Website Design for Conversion

law firm website design

Do you “like” your law firm’s website design? Are you “happy” with it? Or are you measuring the number of leads your website develops, and basing your feelings off that?

After launching thousands of law firm websites, we’ve learned a few things about successful legal web design, what convinces and converts users into clients. But more importantly, we know how web design choices can confuse clients and cause them to click away, and seek other counsel. The secret lies in something called, Design for Conversion.

First, let’s talk about the subjectivity/objectivity gap in legal marketing and law firm web design and discuss the secret mindset that overcomes these biases. Then I’ll share a few examples to demonstrate the positive (and negative) results possible when you design with conversion in mind.

How to Design for Conversion

The success of a law firm’s web design, marketing, and advertising to the external audience is subjective: “I like it” or “I don’t like it.”

To the ones investing in marketing, the results expected are extremely objective: “How many calls/cases can we expect?” “Leads will increase by what percent?” “Spend = Return.”

Here’s the paradox – most law firms forge their marketing material within a subjective bubble, “I like it/I don’t like it,” rather than a bubble based on objectives.

So, the objective measurements the shareholders will be asking for once the ad campaigns go live, are unattached to the content from the very beginning.

After generating millions of leads and designing thousands of websites for lawyers, Consultwebs has an answer for this paradox – Design for Conversion;

“It’s not what moves us; it’s what moves the needle.”

Designing for conversion is a mindset we employ at Consultwebs that ensures the success of our legal marketing campaigns is measured by conversions, not convictions.

Objective success in legal marketing has always seemed elusive because of the subjectivity paradox in measurement and taxonomy. But once we’re agreed on how we measure conversions and marketing, then our strategy, direction, and next steps become clear.

Conversion is not just selling or getting clicks. It’s about meeting key performance indicators that drive business goals.

Define ‘for Conversion’

Most law firm marketers are only tracking direct conversions, if they are tracking marketing metrics at all.

In an informal Twitter poll, we discovered that more than 70 percent of lawyers don’t know how much it costs to produce a lead for their firm.

do you know what the cost per lead or cost per case is in your firm? (polls)

So if you’re tracking marketing numbers in anyway, like ROI (return on investment), CPL (cost per lead), and CPC (cost per case), then you’re already light-years ahead of the competition.

Most marketers are too busy marketing to see if anything converted or made an impact. Not only do they need to be paying attention, they need to be looking at the right types of conversions.

A conversion isn’t just a client signing up for representation. It can be steps leading up to and around that main goal. Things like calls, clicks, chats, emails, form fills, downloads, engagements on social, dwell times on blogs – all of these can add up and prove that your marketing is working.

Marketing can have a direct impact on business development efforts, but only when a strategy connected to measurable goals meets the Design for Conversion methodology.

Once you have measurements in place, you can begin controlling your subjectivity around marketing and get to objective measurements that prove the marketing is actually leading to results.

The truth about web design is, sometimes beautiful things don’t work, and ugly gets the phone to ring.

Looks Good – Doesn’t Convert

“Pretty websites rarely convert as well as unpretty ones.” – Seth Godin

With every marketing decision you make for the law firm, there needs to be a reason behind the choice. In the video game Super Mario Bros., every tube you went down, every mushroom and flower you ate, were all steps to get to the one goal, the Princess.

So when it comes to a website, the No. 1 reason it exists is to develop business for the law firm, which is why the Design for Conversion mindset makes a difference.

Law firm web design should be focused on value, not viewpoints.

The true value of a web design is its usability:

  • “What do visitors want and/or need to know?”
  • “Is everything clear and not confusing?”
  • “Do the users know what to do, and what to click next?”

If these three concerns go unaddressed in your web design, then it doesn’t matter that you have a video in the header of you riding a unicorn (which, of course, is super cool, but beside the point)!

One example of something designers and clients love, but actually leads to less engagement from users, is the Carousel. This is a way to show images and flip through them by clicking on big arrows, in an attempt to get people to engage.

Studies show, the engagement numbers for carousels are insanely small. The percentage of users that clicked to the images in Positions 2-5 is well below 1 percent.

This kind of insight is only possible with a Design for Conversion mentality, plus the ability to measure and test the capabilities of your web design choices. You may want a carousel of your dog on the website, but you have to wonder if you “need” it.

Looks Bad – Converts Well

When it comes to “ugly” sites that convert (which really makes them beautiful), there are a few simple design considerations that make conversion more likely.

According to the web design site Crazy Egg, and its LIFT model of conversion, effective websites need to have a strong value proposition, high relevance, and a crystal-clear user experience.

Along with the lift of good UX, there is also a need for web design to reduce distractions and anxiety.

This is a counter-intuitive finding, but studies show, “ugly,” older-looking websites often make technologically inept users feel safer, compared to newer sites designed to look slick.

Let’s look at one of the most trusted and trafficked websites on the internet – CraigsList.

It is not easy on the eyes, but the site earns trusted traffic and links by the thousands everyday. Its secret? Clear navigation, easy usability, a simple page with clear categories.

Law Firm Web Design Isn’t About ‘Pretty’ vs. ‘Ugly’?

The main takeaway from all this is that law firm website design is not a subjective endeavor. It’s not about pretty vs. ugly. The only metric that really matters, is conversion rates.

If you’re considering an expensive redesign because you hate your site, look under the hood and see what the conversion rates are first. Maybe the website you’re sick of converts like a charm. The only way to find out for sure is to use the Design for Conversion methodology.

Question your critiques around marketing, and always seek to avoid the subjectivity/objectivity gap, not by asking, “what do I say,” but, “what do the numbers say?”

If you need a web redesign for your law firm, then get in touch with the legal marketing experts at Consultwebs and find out how our design-for-conversion methodology can help make your website more profitable.

Want more advice on law firm marketing? Sign up for the Consultwebs newsletter, follow us on social media, and subscribe to the LAWsome Podcast.