#030 – Law Firm Website Design Mistakes
If you take the time and effort to make a website, make sure that you avoid these common law firm website design mistakes! Listen in to this week’s podcast!
Hi, I’m Annette Choti, an attorney of 20 years that created Law Quill, a marketing agency for small and solo law firms. Join me to learn how to grow your law firm through digital marketing strategies, SEO, social media, and more. Let’s get that law firm of yours more online visibility, a larger digital footprint, tons of organic traffic, and more clients. I’m so excited. You’re here, click that subscribe button and join me in the legal marketing lounge.
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Law Firm Website Design Mistakes
These are mistakes with the design of your website that could actually harm your SEO, and prevent your potential clients from seeing everything that you have to offer. It’s really important. The legal field is a competitive market. There are over: Are you ready for this 1.3 million lawyers doing business in the United States. That’s just the United States. That’s not Canada. And I know that I have a lot of Canadian clients. And a lot of Canadians listen to my podcast.
So there are literally millions of lawyers doing business that you are competing with. And this is one reason that it is critical and crucial to have great virtual real estate and make a favorable first impression on the Google bots and on potential clients who come browsing online to your website. Since the majority of lawyer searches begin with a search engine, right.
One of the key ways to introduce your law firm effectively is to design a stellar website. Unfortunately, some law firms some lawyers don’t really give this task to an experienced professional that understands the nuances of law firm websites. And then without knowing it, there can be some Law firm website design mistakes within that website that can potentially be pretty harmful. I’m going to go over several mistakes today that you could be making. Hopefully, you’re not you could be making on your website, along with obviously some tips, how to not just avoid them, but how to correct them. So grab a cup of coffee, here we go.
#1 Cluttered Website with Loads of Information
The first mistake is that it’s too cluttered. Potential clients don’t want to navigate through thick forests of text to find what they need. Some law firm websites put the most essential information way out of the way tucked away somewhere really difficult to find or right up front, but in an area that looks really cluttered or disorganized. And frankly, you all know what I’m talking about when you hit a website, and it just feels overwhelming.
There’s a pop up, there’s a chat bot, there’s a ton of written content, it just feels overwhelming when you see it. Make sure your website has a very clean, organized look that it’s very easy to navigate. And that will help visitors stay on your website longer because they will feel frankly more relaxed. If everything seems very cluttered and jumbled and confusing. The truth is that visitors are probably going to exit quickly.
Additionally, elements that are sort of designed to trap customers into contacting a law firm like excessive pop ups, sliders, chat bots, contacting a virtual person, if you have all of that it can often repel potential clients and they’ll just go somewhere else that they find, frankly more calming. Here’s the truth. People don’t go to law firm websites for fun. They don’t go there to relax.
They go there because they’re freaking out about a problem that they’re having or that they are anticipating that they’re going to have in their business in their family, a legal problem a financial problem, so don’t overwhelm them visually once they get there.
#2 Difficult Navigation
The next mistake you may be making with your law firm website’s design is difficult navigation. Your website needs to offer really easy navigation. There should be some sort of index, or table of contents, whatever you want to call it at the top, every page should have the option to return to the homepage, it’s really important to understand how critical navigation is because our eyes actually move faster than a mouse can click. So we need to make sure that your website is really easy to navigate.
We’ve also all been to websites that it seems almost impossible to find the information that you’re looking for. And that may be because it’s not clearly marked, or it is not appropriately headed correctly with appropriate headers, or it’s not within a drop down menu that is easy to find.
Another obstacle that inhibits navigation is an excess of items attracting attention, there’s just too many shiny objects to look at. When there are too many possible places to click a link. Visitors get overwhelmed and then they leave. If you take the time to remove clutter on your website, and really make your navigation clear, then the most important items are going to take centre stage. And then navigation is going to be more straightforward.
#3 Website is Not ATA Accessible
The next mistake you might be making is that your website might not be ATA accessible. The ATA the American with Disability Act has certain requirements in physical locations and in virtual locations. Your law firms website is a virtual location that needs to be compliant with the ADA.
Most companies and law firms do not take into consideration that their website is an extension of their business and really should be following ADA guidelines. a disability should not limit anyone’s opportunity to find the information they need. And this includes searching for answers to legal questions and finding a qualified attorney to help them there are some guidelines that say you have to be a certain size and you have to meet these requirements.
In order to fall under the ADA requirements. However, I’m going to just say that it’s a best practice that no matter what those guidelines say, you should be really making sure that this is handled on your law firms website simply because it’s the right thing to do. Also, when you design a website that’s ADA compliant, it speaks compassion and fairness to the audience that is looking for you. Some of your website visitors might be visually or hearing impaired.
The way that you can design your website to include components to help them include having the ability to navigate by a keyboard only option to have full functionality when it’s scaled up to 200%. For those who are visually impaired, your text should have a minimum contrast ratio against the background so that it’s easier for visually impaired people to see. The audio and video should be played only when a user clicks. And all website images should include alt text. And that is something that you can include with every image. That is a description of the image.
So if someone is coming to your website and is either visually or hearing impaired, when they get to that section of their website, they will either be able to see a description of it or hear a description of that picture. I can’t stress enough how important this is for people who are attempting to get legal services and are struggling on law firm websites. So it is critical that you make sure that your law firm websites design takes this into account.
#4 Unresponsive Website
The next mistake As you might be making with your website is that it’s unresponsive. A website must be responsive if a law firm is going to rely on it as a tool to gather new leads and clients, law firms of any size really need to make sure that their website loads quickly and works well-with both desktop and mobile devices.
Google is now placing exceptional importance on how your website looks on mobile devices. It’s actually called mobile first. So it is critical, underline highlight. I italicize bold, all of it, that you need to make sure that your website looks good, and is responsive on mobile devices.
One of the biggest Law firm website design mistakes is to have a slow website. And to have one that doesn’t work on mobile. I guess that’s two mistakes. Don’t do either one. What this means is that your website should totally ditch any slow loading large images, website pages that are not important, making sure that all of your images are compressed correctly, making sure that you don’t have videos that are sucking up a lot of space on your website, including prefabricated bulky themes, stock images, all of these are no no’s. And all of these will slow down your load times.
Problems with Squarespace and Wix
I’m going to talk for a hot minute about Squarespace and Wix. Squarespace and Wix are platforms where you can build your website very easily. It’s very user friendly. They’re pretty inexpensive. And a lot of smaller law firms love the ability to create beautiful websites very quickly.
However, the problem with Squarespace and Wix is this you are carrying with you every single possible plugin, option slider tool, everything that Wix and Squarespace offers when you create your website, your backpack is literally full. And that means that your loading time on your website is going to be longer, which is terrible for SEO. I understand that they look beautiful. And if you are at a place where you cannot hire someone to create a website for you, these are great places to start. But just remember that this should be temporary for you.
How WordPress can Help
WordPress is really the very best type of foundation you can build your website on. The reason is because you only include plugins that you’re using. So your backpack isn’t as full of a bunch of stuff you don’t need, which would slow down your website speed. I’m going to say one more practical tip here. When you are creating a Squarespace or a Wix website, make sure to keep everything that you are writing all of your text in either a Word document or on Google Docs or somewhere else.
Because if you ever make the decision to switch to a WordPress website, you don’t get to move all of that with you. You have to basically copy and paste everything from scratch. The other benefit of a WordPress website is that once you have the foundation of the home, you can rearrange the furniture anytime. You can change out your theme on WordPress anytime you want to, which is also another benefit of WordPress.
So if you are starting to scale your law firm, now is absolutely the time to use a WordPress theme, a WordPress website. If you are just starting out and you don’t have the ability to hire someone, then Wix and Squarespace are a great placeholder until you have the option to move to something more substantial. And I’ll even be more honest with you. I think the very first thing that you should be spending your digital marketing on before you worry about content before you worry about social media before you worry about anything else is to create a strong website on WordPress. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now about it but I just really think it’s that important.
#5 No Call to Action
The next thing you might be doing wrong with your website design is that you might not have any calls to action.
You have to tell people what to do you hear me all the time say, click that subscribe button, or I’ll say did you leave me a good review on iTunes. So you have to tell people what it is that you’re looking for, and just remind them gently what it is they need to do in order to get in touch with you. Even a well-designed website, even one with top notch content may not meet your marketing goals without compelling calls to action.
A call to action can be something as simple as call us for a free consultation. Or please fill out this contact form and we will get back to you. It is important to include a call to action. Are you ready on every single page of your website. Because this is the end goal of everything you’re doing. Everything you’re doing regarding marketing is to get someone to pick up the phone, or to fill in a contact form. To get in touch with you. A call to action should be placed in a highly accessible and visible location on your website. On every page, it should show up maybe as a clickable button.
For mobile users remember mobile first, it should include an action verb that motivates visitors to take the next step call. fill out this form, get in touch with us now, whatever it is, there needs to be sort of an action verb and a failure to have a call to action is really one of the biggest law firm, website design marketing mistakes you can make. So tell your potential clients to call you contact you make it very simple for them. Ask early and ask often right? Isn’t that oh, the saying goes.
#6 Not SEO Compliant
The next mistake you might be making with your website is lacking an experienced SEO consultant to find and fix your mistakes. So if you already have a website, and you’ve had it for a while, it is really important to consider having an experienced SEO consultant, look through your website to see if there are any critical errors.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. And that means that the things that you are doing both on your website and off your website are going to form the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that Google is using to understand what your business is, and where they should place it in the rankings. And so really, this is the ultimate goal, and the entire purpose of having a website. And it is an important consideration.
To think whether or not you want to at this point, have an experienced SEO consultant come in and look at your website. It’s very important also to hire a company or an individual that has experienced not just with search engine optimization, but one that has experienced with law firm websites. Law firms are required to have a strong eat score. And I’ve talked about this before, but an eat score stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. And there are certain websites there are certain industries that Google holds to a higher standard.
Here’s another acronym for you YMYl and it means your money or your life. So any kind of industry that directly impacts your life, your health, your finances, will fall into this category. So doctors, dentists, financial advisors, lawyers are all falling into this category. You want to make sure that your website is completely optimized for search engines, which will include optimizing these eight scores.
So when you search for an SEO company, you should evaluate it for the following criteria. Are they experienced in designing content for lawyers? Are they experienced at looking at law firm websites asked for references? Do they have a knowledge of the top keywords used by law firms and potential clients in your local area? Do they have the ability to install and manage Google Analytics? What is their experience overall with law firms specifically, it’s really important because law firms are really held to a very different standard than other countries.
These are I talked about this a little bit before. But I really want to revisit it in a bit more detail right now.
#7 Not Mobile Friendly
The next mistake that your website might be making is that it’s not mobile friendly. Remember how I said that Google is really going to be focusing on mobile first, very soon, Google is going to be rewarding websites that are inherently mobile responsive, they’re going to be rewarding those websites with better rankings, and they’re going to be demoting websites that are not mobile responsive.
If you are thinking about revamping your website, refreshing it giving it a little facelift, now is really the perfect time to confirm that your website is 100% mobile responsive. 53% of mobile users abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So you literally have a hot minute or less actually three seconds. It’s really time to rethink your website design with regard to whether or not it is mobile friendly. Get this most websites right now. Take around, okay, just think in your head right now. Guess the number? How long do you think that most websites take to fully load? Okay, do you have a number? It’s 22 seconds. Why it’s, that’s a crazy amount of time. And you’ll be losing visitors before you can say marketing disaster. So just make sure that your website is mobile friendly. And if it’s not make that your priority.
#8 Outdated Design
The next website design mistake your law firm might be making your law firm website might be making is that it has outdated design or content. Websites should really be updated about every two years. visitors to your website can tell if it’s outdated.
We all know when we hit a website, we don’t know exactly how, but we know that it’s dated. So you really want to make sure that you are not necessarily keeping up with the trends every three months. But every couple of years, you really need to take a hard look at the design of your website. And not only that, you need to be looking at the content of your website. So outdated design can be what fonts are you using? What colors are you using? Are you still using a gavel? As part of your logo? Or as the only part of your logo? Are you using the scales of justice with a navy blue background, it might be time to reconsider your branding, it might be time to reconsider your design. Because other law firms out there are pushing boundaries regarding modern design.
And frankly, I’m just going to tell you the truth. Those law firms, their branding is more memorable. When you have purple or yellow, or you have some beautiful teal with orange. Those are memorable websites. So take the time to consider not only the overall design of your website, but also a bit of the micro design, which are the fonts, you’re using the colors, the branding, the backgrounds, the pictures that you’re using.
#9 Outdated Content
The next thing is the content. Is your content outdated? Are you referencing laws or regulations that are no longer applicable or valid? Are you addressing new issues? Are you talking about Bitcoin digital assets? What are you talking about on your website that is relevant to current potential clients?
One of the ways that you can effectively determine whether or not you have outdated content is to consider conducting a website content audit. I have more information about this on my website, in my blog area. And basically what a website content audit does is it looks at all the content you have on your website. And it looks at your competitors. And it looks at the gaps that you have or maybe the duplicative content that you have or the outdated content you have. And it allows you to take a deep dive and double down on what is working and where you get a lot of visitors and getting rid of the things that are not as effective.
Did this help? It’s a lot, right. It’s a lot to go through. I talk fast and I usually try to pack a lot of really substantive and informative and practical information into these podcasts, I try not to have a whole lot of fluff in them. So if you need to read the show notes, you can do that over on the Law Quill website. And if you ever have any questions, of course, you can get in touch with me if you are looking to do an SEO audit of your website, or you’re looking to outsource your content or your marketing, we’d be happy to visit with you about that as well. I hope that these tips helped you today. Because your website is just one of your most important business tools I feel really passionate about that. It is the first introduction between your law firm, and potential clients and it’s also the link between who you are as a business online and the Google bots. It is vitally important to scrutinize your website for any website design mistakes, and any unnecessary visitor roadblocks.
I hope that you got a lot out of today’s episode. And if you haven’t, I’ll do my own call to action. Right I will take my own advice. If you haven’t already subscribed, please do so. And if you haven’t left me a review yet on iTunes boy, I would sure appreciate that. And thank you so much for your support. Until next time, thank you again for joining me in the legal Marketing lounge.