images to convey information with small captions.
- Include enough white space to prevent cluttering.
- Provide external links for more information.
- Use bulleted lists, sub-headings, short paragraphs, and highlight keywords.
Making the content on your website scannable helps to make the overall design more appealing. It also prevents cognitive overload that saps mental energy. All this results in happy readers who are more likely to stay on the site longer and convert.
Lack Of Important Information
The online website for your law firm is your business’s digital portrayal. Visitors check the website intending to learn more about you and your practice area. They are also curious to know about the credibility of the company.
For visitors to become your clients, the credibility of the website is essential. So you need to pay special attention to the design aspects that help build trust.
To make the business reliable include critical information like:
- Contact Number
- Physical Address
- Social Media Profiles
- Hours Of Operation
From your business perspective, not having contact information means that you lose leads.
Include the above critical information with immediate effect if your website lacks it. Ensure it is a click away and captures the email and contact number of the visitor. If possible, add live chat options with chatbots.
Skimping On Cost
Having a functional website is the least that you can do to build a good web presence. A good website design is not a luxury but a necessity these days. If you skimp costs on design, it is visible on the website.
The site looks bland and does not instill confidence in the visitors.
Additionally, a low-budget design benefits your competitors as you can lose web traffic. It is less engaging and exciting, thus repelling visitors rather than attracting them. As a result, the site doesn’t perform to expectations and becomes no more than a namesake online.
If you are trying to save money by having a cookie-cutter website, it is time to change the design. Work towards having a website design that is scalable, attractive, and helps in SEO. The web design should be such that it stands out from the competitors. It should also connect with potential clients.
While designing your site, invest in the website design software and web hosts. That not only makes web design easy but also saves costs in the future. Additionally, you can go for advanced features depending on the tools chosen if you want more value. This makes managing and enhancing web design easy in the future.
So a little upfront investment helps create a good and well-designed website.
To conclude, law firms need that extra spice to stay ahead in a highly competitive market. An excellent and elegant web design can help showcase your firm as a trustworthy expert who is a step ahead of the pack. Considering the professional mileage, it brings to the firm, it is not an exaggeration to mention that website design forms an integral part of the brand you represent. It can help create an online presence, stay prominent, and become a haven to attract new clients. The best incentive from this effort can be seen in the number of conversions you can enjoy as a firm. But to get all these benefits, the designers have to avoid the above pitfalls.