A well-designed and user-friendly website is crucial for any business, including law firms. Clients and potential clients rely on the internet to search for legal services, gather information, and make decisions about hiring lawyers.
It is essential for law firms to have an effective online presence. However, many law firm websites fall short of providing a seamless user experience. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common problems with law firm websites and provide suggestions on how to improve them.
Alphabetical listing of all people
While it may seem like a logical way to organise a list of lawyers, an alphabetical listing can be confusing and unhelpful for potential clients. Its great for internal politics, but bad for the user. Most likely the first person the user is going to see is a trainee or happens to have a name starting with A, rather than the partner of 30 years starting with the letter T who is buried on page 8.
Instead, consider organising lawyers by their practice areas or expertise, making it easier for users to find a lawyer with the specific skills they need.
Bad labelling of services
Unclear or vague labels for services can create confusion for website visitors, making it difficult for them to navigate the site and find the information they need. To avoid this, use clear, concise, and descriptive language to label your services. This will help potential clients understand exactly what your firm offers and make it easier for them to find the appropriate service.
Non-lawyers might not understand "Private Client" or "Executry Administration" or "Dispute resolution"
Further, your visitors dont care about your internal firms hierarchy - so while you might split your property litigation team and your commercial property team - the client doesn't care.
Create services not around "teams" or "divisions" but around topics written in plain language. Plain language is proven to be more trustworthy and even highly intelligent experts prefer plain language.
So instead of "Family Law" split it into topics like "Separation/divorce", "Adoption", "Child support", "Child arrangements" - you can always talk about "other topics" on the specific topic pages.
Focusing on services rather than sectors for business
Many law firm websites focus solely on the services they provide rather than the sectors or industries they serve.
Companies and organisations although maybe looking for specific services they really are looking for a lawyer that can offer them a wide range of services and guide them through the process.
By highlighting the industries, you specialise in, you can better demonstrate your firm's expertise and attract clients within those sectors. This approach also allows potential clients to quickly identify if your firm has experience in their specific industry, increasing the likelihood of them reaching out to you for assistance.
Landing pages that talk about the firm, rather than speak to the reader
An effective landing page should be client-centric and focus on the needs of potential clients. Instead of simply talking about your firm's accomplishments and experience, address the challenges and concerns that your target audience may be facing.
This approach will resonate more with your audience and help you establish credibility and trust.
Bad Search Functionality
A poor search function can be incredibly frustrating for users, making it difficult for them to find the information they need.
Good search is hard to implement, often user's experience of searching the web is Google - it is an impossible high standards.
An easier less costly approach is giving visitors a more narrow search in context and making your website easy to navigate. e.g. if you have a big list of services, allow the user to "search for a service", then on the people page the search can be allowing user to search by "expertise" or "name"
No one comes to read your news
While it's essential to keep your website's content up to date, don't assume that visitors are coming to your site primarily to read your news and insights.
Most users are looking for information about your services, expertise, and lawyers. Content marketing is a great way to bring in potential clients, so focus on on creating valuable and informative content that addresses your clients' needs - Create guides, videos, answer semi-topical questions, tools to help people understand their legal issue better before contacting you - people are looking for a "guide".
Addressing these common problems with law firm websites can significantly improve the user experience and help convert website visitors into clients.
By organising your content strategically, using plain language, and focusing on your clients' needs, your website will become a valuable tool for your firm's success.
About Fraser Clark
I've been a professional developer for over 10 years. I've been consulting and developing websites & software for small businesses, multi-nationals & governments.