3 things lawyers should do before creating a website.

Anthony Mastrangelo

If you're a lawyer, then you know that having a website is essential in today's world. Not only does it give you a professional online presence, but it also allows potential clients to learn more about your services and inquire to work with you. However, before you even think about getting a website, there are some things that you need to do first. In this article, we'll discuss what those things are and how they can help you prepare for a successful website build.

1.  Research your competitors

It's critical to learn what your competitors are doing. Researching your competition might help you figure out where you can set yourself apart while also providing ideas for things that are working for websites in your industry. Browse the web for different attorneys - preferably ones in your field of practice. You'll start noticing common pages, features, layouts etc. that you may want to incorporate in your own website or avoid altogether. This will help you make more informed decisions about what you'll want to ask a development firm when you engage them to build your website.

Having a good idea of the pages and elements you want on your website will make the development process smoother and help ensure that you're getting exactly what you want and need.

2. Invest in great photography

Investing in high-quality, professional photos will make a big difference in how your website looks and feels.  Not only will they make your site look more polished and professional, but they'll also help you attract more clients. After all, potential clients are more likely to work with an attorney who has a website that looks trustworthy and competent.

If you're using photography to showcase different services you offer, or complement your blog articles, try to avoid cheesy, outdated stock photos.  Sometimes it may cost more money to purchase these images, but in the long run, it will be worth it.

It's also crucial to have photos of you and your team. Your potential clients want to understand who they will be working with, and what your firm's dynamic is.  If you have multiple attorneys in your firm, consider doing individual headshots as well as group photos. Candid photos will work great as well for "filler" spots on your website.

It's also important to note that your photography can be re-purposed for other digital marketing initiatives such as social media posts, ads, etc. Having a bank of high-quality photos of your firm will help you keep a cohesive branded look for your digital footprint.

3.  Start planning your written content

You don't need to be a professional copywriter, but you should take some time to plan and think about what you want to say. Whether you are writing your website content or hiring a copywriter,  it's important to have a clear idea of your messaging and goals.

A common mistake we see attorneys make is thinking that they can just "wing it" when it comes to website content. This usually results in a scattered message and an overall lack of clarity on the website.

Some things to consider when you're planning your website's written content:

  • Who are your target clients?
  • What are their needs and concerns?
  • How can you address those needs and concerns on your website?

Considering these questions will help you establish an overall "tone" for your messaging. Once you have an idea of the tone,  you can start to think about what specific content you want on your website. Some common pages we see on attorney websites include:

An "About" page or section

  • History of your firm
  • Mission Statement
  • Why clients should work with you
  • List your experience/credentials
  • Awards

Practice area pages

  • Description for each area of practice
  • Relate to common experiences clients may be dealing with
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) pertaining to that area of practice

Individual attorney bios

  • Have your team submit Bios
  • List Education, Credentials, Experience for each attorney

Each of these pages should be written with your target clients in mind. Having this prepared before you ever start working with a web designer or copywriter will save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

Now that you have a better idea of layouts, and features you want on your site, you have beautiful imagery to work with, and you have a head start on your written content, you're in a much better position for a successful website experience. This preliminary work will save you a lot of time, and stress during the development process.

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