The Ultimate Guide to Designing Your Law Firm Website with Brendan Ruane

It's impossible to understate the impact a law firm website can have on your revenue. Good website design can draw in your clients — but a badly-made one will push them away. But not everyone knows how to put a good law firm website together.

In this episode, Brendan Ruane joins us to discuss the basics of website design and content creation. He talks about the main components your law firm website should have. He also emphasizes why your website's design and content go hand in hand. Brendan then lets us know the best practices to optimize your website's pages for better ranking and user experience.

If you want to revamp your firm's website into a functional yet engaging one, this episode will help you start.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode

  1. Learn the top website design mistakes and how to fix them.
  2. Discover the main components every law firm website should have — and how to incorporate them.
  3. Understand why a good website design starts with content.


Episode Highlights

Top Design Errors in a Law Firm Website

  • The number one mistake is not designing the mobile interface first. 

Brendan: "With 70+ percent of Internet usage being on mobile devices, you want to make sure that your site actually functions properly on mobile and that the design has taken that into effect."

  • Incorporate calls to action in the content body instead of putting your contact form in the sidebar.
  • The second mistake is placing a lot of widgets and features that distract users from accessing the website's primary function.
  • Strip away as much as possible on your website to get the user to take the action you want.

Designing Your Homepage

  • Your law firm website's homepage should consist of content for organic rankings.

Brendan: "For most firms out there, your website and your homepage, in particular, and how it looks and feels is a huge deciding factor for people to contact you."

  • The primary focus of your homepage's design is establishing your firm's legitimacy and ability to help with specific problems.
  • Break your website's hero section into thirds.
  • A trust symbol that should be on your homepage is a high-quality professional photo or video of yourself.

Tips on How to Incorporate Photos on Your Law Firm Website

  • You can feature a team photo on your homepage. These can be images taken from B-roll shots that showcase how your team works.
  • You can also feature a direct message from the owner or partners to lay out the firm's mission and philosophy.
  • The main tip is to invest in high-quality photos of real people in your firm and feature them on your homepage.

Brendan: "You would be amazed that the world of difference with a little bit of investment in really good high-quality photos can make for the way that people perceive your website and your firm."

  • Brendan's team uses stock photography to design the initial pages of their client's website. They use stock images as a guide on what shots to take.
  • Find a photographer who shoots wedding and family portraits. They tend to be less expensive than mainline photographers and are skilled at setting a stage.

The Importance of Color

  • Another big mistake in website design is the use of color. Brendan's team relies on color theory when it comes to choosing colors.
  • Most firms need help with using their brand colors all over their site.
  • The call-to-action color should be analogous to the site's dominant color. In this way, the eye gets naturally drawn to it.
  • Color can either drive people to the right place or distract them away from it.

Moshe: "Brand colors are not something you should be married to."

  • Not using your brand colors all the time on your website will not affect your brand equity.

Setting the Mood of your Law Firm Website

  • It's best to base your website's mood on the clients you want to attract.
  • A business law firm website would have a more buttoned-up look and feel. A family law firm would be more welcoming.
  • Use color, fonts, and the tone of your writing to tell clients about yourself.
  • It makes sense to sound smart when doing business-to-business transactional work. But when dealing with retail customers, it's best to be more conversational.
  • Focus on communicating how you will help clients alleviate their issues more than the technical legal aspects.

Brendan: "When you're speaking to the client, you want them to understand that you understand their situation, and you're here to help them and you can empathize with what they're going through, and tell them how you're going to actually help them to alleviate their issue."

Main Components Every Site Should Have

  • Every site needs to have a homepage, contact page, and about page, 
  • The three main components of SEO are server speed and site structure, content and keywords, and backlinks.
  • Getting high-quality backlinks is the most tedious part of SEO management.

Brendan: "Any good design of a website should begin [with] one, what's the content. And if you don't have all the content already, what's the content plan for the site?"

  • Build a silo of content or a bunch of supported and connected pages. Incorporating supporting sub-pages increases page ranking chance.
  • The website design should highlight your content.

Utilizing Sub-Pages

  • You need to rewrite content and run them through a plagiarism checker to avoid duplicate content penalties.
  • Rewriting content is the most effective way to hyper-localize.
  • The silos and sub-silos of content are the foundation and pyramid that builds your website.
  • Most sites’ number one ranking page is their homepage because the homepage has every page as a sub-page to it.
  • Google serves the site and page it thinks will answer a certain question. More supportive and connected content ranks higher.

The Essence of the Website

  • The site itself is only useful if clients go on the path you want them to follow.
  • The page structure informs how you display your practice areas.
  • You can delay putting content on your website.
  • Having a content plan of how you will expand the site will help it rank organically.

Brendan: “The whole idea of the design is it's informed by what the content is because that content is the journey that you want them to take.”

Highlighting Your Geography and Practice Area

  • Cover the largest geographical area or state where you are and write content for that. That will serve as the base content of the site.
  • Then, take the 12 top-level pages and rewrite those for other areas.
  • Put them on the menu under "Areas Served" or "Locations." You can also add the popular search query "near me" in the URL.
  • These practices are a way of creating little microsites out of your sub-silos of content.
  • You can start with just the available content for the state and easily add new towns over time.

Brendan’s Parting Piece of Advice

  • Know the host server for your domain name and website. It's as valuable to you as an attorney as where your lease is for your office.
  • Google is not outright penalizing AI-generated content, so leverage it to your advantage.
  • Google penalizes low-quality content that has spammy keywords.

About Brendan

Brendan Ruane is the founder and CEO of Light Switch Advisors, a small digital marketing agency in Connecticut, USA. Brendan came from a family of attorneys and built his first legal website while studying at Loyola University, Maryland. He also became the Director of Marketing for a small law firm while learning in the presence of respected professionals in the marketing field.

Throughout his career, he has helped various law firms and law figures enrich their social media presence by applying his skills in the social and digital marketing niche. His expertise centers on custom WordPress design, SEO marketing, social media marketing, PPC, marketing funnels, keyword research, press releases, and Google Analytics, among many others. 

If you want to get in touch with Brendan and learn more about his company's services, you may message him at [email protected] or call him at (203) 302-9986.

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Have any questions? You can contact me through Facebook and LinkedIn. To request a show topic, recommend a guest, or ask a question about the show, please email [email protected].


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