[author: Noreen Fishman]
Your website is more important than you think – or, maybe you are one of the lucky ones who already realized how crucial your website is. It’s the first impression potential clients see, and has the opportunity to be your biggest marketing tool.
According to research, 75% of your website’s credibility is related to its design. So why do so many law firms treat their website as an afterthought? In this post, we are covering 8 of the most common website design mistakes. Make sure to avoid these errors to make the most of your website and gain more attention online.
8 Website Mistakes Law Firms Shouldn’t Make
1. Ignoring accessibility
The number one mistake people make on their website is treating accessibility like an afterthought. Specifically, experts say to watch for the following:
- Insufficient color contrast
- Missing or inaccurate alternative text for images
- Missing visual focus indicators
- Overlooking accessible names or labels
Make sure to look up accessibility requirements set forth by the ADA and other guiding bodies. Perform a careful audit of your website and ensure you’re following the proper protocols to meet accessibility standards.
2. Forgetting responsive design
We are at the point where mobile traffic makes up a substantially higher percentage of global traffic than desktop. If you aren’t keeping that information at the forefront when you design your website, you’re going to miss out on valuable traffic. Users now access websites from several devices, especially when conducting research. If content looks poor on any of those devices, visitors are likely to give up. Never assume that the bulk of your traffic will be on a desktop.
3. Choosing aesthetics over user experience
The internet has become saturated with websites trying to stand out. Unfortunately, that can lead to making design decisions that look great, but aren’t the best for users. We’ve noticed an excessive use of graphics and design elements that look cool, but don’t help users to navigate the site. You don’t necessarily need to follow a minimalist style, but make sure your site strikes the right balance between form and function. If your website doesn’t help people to quickly get the information they’re looking for, it won’t matter how cool it looks.
4. Skipping customization
Creating a website that’s unique to your firm and speaks to your value propositions and mission is challenging. It can require an investment to build out a site that goes beyond the standard hero image at the top with content blocks below. However, it’s worth it if you don’t want your website to look the same as your competitors. Don’t be afraid to look into an eventual website redesign that is specially created and doesn’t just make use of overly popular templates.
5. Applying features that don’t help conversion
No matter how visually appealing a feature might be, if it’s not efficient, users won’t appreciate it. For example, relying on carousels to relay important information (studies show people don’t usually click through carousels). This relates a bit to the point on responsive design. Remember that at least half of your traffic is viewing your site on a mobile device. Can the interactive features even work in that format? Consider the next steps you want to encourage and make sure any functionality you’re building out lends to people taking those actions.
6. A lack of hierarchy
If you’ve ever visited a website and felt unsure about where to look next or how to click to find what you need, you know how much that experience can frustrate visitors. The organization of your website elements is really important for a few reasons. Your website should have a cohesive structure that drives users to complete clear actions, achieves your primary goals, and also creates a seamless experience.
7. Unclear navigation
Unclear navigation can be quite a predicament for users. Having clear navigation and consistency across all platforms ensures your visitors find just what they want and have a good experience. Consider the journey from a prospect to an advocate for your firm. What are the steps people will take? Thoughtfully plot out these paths when you plan your website categories and navigation.
8. Insufficient communication of value
Can someone understand exactly what your firm does as soon as they land on your home page? The first thing that someone does when they visit a new website is to make sure they’re in the right place. Furthermore, your website shouldn’t just confirm that it belongs to your site, it should provide key information on why your firm is special and better than competitors. Provide clear, compelling value propositions about your firm as well as social proof like testimonials. Remember that your website should enhance the overall credibility of your firm. Review it with an objective eye and make sure that is the case.
Just being aware of how common these mistakes are is an important step in avoiding them. As you work on a website launch or redesign, carefully review this list and ensure that you’re not making these errors in website design.