Most of the folks who find this blog post after searching something like “best law firm websites” are either researching law firm web design agencies to hire, or looking for website design inspiration and insight.
If you’re looking for an agency to design and build your law firm’s website…
Check out our portfolio of attorney websites by clicking the big green button below. It’s the best way to know whether you should reach out to us to discuss your project. You should also check out our website design service page which contains FAQs, client testimonials, and examples of recently launched websites.
If you’re looking for inspiration and insight into what makes a law firm website “the best”…
This blog post is for you. Here, I’ve done my best to convey what I’ve learned over 10 years of designing, building, optimizing, and promoting websites to help you conceptualize and then create the best possible website for your law firm.
What Makes a Law Firm Website “The Best”?
What we’re trying to do here is define a framework for thinking about how to create a law firm website that deserves to be rated among the best. To do that, we need to define what “best” means. Here’s what it means to me:
The best law firm websites increase the firm’s overall value by 1) enhancing the perception of its brand and 2) reaching more of the capturable market.
Put another way, your law firm website should make you look good and it should make you money.
In my experience, there are three common elements shared by all of the best law firm websites:
Below we’ll examine each of these elements – differentiation, subject matter authority, and usability. I’ll explain what each means, and I’ll give examples of law firm websites that nail them. By the end, you ought to be able to deploy this simple framework to help you create an effective, “best-level” website for your firm.
3 ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE LAW FIRM WEBSITES
The best law firm websites differentiate the firm from its competitors in a positive way.
So the question is, how can we achieve differentiation with law firm website design? We can do it by focusing on three key areas:
- Visual Differentiation
- Messaging Differentiation
- Value Differentiation
Great design is not achievable simply by finding the right combination of colors and fonts and images. Great design must be rooted in the essential value of your business. By intentionally creating differentiation in your website’s visual aesthetic, messaging, and value-adds, you can maximize it’s efficacy.
1.1 Visual Differentiation
The thing about law firm websites is that a whole lot of them look basically the same:
It’s tempting to look at these sites and think, yeah, let’s do something like that. After all, none of these designs are particularly “bad” looking. Many an attorney might reasonably determine that this layout more or less represents the standard and that their website would do well to mirror it.
But this sort of cautious approach – particularly in the context of the year 2022 when just *having* a law firm website is no longer any sort of competitive advantage – has limited upside.
Instead, law firms with truly effective websites look at their competitors’ sites and think: how can we make our site drastically different?
Check out the websites below and compare them against the websites depicted above, and consider which would stand out in your memory, if you were looking for an attorney.
1.2 Messaging Differentiation
We will fight for YOU!
I’d be willing to bet that some combination of these words appears on over 50% of personal injury websites, not to mention billboards, radio ads, and TV commercials.
In fact, there are over 3,600 URLs indexed in Google that contain the exact phrase “injury lawyers fighting for you” (and that’s just a single variation of the “fighting” concept!):
People take for granted that a lawyer is supposed to fight for them. It’s not something that needs to be said. You cannot achieve differentiation if your website contains the same messaging as the majority of your competitors.
If you want your website to stand out you need to create messaging that conveys the unique value that you offer, in a way that your competitors can’t match. Check out these examples:
1.3 Value Differentiation
The essential question here is, what value will your website provide that is unique from what your competitor’s websites provide? Most lawyers view their website as a digital business card – a place to provide basic information about their law firm’s services, attorney bios, and contact information.
You cannot differentiate yourself if the extent of the value you provide on your law firm website is information on how to contact your law firm.
So ask yourself, what do my clients (and potential new clients) find valuable, and how can I offer those things on my website?
Here are some examples of valuable resources that firms in various practice areas can offer on their website in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors:
Section Recap: The most effective lawyer websites differentiate the firm from its competitors. The primary ways to achieve this differentiation are through visuals (colors, patterns, images, layout, typography, etc.), messaging, and value-adds. Now, let’s look at the second element that can be found in the best attorney websites: Subject Matter Authority.
3 ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE LAW FIRM WEBSITES
2. Subject Matter Authority
The best lawyers’ websites establish the firm as subject matter authorities.
A law firm’s website is the perfect place to convey its subject matter expertise. When your clients and potential clients can see the degree to which you are an expert in your area of law, you enhance the overall perception of your brand AND you have the potential to reach more of the total capturable market.
So how specifically can law firms convey their subject matter authority on their website?
- Informational content (blog posts, articles, video, etc.) which address various questions about the firm’s area of law
- Client success stories that demonstrate exactly how the firm helps their clients
Let’s explore these two types of content and look at examples of firms that are nailing them.
2.1 Informational Legal Content
Informational legal content helps potential clients better understand that legal issue and the remedies that exist. Every day millions of people who have a legal issue search the web for informational keywords in order to learn more about their situation.
Informational legal keywords stand in contrast to transactional legal keywords which are keywords searched by folks who most likely are ready to speak with an attorney about their legal needs. Transactional legal keywords generally contain the word “lawyer” in some variation (eg. personal injury lawyer near me, estate planning attorney, best DUI lawyer, etc.).
Law firm websites that contain highly useful information based on a strategic assessment of their potential client’s most common questions will not only benefit from an enhanced perception of their subject matter expertise, they will also gain exposure to a larger percentage of the total capturable market, especially via organic search.
Here are some examples of high-performing informational legal content that we’ve helped our clients produce:
2.2 Client Success Stories
Client success stories are perhaps the most under-utilized asset in legal marketing. In this author’s view, there is no better way to convince a prospective client that your firm is the right choice than by telling them a story of how you helped someone who was facing an issue similar to theirs.
Success stories like this are the ultimate way to demonstrate subject-matter authority because they aren’t hypothetical or theoretical. They are real-world examples of your prowess.
Check out the examples of client success stories that we have created for our clients below.
Learn more about legal client success story creation:
- How to Create Client Success Stories That Turn Website Visitors Into Your Best Clients
- Client Success Story Creation for Law Firms (Our service page)
Section Recap: The best law firm websites cultivate in the user a strong sense that the attorneys at the firm are the authorities in their areas of practice. This not only helps convince prospective clients to reach out to the firm but also maximizes the firm’s visibility in the capturable market. Subject matter authority can be cultivated effectively on a law firm websites using informational legal content and client success stories.
3 ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE LAW FIRM WEBSITES
The best law firm websites are usable by all who access them.
Put another way, the best law firm websites enable all who access them to complete the core functions offered by the website.
A highly usable lawyer website is one that can be interacted with and utilized by anyone, regardless of the device they are using, the quality of the internet connection, or their own physical disabilities (this is known as accessibility).
- There are several popular website browsers. Your law firm’s website should be accessible on them all.
- There is a huge array of devices that can access your website. Your website should look and function as intended on all of those device resolutions.
- There are millions of folks with auditory, cognitive, and visual disabilities. Your website should be functional for all of these folks.
While I’ve listed usability last here, and while I’m going to spend the least amount of time on it, it’s the most crucial element of my framework. If your website is not highly usable – if folks can’t submit your contact form from certain browsers or devices, if your text is hard to read, if your internal search functionality is poor, if your search engine optimization precludes you from showing up in major search engines – then all your hard work within the areas of differentiation and subject matter authority will go to waste.
Learn more about law firm website design:
- Juris Digital’s Law Firm Website Portfolio
- FAQ: Our Law Firm Website Services
- How Much Should a Law Firm Website Cost?
- Should I use one agency for website creation and a different agency for SEO?
- Is Your Law Firm Website Just a Digital Business Card?
- The Best Personal Injury Lawyer Websites
- 5 common examples of poor mobile optimization among law firm websites