Law Firm Websites: A Process That Works!

It's a long road to a new law firm website. Along the way, there are many questions that partners, counsel and associates would otherwise not have to deal with. It starts with choosing the right agency. In this post, we explain what to expect from a website project and what your team can contribute to make the process successful.

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Publication Date
12/2022
Law Firm Websites: A Process That Works!

What makes law firm websites different from other pages?

A law firm's website must inspire trust – in the brand, the people and their expertise. In today's world, this is absolutely critical for your success.

Even though many lawyers still rely heavily on personal referrals in their marketing, there is no way around investing in a good website. Because: Even a potential client who has received a recommendation will consult your website before contacting you.

Your targets want to see for themselves. In any case, the website will play a part in your client's decision-making process.

Clients usually consider the choice of lawyer very carefully. It is not an impulsive purchase, such as buying a sneaker at Zalando. Your website must generate the required level of trust for the purchase decision.

Another particularity with law firm websites is that they often address different target groups. Each practice group has its own targets with specific needs that must be dealt with on the website. This poses major challenges for full services firms in particular. In addition, employer marketing must not be forgotten: Employees are an important target group in the business model of a law firm and thus the addressees of the content on the website.

The Successful Path to a Law Firm Website: This is How it Works

Before starting the reprogramming of a website, the following topics should be discussed in depth. If necessary, agencies are usually available at this stage to provide support as external experts. Ask yourself the following questions in advance:

  • The big picture: Do we start directly with the implementation of the website or are there other issues (e.g. refreshing branding) to be considered?
  • Goals: Every website project has (marketing) goals. After the project, how would your team determine if it was a successful project?
  • The starting point: Take a look at the current website. What works? What doesn't?
  • Define and prioritize requirements: What are our requirements for the new website? And which of these requirements are important and how?
  • Expectation: New websites cost time and money. Law firm websites start at about CHF 30,000 and usually take at least half a year to implement. For larger law firms with more complex pages, it can be significantly more expensive and also take more time. Pages for single practicioners or very small teams, on the other hand, are often less complex and can therefore cost less.
  • Content marketing: A new website should not just be a nice virtual portfolio or business card. Digital marketing only works with content. It will help you to achieve your goals. It is therefore worthwhile to create a content marketing strategy at an early stage.
Here's why digital marketing is such a good fit for lawyers!

Choosing the Right Agency

There is no shortage of available offers. But how to choose the right agency? We recommend you to choose a partner who has already implemented similar projects. Choose an agency that knows legal marketing and understands the specifics of the legal industry. This will increase the chance of creating a website that will meet your requirements and help you achieve your goals.

Agencies that understand the industry have an advantage. As a customer, you don't have to explain your business. To gain confidence, you can also first implement a smaller project with a possible partner agency. This helps you to better assess the cooperation and to gain confidence for larger tasks – such as a new website.

You should also address the following other points as part of the selection process:

  • Data protection and security: What solutions can the agency offer you in terms of hosting and general data processing?
  • Technology and speed: What systems does the agency use and how does it approach the issue of website loading speed? Page speed is nowadays an important element to remain visible on Google. A good agency can easily show you a few examples from their own portfolio.
At HeadStarterz, we not only implement websites in a legally compliant manner, but also observe data protection in subsequent workflows (e.g. web-form functionalities, databases, email notifications, Google Fonts and many more...!).

We Found an Agency – What's Next?

Agencies are happy if the collaboration is clearly defined as early as possible. Think about how and in which areas the agency can support you best? If you or someone from your team would like to do certain work internally (e.g. writing texts), this can be clarified early on.

Step 1: Kick-Off Meeting

At this first meeting, all decision makers should be present. This is where your firm-specific decision-making processes play an important role. Do you usually decide as a whole team in the partnership or are the responsibilities distributed? Today, the website is important for (almost) all partners and should therefore also take into account all needs in order to support the marketing in the best way possible. Depending on the decision-making processes, the relevant stakeholders must therefore be included at the right stages of the project. Talk to your agency about this. This prevents a finished project from being scuttled again because the partnership does not agree.

Important topics in this meeting:

  • Goals for the website (see also above for preliminary work)
  • Branding: What are the design requirements?
  • Technical requirements: Connection to peripheral systems, SEO, Analytics etc.
  • Content
  • Timing of implementation (at least in broad outline).

Step 2: Structure of the Website

The basis for a meaningful linking between the individual pages as well as an effective user guidance on your website is a clear basic structure. The first step is to clarify the architecture of the website. Which main pages and subpages are needed? What content will be generated dynamically? Which navigation elements are needed?

Tip: A blog is always worth considering. It's the driver for any digital marketing strategy.

Here's how you can find your digital legal marketing strategy

Step 3: Content!

This topic is often underestimated. Particularly in smaller and medium-sized structures, the idea still prevails that website texts can be written internally. After all, lawyers are used to writing, right? In certain cases, this can work well. However, experience has shown that there are two good reasons for outsourcing content writing:

  1. Time: The content is needed early in the project and should not change fundamentally afterwards. Good content needs a lot of brainpower. Lawyers often lack the necessary time resources.
  2. Expertise: Good copywriters can formulate content pointedly and tailor it to the target groups. A website benefits enormously from texts that do not come across in the classic legal jargon.

Should you still decide to write the texts in-house, keep the following in mind: You should start with the important headlines and decide if you will be using slogans or not. These must suit you and be really good. When formulating all content, you should make sure that the relevant keywords are used and that the texts remain readable. Write short sentences with positive, active messages! Under no circumstances should you use long, convoluted sentences.

Note: The texts determine the screen design significantly! The better the initial content, the more suitable the design of your new website will be.

Step 4: Screen Designs

This is where agencies take different approaches. At HeadStarterz, we sketch out visual possibilities and discuss these rough drafts with the client. In this first exchange, we determine the general direction and then execute the screen designs in the preferred variant with the right content (see step 3).

In a second meeting, we present these designs to the client. The client then has the opportunity to provide feedback. This leads to an exchange on how to improve the screen designs. Only when these fit, we proceed to the next step.

Note: When reviewing the designs, you should not only pay attention to visual aspects. The implementation of user guidance can also be seen on these designs. What linkage between pages is included and do they make sense for your target clients? Which content elements are connected? Here you should challenge your agency and ask critical questions!

Step 5: Technical Development

Of course, your law firm website still needs to be programmed. If the designs are well thought through and cleaned up, your work is almost done. You can leave the technical execution to the capable developers. Nevertheless, it is important that you provide enough resources to extensively test the the website and report bugs.

Before the go-live, you should also carefully proofread all texts and clean up all typos.

Intermediate Step: Translations

In Switzerland, we like to communicate in multiple languages. If you're website shall be multilingual, it is essential to consider this topic in the planning. No matter if you choose a solution with automated translations and manual adjustments or if you decide to write all translations manually: Translations take time – especially if you do them in-house.

Step 6: Go Live

The exact procedure of the launch of your new law firm website will be discussed in advance. What happens apart from the technical switch from the old to the new page? A new website is always a good opportunity to generate attention. Therefore, be sure to plan for some noise once all the bugs have been ironed out!

Important: Part of a successful launch is that you can keep your reputation with Google. Check with your agency whether the pages from your old site, which are already indexed on Google are redirected to the respective pages on your new website. This way they keep their ranking with Google even if the URL changes.

How HeadStarterz Can Help!

We support law firms in the conception and implementation of websites. From strategic planning to screen design and programming, we develop everything in-house. Our team is used to closely collaborate and to bringing such projects to their goal efficiently. You are thinking about your website? We would be happy to look at your law firm website and discuss the possibilities with you.

Just contact us without obligation: hello@headstarterz.com

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