[author: Noreen Fishman]
With so much emphasis on SEO, it can be easy to forget what happens once someone lands on your website. If you’ve done all your legwork through digital channels, you should have some pretty strong traffic coming to your site. But how can you encourage people to take the next step once they’ve arrived? This is where great law firm website design and user experience (UX) come into play.
Why User Experience is Important for Law Firm Website Design
Law Firm Website Design, User Experience, and SEO
In simple terms, UX refers to the practice of making sure users are having the best possible experience with a technology platform. UX permeates all aspects of your marketing journey, from ad copy on paid campaigns to a conversation with your administrative staff. Every interaction that someone has with your firm is important.
However, UX and law firm website design, in particular, have become more important as digital channels continue to evolve and web users become savvier. Successful UX encompasses knowledge of data, users, design, and marketing. The better the experience on your website, the longer someone is likely to stay (and the more likely they are to take the next steps with your firm).
Further, UX and SEO tend to be more related than people realize. Years ago, SEO ranking was based purely on things like keywords and links. Now, the search engines are sophisticated enough to take into account user experience variables. Metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and pages visited can all impact how a search engine perceives and ranks your website. Some simple design considerations can go a long way toward improving your site’s performance, which can be very impactful with search engines. In short, if you care about people finding your website at all, you’ll need to be mindful of their experience once there.
Tips for UX That Improves Law Firm Website Design
A lot of aspects overlap when it comes to good UX. Law firm website design, SEO, and content are just a few of the categories that come together to create a full user experience. According to a study performed in 2015, things that are most likely to cause users to leave a site are: lack of messaging, lack of contact information, animated ads, poor navigation, intrusive live chat, and too-small text.
If you’re not sure where to start on improving your UX, start with these elements. They’re considered “low hanging fruit” for quick UX wins.
1. Link Health
Focus on internal linking as well as reducing broken links, 404 errors, etc. Perform an audit to ensure all of your links are working properly and navigating around your site is simple.
(You can get a free audit of your website here.)
2. Contact Information
Make sure the contact information provided is accurate, complete, and easy to find. Don’t try to force a certain contact method or provide incomplete contact information. A best practice is to keep your phone number right in your header or footer.
3. Contact Forms
These can be really helpful for lead generation, but requiring too many fields will annoy users. Ask for as few fields as possible and include a disclaimer about how you keep information secure. Most experts recommend against Captcha security fields, as those can slow down or deter users.
4. Testimonials and Reviews
Social proof of your expertise is key for prospects. It’s important to include feedback from clients on your website but never post fake information. You might consider adding photos to increase credibility.
5. Live Chat
Keep live chatting options subtle. That means limiting screen blocking pop-ups, motion, and repeated offers. Chat should be easily available, but not aggressively pursuing leads.
Whenever possible, avoid stock photos or low-quality images. Try to use professionally shot, original photos of your office and staff in order to improve law firm website design.
As we all know by now, content is king. However, it’s crucial to write content for your actual audience and not simply to drive SEO. Focus on creating valuable content that answers questions your audience is likely to have.
8. Load Times
We know that page speed and loading times are ranking factors for Google. Follow best practices for keeping your load times as low as possible.
9. Responsive Design
This isn’t necessarily a “low hanging fruit”, as creating mobile-friendly websites is a science all its own. However, it is really important in today’s landscape to remember that half of your traffic is likely to come to your site for the first time via a device. Design your pages accordingly.
Remember: UX is an Ongoing Process
It’s important to note that web technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. It can be difficult to know which new trends are worth paying attention to. At the end of the day, relying on data, testing, and third-party tools to improve your user experience will help with SEO and overall web performance. Make sure to monitor UX using analytics and keep an ongoing plan for improvements. UX isn’t something that you complete one time and don’t think about again. Great UX will change over time as web trends shift and platforms (and users) adapt.
Investing in good UX to improve law firm website design can be just as beneficial as investing in advertising or other digital channels. That being said, UX isn’t a quick fix or a one-time initiative. If your website is relatively new, you likely have the basics covered and should focus on new tactics to try in the future. If your website is on the older side, it might be time for a thorough audit to make sure you’re applying modern UX practices.