Request your free introductory lawyer website design and copywriting consultation today

Edmonton: (780) 266-2535

Toronto: (416) 809-9653

Request your free introductory lawyer website design and copywriting consultation today

Edmonton: (780) 266-2535

Toronto: (416) 809-9653

Unhappy lawyer, frustrated because his legal website is not delivering inquiries from prospective clients, a problem he could correct by getting a website makeover by Best Lawyer Websites.

Why the typical law firm website is designed to fail

Home | Web Design

Do you know what web visitors note first in a website? It's not the carefully worded text. They react first to what they see. Moreover, those initial reactions can be so powerful that it is almost impossible to reverse them with even the most brilliant law firm marketing and advertising. Yet we continue to see law firm websites that repeat the following six design mistakes:

1.) Counterproductive images: It's true that a picture communicates a thousand words, but don't assume that those words are communicating a positive message. They could, in fact, be communicating a very negative message. For example, many legal websites feature imagery that puts the following ideas in the mind of the viewer: expensive law firm; emotionless, uncaring lawyers; going to court is inevitable.


The empty conference table is one of the most common design mistakes made in websites for law firms. It's a problem because it communicates one, or all, of the following negative messages: 1) We have expensive furniture, purchased by charging our clients sky-high fees; 2) We are not a people place, despite our many claims to the contrary; 3) There are no lawyers in our law firm; 4) Don't bother calling us, we are at lunch (all afternoon) -- or out buying more expensive furniture for our offices.

2.) No headlines: The absence of headlines is a sure sign that the web content was done by a SEO writer or law firm marketing company with virtually no understanding of what drives readership -- and, by extension, response. There are ten headline structures that virtually guarantee readership. We know them all. The average SEO writer does not even know they exist. You also need to understand that headlines are an important driver of page rank. Yet our competitors, including web designers, web marketers and SEO companies, use copywriters who have never written a headline in their life. Don't believe us? Pick five legal websites at random and see if any have a headline.

Photo of male and female lawyers with arms folded, the typical image seen in poor, unproductive law firm websites, created by web builders who do not understand body language or how to market a law firm office. 3.) Pictures of grim/angry lawyers: Lawyers think they look confident and powerful if they stand with their arms folded. But any body language expert will tell you that folded arms communicates the following negative messages: -- keep your distance, don't get too close to me. The same problems exist if you are shown sitting behind a desk.

4.) Poor color choice: Male lawyers tend to pick the same three colors (red, black and white) without realizing that these are "war colors" associated with conflict and blood. That might be appealing to the small minority of clients who enjoy conflict, but what about everyone else?

5.) Unreadable text: The average text in a legal website is so difficult to read that it can reduce you to tears. This is what happens when page design is handled by web designers with no training in what drives readability. Some will even tell you that creating "eye candy" is more important than designing pages that are easy to read. Don't believe it.

6.) Nothing personal: The average law firm website appears to have been designed to ensure it is impossible to make any emotional connection with the lawyer or lawyers who make up the firm. No connection. No response. No new clients.

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Search Engine Optimization process, which includes research to identify the search terms, or keywords, used to find a product or service and the incorporation of those keywords in web content to obtain a higher page rank than competing websites.

What is SEO?

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, a set of techniques used to improve the page rank of a website by making it more relevant and informative than competing websites. In simple terms, there are two steps.

Step One: conduct research to identify the search terms, or keywords, used most commonly to find a product or service. For most businesses, there will be a small number of well known "Trophy" keywords that are used commonly, plus a much larger list of less popular keywords that collectively could account for the same amount of traffic. The key (no pun intended) is to focus on the terms used by the prospective client, not the language used by lawyers. For example, do you know which terms web searchers use most often: "law office" or "law firm?" We do.

Step Two: Incorporate the keywords in the web content. This can be done seamlessly when the job is handled by a professional writer with marketing experience (our approach). The typical SEO company does not employ professional writers or marketing experts. Why bother when their singular focus is the search engines? But search engines don't hire lawyers. People hire lawyers. That means you need web content that attracts the search engines and intrigues the customer -- all at the same time. Don't settle for anything less.