Law firm website visitors generally have one of the following goals:
- Hire you.
- Learn whether you can help them.
- Learn whether they want you to help them.
These goals—visitor intent—suggest the elements you should feature on your home page, and also the pages you should include on your website. Most law firm websites are built on a foundation of three pages:
- A home page with a clear call to action.
- A practice area page that explains the kinds of legal problems you can solve.
- A profile page that introduces you to your potential clients.
Law firm websites can certainly have more to them. This blueprint is not an argument for limiting what law firm websites should be. It is a basic framework that is enough for most solo practices and it can be expanded to suit firms of any size.
Page 1: Law Firm Home Page
What Makes an Effective Home Page
An effective law firm home page contains a clear action visitors can take to hire you—or at least to start the process, like a contact form or consultation scheduler. It should also summarize your practice area, what it would be like to work with you, and instill confidence with testimonials, reviews, results, and awards.
Your home page is your first chance to make an impression on potential clients, to give them a clear path to hiring you, and to give them more information about you and your practice.
The hero call to action is an effective way to help people take the next step toward hiring you when they land on your home page or when they return to it after satisfying themselves as to 2 and 3. Additionally, place your phone number or a button in your header so it will be visible on every page of your website.
Next, help visitors match their legal problem to your practice area by including a summary of the kind of law you practice. This is especially for people who find their way to your website from a search result or a link from another website without knowing much about you. Include a summary of your practice, plus a link to learn more about it on your practice area page.
Finally, most people need to make up their mind whether they want to work with you instead of working with another lawyer or solving their legal problem some other way. Show them who you are with a great photo that shows off your personality. Instill confidence with testimonials, reviews, results, and awards if you have them. And give them a link to learn more about you on your profile page.
Here’s a mockup of what a law firm home page could look like:
Firms with more than one practice area should mention them. And firms with more lawyers should include a gallery or directory.
Page 2: Practice Area(s)
What Makes an Effective Practice Area Page
An effective practice area page quickly informs a visitor whether you can help them solve their legal problem, but also helps them understand their legal problem better. The best practice area pages include illustrations or tools to help visitors understand their legal problem—or even take the first steps toward solving it.
Your practice area page should clearly explain the kinds of legal problems you solve and—in general terms—how you go about solving them. Keep in mind that clients may not know legal terms. Use words they will understand, but teach them the legal terms they should know.
You know your clients best, as well as the kinds of questions they usually have when they come to you. And you already know how you talk about your clients’ legal problems. Use that knowledge to guide your writing.
But don’t use words alone. If you can, include checklists, diagrams, or tools to help visitors understand their legal problem better.
Your practice area page should also be a key search engine optimization (SEO) asset. If your practice area page is well-optimized it will help people find your website. (One page its just a start, but it is a start.)
If you have more than one practice area and they are distinct—i.e., potential clients who come for one probably aren’t interested in the other—you may want to create a page for each.
Page 3: Attorney Profile(s)
What Makes an Effective Profile Page
An effective profile page is an introduction. It shows clients who you are, gives them an idea of what it would be like to work with you, and instills confidence with testimonials, reviews, results, and awards.
Use your profile page to introduce yourself to potential clients and give them an idea of what it would be like to work with you.
Start with a great photo. For sighted visitors, seeing you is important. If you need convincing, just consider whether you would buy a car or house—or any big-ticket item—without seeing it first. (Also, make sure you still look like your photo if it has been a while since it was taken.)
In the text of your profile page, explain why you do the work you do. Tell visitors about your experience, as well. And share something about yourself, like what you do when you’re not working. Be yourself, and show it on the page.
Your profile page is also an important SEO asset, especially for people who search for you by name, as many people do after getting a word-of-mouth referral, for example.
Include testimonials, reviews, results, and awards to give potential clients reason to be confident about working with you. (If you have enough, you can spread them out to the other pages on your website, as well.
As with practice pages, if your firm has more than one attorney, each of them should have their own profile page.
These three pages are the foundation of all law firm websites, but they are not the only pages you may want to have. If you want to expand on this foundation, consider adding a client portal for sharing information, resources, and tools with your clients. Or a blog as part of your marketing strategy.
And if you want help building or expanding your website, let’s talk.