We hope you enjoy reading the MEANit blog with all the guides and tips. If you want our team to help with your web presence click here

The articles here will give you everything you need to plan, design, develop, market and maintain your website, if you have the time required – Enjoy.

Solicitor Website Design – web design advice for a legal practice

Solicitors regularly struggle with communicating on the web. We employ our own proven formula to create a web presence that attracts and converts visitors, making you impossible to misunderstand. This way you can engage your chosen audience, attract more ideal clients and stand out as the best legal practice option in your area. Get started with a solicitors website today.

We help ‘Professional Legal Services Businesses‘ to be effective online
> to get the customers they really want
> do the work they like to do
> make the profit they deserve to make

 

For a Solicitor or Legal practice – why bother to create a well-designed solicitors website? Seven obvious reasons for Solicitor Website Design include:

 

1. To look professional when someone Googles you (and they do). You would make a point of looking professional in a court of law, so why not do it on the web?
2. To answer commonly asked questions about the legal services you offer. It would save a lot of time for your legal practice team.
3. To attract a certain type of desired client or business and to put off certain types of unwanted clients in search of legal advice.
4. To allow potential clients to send you an enquiry 24/7 through the solicitors website.
5. To avoid losing work from existing clients who Google your name and find someone else, a ‘specialist’ who seems to fit the bill.
6. Attract high-quality trained legal staff who are searching for a suitable legal practice. How do you look when these people search for solicitors website
7. Automation of some of your process via the website will create a system to keep your practice busy, doing what you want to be doing and freeing you up to focus on what is important to you.

Your solicitors website is more than a tool, so do research how you will invest in it to look professional. You have to learn how to use it to good effect or have someone ‘competent’ do it for you or with you, by outsourcing some of the work, so add that resource to your plan. There are various options and each one comes with challenges and opportunities, costs, and returns on investment. And your web presence is a lot more than just your solicitors website.

Have a complimentary 30-minute consultation about Solicitor Website Design with us, no obligation, just to see what you need for your particular practice. Meantime, below we include 10 guidelines, 10 questions, 10 tips, and some general advice, to help you get your solicitors website right the first time, to save a lot of your valuable time.

“We wanted a website that reflected the practice well, to explain what we do and where we do it”
Mairin McCartney

Managing Partner, Gallagher McCartney

10 Tips for the planning and layout of a good Solicitor Website Design


Guidelines for Solicitor Website Design
Start with ensuring that any plan conforms with guidelines in the Irish Statute Book  S.I. No. 518/2002 – The Solicitors Acts, 1954 To 2002 Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations, 2002

1. CMS – Get a website for your practice that is built on a CMS Content Management System, which makes it easy to edit. Content is king, it will decide your success on the net, so create it, add it, curate it and make yourself stand out as an authority on matters legal. You are the best person to produce good content, do not leave its creation to someone else, unless they are ‘competent’ in creating content for a legal practice.
2. Blocks
Get a website that is Modular, so that you can move elements around without needing a developer again. For example, add or move a scrolling ‘Testimonials module’ on the Home page yourself or move it to your ‘About’ page.

3. Open Source
Use a platform that is open source and allows you to move from one web partner to another. Avoid a one man band, someone who offers to be everything, planner, designer, developer, digital marketer. How many professional legal practices have just one person employed to do everything?

4. Solicitor Website Design Theme – Cheap or low cost option
Get a solicitor or legal website that is theme based, so that you can change the whole design theme without having to create a new website. Also, this makes it easier for you to move to a new web partner – avoid any basic HTML developers who have to make every code change for you – at a price, in time delay, frustration and money.
5. Custom Design – Professional Option
Plan your branding, colours, content and CTAs Calls To Action before or when talking to a professional web developer, if how you look online is important to you to build your brand. Think Goodbody, Cox or Mathewson, Frys, McCanns or Mason Hayes & Curran.
6. Navigation
Make Navigation simple, intuitive, stand out and logically show what you specialise in, services such as Family Law, Conveyancing or Litigation, specialist areas such as Medical Legal and show your experience or qualifications.
7. Blog
Show off your knowledge, experience and useful information from the industry, maybe articles about Family Law or Tax Guidelines on property sales. Try Guest Blogging or answering questions in forums !
8. Social integration
Tie in all Blogging, Social Media and Advertising to your website content and draw people to the site – they might just connect with you by asking a question. It also helps you monitor all your web output, so you have more control over what gets seen. You can to some point dictate what people see when they search your name.
9. Maintenance
Bear in mind a solicitor website, like a car, has to be maintained and updated. It needs constant attention, security updates & patches, cleaning, plugins, software updates, apps updates and useful add-ons – but most of all useful helpful content or advice to engage with visitors, to help promote your practice, on an ongoing basis.
10. Budget
For a spend in Year 1 for the design, branding, photography, CMS website, advertising, digital marketing etc and then do a new budget for year 2 for building on that platform. The higher the spend or investment the higher and faster the return – GUARANTEED (if done well)!

Three Quick Takeaways:

1. Get good web partners, pay them to be supportive – establish an ongoing relationship in the same way you do with your Accountant or other key suppliers. It is outsourced qualified labour, ready to support you when you need help.
2. Treat this web project like opening a new office. How much would that cost ? How much attention would you give it ? Build what you need rather than buy something off the shelf at a set price.
3. Most web agencies are not good at MultiTasking. Chances are you need a 1. Domain Registrar, 2. Hosting Company, 3. Web Graphic Designer, 4. Web Developer and 5. Digital Marketer.
The good news is – a good solicitor website can promote your practice, show your professionalism, get you found in search, showcase your work, answer frequently asked questions, save time, make appointments, take fees or payments online or allow client access.

Now you know the brief ! What is your next step ? Have a no obligaton 30 minute discussion with us to get some direction on your specific requirements.

SOLICITORS WEBSITE DESIGN – options for a good Legal Practice website design

Some Solicitors will want:
1. a simple professional looking Starter website with about 5 pages as a basic web presence or digital business card, with contact details and with the general services all listed on one page.
Others will want
2. a Business website to expand on their services in more detail, to attract more visitors, to educate them, answer questions, explain terminology, to filter them and engage with them, to use digital marketing to grow enquiries. We list lots of tips here to help you plan what you need and avoid the pitfalls – contact us any time for a personal 30 minute complimentary consultation.

“Our new website gives us excellent web exposure 24/7 to allow our clients and potential clients get answers when they want to ask questions”
Dominic Brennan

Managing Partner, Gallagher Brennan Solicitors

10 good opening questions to consider before building a website for your legal practice:

1. Why do you want a website?
2. Do you need a website at all?
3. Is it just a simple brochure site or a more informative one or a Blog
4. Who is the Target Market?
5. Who will create the website for you? Why choose that web partner?
6. Who will manage it, support & maintain it and train you?
7. Do you have a Digital Marketing Strategy?
8. How much business will come to your project from your web presence?
9. How will you measure success or your return on any investment?
10. What other questions come to mind for you – every Client has specific requirements for their target market? Case management software, client access to files, secure email, shared cloud folders, taking payments online, etc

PS Keep it simple, but do plan it. Talk to Michael about Solicitor Website Design directly on 086 2510117 or
Let’s Talk

“MeanIT – we recommend them very very highly. They just do the job right.”
Garry Clarke

Partner, Lanigan Clarke Solicitors

Solicitors Website Design – 10 tips on how to use the web well

10 Reasons to get a professional web presence and a competent team of web partners.

You make a point of looking professional in a court of law, so why not do the same online?

Most people are timid about approaching a solicitor or even changing their solicitor. They are afraid of legal costs or meeting gruff, intelligent, academics with poor interpersonal skills.

1. Look professional – if someone finds your website you want it to reflect the real you whatever that may be. You can dictate how people see you rather than leaving it in the lap of Google search results. You can even look friendly, inviting and agreeable, at least on the web 🙂

2. Save team time – answer common questions on your website and save a lot of phone calls that are time consuming and repetitive. Invite questions and if you get some with any frequency then answer them on the website too.

3. Spell it out – ensure that the practice policy is adhered to by having your enquiries or questions answered the way you want them to be answered, rather than having team members speak off the cuff when the phone goes

4. Make a statement – by using your website to record and promote your policies and standards, terms and conditions – this will help ensure that your team are aware of them too, especially if you have any HR issues around the misunderstanding of policies

5. Engage visitors – add value by offering useful information such as standard costs for conveyancing (not necessarily your fee structure) or how much a barrister charges a day or steps to making a will, how long does a legal separation take and so on.

6. Help – let people find you and contact by having your correct full address, postal code, telephone number, email and functioning Contact Form

7. Provide downloadable forms – on your website as PDFs to save on postage and speed up delivery as well as providing a useful service.

8. Social – Integrate all your social platforms, your various publications, statement or comments, by linking your accounts to your website including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

9. Blog – use your blog to post news about you, your legal services, your industry news or your activities in the community

10. Security – ensure that your domain name and hosting is in your name on your business credit card

““We are located beside the Courthouse, but off the main street. So, we needed to get found online, to help people find us offline. And we want to explain which services we offer. It works !!!”

Maureen Crawford Gallagher

Senior Partner, Crawford Gallagher

Guideline on costs for a good solicitor website

 

Professional Web Services for Website Design for Solicitors – useful ballpark estimates below as a guideline only.

Options Simple Business Enterprise
Pages 5+ 10+ Unlimited
Home page Y Y Y
About page Y Y Y
News page Y Y Y
Services page Y Y Y
Contact Form Y Y Y
Pay Button Y Y Y
Facebook integration Y Y Y
CMS Content Management System Y Y Y
Mobile responsive Y Y Y
Design theme Y Y Y
eMail redirect Y Y Y
Google Analytics Optional Optional Optional
Basic SEO Optional Optional Optional
Manual Y Y Y
Open source Y Y Y
Page Builder with Drag n Drop Y Y Y
Training N Y Y
Gallery N Y Y
Blog dynamic N Y Y
Newsletter integration N Y Y
Survey/Poll N Y Y
Events Calendar N Y Y
Forum N N N
Shop N N N
Member area N N N
Support email 72 hours email 48 hours email 24 hours
Monthly Support Optional Optional Optional
Hosting monthly 10 20 POA
Custom design POA POA POA
Digital Marketing POA POA POA
Hours included for Developer 10 20 POA
Price estimate 2000 4000 POA
Book Now Book Now Book Now

Note:
Remember to include a page for your Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions and Social Media Policy.

A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google My Business or Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google My Business profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

Conclusion:
As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Also posted here.

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 40 ‘Professional Services Businesses‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 40 in 2021?

MEANit-Web-Design-Agency-Michael-MacGinty

Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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