We’ve all heard the age old adage.
“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”
And since that adage creeps into every aspect of internet marketing, we wanted to talk about where attorneys make their first impressions on the web: website design.
Sure, leads may find your site through search engines or social media, but your website is the first fully formulated picture that a potential client gets of you and your firm. Everything leading up to somebody landing on your website is the equivalent of a friend saying, “Hey Jon! Come on over. There’s somebody I’d like you to meet!”
Now when you meet somebody in real life, would you prefer to be in your pajamas, disheveled, and messy? Or would you rather be well-dressed, groomed and put together? When somebody who is looking for an attorney lands on your site, don’t give them any reason to think you’re not the right person for the job.
Just like you, your website has got to look (and be) ready for business.
And quite frankly, we often see firms that have the bare minimum of what could be considered a website. Maybe you get all of your clients through referrals and only have a website because everybody else does, or maybe what you think constitutes good design would be considered an acquired taste by others (there’s really only so much room for subjectivity in this case).
Even if business is booming, bad website design can hold you back from truly dominating your market. And just because you’ve got plenty of clients now doesn’t change the fact that developing your internet presence is one of the most important actions you can take for your firm’s future.
So, to get to it, what exactly does good law firm web design look like?
The Components Of Law Firm Web Design
Great web design really comes down to one thing: functionality.
But the functionality of a website is made up by a number of components. We’ve written about this before, so if you want a more detailed take on the issue then check out our post, “10 Fundamental Components of Effective Law Firm Web Design” or click on the banner below to view our related infographic.
For the purpose of this post, let’s briefly go over those components:
- Calls to Action – Are you including persuasive and directed content on your web pages to encourage leads to pick up the phone and call?
- Compelling Imagery – Are there high quality images of you and your firm’s attorneys on the site? Do those images evoke professionalism and convey your firm’s philosophy?
- Typography – Do the fonts you use on your website complement each other? Have you put thought into why you use certain typography?
- Whitespace – Forget what your Fifth Grade art teacher told you, you don’t need to fill the entire page with color. Good use of whitespace can create some of the most effective and impactful imagery.
- Video – Are you including video content on your webpages? Short, simple videos can be some of the most engaging content people encounter on your website.
- Storytelling – Do you and your firm have a larger purpose behind your law practice? Are you conveying that message through your website’s presentation and content?
- Color – The colors you choose for your site symbolize your firm in everything that you do. Make sure those colors don’t clash with each other or with the tone you’re trying to set with leads.
- Simple Navigation – Can the users of your site instinctively get to the information they’re looking for? Navigation is more than just the drop-down menus and page layout. Make sure the words you use direct people where they want to go.
Speed – Are your pictures optimized to take up less space on your website? A couple seconds of extra loading time can be the difference between landing and losing a client.
- Responsiveness – Is your site optimized to work on all web-based devices? Mobile search has surpassed desktop search, so don’t get caught up in making a pretty website that doesn’t function on your phone.
Think of those components as a checklist for your firm’s website. Are you meeting all the criteria that make your website stand above the rest?
If so, great! If not, then don’t worry. Think of your website as a living and breathing entity that needs to be taken care of, nurtured, and updated regularly. So whether you’ve got a grip on effective web design or not, we’ve got some inspiration for you.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite examples of law firm website design inspiration from around the web to give you a sense of what making a kick-ass first impression on the internet is all about.
Ten Of Our Favorite Most Inspiring Law Firm Website Designs
Why It Works
In the case of Malman Law, the site works on a number of levels. First, your eyes are drawn to the nice photo of the firm’s head attorney and founder. Putting a face to your firm’s name is a great way to make leads feel comfortable with you, even though they may have never met you.
What really gets us excited about the web design here is the Unique Value Proposition (or UVP) to the right of Attorney Malman. Those three simple words pack a big punch.
TRUST. EXPERIENCE. RESULTS.
When it comes to what most people are looking for in an attorney, those three words pretty much sum it up. But just to make sure the firm hammered the point home, they used the icons below to defend their UVP.
TRUST – Zero Fee Guarantee
EXPERIENCE – 15,000 Cases Over 20 Years
RESULTS – $200,000,000+ Collected (95% Success Rate)
Whether your leads realize it or not, you’ve stated your value and proven it to them in less than 15 words. To top it all off, those leads are directed to the one simple question that they still want answered: What’s Your Case Worth?
Why It Works
As the most populous city in the United States, New York can be a particularly difficult market in which to set yourself apart from the pack. For Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty, the solution was to market themselves as the “Neighborhood Lawyer” for the entire city.
How did they do this effectively?
By using great imagery of the city’s neighborhoods and buildings while using their personal connections to New York to frame their firm’s story.
“New York City is Our Neighborhood. We are Your Neighborhood Lawyer.”
Those words create a sense of familiarity with the firm’s leads. And in conjunction with the imagery used, they’ve turned the most populous city in the U.S. into the neighborhood you live in.
They make it seem that the hassle of finding a lawyer in the city that never sleeps is as easy as walking down the street to your local attorney’s office.
Why It Works
There’s a certain amount of seriousness that you want to convey as an attorney. So when it comes to your website design and overall marketing strategy, you need to figure out how to convey that sense of seriousness effectively.
For Oberheiden Law Group, we’re particularly impressed by the color use. And you may be thinking, “It’s just navy blue and gold, what’s the big deal?”
You know who else uses navy blue and gold as their colors? The United States Navy.
Whether you make that connection consciously or subconsciously, there’s no denying that color usage effectively conveys the seriousness with which the firm approaches its cases.
Add the line about how “The Best Defense Is A Good Offense” and you’ve got yourself a military-grade weapon of a web design. You know that this firm is smart, tactful, but aggressive and gets results.
Why It Works
Quite frankly, the name of this law firm is simply a branding blessing. A law firm comprised of business lawyers for small and medium sized enterprises, what do we name it?
Easy. Small Law.
But a great firm name that relates to the kind of law the firm practices isn’t the only reason its web design works so well.
We get the sense that this firm took the lessons from Whitespace is Not Your Enemy to heart, because they certainly put their whitespace to good use. Because of that good whitespace use, the small elements of the website (the pepper, the three word UVP, the secondary part of the UVP) really pop to make somebody viewing the site think, “Hm, maybe small is better.”
That pepper, specifically, encapsulates the entire attitude of the firm, especially in conjunction with the white space. It’s a small chili pepper, but you know that when you take a bite, it means business.
Why It Works
We’ve already touched on how a good photograph of your head attorney, or attorneys, can make a big difference in getting potential clients familiar with you.
For Attorney Chris Parvin, his homepage photo takes that a step further and puts him in an urban environment that gives the impression that he’s not afraid to get out and do the necessary work to get you the results you need.
In addition, the navigation of the page is simple, to the point, and easy for leads to maneuver. Rather than going to a long list of practice areas, the practice areas each have their own section at the top navigation. While this may not work for firms that handle a wide variety of practice areas, it works well for a firm that focuses in on one or two like Parvin’s.
The best part about the design of this page is the call to action button that says “Book an Appointment.” While the button isn’t obnoxious and in your face, it’s certainly noticeable and directs the leads to reach out from the moment they land on the site.
Why It Works
The first thing about the Boughton Law page that pops out at you is the UVP: We do things differently.
Those are certainly strong words, but we’re going to break down that UVP even more. The first line states “We do things,” which by itself probably wouldn’t have worked very well as the UVP, but works as the meat and potatoes of the phrase.
Those three words get across a couple of ideas to potential clients:
Our firm is experienced.
Our firm works hard.
Our firm gets things done.
As somebody seeking out an attorney, these are elements that you want to find in a law firm. When you add “differently” on the next line, the implication is that “our firm goes about things unlike anybody else, and that’s what makes us better.”
Of course, imagery is also a major factor in the site’s design, as the majority of the homepage is filled with large, changing pictures of people doing things in exotic and exciting places. These images effectively add to the idea that Boughton Law is unlike any other law firm in how they approach their work.
Why It Works
We’ve talked a lot about UVPs as an element of design so far, but Brewer, Krause, Brooks & Chastain’s UVP is particularly striking. Most firms will place their UVPs on their homepages in a strategic place so that potential clients get a sense for what the firm is about.
What makes this site’s UVP so effective, however, is the fact that they’ve made it a part of a cycling group of pictures that complements each word they use.
Over 25 Years of Established Success
With arrows that allow users to cycle through those images, they’re interacting with the firm’s UVP, producing a deeper connection than they might otherwise have if it were simply just placed on the firm’s page, somewhere.
Why It Works
While the image that Taylor Janis uses effectively shows an entire city skyline (essentially representing the entire spectrum of employment in a city from both the employer and employee side), there’s one thing that makes this website’s design so brilliant.
For firms that work in a large number of practice areas, it might not make sense to do this unless you’re using website’s specific to certain practice areas. But for Taylor Janis Workplace Law, there’s one practice area to focus on: Workplace Law.
Because of this, it makes total sense to provide a different experience for the “employer” and the “employee.” They’ll have different questions, different issues, and possibly different cases; but since Taylor Janis serves them both, she’s able to provide better information for them by sorting them from the beginning.
Also, this must be a huge win from an analytics standpoint, as she’s able to essentially silo off the number of people who come to her site as employees vs. employers and can see where improvements need to be made.
Why It Works
When scrolling down the homepage of Brett McCandlis Brown’s website, you get a pretty good overview of what the firm is about and what it does, as each section of the web page represents an element of the firm.
While the site itself is a great example of website design, what really caught our attention was the practice area section of the homepage. It’s broken up into the eight primary practice areas that the firm works with, but what’s the most effective about this section is the imagery that is used with each practice area.
Sometimes it’s difficult to show an image that really represents what a practice area is all about. We often see images on practice areas that either look cheesy, exaggerated, or are just a little too over-the-top.
This site’s images are subtle and effective. Rather than show a motorcycle making a sharp turn to represent how dangerous motorcycle driving can be, they just show a leather glove. Instead of showing the terrors of a car wreck, they get the point across by showing headlights on a dark road.
Why It Works
FAQ sections are some of the most effective ways to get potential clients the answers they need. So when Oykhman Criminal Defence Law decided to to use some of their most commonly asked questions as navigation on their homepage, we thought it was brilliant.
Of course, the site looks great in general, but great website design is meant to do one thing: get clients where they need to go.
So while they have an FAQ section in the main navigation that leads can access, getting their leads where they want to go faster not only makes sense from a convenience standpoint, but shows that the firm is attuned to what their clients need.
Having Trouble Designing Your Firm’s Website?
While we certainly hope this post inspired you to take your law firm’s website design to the next level, we know how hard it can be to come up with a functional, well-thought out, and effective design on your own. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.
Our web design team has years of experience working in the field, and we pride ourselves on putting together those kinds of websites, the kind that convert leads into clients quickly and consistently by creating a great first impression.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help with your law firm’s website project.