Here’s a little-known secret about some of the best lawyer websites around: they’re not that complicated. Sure, they look great and they’re easy to use, so it would seem like there’s some genius behind the green curtain pulling all the right strings at all the right times. Right?
Not so fast. The truth is that by following just a few simple, straightforward best practices, while sprinkling in your firm’s unique value and positioning, you can have a great looking site that drives traffic, generates conversions, and results in great clients and fantastic ROI.
Legal Website Best Practices
Your website is one of the first places your ideal clients will interact with you. You want to introduce them to your brand, client experience, and approach from that very first click.
Regardless of your law firm’s objectives and goals, there’s a basic blueprint that all the best lawyer websites follow:
- Understand the essentials of on-page and technical SEO
- Write concise, helpful copy
- Make it easy for the user to find the information they need
- Keep your primary and secondary navigation simple
If your law firm’s website has these four elements, you will see better traffic, more clients, and an increase in your legal marketing ROI. Let’s break down these common traits so you can get on the fast track to success!
1. Top-Performing Websites Embrace Legal Marketing SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing your website and webpages to rank highly for specific topics and keywords. There are technical and on-page aspects to good SEO, so let’s examine both.
To get an understanding of where you’re at with technical SEO, you should crawl your website with a tool like Screaming Frog to uncover any errors. Some of the most common issues include 404 errors, low page speed, and broken links — all of which will be identified through a web crawl.
Once you’ve audited the technical SEO aspects of your site, you can work on making the basic fixes.
|Switch from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” status codes to ensure security and improve your ranking with Google.|
|Submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console to provide easy access to your site for better crawling and improved positioning.|
|Optimize your site for mobile by compressing images, increasing font size, and using accelerated mobile pages (AMP).|
|Index all the pages on your site using robots.txt so Google and Bing can position your pages properly.|
|Identify duplicate content on your website. Search engines want to see original content that isn’t found anywhere else — even on your own site.|
|Fix broken links by creating 301 redirects, sunsetting the URL, or revamping the page with new content.|
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On-page SEO relates to the content of your webpages that your users see and engage with. There are several easy best practices related to SEO that you can incorporate to begin seeing major improvements in short order.
|Conduct a full audit of every webpage on your site to check for keyword stuffing, lacking header tags, and keyword cannibalization.|
|Eliminate keyword cannibalization by assigning specific keywords to respective webpages. So, if you’re trying to optimize a webpage for “dog bite injuries,” don’t dedicate a major portion of another page to the same term. Instead, research other related keywords and broaden your reach.|
|Understand and implement proper header tags to alert major search engines to the proper hierarchy of your webpage. This means using only one title tag and H1 tag as your primary page topics, and then using H2s, H3s, etc. to further delineate how you’d like the page to be structured.|
|Write organic and informative copy without overusing certain keywords. Most search engines will penalize you for keyword stuffing if you overuse certain keywords instead of writing to inform your audience.|
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2. Their Content Focuses on Their Clients’ Needs
Whether they were injured in a car accident, updating their estate plan, or starting a business, your clients reach out to you during a vulnerable time. They have questions that need to be answered, and they probably aren’t about how many times you’ve been nominated as a Super Lawyer. If your website is too much about you—and not your ideal clients’ specific concerns—you’re going to lose their interest.
Sure, legal consumers are going to read your reviews and check out your bio page. However, they’re primarily looking for practical information that educates them and identifies solutions to their specific issues. They’re eager to learn more about the value of their cases and how to avoid common mistakes, not your badges.
That’s why the best websites are, in the words of content marketer Ann Handley, “pathologically empathetic.” Instead of simply writing for the search engines (or talking about themselves), the best legal websites target their ideal audiences and speak directly to them.
For example, suppose you’re a truck wreck survivor. A family member warns you that you only have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. You start searching online, and find these three articles:
- Tolling the Statute of Limitations: Insight from Recent Supreme Court Jurisprudence
- Webster, Webster, & Cohen Wins Landmark Statute of Limitations Case
- When Should You File a Truck Wreck Claim? A Practical Guide
Unless you’re an attorney, you won’t click on the first two articles. They don’t speak your language (and likely doesn’t answer your most pressing questions). In comparison, the third blog promises real-world advice in plain English. That’s why it would likely get more traffic and connect with more potential clients.
- Who are my ideal clients and what their biggest concerns?
- Does my website address these issues and offer meaningful solutions?
- Is my content easy to understand and in plain English?
3. There’s an Exceptional User Experience
Creating a simple and fun user experience (UX) is a hallmark of the best lawyer websites. By creating a practical and inviting website, you can make it easy for your prospective clients to find the information they’re looking for and encourage them to reach out to you for help with their legal issues.
Every element of your website should be developed with the idea of bringing value to your users. To that end, each page should be structured in a sensical, narrative form that progresses from broad knowledge to specific insights. Set up internal links so that users can easily jump from page to page and add relevant CTAs on every page, so visitors can download the content they’re looking for or get in touch with your firm.
Good legal marketing UX is based on two things:
- Simplicity and intuitiveness
- Organic calls-to-action
When we talk about simplicity, we’re talking about sticking to the basics. Don’t overwhelm your users with unnecessary design, images, or copy. And don’t make them go six pages deep to find the page they’re looking for. Set up intuitive content blocks on prominent pages with straightforward links that prompt your users to click-through to get to their desired destination.
Core Web Vitals
Lastly, make sure that you’re keeping up with Google’s Core Web Vitals. Google is using these parameters to analyze a webpage’s user experience. Core Web Vitals relate to:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time it takes your page to load. By reviewing your LCP in Google Search Console, you can examine your largest contentful paint in aggregate across your entire website and on each individual page. Depending on how your site is structured, you can improve your site’s LCP by removing unnecessary third-party scripts, simplifying your CSS, upgrading your web host, and removing bulky page elements.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): If or how elements move on your page as it loads. Having a high CLS is problematic for users and search engines alike, so you want to be sure that all elements on your pages are stable. Form fields shouldn’t move, and links and images shouldn’t shift around the page. You can improve your CLS by using set-size dimensions for the media (videos, GIFs, images) on your pages.
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4. The Best Legal Websites Are Easy to Navigate
Similar to legal marketing UX, legal marketing navigation should make it simple, easy, and intuitive for your users to access your website. However, your website navigation is a specific element of your overall web UX and should be treated with care and in context with those other UX elements.
Your primary navigation is the toolbar that should rest near the top of each page. It allows users to move to major areas of the site with the click of a button. Simple legal websites will have basic click functionality on each navigation element, while more complex sites might have drop-down menus — or even mega-menus with multiple options for each major area.
The best way to ensure simple and intuitive legal marketing navigation on your website is to create sticky navigation menus that will stay on the screen as your users scroll. This helps to ensure that your users can always default to the primary “menu” of your website regardless of where they are or how far they’ve scrolled down the page.
When labeling your navigation, stick to the script and keep it simple. Be as descriptive as possible for users and search engines alike. Remember, your navigation appears on every webpage, so optimizing for search in the nav is crucial to your success across your entire site. Not only that, but as your users routinely click on these nav elements, major search engines will gain trust in your site layout and increase your webpage rankings accordingly.
Finally, always optimize your navigation for answers and information rather than labels. You’re here to provide answers, not cause more confusion. Put yourself in your users’ shoes, optimize accordingly, and you’ll achieve lasting success.
LaFleur Is Here to Help With All Your Legal Marketing Needs
Whether you need a full website rebuild, an update to your PPC strategy, or a fresh approach with your social media channels, LaFleur has the skill and experience you need to expand your client base and grow your firm.
To learn more about our knowledge and expertise, please reach out today by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief form. We look forward to hearing from you!