When redoing our old site (Exhibit A), we wanted to make sure that it accomplished both our functional and design needs. With a new responsive design and added personality, we were able to create an updated site that better reflects our design aesthetic and goals (Exhibit B).
- Responsive Design: Let’s face it – we live in a society that’s constantly on the go. Ten years ago, it would seem like a no-brainer to design a website solely for a desktop computer, but times have changed. People are now accessing information on mobile devices like tablets and cellphones. By using a responsive design, your law firm’s website will be able to adapt to different mobile platforms, allowing visitors to easily view and engage with your website.
- WordPress CMS (Content management system): WordPress websites are a good way to go because they are so user-friendly. That’s one of the reasons why LegalPPC, Inc. works with WordPress. If our clients want to take on the responsibility of maintaining their sites, the information is easy to transfer and understand. And, with the myriad of plug-in offerings, you can customize the WordPress website to fit your aesthetic and design needs.
- Adding Personality: This is where you can really differentiate yourself from other law firms. What color schemes do you like? Are there any cool tricks that you saw on other websites that you want to emulate on yours? Consulting with a web designer for this step is useful because he/she may offer insight on how you can present your information in a different way.
Note: Checking out design blogs is a good way to get inspiration and insight for your website design. Our favorites are Smashing Magazine and Web Design Ledger.
Simplify – “Trim the fat and get to the steak”
Stuffing a website with a ton of pop-ups, links, and other hoopla is so 2004. And yet, there are a number of potentially good websites that suffer from this obsolete style. If prospective clients visit your website and are greeted with 1000 things being thrown in their faces, they’ll bounce the heck out of there.
A healthy dose of editing can go a long way. If you’re not sure if you want to completely redesign your website, try going through the pages and eliminate distracting images, links, etc.
Once you have the “bare bones” of your website, you can then make mindful decisions about the design improvements. In keeping with our steak metaphor, you want to make sure that the product you deliver is high-quality stuff (I would go into organic and grass-fed references, but that’s too much work).
- Images: Updating the banner and background photo for your website is a good way to add personality and purpose for your law firm. For example, if your law firm is in a metropolis, emphasize this asset by putting in a photo of the cityscape. Or, you can highlight your practice areas by including relevant images for your practice areas pages (all with good taste, of course).
- Typography: Not every website needs to be in Times New Roman or Arial. Playing around with the typography gives added interest to your site and can make the content more inviting and interesting to read. You don’t need to go crazy and add Wingdings to the whole site, but don’t be afraid of mixing different typography for the titles, headings, and content.
Note: If you want to see how your content will look with different fonts, there are useful websites like Google Fonts that provide a large font collection and gives you a preview of what your writing will look like.
Don’t forget the little things
All of the above design elements are crucial in making your website stand out, but in addition to investing time into the design aesthetics, conducting routine maintenance ensures that your website is fully functioning. Do all of the links on your pages direct visitors to the appropriate pages? Are there broken links that need to be fixed? Does your inquiry form on your website work properly? Ultimately, it’s these little things that can make or break your visitors’ interaction with your website.
See, that wasn’t so painful ☺
Whether you’re adding new content or redesigning your website, making meaningful changes will pay off in the long run. Taking the time to do your website the right way shows visitors that you are mindful of how potential clients receive information and that you care about your business.