1. Packing the Homepage With Too Much Information
Be informative, yet concise. A common mistake with many websites- and legal sites in particular- is when too much content gets stuffed into the homepage. Take the time to think through your site map (the core structure of your website pages and pathways) before you build anything. This strategic process is especially important if your firm is dedicated to many areas of law. Walk through different scenarios: How will a potential business litigation client use your site compared to an individual seeking personal injury representation? If a website visitor is less tech savvy, is information still easily accessible? Allow the homepage to highlight key pieces of information and offer different pathways for various users to get to what they are looking for. Instead of trying to offer everything at once, allow the homepage to only focus on your most important Calls to Action.
2. Not Being Clear About Your Specialties
Be specific. While using the term “expert” is not necessary- and prohibited by most ethical guidelines- it is important to clearly communicate the areas of law that you specialize in. Prospective clients that are visiting your site will be looking for a very particular type of expertise. Whether you focus on intellectual property litigation or immigration law, make it extremely clear to any website visitor of your specific professional value when writing your website content. Beyond messaging, also be sure to spend time on properly optimizing your site for search engines (especially your most visited pages) with your core keywords.
3. Use of Stock Photos
Focus on genuine communication. Beyond being fairly cliche, featuring images of a gavel, courthouse, or clearly staged photograph will not help you differentiate from your competitors. At best stock photography is boring- at worst it can hurt your brand identity and negatively affect your site speed and load time. Imagery is powerful- use it intentionally! Before adding anything to your site (whether it’s an additional page, sentence, or photograph) always first ask yourself if that element will truly add value to your website.
4. An Abandoned Blog
Write, or don’t. Having a well written, focused legal blog can be a fantastic way to attract new potential contacts to your site, position yourself as a thought leader within the legal community, and keep your web presence up to date. However, having a stale blog sitting on your site with the most recent post dating back 4-7 years is an easy way to come across outdated and out of touch.
5. Not Offering Multiple Ways to Get In Touch
Make it easy to continue the conversation. When designing or revisiting your website it’s important to keep your contact information in the forefront. The first step is making information clearly accessible- such as maintaining key contact info directly in the main navigation of your site. Beyond visibility also be sure to keep mobile and tablet design in mind. If your website is built to be responsive for different devices (iPhone, tablet, etc.) placing a call or sending an email is much easier for a potential client to execute with a swipe of a finger.
6. Failing to Plan for Website Testing
In the rush to get a website live for public viewing, testing can often become an afterthought. However, it is crucial to plan and allow for adequate time to properly test your website. In addition to checking across all web browsers be sure to inspect your site on as many devices as possible- iPhone, android, tablet, and various screen resolutions. If possible, it’s also best to bring in people who were not involved in the building or even planning of your website to help with testing. This way several different types of people can provide insight into how your site is working without bias or assumptions. Once you’ve gathered various feedback you then have the opportunity to make improvements to provide a more user-friendly experience before launching your site.