Your website is an extension of your firm; no different than one of your partners or employees.
It will frequently be the first point of interaction with your potential clients and it can be your greatest asset, or your biggest liability, depending on the experience your potential clients have with it.
When done right, your website is your best salesperson. It makes a great first impression, it's welcoming and helpful, it builds trust and establishes credibility with your potential clients.
When done poorly, it can really hold your firm back from getting more clients. It can come across as clunky or disorganized, confusing, condescending or unprofessional and it can leave your potential clients with a negative feeling about your firm and send them looking for someone else.
Optimizing your website to provide the best possible user experience is a surefire way to make sure the first impression it makes for your firm is a great one.
What is your first impression of the site? Does it look inviting? Is it clear what your firm does and what information you provide? Our brains are constantly making judgements based on first impressions and you want the first impression of your site to be a positive one.
Is the site professionally designed and current? Does the site include client reviews and testimonials, links to industry groups and associations you're a part of, and images of real people? Your website's job is to begin building trust and demonstrating expertise to your potential customers. By showing that you're an active and respected member of the legal community, you begin building trust with your potential clients long before you ever have a conversation with them.
Have you clearly communicated to the user what actions they should take next? Should they call you, fill out a form, download a white paper, or do something else? Whatever you want them to do, it should be clearly communicated so they know exactly what the next steps are.
Is your contact information clearly displayed on your website? You want to make it easy for potential clients to contact you from any page on the site. Your phone number, address, and other contact info should be displayed prominently on every page of the site.
Is the most important information on the page located where users can see it without scrolling down? The area visitors see when they first get to a page is referred to as "above the fold" and you want your most important info displayed there so users can easily find it.
Does your website load quickly? Do your users have to wait for pages to load after clicking on a link? If your website is slow, your users won't wait. They're used to pages loading lightning fast and if yours doesn't, they'll move on to someone else's. Visit the Google Page Speed Tool to see how fast your website loads.
Do your visitors have a great experience no matter what device they're on? Does your site adapt to provide the optimal experience whether a visitor is on a desktop, tablet, or cell phone? The web has evolved from desktop to mobile devices and visitors now expect to be able to use your site whenever and wherever they are. Visit the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool to see if your website is mobile optimized to provide a great experience across all devices.
Does your site have clear and consistent navigation menus on each page? Is it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for? Consistent and well organized navigation menus help users find what they're looking for and encourage them to spend more time exploring your website and getting familiar with your firm.
Are the links on your site descriptive and easy to identify? Users want to know where a link will take them and what will be waiting when they get there. They also want to easily identify links versus regular text. By including descriptive links with unique colors, you make it easier for users to find the information their looking for quickly and easily.
Is the information on your site organized and structured in a way that is intuitive and makes sense to your visitors? Is related information grouped together in a way that is easy for users to navigate? The information on your site should be organized so that users can learn about both broad concepts and more granular detailed information if it's relevant to them.
Does your site have a content slider (a rotating slideshow that switches slides every 1-2 seconds)? This can make sense if you practice several areas of law and want to communicate a little bit about each to help your users find what they're looking for, but be careful to measure how sliders impact the user experience. Studies have shown that although sliders look nice, they often distract users and ultimately reduce the number of visitors that become clients.
Does your content help your visitors find the information they are looking for? Does your content answer their questions and help them understand more clearly if a lawyer will be able to help them with their legal issue? The majority of the people who visit your website will be looking for information to help them decide if they should hire an attorney, and if so, if they should hire you. By providing valuable information you can help them answer yes to both of those questions.
Is your content written in a language that your potential clients can understand? Have you tried to explain the legal concepts in a way that someone without a law degree can comprehend? Your potential clients most-likely aren't lawyers. Make sure that your content is written in terms that your potential clients can easily understand. They'll appreciate you for it and they'll feel much more comfortable reaching out to you to discuss their legal issues.
Is the information on your site up-to-date and relevant? If a visitor on your site reads all your content before calling you, will they have realistic expectations about their situation? Make sure your content is up-to-date so that your clients have accurate information when they reach out to you. Nothing is worse than a potential clients who read something outdated (or flat out incorrect) on the internet and then disagrees with your assessment of their legal issue.
Does your site use images and videos to help communicate the information you're providing? Are the images high-quality and relevant to your visitors? People are used to consuming content in a variety of ways on the internet. Sometimes they want to read, sometimes they want to see something visualized, and sometimes they'd prefer to watch a video. By providing images and video to support your content, you're making sure your visitors can consume the information in the way that works best for them.