Great Website Design Begins with You.
When you see a well-designed website that represents the law firm effectively, you can be sure of two things: (1) a good designer was involved, and (2) the law firm was fully engaged in the process. If you have entrusted your website to Red Falcon Web Marketing, I can assure you of having an experienced, talented designer.
But how do you become engaged in the design process to make sure you have a website that creates the image and response you want?
1. Research other legal websites before you talk to your designer. Take note of what you like – and what you don’t like. Spending a few hours looking at websites prior to your design consultation will be time well spent.
2. Consider different design styles and colors. First and foremost, remember there is NO RIGHT ANSWER. Your preferences should be based on your law firm. I like to divide design styles into seven categories: conceptual, attorney-focused, people-focused, symbolic, practice area-focused, geographic, office-focused and legal imagery. You can select any one or a combination. Or explain to your designer what you want to convey, and the designer can help you make a choice.
3. Come to the design consultation with a clear vision. If you have gone through the first two suggestions here, you will be well prepared. Just a half-hour of looking through other sites can make you aware of the possibilities and your own preferences. When you can express your vision, an experienced designer will usually nail the design on the first try. That means your website will be online and working for you as soon as possible – AND it will be a website you can be proud of.
4. If you want professional photography, schedule it now. Especially for office-focused or attorney-focused sites, professional photography can make a world of difference. Schedule a photo session as soon as possible in order to keep the design process moving.
5. Don’t rush the creative process. At Red Falcon Web Marketing, we work to get your site online quickly, so that search engines can start indexing and ranking the site and potential clients can “meet” your law firm. That being said, you have made an investment in a custom website –and that means custom design. We work for a design that is thoughtful, creative and appropriate for your objectives. The best way to speed the design process is to provide the designer with guidance based on your preferences and vision.
6. Don’t believe the myth of the fold. Once upon a time, back in 1995 maybe, someone decided that Internet users only see what’s above the fold – the area of the website page that can be seen without scrolling. Of course, the “fold” varies widely, depending on the device being used and the size of a monitor. And users are accustomed to scrolling. That means a great design that informs, engages and converts the reader does not need to be sacrificed in the interest of putting all conversion-oriented content above the fold. It should be immediately clear, without scrolling, what the page is about, but that can be accomplished without compromising design.
7. Don’t believe the contact form has to be at the top of the page. For most law firms, placing a contact form at the top of the home page (above the fold) can detract from a professional demeanor. The fact is that most responses to legal websites are phone calls rather than e-mails by a ratio of 4:1. That means your phone number should be prominent. A bulky contact form at the top of a page may generate more e-mails, but are those responses likely to be the ones you want? People seriously looking for a lawyer want to know more about the firm. On average, they will spend three minutes on a site and look at 3.5 pages before making contact. If you do not want a contact form at the top of the page, tell your designer.
We live in an increasingly right-brain world. People respond to a website’s design. It keeps them on the site, gives them confidence in the law firm, provides a comfortable atmosphere in which to learn more about the firm and make an important decision. It is essential that you be an active participant in determining what your website will look like. You know your clients and firm better than anyone else.