In determining who makes the best law firm websites each year, Lawyerist looks at usability, optimization, design, and other factors to evaluate the nominees. Some of the nominated websites are truly impressive and engage legal consumers in innovative ways.
Some are less than impressive websites, and some of those were automatically disqualified for a number of reasons. If you are building a law firm website, be sure to avoid these pitfalls.
No Call to Action
All effective law firm websites have strong calls to action that are easy to find and prompt the visitor to act. You have about ten seconds to convey to visitors why they should contact the firm—and how to do so.
The websites that didn’t make the cut suffered from overly complex messaging, poorly placed contact forms (or no contact forms at all), and confusion as to how a prospect might get in touch with the firms’ attorneys. Many sites were missing a call to action entirely.
Lack of Basic SEO
For a legal website to be effective, a firm must leverage at least some basic search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure the site shows up on Google and other search engines.
Some of the law firms we looked at didn’t even have title tags on their home pages, which is where any good SEO strategy starts.
Annoying Pop-Ups and Chat Boxes
Despite all the evidence indicating how much annoying pop-up and live chat boxes turn off users, some law firms continue to use them. Pop-ups are obnoxious, but at least they can be done in a less obtrusive way.
For example, the two sites below ranked well in all other categories, but their bothersome pop-ups knocked them out of the running for the top ten:
Other Disqualifying Factors
Although the three issues above are the most problematic, there were several other factors that eliminated some sites from contention:
- Poor imagery. The firms with the best websites tended to have quality photos, not generic stock images, which can come off as tacky to potential clients.
- Too much focus on the lawyer. Photos of lawyers are important, but they should be secondary to the needs of the user. The first question potential clients are asking is whether you can solve their problem and what value the firm delivers.
- No photos of the lawyer(s). Conversely, some websites did not feature headshots or photos alongside attorney bios. This can prevent a user from feeling like they can “get to know” the lawyer. Photos are expected in 2017. Missing photos may make a visitor wonder what you might be hiding, while great bio photos make the user feel like they have actually met you.
- Large blocks of text. Websites with long, dense paragraphs are difficult to read and so visitors are less likely to read them. Website copy should be concise and easy for the average person to digest.
These issues all prevent lawyers and law firms from getting the results they hope for from their websites. If your law firm website suffers from any of these problems, consider making some changes so that you can make the most of your investment.