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10 steps to refreshing your law firm’s website
Hilary Homer’s firm recently transformed its website. Here she shares her top 10 tips on how you should approach your own firm’s website redesign.
At Pritchetts Law, a specialist data protection law firm, we recently transformed our website.
As a small firm, time and money can be tight, and as such our website design hadn’t been updated since its creation 10 years ago. Design and functionality have moved on hugely in that time, with new elements to consider such as social media and mobile responsiveness.
Based on our experience, here are 10 tips for redesigning a law firm’s website, step by step.
1. If you’re using a website design company, find out how many pages each package includes, and design around that
You’ll also need to establish whether you’ll be able to make unlimited changes until the website goes live, or whether you’ll be paying for a set number of iterations.
2. Look at other firms’ websites for design inspiration
If you’re a small firm, the most useful sites will be those of other small firms, but it can also be helpful to see how the ‘big guns’ do it.
For example, some things to consider could be:
- will scrolling images enhance your content, or will static ones make the page less busy?
- which aspects of your firm do you want to highlight on your home page?
- do you prefer an interview-style approach to team bios, or would you rather opt for more of a CV feel?
3. Establish your colours and theme right at the start
The former should stem from your logo – are you going to redesign it? Are you retaining your current theme?
In our case, the partner who established our firm – Stephanie Pritchett – has extensive sailing experience, so we opted for a maritime theme, for a personal touch.
The theme aligns well with our logo colours and offers a rich source of imagery to draw on.
4. Think about the overall website structure
What are your menu titles going to be and where will each page sit? Would you like your firm’s contact details to appear on every page?
You’ll need to treat each page as a separate project, tracking progress on each. Adding new pages and/or functionality late in the process can really hold things up.
5. Now that you have a structure, you can define your workflow
It’s helpful to set a limit on how many review iterations you want to complete internally.
We found it worked well to have one person responsible for communicating changes to the developers, and then two reviews per page with our partners.
The first review was at draft stage so that they could contribute content, and the second one was at the final stage to provide sign-off.
6. It’s time to start crafting your content
Reusing your existing content is sensible, but make sure that you update it as you go. It’s important to maximise this opportunity to bring your messages up to date.
Where you have a content-heavy page, think about (or take advice on) how best to present it.
There are many tools at your disposal nowadays, including collapsible boxes, scrollers, and that old design favourite – breaking up the text with images.
7. To get the most out of your website, think about your social media channels
Embedding them on your site provides a holistic picture of your firm’s activities and can lead to improved user engagement.
And don’t forget the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) logo. It’s free to download, and is only available to regulated firms, thus providing reassurance to your website visitors.
8. Consider scattering testimonials throughout your website
It’s a major positive for users if they can see that you’ve successfully done what they’re looking for.
We also gathered all our testimonials onto a single web page.
Many firms don’t do this, and it’s a personal choice, but our clients told us that they often place great value on the types of clients that law firms work with, so we felt it was important to dedicate space to this.
9. Try to get inside the head of your audience
First, how are they going to find your website, amid thousands of others?
That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in, an essential ingredient for success.
Your website could be an absolute cracker, but that’s no good if no one can find it.
You’ll need to think carefully about appropriate keywords and descriptions for each page to maximise your chances of a search engine picking up your website.
Next, how are users going to arrive at your site? If they bypass your home page, can they get back to it easily? Is the content that they’re seeking easy to find and understand?
Perhaps they’re using their mobile or tablet to access your site – is it fit for purpose?
When your design is up and running, try it out yourself on other devices. Is that handy pop-out tab you added now obscuring most of the page?
Most website developers include mobile responsiveness in their design packages, but you can’t beat checking out the user experience for yourself.
10. Last, but not least, make sure that your legal documents are in tip-top shape
Views expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.