2020 Website Design Trends For Lawyers & Law Firms
A new year is upon us, so why not give your law firm a fresh new look? This rebranding starts with upgrading your website. The need for an attorney is constant, and clients are always searching online for a law firm that grabs their attention at first glance.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to designing anything. Think about this in terms of brick-and-mortar businesses. A professional building might have an empty office up to rent, but it’s going to look very different based on what type of tenant is moving in.
A pediatrician is going to need a waiting room with bright colors, toys, and perhaps some posters of happy animals. If that’s the same look you’re going for in your law firm office…we’re not sure what type of law you’re practicing. Instead, you’d want your law firm to look very different—perhaps some rich carpets, dark wooden bookshelves, and many leather bound tomes (ideally).
Well, the same is true for web design. You want your law firm website to communicate a message of professionalism, competence, and reliability. It will have to look totally different than it would if you were running an online store or creating a website for a restaurant.
Law firm website design is specific and should be handled by experts that can optimize website performance. There are many factors that are involved with website design in law firms, but focusing on a few key factors helps make great changes for a website.
You might not think this is that important. After all, you’re not selling art. But esthetics are crucial in any website design, although the particular rules of esthetics will vary based on the message the business is trying to communicate.
The way a site looks is the first thing clients notice when learning more about a firm. Remember, you want potential clients to view your firm as professional, competent, and reliable. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
Is the site easy to read?
Font selection, size, and spacing are huge, as is the overall layout of text on a page. Moreover, this does not just include the physical look of the writing, but the content as well (more on that later).
Are there too many graphics or pictures…or not enough?
You need to have the right amount of graphics or pictures on your website. Having none at all does not look appealing. In fact, it makes your website less engaging; research has shown that people place a lot of trust in human faces—so book a session with a professional photographer.
In fact, not having the right amount of visual content (other than text) on your site can actually negatively impact the sense of trust a potential client has in your firm’s competence. The general trend in website design today is mostly visual, and if your site looks behind the times, then you are sending a message that your law firm is also behind the times, and perhaps not the most adept option for handling a case. At the same time, you don’t want to have too many pictures or graphics.
Is the layout of the site page pleasing to look at?
This ties into the general goal of avoiding colors and fonts and backgrounds that clash and make it hard to focus. The ins and outs of working with a color palette and using eye-pleasing proportions is actually quite complex, but its well worth the time or money spent in paying someone competent to design it. If you don’t think site design makes a huge impact, just check out the homepage of Martindale. This lawyer-vetting business has been around for 150 years (long before the web) and you can bet your bottom dollar the’ve invested a pretty penny in making their site look good.
#2: User experience
Another area that’s important to consider is User Experience (UX). User experience is all about how easy the site is to use and navigate. A website with good UX doesn’t have broken links. There is a clear navigation menu on every page. The site has functionalities that make your business accessible—like a contact form that actually works.
There is also an emotional component to user experience, in addition to its focus on functionality. This part of UX will also tie into the aesthetic layout of your site. Remember that you want your law firm’s website to evoke a sense of trust, while making your firm appear reliable, competent, and professional.
Another big part of UX to keep in mind, and one that is increasingly important, is mobile design. More browsers are using handheld devices (like a phone) to search the web. Mobile design is different than desktop design—for example, the space is smaller, and the orientation of the screen is different. You cannot assume that designing your website for a computer and just leaving it at that will facilitate its appealing transfer to mobile devices (it won’t). Making sure your law firm’s website looks good and has flawless functionality on mobile is a crucial part of UX. In light of the fact that many potential clients will probably be searching for a lawyer from their phone, you’ve got to make sure your site is mobile friendly.
#3: Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is very important for website design in law firms. This term means that certain keywords are used in the website content that are likely to make the site appear in the search results—preferably on the first page—when a client is looking for legal services.
But there is more to SEO than dropping random keywords throughout your website. They have to be worked into the content in a natural way, otherwise they are not effective (Google is smarter than that). You need to build up a network of links to your site on other websites in a process called backlinking. You need to do some light coding in the HTML (or input text into provided boxes, if you’re using a consumer-facing web builder) that will provide Google with meta descriptions of your site.
In short, there are a whole lot of different things you have to do to improve the SEO of your site (and we didn’t even mention listing your law firm on directories and improving the site architecture). If you don’t have the time or energy to do all that, it’s best to outsource to someone who does—otherwise your law firm website might sink under the other law firms that swimming hard to the top of the Google search results.
Another main area that improves a website’s performance is the content. The information on the first page of the website about the firm should be up-to-date, succinct, and clearly giving general details that will encourage the potential client to click on the other tabs to learn more. Finding the right balance of clarity and conciseness is all in the art of copywriting, which is often best done by someone who has some sales experience and can communicate a pointed message leading visitors to a desired action.
Then there are other parts of your website that will need some more detailed content, like a blog. A blog (short for weblog) is a great place to showcase your firm’s expertise ongoingly through articles. These articles can be read by visitors to your site, shared on social media, blasted out to your email list, and used to boost the SEO of your website.
The Importance of Redesigning your Law Firm’s Website
As you can see, there are a number of components to web design that require some upkeep. Esthetics change every year, so what looked good and professional last year is already old news…and if you haven’t changed the look of your website in 5 years, then your law firm’s website is definitely looking behind the times.
Again, you may feel that your website only needs to be a place where potential clients can get your name and number, but they have a phonebook for that (or a Google Business Listing). What a website also does, in large part, is to communicate a message about your firm to potential clients. The look, design, and layout of your law firm’s website is crucial for creating those feelings of professionalism, competence, and reliability we mentioned before.
Keep in mind that people today are constantly on the web, and very often immersed in websites or platforms that are rebranding their look and feel to stay at the forefront of consumer tastes. Because of this, web browsers have a subconscious but fairly honed sense of what looks good, and what doesn’t. These tastes are changing every year, creating opportunities to refresh your site’s look and attract new business.
2020 is The Year to Stand Out!
The year 2020 is a great time to stand out amongst competitors by rebranding your website. Let Law Firm Sites create a site for your firm that is sure to retain clients in search of legal services. Law Firm Sites specializes in creating websites along the lines of esthetics, user experience, SEO, and context discussed above, which will attract potential clients and make them want to learn more about your services.
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