Being online today is non-negotiable for any business, no matter your sector. But it’s easier for some brands than others to produce a website that suits your business and your audience.
For those in the legal sector, having a site that delivers meaningful content and drives leads is no mean feat. Law firms must prove their reliability, experience and expertise if they want users to engage. But how can you promote your firm’s unique qualities in a digital space while still demonstrating traditional principles?
In this blog, we discuss three common digital challenges we see legal firms experience and how these can be resolved.
1) Categorising your content
Legal websites often hold vast amounts of content. It’s not unusual for large-scale firms to have over 10,000 pages on their website which begs the question, how can your audience find what they’re looking for?
In the modern age of digital, users want their search queries answered fast before they abandon your site and seek results elsewhere. But removing vital content surrounding your legal services isn’t an option. So, what else can you do to ensure users stay on-site and reach the answers they’re searching for with ease?
The answer isn’t a quick fix, but it’s essential. Your website needs to provide appropriate content, easy navigation and next-level categorisation. Getting the balance right requires both technical and design considerations.
Gone are the days when a site with a hierarchical folder structure was enough to direct people to your content. With so many websites available to your audience, creating relevant content they can access quickly needs to be top of your agenda.
However, many organisations make the mistake of designing their website structure on the internal setup they’re familiar with. A user-first approach is key to building a site that’s geared towards your audience and, as such, it’s important to consider their needs early on.
Our solution is simple:
- Define your key user groups
- Understand their behaviour
- Analyse their journeys onsite
- Learn how they want to access content
Getting to know the different types of users and exploring their needs alongside the actions they take onsite will allow you to map out key user journeys. With this understanding, you can create an information architecture that’s simple and easy to navigate. We also recommend using tools that support easy access to content such as intuitive search, bookmarking, faceted filtering and a dedicated resource library. Don’t forget to consider sector, service, people, office and geography information and how these tie into your categorisation and site structure.
With a huge bank of content to house and high-quality categorisation a priority, it’s important to work with a CMS that can support these requirements. But, not all platforms are built the same. Ensuring you find one that’s geared towards creating and categorising content without the constant need for developer support is essential.
2) Managing stakeholder involvement
Law firms are typically partnership-based businesses. This means there are a number of senior stakeholders who may be involved in the decision-making process. When it comes to understanding what you want from your website, having too many opinions can be detrimental to the final result.
So, how many stakeholders is too many and how do you decide who to involve in the process?
Nothing delays and complicates a website project like too many cooks. It’s vital that before you even begin the project you decide who needs to be involved and who will sign off each part of the project.
Consider who would be best placed to steer your website project and stick to this throughout the project duration. Depending on your business and project, this could include team members from:
- Marketing and comms
- Key partners
- Your project office
To gather well-rounded insight, it’s often worth including specific members of senior management at specific milestones. In some cases, your project may even benefit from an external project manager who can provide insight and management from a neutral standpoint.
Once your project team has been defined, creating set milestones to work towards provides your project with a concrete structure. Assign members of the team responsible for these, such as content modelling and design sign-off. By creating a team, with clear responsibilities and actionable goals, your project can set sail without minimal room for confusion or miscommunication.
3) Creating a unique brand online
A common challenge for those in the legal sector is how to stand out in a sea of similar firms and differentiate yourself from the competition. Maybe you hold niche experience in a particular area of family law, or you have extensive expertise in contract law?
Legal firms are bound by the need to demonstrate their trust, reliability and expertise to attract clients. This can make it difficult to create an engaging brand without damaging the comfort factor clients seek. Alongside the need to attract potential clients, legal firms must also provide a website that entices new hires.
Ultimately, the thing that separates one law firm from another is its people. While services and areas of expertise may be similar across different providers, what really helps you stand out from the crowd is the arsenal of talented people in your team. Bringing your people to the forefront of your online proposition helps to create a brand identity completely unique to your business.
A priority during the design process, think about how you can best showcase your people across the website. Firstly, investing in professional photography of your people and your offices will bring your firm to life online. Through engaging photography and videography, you can provide insight into how your firm works and the team behind it to build connection and trust from the get-go. During our design stage, we take a deep dive into content modelling, information architecture and user flows to consider these features while providing an intuitive user experience.
Having a ‘People’ area of your site will also provide a place to showcase your team, their expertise and capabilities in niche target areas. We would also recommend bringing case studies to the forefront to boost your firm’s reputation in relevant sectors and appeal to new clients.
Compelling case studies, showcasing experts and attractive imagery can also be used to entice new employees. Creating additional content surrounding your benefits, company culture and career progression will contribute to finding and retaining the next wave of legal expertise in your firm. Adding job listings and a high-quality recruitment portal is imperative to capture the interest of potential employees on your site.
We can help your legal firm excel online
Building your website is about more than just technical, behind-the-scenes, decisions. We know that creating a website that showcases your business while also following best practices can seem overwhelming. What should you prioritise and what can you forgo in order to get the balance right?
With over 20 years of experience building websites, we know what it takes to create a site that packs a punch and delivers world-class results, every time. Working with businesses across a multitude of sectors, we’ve helped clients like Hodder Education and Emergency Planning College to create outstanding websites that support their business goals. Get in touch to see how we can help your legal firm succeed in the digital space.