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Law Firm Website Trends

Boost Your Website’s Performance With Better Design

It’s not just trim and frills. The aesthetics affect the user experience.

By Karin Conroy

Humans crave beauty and order. These basic elements of design bring us happiness. What if your law firm was able to design happiness in the same way? By following the lead of design-focused companies like Apple, you can use beauty and function to make your website users happy and boost your bottom line.

The Connection Between Design and Business

Although beauty can be hard to quantify, there is no doubt that humans agree to a certain point on what is beautiful and that we are willing to pay more for it. Real estate prices are higher by the beach than a landfill. Product packaging, not the quality of what’s inside, often dictates our feelings about a product and whether we are more likely to buy it. And there is scientific documentation that more attractive people earn more, showing a beauty bias in the workplace.

Smart companies realize the importance of design and place more emphasis on it. Nike is led by a designer. Apple and Alphabet, both tech companies that might be tempted to stick to data alone, have expanded their design capabilities in recent years. In fact, design-centric companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 200 percent over the past 10 years. There is a wide gap emerging between organizations that value design and those that are getting left behind.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, design is crucial across all fields. Great design not only helps your brand stand out, but it also creates an experience with your customers that connects them deeply to your brand and, ultimately, builds loyalty. It’s not just trim and frills: Design can have a lasting impact on brand recognition and customer retention. It’s why we’ve seen an explosion of rebrands.

What Does This Mean for Your Law Firm’s Website Performance?

Obviously, a beautiful design is essential for consumer packaged goods, but what about service-based organizations?

In this age of digital dominance, it’s not enough to have a website. Your website must be both fully functional and beautiful. In “Is Your Law Firm’s Website Up to 2019 Standards,” we discussed the features to consider when reviewing your website, such as load time and security. It’s just as important to consider how design affects the user experience.

Although the phrase “user experience” may be overhyped, well-designed user experience leads to more website views and conversions, which has a direct impact on your law firm’s profits.

Here are some factors that can detract from the beauty of your site and hurt the user experience.

Distracting Features

Are there distracting features that detract from the user experience? Does your website use sliders, pop-ups, irrelevant graphics, and other features that take away from the site’s overall aesthetic and function? Every part of your website should be evaluated for beauty and function. For example, if a pop-up is ugly and not increasing sign-ups to your email newsletter, it needs to go. In that case, your pop-up may actually be driving away business instead of encouraging it.

One of the best ways to determine if a feature is useful is to review your user metrics. How long are users staying on the site? Do they visit other pages? How many users are filling in the information in the pop-up or downloading the free resource? Examining the numbers can tell you a lot about what features are working and which aren’t.

Ugly and Irrelevant Graphics

Does your website showcase generic photos of city skylines or gavels? Web developers often rely on stock photos that don’t necessarily connect with your audience. What does a city skyline tell site visitors about your services? How does a gavel promote your unique brand? Instead of stock images, invest in original photography or take care in selecting royalty-free images that say something relevant about your firm. The images you use should help visitors get to know you better and start forming a connection.

Hard-to-Follow Content

Are your services clear to first-time visitors? Is it immediately obvious the type of law your firm practices and the kind of clients you help? If not, your content is seriously missing the mark.

As anyone who has watched “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” can tell you, order and organization are beautiful. Your website design should be clear and focused. Users should not have to click through pages of content to discover what you do. Avoid an overcomplicated design that makes it a chore to navigate your site — or to simply find your contact information.

Ask a friend or colleague who is unfamiliar with your website to check it out. If it’s not clear to them where to click on the website, what kind of services you offer, how to contact you, or the next steps to take, a site redesign may be in order. Ask specifically what they like and dislike about the website, any issues they spot, if the site is easy to navigate, what they think the site is directing users to do, whether your call to action is strong enough, and any other information they would like to share.

While looks should not be the only thing to consider, both beauty and functionality are important to your website’s success. A beautiful design can mean the difference between a potential client staying on your site or closing the tab forever.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Karin Conroy Karin Conroy

Karin Conroy is the founder and Creative Director of Conroy Creative Counsel, an award-winning leader that has cracked the code of smart, sophisticated and strategic websites for law firms. Karin uses proven systems that result in more reach and revenue through strategic branding and positioning. Follow her @karinconroy or conroycreativecounsel.com.

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