Hey there and happy Friday from your Girl Friday!
I was hanging out in the Web den at the Academy a couple days ago (that’s the web design and development area of the Academy office), and I was talking to our website gurus, Kevin Hofmockel and Sarah Childress about law firm websites. As we were talking about some of the great, and not so great things they come across as designers and developers, I thought it would make an interesting and informative blog to discuss the basics of creating your own law firm website!
So we’ve already determined, without much hesitation, that not having a website in this digital information age is extremely detrimental to any company, especially law firms who are competing more and more with DIY online resources. But when you’re creating a website, where do you start? So I’m here today with three basic tips to get you started building your website:
Tip 1: Create Your Domain Name
Now, this isn’t as easy as creating something like mylawfirmusa.com. Just because that domain name might be available (and it is, I checked), doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your law firm. You have to think of your domain name as an extension of, and in some cases, the first impression of your law firm that potential clients will have. When creating your domain name, think about how you are going to market your website. Some of you out there might come from a well-known family name in your community. Consider using that credibility in your domain name. So I might use something like AdamsEstatePlanning.com. However, if you plan to market your website based more on Google searches and local organic listings, then you might want to use something more like sandiegowillsandtrusts.com or sandiegoestateplanning.com that will rank you higher, locally.
Something to keep in mind as you work on your domain name is that while hyphens may be the key to getting the domain name you want, hyphens in domain names make it much harder for anyone looking for you online to actually remember where that hyphen is and find you online, so try to avoid them. Also, avoid a domain name that’s too long, again making it difficult for anyone to remember.
This takes us to Tip 2: What’s Your Type? Website type, that is!
Do you want your website to be informational, or interactive? An interactive website is full of videos and interactive media that capture the attention of your website visitors and give them an overview of your website without bogging them down with too much information at once. A website like this will encourage viewers to contact your firm for more information about the services they are interested in. On the other hand, an informational website is full of detailed content about what services your law firm offers, from A to Z. You can think of an informational website like a potential client’s one-stop-shop to learning almost anything they could be interested in knowing about your firm from the services you offer to your firm history and staff bios.
Keep in mind the amount of contact your law firm is set up to handle with current and potential clients. If your firm staff loves answering questions about the services your law firm provides to potential clients and making a personal connection with them over the phone, an interactive website might be the way for you to go. However, if you want your potential clients to come to seminars and initial consultations armed with all the information they’ll need to know that they want to work with your firm, then your firm’s website might need to be more of an informational one.
Ok, on to Tip 3: Images, Styling and Branding
Choose a color palette that will be easy on the eyes and complement other colors you’ve chosen for your law firm. For example, if you’ve chosen some strong, deep colors to represent your law firm in your office, choosing pastel colors for your website wouldn’t be a good complement.
You might start by searching on the web for some styles and colors that you like. Pull them all together to make something that is unique to your law firm. Colourlovers.com and kuler.adobe.com are great websites to visit to help you decide on a color scheme. Webdesignledger.com is also a great blog to consult as you are making choices about what kind of website you want to create. There you may find some great inspiration for designs, colors, and images to use on your website.
When selecting images for your website, or putting credentials like certain groups you might belong to on your website, be sure to get the necessary copyright and permissions to publish them.
So you’ve picked out your domain name, decided on a direction for your website content, and you have your colors in mind. The next step for you to make your vision a reality is finding someone to put it all together for you.
Here at the Academy, we create and maintain websites for our Members based on all of the choices I’ve just talked about, and more, which our website development team goes through with them, step by step. However, if you’re unable to use the Academy web development team, look for a developer who can deliver a site with an easy to use Content Management System. Some popular CMS programs are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Academy sites are developed using WordPress for many reasons. Unique website content is imperative when building and maintaining your website. WordPress allows the website owner (that’s you) to update content regularly and easily without the constant need of a web developer. WordPress has also proved to be extremely secure, giving it reliability that you’ll appreciate when maintaining your website.
If you have any questions about getting started with your law firm website, feel free to give us a shout and we’ll help out with anything we can! Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions!
Thanks for stopping by! That’s all for today, and I’ll talk to you soon!
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555