Practice Management

An Attorney’s Guide to Building a Website

John Lehman
John Lehman
March 22, 2018

The days of flipping through your regional Yellow Pages to find a business or professional service provider are numbered. As you know, today’s customers use online search engines to find everything they’re shopping for, including attorneys. Whether you’ve been running a firm for decades or are hanging your shingle for the very first time, it’s an absolute necessity to have an online presence—this starts with a website. As far as potential clients are concerned, if they can’t find your law firm online, your law firm doesn’t exist.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the key steps to creating a professional website for your practice.

Conceptualize your site

You can’t have much of a website if you don’t know what it will look like, so your first step should be to sit down and create an outline of your site’s content. It’s important to think about who your target audience is—most likely, this will be prospective clients, so you’ll want to make sure your site does an excellent job at selling your skills as an attorney and convincing them to reach out with a potential case.

Perhaps the most important and obvious feature you should include is the best way to contact you about a potential case. You’ll want to make sure your business contact information is easy to find, whether it be your phone number, business email, or even a contact form that visitors can fill out. Many attorney websites will have this information featured in the upper left or right-hand corners of every page of their site, always visible and ready for when the visitor wants to take action.

Your website should also include a professional photo of yourself. You might consider featuring it on an “About” page, where you can write a summary of your career and list out key certifications, professional achievements, or academic accomplishments. Not only does this help sell your qualifications, but it also makes you more approachable to potential clients.

Another common feature on attorney websites is a practice area page. As the name suggests, you should use this section to do a deep dive on your area(s) of focus and explain why visitors should trust you to take their case. Boost your credentials by sharing brief examples of successful cases or articles you have written on relevant subjects.

Choosing your host

Now that you have a rough idea of what you want your site to be, it’s time to actually start putting it together. There are a variety of do-it-yourself options available online, such as Wix or Squarespace. Their “drag-and-drop” interface make it easy to build a professional-looking website within a matter of hours, without any experience in web-development. However, because of their nature, you may find these options are limited in terms of customization, design choice, and search engine optimization.

If you would prefer to have more control over your site and are a little more tech-savvy, you might consider using a option like WordPress instead. The platform still provides easy-to-use tools compared to building a site from scratch, although it requires some HTML and CSS knowledge to get the most out of it. The end result, however, is a site that is highly customizable and can perform exactly the way you want it to.

If you don’t have the know-how or the time to build a professional website, there’s no shame in hiring someone else to build it for you. There are plenty of marketing firms who make a living building sites for legal professionals like you. Ask other attorneys for recommendations for a marketing or web development firm in your area, or search Google for a reputable company. Share with them the outline you’ve already created to give them an idea of what you’re aiming for.

Maintaining value

Once you have your website up and running, you don’t want it to be a static asset. As your practice evolves and more professional achievements are notched into your belt, your website should change and expand as well. A site that is regularly updated with new content becomes more visible to search algorithms, meaning more visibility online and more potential clients visiting your site and requesting your services.

One way you can keep your site fresh and updated is by creating a blog. Write articles regularly about topics related to your practice and post them onto your site’s blog. Ideally, you should aim to write and post one blog per week. Of course, depending on your schedule, that may not always be possible. What’s more important is that you stick to a consistent uploading schedule—even if that means posting twice a month. Try to post on the same day of the week so your visitors have a reasonable expectation as to when they can expect new content from you.

Another way to add value to your site is by posting testimonials from your clients, lending credence to your practice and abilities to potential clients. If a client has sent you a glowing recommendation or rates you services on a professional rating site, ask them if you have their permission to republish their recommendation on your website. As you continue to complete cases and collect testimonials, your site can have a steady stream of new content to upload.

You can also allow your clients to pay your bills directly from your website, giving them the convenience of paying you from anywhere with an internet connection. If you’re a LawPay user, you can create customized payment pages that you can attach to your site, with your payment portal embedded directly within the page. You can then direct current and future clients to visit your site every time they need to pay your bills.

No matter the site you end up with, it’s a good idea to post a privacy policy to your website. This document will explain how both you and your website will manage personal information from clients and visitors, respectively.

If you need help creating one, we have a free sample privacy policy that you can download below.