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Potential clients often see your website homepage before they have even talked to you. This means your law firm website homepage is an important part of the business development life cycle for your practice.
In the wise words of Will Rogers, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. You want to leave potential clients with a strong sense of confidence in your professionalism and legal abilities from the first moment they encounter your practice.
With so much of our lives happening online, your clients’ first impression of your firm is often your law firm website’s homepage. This means you need to prioritize having a strong homepage that is visually appealing, user-friendly, and informative.
There is a lot that goes into creating a great website homepage, so much so that it is nearly impossible to cover all of the required elements in one blog post. However, we’re here to share six interrelated questions your homepage must answer in order to put your best foot forward and ensure your potential clients have important basic information about your firm: who, what, when/where, why, and how.
Who Are You?
First and foremost, your website homepage needs to answer this simple question: who are you? Your homepage should prominently include your firm name – generally in the form of your logo and any welcome text you may write. However, telling clients who your firm is goes beyond your literal name. Instead, you need to give them a sense of the people behind the firm.
The goal here is to create a more personal connection with your clients. You want them to “know” you and have trust in your firm from the moment they start learning more about your practice. To help create this more personalized connection, your homepage should showcase your law firm and your experience. If you are a large law firm, this might mean offering a high-level statement about your law firm and a preview of your attorneys, rather than trying to introduce hundreds of attorneys individually on a single page.
For instance, Kean Miller is a regional law firm with 160+ attorneys in Louisiana and Texas. The “Who Are You?” for the firm is displayed through rotating images of groups of attorneys and a brief paragraph about what the firm does for its clients.
However, smaller firms may take a different approach. Depending on the number of attorneys in your firm, you still may not want to introduce them all individually on your homepage. But you may want to highlight some important attributes of your law firm, and perhaps a couple of your founding partners, like Carabin Shaw, a Texas-based firm with approximately 15 attorneys.
As you can see, the firm includes an image of a group of attorneys and a quick sentence about the firm’s results. Scroll down a bit, and you will see text describing the firm, its areas of focus, and its way of working – all of which help tell a client who the firm is.
If you are a very small law firm or a solo practitioner, your attorney(s) are the firm in many ways. You will almost certainly want to personally introduce yourself on your homepage. Take, for example, the Sapochnik Law Firm, a San Diego immigration firm that introduces its founding partner immediately on the homepage by including him in the banner.
Remember that while you should seriously consider personally introducing your firm through your attorneys on your homepage, the work of telling clients who your firm is does not stop there. You should ensure that your clients have a brief overview of your practice and way of working.
Your website should also offer easy access to attorney profiles and biographies. This should be included in your navigation bar, but you could also add links to this section of your site in other places on your homepage.
Finally, don’t forget to include other images and visuals on the homepage that further personalize your practice and stand out from the other law firms your clients could choose.
What Do You Do?
Telling your clients who you are goes hand in hand with telling clients what you do, and answering this question should also be at the top of your list when you create your homepage. Lawyer specialties come in many varieties, from the general practitioner to those who are hyper-focused on niche practice areas and everything in between. Your potential clients visiting your website need to know where your firm fits on this spectrum so that they are contacting the right kind of attorney (and you receive better leads). If you exclusively practice family law, a someone with a workers’ compensation matter needs to know that before they spend time trying to contact you.
Highlighting your practice areas on your homepage is a process that you can tackle in multiple ways. Starting from the top of the page, you need to have an intuitive, clear navigation bar on your site. This navigation bar should include a tab for your practice areas.
If you have more than one practice area, utilizing a drop-down on this navigation bar can make your main practice areas very clear to potential clients, without even leaving your homepage. Lenahan & Dempsey, a Pennsylvania law firm, employs this tactic on its website.
You also should convey your practice areas within the text and design of your homepage. Consider the website for James M. Beard and the Johnson, Beard, and Trueb law firm. This Washington and Alaska firm specializes in maritime injury law, which is made clear in various locations across the firm’s homepage.
Without scrolling, potential clients are greeted by an image of a boat and text highlighting that the firm has recovered millions for fishermen and seamen. By referring to fishermen and seaman, as opposed to using a general term such as people or clients, the homepage conveys the type of clients the firm represents and implies that this is a maritime practice. Just below this text, a strip states the general focus of the firm: maritime Jones Act claims for injury and wrongful death.
When a potential client scrolls down the page, the heading before the introductory text indicates that the firm is a Washington and Alaska maritime injury firm. This specialty is reinforced throughout the text on the page following this heading.
However, reinforcing the practice areas for the Beard firm and answering questions about what the firm does continues as visitors scroll down the page, where potential clients see a block highlighting the firm’s key practice areas.
As you can see, potential clients on the Beard firm’s homepage will know what this firm does and there will be no confusion about the types of matters the firm handles. This saves time, effort, and energy for both the firm as it screens leads and the potential clients looking for a lawyer that can handle their matter.
The benefits of clearly explaining your practice areas and desired type of cases is certainly not limited to certain practice areas. For example, an appellate lawyer that only handles civil appeals can explain this in the content on the firm’s homepage. If an employment litigation firm only represents business clients, it can explain this on the homepage, perhaps even in a simple tagline.
The options for using your homepage to tell people what your firm does do not end there. While this is certainly not a requirement, you can use other marketing collateral that is included on your homepage to take things one step further in conveying your firm’s practice areas. For example, The Higgins Firm, a Nashville personal injury firm, incorporates “Trial & Injury Lawyers” into the logo displayed across its site, including on the homepage.
Where Are You and When Are You Available?
Potential clients need to understand where you are and when you are available to accurately determine if your law firm is a good fit for their needs. “Where” is a multi-part question that ties into the physical locations of your office, the locales in which you practice, and the jurisdictions in which you are licensed, while “when” is a bit more straightforward.
The Carabin Shaw website does a good job addressing the different prongs of the “where” question on its homepage. The firm makes it clear that the main office is located in San Antonio, but also ensures that potential clients understand they have a further reach across Texas in many locales.
Then, the firm addresses the licensure issue by offering a map that illustrates the jurisdictions where its different attorneys are licensed.
The firm also clearly answers the “when” question by indicating they are available 24/7 for free consultations in multiple places on the homepage.
Why Should Clients Choose You?
In a sea of lawyers, one of the most important questions to answer is why potential clients should choose your firm, as opposed to one of your competitors. Think of the answer to this question as those things that your practice takes pride in that also set your law firm apart from others in your area. Often some combination of reputation, experience, results, recognition, and client service are those things that help you and your law firm stand out from the crowd.
For example, Breakstone, White, & Gluck – a Massachusetts personal injury and malpractice firm, tells potential clients in several ways why they should choose to retain the firm. The firm is very clear that it offers excellent service and has achieved great results for satisfied clients by incorporating client reviews in the sidebar, prominently displaying successful results, and emphasizing the firm’s experience and reputation.
Another firm, Lagarias, Napell, & Dillon, immediately ensures that visitors to its homepage know the firm is a specialized, experienced franchise practice that has achieved national recognition.
How Do Clients Contact You?
Last, but certainly not least, your homepage needs to let clients know exactly how they contact you. In part, this ties into the where question since clients need to know where a firm’s physical offices are for any in-person meetings that may occur. However, this question goes beyond your physical location and is much more focused on short-term contact options, such as contact forms, phone calls, and email.
Undoubtedly, your navigation bar should include a visible tab labeled “Contact Us” or something similar. On this page, you should include office addresses, phone numbers, a contact form, and email addresses (if desired). However, you do not want this valuable information to always be a few clicks away. Instead, you want to give your potential clients easy ways to reach out to you directly on your homepage by displaying your phone number and incorporating a contact form.
For example, consider the website for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida. At the top of the page, a phone number is prominently displayed and the navigation includes a highlighted tab to contact the firm. On the top strip, “Request a Free Consultation” also links to a contact form. All of this is visible to users before being forced to scroll down the page.
Once a user begins scrolling, there is a contact form in the sidebar next to the introductory text:
Further down the homepage, there is a block dedicated to the contact form:
And the footer again offers contact information for the firm, including phone numbers and the office locations:
These various touchpoints with contact information for the firm ensure that potential clients are always aware of how to contact this law firm. Also, the potential for receiving new leads is increased for this firm because the clients always have easy access to ways of reaching out and requesting their consultation.
Remember, the world is becoming increasingly digital. Therefore, it is important to think about people trying to contact you through their mobile device. Simple actions, such as making a phone number click-to-call, can make your homepage even more effective for these potential clients.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Answering these questions on your website homepage works to maximize the effectiveness of your website and increase the opportunity for leads and conversions by ensuring your clients have easy access to adequate information about your services. However, as mentioned at the outset of this post, much more goes into creating a strong homepage than just these basic questions.
All Justia Elevate Websites are designed to help you increase leads and conversions with an optimized law firm website homepage (and more). If you are looking for someone to help you unleash your website’s full potential, contact Justia today to schedule a free consultation.