Your website is a crucial part of your law firm’s marketing strategy, so choosing the right website design is important. The homepage is a key part of your website. So next time you’re reviewing your firm’s website, stop to consider your homepage. What first impression are you giving visitors? Can they find what they need? Do they like what they see? Is your message clear?
Here are some pointers to get you headed in the right direction.
First impressions count
You want your homepage to give visitors a clear picture of your firm: who you are and what you do. Although not all visitors will enter your website through your homepage, it’s reasonable to expect that most will visit your homepage at some point. Therefore it needs to set out clearly what you’re about and how to find out more.
Like any webpage, creating valuable content on your homepage is key. Important information to consider including is your firm name, a summary of what you do, where you are, and your areas of practice. Visitors need to be able to see at a glance whether your firm meets their basic requirements. If they can’t see that on your homepage, they’re not likely to stay and explore your website to find out. So, if you’re a specialist family law firm, say that on your homepage. If you work in a particular region or location, make that clear.
Keep your homepage design clear and simple
The other thing to remember is not to overcrowd your homepage with every piece of information about your firm. You want your homepage to appear clear and uncluttered.
A good way to achieve this is to focus on the key information or message, and then provide links to related pages on your website. For example, if you have three offices, you could list those locations on your homepage and link the name of each location so that clicking on the name takes visitors to the main page about that office.
Overall, you want your homepage to be inviting, clear and showcase who you are and what you do. How you do this will be different for each firm. Don’t be afraid to test different designs and content to see what works best for you and your visitors.
Make it easy for visitors to find what they want
Navigation is an important part of your homepage and website design. How will visitors find the information they are looking for? Here are a few options.
A clear menu can help visitors orient themselves in your website. Menus are often featured as a bar running under the page header, sometimes with drop-down sub-menus. Another option is to have a vertical column menu on the left-hand side of the page. In both cases, keep your menu items clear and short. Use sub-menus where appropriate to keep things manageable. Common top level menu options for law firm websites include, ‘Areas of practice’, ‘Our expertise’, ‘About us’, ‘Our people’ and ‘Contact us’. You can then have sub-menus listing each lawyer or each area of law. It’s also best to have your menu accessible from any page on your website, not just your homepage.
Search is another common navigation option. Make sure your search bar is easy to find. Most websites put it in the top right of the page. You can identify it with the magnifying glass icon or the word ‘search’ as a button. It’s also important that your search results are meaningful to visitors. Depending on the size of your firm and the type of content on your website, it might be useful to give a filtered search option. For example, you could provide options to search only blog articles, specific firm locations or practice areas. It’s also helpful if search results can be sorted in various ways, for example by relevance, date or alphabetically.
Including a site map, accessible from your homepage is also a good idea. It’s generally listed as a link at the bottom of the page.
Getting your message across
At the end of the day, you want your website to get your key messages across to visitors. Ensuring that your homepage and website design is clear and user-friendly can help to achieve this by removing distractions and putting your message front and centre. Just where you want it.
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.