Pop Quiz: What is the correct time it takes the average Web site visitor to develop a first impression of a website?
A) 2 seconds B) 6 seconds C) 300 milliseconds
Well, according to recent research study by the Missouri University School of Science and Technology, the answer is C: 300 milliseconds.
If your website’s functionality and design fall flat, a visitor will bounce FAST!
So how can you ensure your Northern California law firm’s website passes the first impression test? Make sure it follows the five key components of effective law firm website development and design.
One: Develop your Northern California law firm website with users in mind
A user-friendly website will:
• Use of intuitive navigation structure with logically named pages (e.g., “Law Firm Overview,” “Attorney Profile,” etc.)
• Look and work the same in multiple Web browsers and on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones – see Responsive Design for lawyer websites.
• Load smoothly and quickly
• Use of easy-to-understand language
• Feature an appropriate amount of text — enough to communicate your main marketing messages without overwhelming visitors – segment text so it easy for the reader to scan.
Two: Make an impression. Make it memorable!
Memorable law firm websites include:
• A fresh, unique appearance that quickly communicates the unique value or your Northern California law firm.
• Compelling elements — sharp photos, a well-coordinated color palette and typography that sets the appropriate tone
• A strategic balance between white space, text and images.
Three: Set yourself apart from competing Northern California law firms
What do your competitors’ law firm websites look like? What sort of content and imagery do they have? What kind of functionality do they offer? What can you can do differently or better?
While the answers to those questions shouldn’t direct your law firm’s site design and content, they are important to keep in mind. Your website should tell your law firm’s unique story: who you are, what you do, where you are located and all of the other elements that make up your unique brand. Balancing that against competing Northern California law firms will help you appropriately position your Bay Area law firm.
Four: Make it visible - effective law firm SEO
Ever drive by an amazing billboard while off-roading in the desert? No? Even the best-designed lawyer websites are worthless if they’re hidden in some deserted corner of the Web. Make sure your law firm website is optimized so search engines — and prospective clients — can find it. But understand this: While law firm search engine optimization (SEO) has tremendous upsides, it needs to be done correctly.
Five: Make your law firm website work for your Northern California law firm's unique goals
Form follows function when it comes to Web development and design. Top producing Northern California law firm websites:
• Offer clear calls to action
• Make it easy for prospective clients to contact you
• Integrate with your law firm’s identity and business goals.
• Allow potential clients to get to know you through photos, videos, concise attorney biographical information, social networking, blog posts, etc.
If you follow these five key components, you will be sure to make a powerful, lasting first impression — and dramatically boost your chances of converting visitors into profitable clients.