Law Firm Website Design

Ultimate 2019 Actionable Guide to Website Design for Law Firms.

by Chris Lancaster

Updated April 22, 2019

Law Firm Website Designers
Ready for a website that works?

GET A FREE PROJECT QUOTE!

Image

Law Firm Website Design

User experience, educational content and on page seo.

This section will show you how we build a s.e.o friendly website. If you want to invest the time in building your own law firm website you can also use this information to build your own website and rank higher on Google Search Engine Result Pages.

Your law firms website is the hub of all your marketing efforts. Your website establishes your law firms brand identity through media (photos, infographics, podcasts and videos), text content (pages and posts), color palette and font styles should also be established for continuity.

Your law firm website gives you a place to display your law firms expertise, build rapport with clients and capture client leads through various email forms, tracking pixels and re-targeting tools.

Your website needs to provide the best user experience possible.

Websites must be mobile friendly and best practices should include Responsive Design for your law firm website.

Currently mobile visits are approximately 70% of search traffic to law firm websites.

In 2018 Google announced they rank websites in search result pages by the mobile content displayed on the website. 

You can test your website to see if it's mobile friendly.

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Keeping website visitors on your website for a long period of time is called "Dwell time".

When website visitors click through to your website from search result pages and only stay for a short time then go back to search results this is called "Bounce."

When visitors find your law firm through search engines.  The snippet of text they see on search result pages comes from what's called a meta description.

Google will also sometimes highlight information from your website in addition to the meta description.

Meta description

The meta description is a short paragraph written to capture attention of the searcher. If the meta description matches the intent of the searcher they will click through to your website.

Google calls this the Click Through Rate (CTR). When Google shows your website in search result pages and your CTR is low Google will demote your website to a lower position.

This is why meta descriptions are so important. Once your law firm website reaches the first page of search results it's in competition with the other best results.

Google will serve 10-20 results on page one and if your law firms website meta description is not enticing searchers to click your websites link your law firms website rank will decrease.

Once they enter your law firms website, if they do not find what they are looking for they will go back to the search results page. They will "bounce" back to search results and search engines track this behavior to measure a website visitors experience.

If your law firms website has a high "Bounce Rate" search engines will penalize your search ranking position.

Search engines will assume your website does not have the content searchers are looking for if the bounce rate is to high.

A high click through rate with low bounce percentage and long dwell time proves your website provides a great user experience and has the information searchers are looking for.

The factors of a great user experience include (but are not limited to)

  • Easy to understand reading.
  • Proof of expertise.
  • Proof of trustworthiness.
  • Content that builds authority.
  • Interesting media including podcasts, infographics, photos and videos.
  • Super fast loading website pages.
  • Easy for clients to contact your law firm.
  • Easy to use navigation. (no more than 3 clicks to any page)
  • Educational information that provides all they need without going from website to website.
  • Easy to find business information including address, phone, email, and names of employees.

Another thing to consider is to have a SSL certificate on your domain.

This is for security. It's suppose to make visitors passing information through email forms more secure.

You can see if a website has an SSL security certificate if the browser search displays a green and padlock. Your website will also read Https and Http.

Your hosting usually provides a paid for solution or if your hosting provider allows for it you can get a free SSL certificate at

https://letsencrypt.org/

ssl certificate

Using Wordpress for Law Firm Websites

We use WordPress as a law firms website content management system.

A website is a collection of files hosted on a server and the browser uses code to recall those files to be displayed in how that website was developed. WordPress powers 27%(75,000,000+) of all websites currently active on the web.

WordPress is a content management system that started off as a blogging platform.

WordPress was created to scale content. It is easy and fast to update custom content on your website.

WordPress also allows outside developers to create themes and plugins. Themes and plugins allow skilled website designers to customize and build efficient websites that are a great start for Search Engine Optimization.

The downside is that WordPress is so ubiquitous and without much barrier to entry a lot of amateurs try to build WordPress websites. This often leads to slow loading websites, terrible information architecture and barely functional on page S.E.O.

Another downside is that WordPress core files are all the same making it a target for hackers.

We use security plugins to keep out hackers and will cover that in the plugins section below.

A website that performs well is not just what you see on the surface but also well structured and well built behind the scenes.

Information architecture. 

The architecture of your content should be structured like an outline.

H1, H2, H3 are heading tags.

H1 is your website pages main topic. H2 is a subtopic of the H1 tag. This pattern can go all the way down to H6.

Text content should support the headings.

H1 being the main topic should only be used once. H2 could be used as main sub topics that are relevant.

When it comes to heading tags try not to use any keywords you don't want to rank in Google search.

A good WordPress theme should make marking up your content easy.

Permalinks

Permalinks are the names of your websites pages (URLs).

Permalinks in WordPress are not optimal by default. Most of the time they default to reading as

www.yourlawfirm.com/?p=123

With WordPress it's easy to set up your permalinks and have your web site page URL's read

www.yourlawfirm.com/category/topic

An example would be:

before setting permalinks

https://lancastermarketing.co/?p=123

after setting permalinks

https://lancastermarketing.co/law-firm-seo/

permalinks example

After setting permalinks you can see it's easier for search engines and people to read the intent of the website page.

Schema  

Your law firms website should have correct meta and Schema information that communicates business information to Google such as name, address, phone, email, location and client review ratings.

Wordpress Themes we use

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design.

X pro themeThere thousands of WordPress themes to chose from. WordPress themes can be free or require a paid for premium license.

Of course like most things themes are not equal in quality. Some themes very minimal functionality and other themes are packed full of tools and premium software.

Many themes are industry specific and try to serve one niche or another. Other themes try to provide everything and the kitchen sink.

Themes that are specific may or may not be well built so just because it saw "legal" or "lawyer" theme does not mean it's the absolute best option.

Themes that offer everything imaginable are loaded full of code you won't need to use such as built in eCommerce. That extra code can slow down your websites page loading speed. Page loading speed is considered by many to be a top 5 Google ranking signal.

A few of themes we use include:

X Pro Theme & Genesis Framework

Wordpress Plugins

Plugins extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress website.

There are currently more than 29,000 WordPress plugins currently available.

Plugins like Themes are created mostly by outside developers. Plugin quality will be highly correlated with their developer.

Another thing to keep in mind is that WordPress is typically updated multiple times a month for security reasons. It is up to the developers of Themes and Plugins to make sure they are compatible with the current WordPress build.

At the same time Themes and Plugins are often updated for security and new features and functionality.

Plugins are a way to add customization to your website. There are almost too many functions of plugins to list in their entirety.

Plugins we currently use include:

Ready for a website that works?

GET A FREE PROJECT QUOTE!

Image

Image Optimization

Images are important with helping website visitors understand your law firms content. They can slow down your website page load speed. We know how to solve that.

website optimizationImages are an important part of your law firms website.

The problem is high quality images are usually very large files that slow down your law firms website page loading speed. If you make your images too small they will lose a lot of quality and give website visitors a poor impression and reflects on your law firms professionalism.

You want photos of your lawyers, paralegals and admins at the highest quality possible.

The catch 22 is that as covered above slower loading websites tend to lose high ranking positions on search result pages.

How can you have high quality images AND super quick website page loading speed?

There are multiple ways including:

  • Image file types (png, jpg, svg, etc.)
  • Image file size
  • Stripping meta data before image upload
  • Plugins that prioritize when web page elements load
  • Plugins that smush image data without losing quality

A great website for image optimization is TinyPNG.com

We use a combination of all these for every law firm website we build.

Image file type can include .png, .jpg, .svg and others, each have their purpose depending on the goal trying to be accomplished.

Your law firm website should also have images that are the correct size for their containers. This means we won't use images that are 2000 x 2000 pixels when the image is viewed at 400 x 400 pixels. This is a very common mistake. The browser will load the entire 2000 x 2000 pixel image even if the 400 x 400 pixel image is the one that's displayed to website visitors.

Page load speed and high quality images provide a better user experience and are both important factors of Search Engine Optimization.

Using a CDN to speed up your law firm website

Why is a Content Delivery Network important ? A CDN speeds up website loading speed and Google loves fast websites. Quick loading pages are more important than ever now that half website visits are by mobile devices.

Website loading speed is reported to be a top 5 Google ranking factor.

You can test your website page speed

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

A CDN can help increase your law firm website search engine results by:

  1. Decreasing average page loading speed.
  2. Increasing dwell time by having secondary pages load quickly.
  3. Decreasing Bounce Rate.
  4. Speeds up your images to be indexed in Google Image Search

Law firms we help win online

    • Corporate Law Attorney
    • Disability Attorney
    • New Business Incorporation Attorney
    • Consumer Attorney
    • Intellectual Property Attorney
    • Patent Attorney
    • Trademark Attorney
    • Copyright Attorney
    • International Law Attorney
    • Divorce Attorney
    • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
    • Social Security Disability Lawyer
    • Civil Litigation Lawyer
    • General Practice Lawyer