CRO Design Best Practices For Law Firm Websites

CRO Design Best Practices

The term “conversion rate optimization” probably isn’t in the daily vocabulary for most lawyers. But to have a successful law firm website, CRO must become a top priority.

Think about the purpose your website serves to your firm. What are you trying to accomplish?

Most lawyers I consult with use their sites to retain new clients. The only way this happens is through a conversion.

Conversions mean something different for everyone. It could be anything from scheduling an appointment or consultation to filling out a new client request form. Regardless of what a conversion means for your law firm, it all starts with the design of your website.

As a CRO expert, I’ve narrowed down my top tips and best practices that must be applied to all law firm websites. The advice in this guide will help you increase conversions by making subtle design changes to your site. Let’s dive in.

Prioritize Speed

On the surface, site speed might not seem like it’s related to the design of your site.

But the two actually go hand-in-hand. Your website design choices have a direct impact on the page loading times of your legal website.

If your site design includes tons of rich media like videos, audio, and other elements designed to drive engagement, it could slow down your loading times. Furthermore, the theme you’re running could cause speed delays as well.

As loading times increase, conversion rates decrease.

Conversion Rates Decrease

Run a test to see how fast your pages load. I recommend the Pingdom Website Speed Test or Google Page Speed Insights. Both are free and really easy to use.

Based on the report, look for ways to modify your design to increase speed. It might be something as simple as removing a video background from the homepage or installing a new lightweight theme.

Choose Your Color Scheme Wisely

Colors are a major component of any site design. I don’t want to generalize, but most lawyers aren’t design experts. So it’s common for lawyers to just quickly choose a color scheme without really thinking twice about it.

Maybe you chose a color scheme that’s closely related to your firm’s logo. Or maybe you just stuck with the default option on whatever site building tool you’re using.

Aside from the visual appeal of a color scheme, your choices can directly impact your conversions.

For example, take a look at your CTA buttons. Do they blend in with your background and surrounding page elements? That’s going to kill your conversion rates.

Instead, the CTAs should clearly stand out on the page. One of the easiest ways to do that is with contrasting colors.

Let’s say your entire color scheme is blue and white. If your CTA button is blue on a white background, it will just blend in with everything else on the site. This button can be lost in the shuffle, which will hurt conversions. But adding a bright red CTA button in this scenario would really make the action stand out—causing conversions to rise.

Add Human Faces

Is your picture on your law firm website? If not, add it. Even if you don’t want to use your own image, make sure someone’s face is included in the design.

A recent study was conducted on how human faces impact conversion. An A/B test directed 50% of traffic to a landing page with paintings as the feature images, and the remaining 50% of traffic to the same page that included human faces.

The variation with human faces converted at a 95% higher rate!

Another trick is to point the faces towards your CTA button. Here’s an example from Kelly & Associates, a Boston-based personal injury law firm.

Kelly & Associates

As you can see, the face is pointed directly towards the form field. Psychologically, visitors will follow the gaze of this face, which directs them to the CTA.

This design tip is a simple way to improve CRO.

Less is More

This is a website design mistake that I see all of the time. Law firms try to cram as much information as possible into one page of their site.

Don’t do this.

Cluttering your homepage and interior landing pages with all of your services, images, and CTAs will just distract your visitors. Less is more. Use a simple design with fewer distractions. Complex designs with lots of clutter just don’t convert.

Are you familiar with Hick’s Law?

In short, this psychological theory talks about the correlation between the number of choices a person is presented with and how that impacts their decision. It’s simple; the more choices people have, the longer it takes them to decide. Here’s a visual representation of this law.

Hicks Law Visual Presentation

Time is not on your site when it comes to CRO.

The longer someone spends on your site without making a decision, the greater the chance becomes that they’ll bounce without converting.

So eliminate distractions, and only include the important elements on the page. If something doesn’t boost your conversion rate, get rid of it.

Leverage White Space

This piggybacks off of our last point. Don’t be afraid to use white space.

So many people feel like they need to fill every inch of their law firm website with something (whether it’s text, an image, button, contact information, etc.). But that’s not necessary.

White space can be just as powerful as your text and CTAs. It allows your page elements to breathe and draws focus to elements that drive conversions.

Here’s a generic example that compares two CTAs with and without white space:

Leverage White Space

Do you see the difference between these pages?

On the left side, it’s easy for the CTA to get buried amongst the other page elements. But the right side (with white space) makes the CTA stand out from everything else on the page. This trick will definitely help boost your conversion rates.

Create a Simple Navigation

The layout and navigation of your website is a significant component of its design. This is directly tied to CRO.

In general, your site should have a logical hierarchy and flow. Your most important pages will stem directly from the home page and then branch out from there.

I’ll give you a really extreme example to showcase my point. The services your firm provides should be available directly from the home page. You could have a separate landing page for each service (family law, estate planning, trusts, etc.).

But imagine if those pages were only linked from your blog? It would force users to navigate from your home page, to your blog, then to your services page. That wouldn’t make any sense.

This example might be a bit extreme, but you’d be surprised to see how often I see design mistakes like that. Check out this recent study from HubSpot:

Layout and Navigation

An overwhelming number of respondents said that the site should make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.

If visitors have to click all over your site due to a flawed design, your conversion rates will suffer.

Don’t Forget About SEO

All of your design choices should be made with SEO in mind.

Think about it. Users can’t convert if they don’t land on your website. So don’t do anything that will hurt your rankings in the SERPs.

Lots of the tips that I’ve described above will automatically improve your organic search rankings.

For example, improving your page loading speed is a big one. Changing your site structure so it follows a logical hierarchy will play a significant role as well. Google’s crawlers take both of these factors into consideration as they’re scanning and indexing your site.

Note: For more information on this topic, check out my book, Content Marketing and SEO for Law Firms.

Track Analytics and Adjust Accordingly

Web design goes deeper than just the visual aspects of your law firm site. You should be using data to make decisions as well.

Use A/B tests to see which CRO design changes are making the biggest impact on your website. You can split test things like CTA button placement, CTA button color, or one human face against another. Does a woman’s face convert higher than a man’s face? The only way to truly know is by testing your theory.

You can also use heatmaps and screen recording tools to see how users behave on your website based on the design.

Where are you having success? Where are people getting stuck and not converting?

Adjust your design based on the numbers.

Final Thoughts

CRO and web design go hand-in-hand. The design choices you make on your law firm site will ultimately impact your conversion rate.

How can you boost the conversion on your law firm site?

Just follow the tips and best practices I’ve outlined above. For more assistance with your law firm website, contact me directly and I’d be happy to help.

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