It can be a daunting task trying to find the right law firm website developer. Hiring a professional to build and design your website is a big decision for your law firm, as it is a showcase of your team, skills and brand.
Whether you are looking to create your first website or you feel that your existing one is looking a bit tired and needs a refresh, you will certainly benefit from hiring a professional website developer. So, what do you need to look for when choosing a law firm website design service?
In this article, I share some important considerations that you should know to help you make the right choice when choosing a law firm website developer.
As we know, potential clients are using a variety of devices to find your law firm on the internet, including their smartphone and other mobile devices. For that reason it is essential that your website developer knows how to effectively build a fully responsive web design for your law firm.
Responsive design simply means that websites should be responsive enough that it appears and functions well on both desktop and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This is an essential part of providing great user experience to potential clients who come to your website to make decisions whether to engage with your law firm or not. It’s also important because Google prioritises responsively designed websites over others that are not.
Why is this important? Over 94% of website search in Australia is carried out using the Google search engine. If Google does not see your website as mobile friendly or mobile responsive, your chances of ranking higher online will be significantly reduced. For example, when someone searches for specific keywords such as ‘family lawyer Brisbane,’ Google will bring up a listing of businesses that are geographically close to their location. This is called organic search rank. Naturally, you want your firm to be towards the top of these listings. If the firm’s site is attached to a map, like below, then it is
listed in what is called the ‘Local Pack’. If your website is not considered responsive and people can’t view it properly in a variety of mediums such as desktops, phones or tablets, Google will not rank your website towards the top of the list in either of these searches. There are many other elements involved in ranking highly but this is one of the foundational issues that can be easily overlooked.
What we notice from working with a lot of law firms is that older sites tend to have issues such as the website working on desktop but not on mobile devices. In newer sites that have not been built effectively for mobile design we might see that the site will work effectively on Apple devices but not on Android devices and vice versa. So, for this reason you want to ensure that your web developer is going to be over all of these things for your website project.
Some website developers might say that they create responsive websites, but the easiest way to check if your site is up to scratch on this front is to run it through a mobile-friendly test. This way, you can check and do a quick test and see if Google needs your website to be more mobile friendly.
Differentiation of Website Design
When you are looking to create or refresh your website, it is very important not to copy or replicate your competitor’s website in any way. It’s very tempting to look at a successful firm that is doing well and use their content or style as inspiration.
What you are best to do is to create a website that potentially looks different and performs differently, but is reflective of your firm. When you differentiate yourself through design and written content, your brand will stand out, which is what you want it to do when you’re embarking on improving your brand visibility. And, if your content is optimised for Google search, you then have an opportunity to rise above your competitors in the search rankings (or at least come in line with them).
Your website should speak to and resonate with, the type of people you want to work with. It should also be reflective of who you are as people. When there is a clear connection between what a potential client can see online and what they get when they meet your team in real life, that is the sweet spot you want to be aiming for.
Even if you know that you are going after a particular target market which is similar to your successful competitors, there must be differentiation.
If you are looking to get noticed and your competitor is an established and trusted firm, you really need to stand out in some way. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a wild and wonderful website. It has to be true to your brand and your culture and how you operate, but it definitely needs to have some degree of differentiation.
Differentiation in Design
Let’s be honest, a lot of law firm sites are just plain boring. So many of them look like they were built at a time when the phrase ‘I think it’s time we get online’ was brought up for the very first time. When looking for a law firm website developer, you want to ensure that they can create a bespoke design for your firm that is fresh. You want it to look as articulate and up-to-date as your knowledge of current legislation.
Of course it must always work in with your firm’s branding and the energy that you want a potential client to feel when they view your site. As websites are one of the first places that people come into contact with your law firm’s brand, what you show and include in your site should only add additional confidence and trust in your team.
Law Firm Website Developer and Marketing Strategy
Website design for lawyers and law firms is a highly specialised niche area. In your search for the right web developer for you, you will find individuals and agencies who have worked on sites for a variety of businesses.
I know that from our extensive experience from working on projects with partners of law firms, it is highly beneficial to engage a website developer that understands the business of running a law firm as well as identifying the key business goals.
In our initial enquiries with potential clients, we always ask them, ‘What is it that you’re looking to achieve?’ but we also ask deeper questions to challenge your thinking, and to discover what will help them get the best results from the new website.
When you go to a web development company or a web design company who specialises in law firm websites, they are more likely to see opportunities that you may not be aware of. So when choosing a law firm website developer, make sure that they ask you lots of deep questions and are inquisitive about your project.
Early on we normally ask our clients if there are elements of your website that need to speak to different audiences. For instance, would there be a benefit to having web pages that target your peers or referral network as well as the typical pages for potential clients?
Some web developers will take your requests and not enquire much further. For this reason I encourage you to go with a web developer that asks lots of questions. Other things that they should also be asking is about your competition and where is the opportunity for you to really build up an area of your practice or a particular service that you know there is capacity to rise to the top. You might need some additional pages more than what you actually originally thought to accommodate the different audiences and target markets. See it as a positive thing if your web designer challenges you on a couple of your beliefs around what you need for your website. A good solid strategy session is the groundwork to ensure the very best, high performing website.
If you are considering a website refresh or embarking on a new website build, we invite you to book in a no-obligation, initial conversation with our website project manager to discuss your requirements.