When digital marketing came into prominence about 10 or 15 years ago, every law firm looking for clients online was clamoring to design their website.
However, very few website owners maintain their original enthusiasm about their site post-launch and it’s potential to generate business, and so, they do little to maintain or update them.
Whether they’ve been burned by careless vendors in the past, or because they simply don’t see web design as a marketing means toward a sales end, lawyers are particularly prone to ignoring the business development potential of their websites.
Maybe that’s because, in all of the blogs and articles on law firm website design, there is rarely an opportunity to see the ‘before & after’ effects of website redesign project.
We’re here to address this.
First, let’s define how effective web design works, and then show you how a good web design can help law firms establish their brand and connect with leads online.
Effective Web Design Defined
We’ve been building websites for lawyers exclusively since 1999. During that time, we’ve written extensively on the elements of good law firm web design, how to audit your site, and how to determine if you need an overhaul.
Within the legal vertical, there are some strongly branded and distinct websites. But mostly, it’s just a ton of boring ones ─ which isn’t bad, maybe the design converts where it counts, but really …
Guess which one this is? And then look at this custom legal website Consultwebs designed…
One of the reasons it’s so hard for lawyers to get their web design right is they aren’t designing it for the right reasons.
Most lawyers think you design a website “to taste.” They ask themselves, “Do I like this?” But the question they should be asking is: “Do potential clients like this website?” or more pointedly, “Does it sell?”
On our legal marketing podcast, LAWsome, we interviewed the founder of Lawyers Marketing Association, Lauren Currin, and the most astonishing and insightful thing she revealed to us was when she asks her consulting clients if they like their law firm’s website.
At Consultwebs, our success as digital marketers is directly linked to our clients’ online success. So when we design websites that are supposed to generate business, we design with conversion in mind.
If we’re talking effective web design for law firms, skip over “good” or “bad” and ask yourself the important questions ─ “Does it generate traffic/leads/calls/cases/business?”
Types of Web Design
According to our Legal Marketing Nutrition guidelines, in order for digital marketing to be effective, there must be a balance between short-term Sales Activation tactics and long-term Brand Growth strategy.
Web design can grow a brand online with a custom website or creative assets illustrating experience within a practice area.
More importantly, effective web design can also be directly linked to sales through conversion elements found on homepages or landing pages/microsites/other destinations on the web engineered for direct response.
A distinct web presence offering valuable content through an easy-to-find destination, engineered to grow your law firm’s brand, increase visibility online, and generate leads and cases. That’s how we think of web design for law firms, but maybe it’s better if we show you …
Legal Marketing Success Through Web Design
Rather than fill this page with technical jargon describing why web design works and why it matters, we wanted to show some examples of legal marketing success through web design. And what better case studies than our own clients?
Our goal is not to decry the previous agencies or design teams, but to point out a few enhancements we’ve made to actual websites by comparing them to their previous iterations.
One important point to note: Mobile-responsive web design is no longer an option and is now essential to every design we release. However, for educational purposes, I’m only comparing desktop designs.
Cain Law – A fantastic Oklahoma personal injury law firm with a site that launched in September 2017. Visiting the old site here, you can see how, design-wise, the cropping of this header image might impact site performance. And in our estimation, the lack of conversion assets (clear contact info, calls-to-action, trust icons) must have affected conversion and sales potential.
Here is a snapshot of traffic to the updated Cain website, since the site launch. Although it’s hard to directly correlate the dramatic improvement in traffic reported here solely to web design, and not associated technical or structural work, it’s hard to imagine the law firm would have seen this increase (and the extra 100 leads per month) without this updated website.
McKinney, Tucker & Lemel – This firm is a bedrock of the personal injury legal community in South Carolina, and we worked hard to update this website from its previous iteration, which you can find here. The previous site design, which was perhaps from 2004, was full of clunky HTML code, there was no distinct branding, and there was plenty of room for improvement with design.
Besides facilitating an average of 90 leads a month for the law firm, the website has seen traffic increase by almost 3,000%, as depicted below. Again, the spike you may notice towards the end of the chart indicates the launching of a PPC campaign with Consultwebs.
The Berry Law Firm – This is by far the most dramatic Before/After web design story here. You can see that the previous design was basically a contact form, heavy on text, with very little room for design and distinct branding.
The previous site was so obviously a template, the design-only client wanted to go bold, and we did! Our design team and content staff worked with the law firm to create the new site, slogan, and structure, which all add up to create a completely different user experience as to compared to the old site. But, the question remains for the law firm to answer, does the new site deliver new business?
Since launching the site in 2017, we see a 20,000-visitor-a-month increase to the site. This site redesign really is a testament to the quality of work Consultwebs puts into these overhauls. When combined with the efforts of the firm’s dedicated in-house marketing team working on this campaign that had been left on the back burner, you can see what transformative results can look like for a law firm website.