There are many moving parts to consider when creating your very own website. In our last blog post, we covered essentials such as acquiring a web host, domain name, and more--what keeps your website running behind the scenes. But what about the must-haves for your website's content, the "front end" of the website?
Creating a website that is both easy to navigate and appealing to the eye should be your priority. Your website's user experience should foretell what working with you might be like: smooth and stress-free, with plentiful knowledge at hand. Put yourself into the shoes of your client and think about what you would be looking for in a law firm's website while shopping around. Consider their needs, goals, and level of knowledge.
Now let's look further into even more must-haves for your website, from a customer's perspective.
Your Homepage. The first page that your customers land on should be your homepage. It should load up quickly since it has to contend with short attention spans, so don't make the page too complicated. It should have a simple, easy-to-navigate interface, yet appear professional and eye-catching.
Don't overwhelm your potential clients before you've even met them. Use the homepage to convey who you are in as few words as possible. Put the name or logo of your firm front and center. Detail the services you offer in a short description or bullet points. Perhaps you could even use the space to highlight a valuable client testimonial (more on that later).
Put tabs at the top of your homepage that can easily guide your potential client towards what they're looking for. For example...
The About Page. If you want to offer more information about yourself, your firm, or your values, create an "About" page. Feel free to have a little fun with this one. You can tell the story of how your firm came to be. Or you can use the space to create profiles for each of your lawyers. This can add a personal touch that makes your firm feel more approachable (hiring a lawyer can be a stressful, intimidating process after all) while simultaneously helping you stand out.
If you want to further detail your services, education, areas of practice, or anything else you deem important, this is the page to do so.
Contact Information. This is the most important information you will have on your website. Make sure it's easy to find! Every single page of your site should contain details on how to reach you at the bottom. Include your location, phone number, email address, social media accounts, or anything else that you deem important.
Contact should have its own page as well. Include a simple form a potential client can fill out to request a consultation. Customers should never have to jump through hoops to reach you.
Client Testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to establish credibility and showcase success. Nowadays, many are turning to Google reviews and Facebook ratings when trying to make an important decision. If you are forthright with the feedback you've received, it will increase your transparency and accountability.
The next time a client is happy with your services, ask them to leave a review. Reassure them that they are welcome to do so anonymously, since they might not want to attach their name to their legal troubles.
FAQ. You know better than anyone what sort of questions to expect from clients. Offering an FAQ can be an excellent way to reduce common questions while also demonstrating your knowledge. While creating it, keep in mind your audience, who most likely do not have degrees in law. Keep your explanations simple so that even someone with zero experience can understand.
Consider Your Audience. You've got all of the web pages you need. Before you start piecing everything together, consider the needs of your audience one last time. It can prove useful when brainstorming what kind of voice or look you're aiming for your website to have.
For example, if you're in family law or deal with estates, your tone should be human, comforting, and sympathetic. If you specialize in business law, you can afford to sound more corporate. Or if you're in elder law and mainly work with older clients, put extra care into making sure the website is simple and easy-to-read. Make it obvious where they need to go if they're looking to get in touch. These are just a few examples of how you can completely tailor the experience to suit your clients' needs when they visit your website.
Next time, we'll dive even deeper into this idea: finding your voice and building your personal brand.