Law Firm Website Design: Your Complete Guide
Creating your first website, or even redoing an old website, is a huge decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. There are so many steps and options to creating a law firm website design–it can be a bit overwhelming.
Even though a new website is a large project, the return on investment can be priceless.
This guide is intended to help you have a bit more direction as you start this exciting process.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why Have a Law Firm Website Design at All?
- How much does a website cost?
- How Do I Choose a Good Web Design Agency?
- Law Firm Website Design Tips
- Mobile Responsive Design
- What Pages Should I Put on My Law Firm Website Design?
- The Law Firm Website Design Process, Step-by-Step
- 10 Best Law Firm Website Design Examples
Why Have a Law Firm Website Design at All?
Perhaps you’re still deciding if you even want to have a website in the first place. Well, here are some huge reasons why you should have one.
A Website is a Way to Find Your Law Firm
You can think of your law firm web design as a sort-of online storefront or business card. If someone is searching for a service you provide, or perhaps they’re trying to find more information after hearing about you from a friend, they’ll likely go online to try and find your website. You want to make sure that you have a designated space online where potential clients can find you.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out this graph from Clio, where they analyzed how consumers are finding lawyers.
Both “online search engine” and “lawyer’s website” tied for the second-most of any of the methods.
In other words, there are LOTS of people looking for legal services online.
A Website Is a Way to Communicate
A website provides a great opportunity to include helpful information about your legal services and other helpful information about your area of law. Practice area pages, about us pages, and blog pages are all incredibly helpful in communicating basic information with users.
A Website Builds Authority and Trust
Because so many aspects of life are now online, a law practice that doesn’t have a website might not appear to be legitimate. It doesn’t matter how experienced the firm is–if they don’t have a website, potential clients might disregard them as an option.
On the other hand, if a firm has a great website that’s kept up-to-date, a potential client will likely trust the firm a bit more.
A Website Builds Your Brand
Does your firm have a brand and brand identity? If so, a website is a great way to promote both of those things.
For your brand, your attorney website can show your mission statement, your goals, and your unique qualifications.
For your brand identity, your website design can showcase your fonts, colors, logos, and graphics to help your business stay memorable.
A Website Provides a Way to Contact You
Similar to the previously-mentioned benefit of your website being a business card, your website can provide multiple ways for potential clients (and current clients) to contact you. You can provide your email address, physical address, and phone number, and you can even have a designated contact form built right onto your website.
A Website Can Easily Track Marketing Results
Using analytics, you can easily see where your most successful marketing efforts are. Where are your website’s users coming from? Which pages perform the best? Are there other websites that are referring a lot of your website visitors? After you know these numbers, you’ll have a better idea of where you should focus your efforts.
A Website is your 24/7 Salesperson
A website can be your online salesperson when you don’t have someone that can immediately answer your questions. This is especially helpful if you provide legal services to individuals in a different timezone or country.
How much does a website cost?
There’s a huge range when it comes to the pricing of law firm web designs.
And by huge range, we mean HUGE range.
You can opt. for a DIY option with a template-based service like Squarespace or Wix for as little as $14, or you could go with a giant web design company (such as Clay) for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It really all depends on what level of design you want, and what services you want to be included in the design.
How Do I Choose a Good Web Design Agency?
If you do decide to go with a professional web design agency, there are many factors you need to consider as part of your decision process.
Here are some things you should do when looking for a web design agency to hire:
Look at their experience
Does the agency have experience designing for the legal industry? How long have they been in business?
Check out their portfolio
Do you like their designs? Do they have the design capabilities to fit what you’re looking for in a website design?
Compare Sizes and Prices
Would you rather work with a small design firm that can give one-on-one attention, or would you rather work with a large agency with a big staff? How much does the website cost?
Read Through Reviews
Reading through a company’s reviews is one of the most helpful ways to see if the company is the right fit for you and your firm. Are the reviews mostly positive? How does the company respond to negative reviews?
Website Design Tips
You’ve learned why having a website is important, but you also need to make sure your website is well-designed. A website design can actually hurt your business if it’s not designed well.
A website is likely the first impression that a potential client has of your firm–and it might be the only impression they get.
So, how do you make sure your website is designed well? Here are just a couple of design tips to follow to ensure everything looks great.
Keeping the Brand Consistent
As previously mentioned, keeping your brand consistent is super important on your website. Each page and element should look cohesive and consistent–you don’t want the contact page to have different fonts and colors than the homepage.
Negative Space and Simplicity
Having proper spacing and negative space is crucial to good design. Negative space helps to separate different elements on the page–it’s easier to focus on the most important information.
It’s exciting to be innovative and different on your lawyer website design–but it’s not recommended to do so with your site’s navigation. If navigating the site is not intuitive to the majority of users, your site is not going to perform well and users aren’t going to find the information they’re looking for. Make sure your menus and pages are super easy to navigate.
If every element on your website is the same size, color, and orientation, it can be overwhelming to users–where do they start? Having more important elements and buttons stand out will help guide the website users through the “journey” of your website.
Mobile Responsive Design
On top of having a great website design, it’s really important to have a website that looks good and functions well on any device, including mobile devices.
In fact, according to Statistica, in 2021, more than half of worldwide website traffic was from a mobile device. 55% to be exact.
So, how can I check if my website is mobile-friendly?
If you want to know if your website is mobile-friendly, there’s a really easy and free test provided by Google.
Here’s how it works.
First, you’ll just type “mobile friendly test” in your Google search bar.
At the top, there will be a bar where you can enter your web page (make sure to use the full URL).
You’ll then be redirected to an analysis page, where it will tell you if your page is mobile-friendly or not.
How to fix “Your page is not mobile friendly”
If you do run into some issues with your mobile-friendliness, here are some basic ways you can make your website mobile-friendly:
- Get rid of unnecessary elements
- Condense large chunks of text
- Compress Images
- Be mindful of button placement
- Be mindful of spacing between elements
- Get rid of pop-ups
Your mobile users are super important–make sure you’re not ignoring their user experience.
What Pages Should I Put on My Website Design?
Regardless of the legal focus area, there are certain pages that every lawyer website design should have. Here is a list of the pages you should have on your website.
Your homepage is arguably the most important page on your website, as it’s often the very first impression someone has of your firm. Your homepage should give an overview of your unique selling points and descriptions of your services, and it should contain links to other important pages on your website.
Attorney/About Us Pages
Attorney bio and about us pages are where you can show your qualifications, experience, and education. Make sure to have real pictures of the firm and try to be personable in your tone.
Practice Area Pages
While you are able to give a brief description of your services on your homepage, practice area pages allow for more specific information about exactly how you can help a potential client.
Especially if you’re wanting to focus on SEO marketing, you want to make sure that you’re consistently uploading content to your website–this is often done through a “news” page or a “blog” page.
Testimonials/Case Results/Reviews Page
If you want to convince potential clients to hire you, you need to convince them that you’ll be able to help. An effective way to do this is through social proof, such as real-client testimonials and case results.
It’s critical that you have a very clear contact page–keep it simple. It’s recommended to have a form built right onto the page to make it super easy for the user to get in contact with you.
Terms and Conditions Page
Your sitemap helps search engines crawl and understand your website structure and content. It’s basically an index page full of the list of pages you have on your website.
A 404 page, or a “page not found” page is what users see if they try to navigate to a page that no longer exists (or never existed at all). We recommend that you make a custom law firm website design for this page with links back to your homepage–that way you don’t lose visitors if they land on a 404 page.
The Law Firm Website Design Process, Step-by-Step
Here’s where we really dive into the nitty-gritty of web design, how do you actually design a website? Well, here are all the steps you need to take:
1. Choose a Domain Name and Website Host
Choosing a domain name can actually be a really difficult part of the website design process, but it’s important that you choose the right domain.
You want to make sure your domain can do three things:
- Can be pronounced
- Can be read
- Can be spelled
If your domain is too long or too specific, you might deter potential visitors from typing in your website. As a rule of thumb, try not to use more than 20 characters in your domain name.
To purchase a domain name, all you need to do is go through a reputable domain registrar. NameCheap, Dreamhost, and GoDaddy are all great ones to choose from–but there are other awesome ones as well.
After you purchase a domain, you’ll want to choose a website hosting service–as this will ensure your website can stay live and on the web. When you choose a website host, make sure you’re looking at things like loading speed (you want your website to load quickly), uptime, data security, and customer support.
Some top website hosts are HostGator, Bluehost, and Dreamhost. You can also see if your website design agency provides website hosting as a service.
2. Choose a CMS
CMS stands for “content management system”–it’s basically software that allows you to edit and update your site without having to know any code or programming. If you’re going to be adding attorneys to your site, blogs, or making other updates, you’ll want to make sure you have access to a trusted CMS connected to your website.
The most common CMS is WordPress, but if you opt to go for a template-based website, Wix and Squarespace are popular options.
3. Create a Brand Identity
After you’ve selected a CMS service, you need to lay some design groundwork before you can actually start designing the website–and this is done by creating a brand identity.
Here are the types of things that are determined at this point of the web design process:
- Graphics, and
- Mockups (such as business cards)
When you’re creating your brand identity, you want to make sure you keep the identity simple, customer-focused, and aesthetically pleasing. This guide will be the foundation of your actual website design, as well as any other design associated with your firm (such as social media posts or billboards).
4. Create a Website Structure
Now that you’ve laid the design groundwork, it’s time to set up the structure of your website. This will help determine the navigation in your menu, as well as how your linking will be established.
This step calls back to what was discussed in the “What Pages Should Be Included” section of this article–which pages are the “main” pages, which are the subpages, and how do they all relate to each other?
Once you have your website structure determined, it’s now finally time to actually design.
5. Design and Develop the Homepage
While you could technically start your designing on any page of your website, it’s by far the easiest to start with the homepage–as this page can easily determine the style of the rest of the website. You’ll then want to start on your website development.
Make sure your homepage fits within your brand identity, clearly shows what you do, shows why someone should contact you, and gives direction to where the user can contact you.
6. Design and Develop the Interior Pages
Once you’ve finalized a homepage design, you can now move forward with designing the rest of your pages–just make sure you’re still following a consistent style and brand.
7. Create Call-to-Actions and Contact Forms
As you’ve designed all of your pages, you’ve hopefully added places where call-to-actions can be placed. Users need their hand held to know what to do next–this is where call-to-actions come into play.
Make sure that the call-to-actions lead to a way to get a user’s information where you can contact them later, and contact forms are the way to go. You can have a contact form on every page of your website, or you could only have it on your “contact” page. This is a decision that would probably need real-life testing to see if what works well for your specific firm.
8. Create Content for Your Permanent Pages
It’s time to fill in the pages with real content about your services. While you, of course, need to make sure all of the information is accurate, you also want to make sure that it’s easy to read. Short paragraphs, varied sentence length, and simple terms are great elements to include in your content.
9. Select Images/Photography
As part of your brand identity process, you’ve determined what types of images or graphics fit well for your firm, make sure that all of the imagery is consistent with that initial guideline.
Regardless of the style you’ve chosen, use real pictures of you and your team, especially on “about us” pages. It will help people trust you more.
10. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
We discussed previously how to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Make sure that your new design looks just as good on mobile as it does on desktop.
11. Make Sure Your Website Is ADA Compliant
Everyone deserves to view and navigate your website, so complying with ADA standards is a must. While there are no official laws regarding accessibility on your website, there are some heavily recommended guidelines to follow from the WCAG.
Here are some:
- Alt tags on images
- Descriptive anchor text for links
- Heading tags included
- Keyboard accessibility
- Sufficient color contrast between important elements
If you have more questions on this step, be sure to check out our ADA Compliance blog.
12. Publish! . . . Then Submit a Sitemap
You’re now ready to go live! Make sure you celebrate with your colleagues, friends, and family (this natural website promotion will be great for your site). Once it’s published, you’ll want to create and submit a sitemap (this will ensure your site can be crawled and indexed).
This step can be easily achieved through most CMS services, but if you still have questions about this process, Ahrefs has a very helpful blog on the subject.
10 Best Law Firm Website Design Examples
Want some inspiration before you start on your own website design? Here are some of our 10 recent favorite designs:
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