The foundation for any successful online marketing campaign or digital marketing strategy starts with a well-designed, professional-quality website. Your website represents you and your firm, and can very likely be the deciding factor in whether or not you will be contacted by a prospective client with a home run case.

If your firm is just getting started or you’re in the process of updating your website, the wrong approach to design can be a legitimate deal breaker to your potential clients. Without stand-out elements like modern and visually appealing pages, strong calls to action, trust factors, and social proof, your firm’s website is more likely to get lost in the crowd, allowing your competition to come out on top. Here’s some tips to make your firm’s website beat out the competition.

1. Use a Content Management System (CMS)

The most popular CMS in the world is undoubtedly WordPress because it’s relatively easy to use and has thousands of plugins and options. A WordPress CMS provides numerous benefits to attorneys such as:

  • You can manage your website from any computer.
  • WordPress doesn’t require any coding savvy.
  • The design of your site is 100% customizable.
  • A blog is built-in and ready to go.
  • Search engines like Google, love WordPress websites.

Aside from building your site, WordPress makes it extremely easy to update content, create a site structure and add functionality.

2. Utilize Modern Web Design Trends

No matter how traditional your law firm is, your website will benefit from modern web design trends and techniques. Perhaps the most important web design trend in recent years is Responsive Web Design (RWD). RWD is what makes your website mobile-friendly and allows for your website to be properly viewed on a desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone. Here are a few more of the most popular trends going into 2016:

  • Dominant header images having a strong effect on first impressions.
  • Using more interesting typography and font styles.
  • Parallax, lazy loading and hover help make your website feel more alive and interactive.

3. Highly Visible CTAs

Calls-to-action (CTA) are language prompting users to do something. For example— “call us for a free consultation” and “contact us for a free case review.” Phone numbers should be located in a prominent position on the page as well as throughout CTAs prompting people to take action.

Buttons should have action language on them related to whatever the action is. Subscribe buttons should read “subscribe now” to urge a reader to take immediate action. Sometimes, we have to tell our visitors what to do in order for them to execute a proposition.

4. Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly

As an attorney conducting business online, your website needs to be found through searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Following are a few tips that will help jump start your organic rankings and positions on the search engines:

  • Most Important – Add a unique Meta Title to each page (optimally 50-60 characters).
  • Add Meta Description to each of page (roughly 155 characters).
  • Add internal page linking (link from page to page within your website).
  • Create XML Sitemap and submit to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Install Google Analytics for proper website tracking.

SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. It’s not rocket science, but it can be complicated and time consuming. We recommend contacting a reputable SEO company to help implement an effective SEO strategy for your law firm.

5. Build Trust with Social Proof

Once you have your design in place, you should consider building trust and “social proof” by adding testimonials, BBB ratings and other trust-boosting information. Any credentials that your firm has will contribute to building trust online, so display them prominently. Here are some methods of improving social proof for you and your law firm:

  • Client Testimonials & Case Results
  • Badges – Super Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates, Avvo Top Contributor, etc.
  • Social Media icons and updated profiles for Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn

Making necessary website upgrades and adjustments may seem like a large undertaking, even if you’re starting from scratch, but a few simple changes can be the difference between a full case load and no one to represent. By implementing best practices and doing what is necessary to establish yourself as a legitimate, reliable firm through your website, you and your clients will both be able to reap the benefits of a successful practice.