5 Basics of Attorney Website Design
Attorneys are not web designers. In fact, attorneys may be some of the least technically savvy individuals around. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from creating a great attorney website design.
Before jumping into keywords and search engine optimization, you will need to know some basic steps to creating a lawyer website:
1. Clean It Up. You will want to pick colors and a layout that are visually appealing. The difficult job of creating a great attorney website is balancing informative content, while avoiding clutter and information overload. Pictures, images, and videos are good, but too many may be distracting.
2. Smile. Potential clients want to know what their attorney looks like. Have a headshot on your website. While the headshot does not need to be a shot of you in a courtroom, it should convey the professional image you want to present.
3. Tell Me About Yourself. Don’t treat your bio as an afterthought. Potential clients will learn more about you (and find more reasons to hire you) based on the information you provide in your bio. You should cover the basics like your practice areas, experience, and schooling. In addition, you may want to add personal information like your hobbies and family life.
4. Blog. A blog is a great feature to have on your website. You can create content that directly appeals to potential clients on a regular basis. You can also let clients know that you are current and up to date on the happenings in your practice area. Finally, a blog is a great way tool for search engine optimization.
5. Search Engine Optimize. Once you have the basics of a lawyer website down, you can begin search engine optimization. This should start with creating informative and rich content. In addition, this will include having relevant keywords and phrases. Finally, you will need to keep your website fresh (such as with blogging).
It is a big commitment to create a great lawyer website. As your website may be the first contact you have with potential clients, it is an investment worth making. Contact us to learn more about lawyer websites and attorney marketing.
5 Simple Fixes to Make Your Attorney Website Design More Efficient
Your law firm website may be the first and last thing that a potential client sees. As a result, it is very important to make your website effective at selling you. It is not enough to simply put up a website.
Instead, you should ask yourself whether you would hire someone with a website like yours. Fortunately, many law firm websites can be greatly improved by a few simple fixes. Here is a look at five ideas to make your law firm website more effective:
1. Clean It Up.
Perhaps the most common problem with attorney websites is the desire to put in anything and everything. For example, there may be pop-up ads, videos, pictures, and multiple frames of pure text. Sometimes less is more. You don’t need to include every shiny new feature on every page of your website. Potential clients will appreciate a crisp and clean site.
2. Keep It Up to Date.
If the year is 2013, your “recent” cases and notable trials should not be from 2008. You should develop a habit of updating and maintaining your website several times a year. For example, you can update your accomplishments as well as practice areas. A blog may be an effective way to keep your website up to date while also generating new content.
3. Dump Stock Photos.
Give your website a personal touch. Potential clients want to feel a connection to their attorney. Consider adding photos of yourself and your staff. Hiring a professional photographer may be a worthwhile investment.
4. Embrace Social Media.
Social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp are not going anywhere. If anything, these sites are playing a bigger role in determining search rankings. You can include links to your social media sites on your website. More importantly, you should link to your site through social media thereby driving traffic and your rankings.
5. Be Accessible.
Make sure your contact information is prominent. A potential client should know how to reach you on any page of your website. You should include both a phone number and a physical address. Too many attorneys bury their contact information making it difficult for clients to call. If it’s too hard to find you, a potential client will simply move on.
If you have any questions about creating a website or improving an existing site, contact us to discuss your marketing goals.
In attorney internet marketing, appearance counts
Prospective clients who search for lawyers on the web frequently look at several sites before deciding which attorney to contact. On attorney internet marketing playing field, how does your website game compare?
- Have a reasonably-modern design, or does it instead look like it was created ages ago?
- Answer common client questions on the home page, or does the home page mistakenly focus on you?
- Use videos to teach non-readers?
- Have a case submission form and prominent 800 number?
- Most important, demonstrate your deep knowledge of your specialty’s law and procedure with detailed articles or videos?
Like lobby furniture, websites periodically need new skins added to maintain a fresh look.
While you are adding that new skin, critically examine the content your site contains. Is its quality consistent with your expertise level? If not, how will prospective clients know that you are better than your website indicates?
Prospective clients have no more information to judge you than you give them on your website. If all you have provided are three pages claiming you are good at what you do, don’t expect to land a lot of conscientious clients. The proactive, engaged claimants are more likely to contact the attorney with the content-rich site that answers their pre-engagement questions.
Don’t let the passage of time cause your law firm marketing to lag the competition.
Lawyer Website Design Essentials
The possibilities of web design are limitless, but a good rule of thumb is this – you don’t want to push site visitors away with an overwhelming website that is difficult to navigate and that doesn’t focus on answering prospective clients’ questions.
Keeping your legal website focused will make life easier for site visitors, which, in the long run, makes your life easier.
The following is a list of essential elements your legal website should include:
- Your firm’s name. You want clients to remember you, not another attorney or firm. This can be prominently displayed in a logo, or included in the header in an easy-to-read font.
- Your geographical region and legal specialty. Are you a car accident lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama? Then say so, and say so right at the top.
- Your contact information. Is your phone number visible? Can a site visitor contact you directly from the home page? Adding a contact form to every page makes life easy for a visitor. The less clicking around, the better.
- A navigation bar that is straightforward and easy to use. Having too many bells and whistles (i.e., images, arrows, flashing banners) can be counter-productive. Keep your navigation menu to the point.
- Lots of images. Too many images overwhelm visitors and, frankly, can look messy. Having one or two main images that convey your message (such as a cityscape, a friendly portrait, or a representational image) will serve you well.
- No images. Having no images can be alienating. Most people don’t want to read an entire website. One or two images can help balance a website that is textually informative.
- Colors that don’t match, or an abundance of highly saturated color. Putting two or more dark or saturated colors next to each other can literally strain the eye. Choose complementary colors that you like, but use them in moderation. If you’re unsure about color, pick a neutral main color, and use splashes of other colors to draw attention to important elements.
For legal websites, start with simple. Remember who your audience is, and cater to it.
You can view the James Attorney Marketing portfolio here.
Breaking out of the legal website color mould
Making the most of color
Your career requires you to maintain a professional appearance and your online presence is no exception. Of course you want prospective clients to get a good first impression of you, but this doesn’t mean you have to shy away from color.
Most legal websites I have encountered stick to the same types of color palettes: gold and red, blue and green, or white and brown. These colors, from a design perspective, have been overused and offer little impact to the viewer. Professionals have gotten used to fearing color, but fear no more! Using new, fresh colors does not translate into a negative impact on your web presence, and could be a way you differentiate yourself and stand out.
Some palettes to consider
You can use color to your advantage when designing your legal website and still assure clients that they will benefit from your services. The website ColourLovers is a fantastic resource where you can browse color palettes, patterns, and the color schemes of existing websites, all for free. Here are a few schemes – taken from ColourLovers – to consider when building your law firm’s website. Generally, you don’t want more than two or three colors on your website at the risk of visually overwhelming a reader; you can choose one or two colors from the strips below – or from any palette – and apply them to your design.
You have probably noticed that none of these colors are particularly bright or intrusive. Using one of the more bold colors as a main accent color (like the rusty orange in strip #1, or the pinkish red in strip #4) can add a lot to your website and make it current and relevant.
A quick tip!
What’s your favorite color? Find a palette that already exists and that incorporates your favorite color.
Here is a disability lawyer who took some risks with her colors. Notice that the pink and green accent colors do not take over the page, but instead complement the colors in her portrait and draw attention to the important elements on the page.
Not ready to make the switch?
If you want to branch out of the blue zone but are still afraid to make the leap, try choosing a different shade or tint of your comfort color. If blue is your default color, try adding black or white to it.
The first color on the left is my original blue. The one in the middle has white added to it, and the one on the far right has black added to it. You can apply this technique to any color that you are not yet ready to change in order to branch out and mix things up.
Some final notes
Whatever colors you end up choosing for your new site, make sure the text is easy to read. Placing light text on a dark background or vice versa is a way to ensure that site visitors don’t struggle to read your website’s useful information. I generally tend to stay away from a completely black background with white text on top because it can tend to look unprofessional. If you really want the background of your website to be black, try placing dark text within a light-colored text box.
If after trying out different colors you still can’t seem to find a perfect fit, browse the web and find websites that use colors you like. Take advantage of the resources that are out there and don’t be afraid to experiment. The use of color is a brilliant way to add creativity and still convey professionalism.
That’s it for this week’s design insight. Until next time…
Subliminal Logo Designs
Have you been to your eye doctor recently? After reading this blog you may start doubting your 20/20 vision!
Every day we are exposed to subliminal advertising, but how many of these messages do we actually take note of? We have all heard about subliminal advertising in commercials, movies, and even radio ads, but some companies have gone so far as to use subliminal messages in their logo designs.
Graphic designers spend hours hunched over their graphics tablets, styluses in hand, trying to create logos that stick in our minds. At last, they realized something revolutionary: why not kill two birds with one stone and code some subtle (or not so subtle) information about the company into the logo design itself? We see some of these logos on a daily basis and never notice the small nuances that make them stand out from the pack. We here at JAM have compiled a list of the most remarkable, mind-blowing, amazing subliminal logo designs for you to enjoy!
See if you can catch the subliminal message before reading the description. In the comments, share your favorite logos!
1. STEVE JOBS APPLE TRIBUTE LOGO
With the recent loss of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Jonathan Mak, a second year graphic design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University designed this tribute logo featuring Jobs’s silhouette incorporated into the bite of a white Apple logo.
2. AMAZON LOGO
We have all seen the amazon logo But have you noticed the yellow arrow that points out from “a” to “z” neatly represents that they sell everything from A to Z. The subtle smile of the arrow’s curve is an added bonus reflecting customer satisfaction!
3. FEDEX LOGO
4. GOODWILL LOGO
5. BASKIN ROBBINS LOGO
6. MILWAUKEE BREWERS LOGO
The Milwaukee Brewers is a professional baseball team from Milwaukee , Wisconsin (Their logo is actually made up of the letters M (on top) and B (below the m). These two letters also form a baseball glove.
7. ATLANTA FALCONS LOGO
8. SPARTAN GOLF CLUB LOGO
9. LE TOUR DE FRANCE LOGO
Le Tour de France used their fancy lettering to form a bicyclist, using the O and yellow circle as their wheels!
10. TOBLERONE LOGO
11. TOSTITOS LOGO
12. HERSHEY’S KISSES LOGO
13. HOPE FOR AFRICAN CHILDREN INITIATIVE LOGO
13 1/2. YOGA AUSTRALIA LOGO
Yoga Australia’s logo illustration shows the Australian map in between her bent leg and stretched out arm.
How To Mystery Shop Your Law Firm in 3 Easy Steps
Leading companies around the world spend months out of every year mystery shopping their own businesses, and for good reason. Experiencing what a customer experiences as he or she walks through the door, makes a phone call, or visits a company’s website can determine what a business is doing right—and more importantly what they’re doing wrong.
While it may not seem like a common practice, law firms have plenty to gain by mystery shopping their own firm. Here are 3 easy steps on how to do it—whether you operate a solo firm, or staff multiple partners.
1. Peruse Your Website As If For the First Time
When a potential client visits your site for the first time, this is their first impression of you, albeit virtual. Make sure your website is as welcoming and user-friendly as possible—offering valuable content, an attractive layout, easy site navigation, and clear contact information. Also, check your site for broken links, page errors, etc., on a regular basis, and update your blog at least 2-3 a week with fresh, relevant content to attract new viewers, and maintain current viewer interest.
2. Contact Your Firm Via Your Contact Form
Put yourself in a user’s shoes (or their keyboard), and follow your site’s contact route at every step. Using an outside email, fill out all applicable contact information and submit it. Make sure you have your firm’s site up and nearby, and see how long it takes for your test email to arrive in your firm’s inbox, if your email’s information is received legibly, and/or if the email gets marked by your ISP as spam.
All of these factors could mean the difference between a great lead, and one that never reaches your firm due to preventable, technical errors.
3. Contact Your Firm Via Phone
It’s good policy to call your firm, and see how a phone call is received—how many rings until the call is answered, how it’s answered, and if you’re immediately routed to voicemail. If you manage a solo firm, this can be tricky, because unless you use a fake voice, your receptionist will undoubtedly know it’s you. However, there are ways around this; colleagues, etc., that can do the job.
The important part of this is NOT to anger your receptionist, or make him/her feel like their skills are inadequate, but to simply check your firm’s phone reception. And if corrections need to be made, or accolades are to be given, here’s how to find out.
Ask these questions before signing an attorney website contract
We talk to a lot of lawyers about their websites, results, and providers. One of the most common complaints we hear is that some attorney website vendors are inflexible and hard to deal with after the contract is signed.
We’re sure that some of these complaints arise from the large size of several of the lawyer marketing vendors. Sometimes employing many people reduces accountability and creates policies that make it difficult to say “yes” often … whether it is to accommodate special requests, customize product offerings, promptly make website changes, rectify shortcomings, or let customers cancel early.
We have also seen that larger vendors tend to charge more … sometimes 2-3x more. But the purpose of this letter is not to pick on the big guys. In keeping with the educational goal of our email series, we offer these questions to ask digital-marketing vendors you are considering employing:
Questions You Should Ask
1. Are you the individual I will be dealing with after I sign a contract? Or is your job selling and only selling?
2. What happens if our new relationship is not working? Can I cancel this contract prior to the end of its term? Under what circumstances?
3. What is your typical response to a customer complaint of unsatisfactory performance? Do you halt your monthly billing while you seek to solve the problem? Or does the monthly billing continue unabated?
4. If I sign up for a website, how long does it take you to make requested changes to my website after its launch? More than 1-2 days?
5. How often will you be adding content to my website?
6. If I sign up for search engine optimization (SEO) services, what will you do if my website does not appear on Google page one for the agreed-upon search phrases after you have had several months to perform? Do I get to speak directly with the optimizers or their supervisors?
7. If I sign up for article writing, what happens if I am not happy with the content you produce? Do I get to speak directly with the content writers or their supervisors?
If You Are Unhappy
If your current relationship is less than satisfactory, consider talking to us. A healthy percentage of our digital marketing customers transferred to James from other vendors.
In addition to charging less for our attorney website services, we usually can offer more (1) flexibility in our arrangements, (2) direct contact with front line developers and optimizers, (3) prompt and larger efforts to fix any problems that arise, and (4) immediate cancellation if the relationship is not working.