The best law firm websites are never static or stale. Instead, they are dynamic, current, and constantly updating to better represent the law firms that put the time into them. But, if you want the freedom to keep your website fresh on your own, you need to be intentional about that freedom as you design it with your web partner.
If you’re not paying attention, you could end up locked into a website design that you have absolutely no direct control over—and you’ll have to watch helplessly as it slips out of date and off message over time.
Feeling a little lost about how your website’s design impacts your marketing success? Get 21 expert tips for law firm website design that will boost the growth of your practice.
In the meantime, though, let’s talk about some basics. What should you be able to edit on your website? Why would you want to edit those things on your own? Get the answers to these questions and more below as we go through the 7 things you should ALWAYS be able to edit on your website.
1. Does Your Law Firm’s Website Design Allow You to Edit Landing Pages?
“Landing pages” are the pages on your website that you want people to come to for a particular campaign or goal. For example, you might have a landing page for your estate planning PPC campaign, as well as a landing page optimized to drive organic interest in your DUI book. To accomplish both of these goals, each of those landing pages has to be deeply relevant and deeply motivating to your target audience. Since your “perfect clients” for your estate planning campaign probably have different concerns than your “perfect clients” for your DUI campaign, these two landing pages really can’t be generic copies of each other.
Your website should support your creation of these kinds of pages each time you launch a new push toward a specific kind of client, case, or other goal.
And, since a lot of the “magic” of marketing really happens in the tweaking and adjustment period AFTER a campaign launches, your ability to edit these pages as you go is absolutely CRITICAL. For example, if you notice that you’re getting a lot of traffic to your landing page, but not a lot of conversions, you want to be able to adjust your call to action or body text on the fly until you get it “just right.” If you’re a confident DIYer, going through a web partner every single time you need to make a small change like this is frustrating, and it will just slow down your progress. So, make sure you have the power to do it yourself!
2. Can You Change Your Practice Area Pages?
Speaking of landing pages, probably the most important landing pages on your website are your practice area pages. These pages are customized to each specific area of your practice and give a comprehensive overview of what you can do for clients with those specific kinds of legal issues. For example, a personal injury law firm might have separate practice area pages for car accidents, commercial truck accidents, and product liability injuries.
How your law firm’s website design handles your practice areas is a big deal—and it’s worth mentioning separately from the above section on landing pages because they’re a little bit different. Unlike a landing page for a PPC campaign, a landing page for a practice area probably doesn’t need to be tweaked or adjusted quite as often. It’s a little more generalized than a page tied to a highly specific campaign, and people may come to it organically through search, through internal links on your own website, or even through email campaigns and other outreach.
However, just because you may not change these pages as often doesn’t mean that you should give up your control. These are highly important pages that are designed to show visitors the main things you do. The messaging on these pages needs to match your current brand message, and they need to offer visitors the most up-to-date and compelling information you have on the subject.
Whether you want to change up the headline on the page, add links to new blog posts, or just adjust the tone of the copy on the page, you should be able to do it yourself.
3. Can You Edit the Attorney Profiles on Your Website?
A lot of potential clients visit your website because they want to get a sense of who you are and if you can help. So, your law firm website’s design should make it easy to navigate to your attorney profiles and update them as needed.
Why would you want to edit your attorney profile? After all, your life story and where you went to school haven’t changed—so what’s the point?
While it may not seem like your profile information can really change much over the years, some elements periodically need freshening up. Is your profile picture 10 years old? Have you written a new book? Have you moved to a new town or resolved some big cases since your profile or bio was last updated?
When you can edit your profile yourself, you can add a new success or a new picture as soon as it happens—and your clients get a fresh and current picture of who might be handling their case if they choose you.
4. Can You Update Your FAQs?
Your “frequently asked questions” should clearly answer the questions that your past, current, and future clients are asking. And, obviously, those questions and answers should still be relevant RIGHT NOW—or you risk leading potential clients astray before they’ve ever even talked with you.
Imagine that your potential clients today are reading an FAQ about tax laws from 2013. Are they getting accurate information? Is that information helpful to them or potentially relevant to their case? How does that outdated information reflect on your law firm and your authority as an attorney?
When your law firm’s website design allows you to edit your FAQs easily, you can update information as soon as you learn about it. That means that your potential clients benefit from the up-to-date knowledge, and you benefit from the trust and authority it builds in their eyes.
Sure, some law firms choose to go through their web partners to make these kinds of changes. However, this is what we mean about being intentional about the control you give yourself with the website you choose. If you know that YOU want to have control over what potential clients see on your website, and how accurate that information is, then you need to be intentional about giving yourself that ability in the design phase.
If you practice in an area of law where the answers to common questions often change, being able to edit your own FAQ content is a huge time-saver that keeps you on target.
5. Can You Easily Add and Edit Blog Posts?
Not all law firm website designs include an on-site blog, and not all designs let you easily update and edit those blog posts. However, if you do have a blog, you need to have the power to maintain it yourself.
Your blog is usually full of the freshest content on your whole site. The posts are typically more casual than the other content you post, and they often include truly helpful tips or “insider secrets” that help your clients and potential clients navigate through their legal issues.
Similar to FAQs, the answers you cover in your blog posts need to be updated from time to time as laws and circumstances change. You want everything to be accurate, even if the post is a few months old!
Keeping it fresh shows that you care about what’s in your blog and about the people looking to you for answers. If you can’t edit or add new posts on your own, you’re missing out on a lot of the reasons to even maintain an on-site blog!
It may not seem like a big deal to go through a web partner every time you want to blog about something or correct an old post, but this is actually one of the biggest reasons new clients come to us to design their law firm’s websites. The freedom to fire off a blog post when you have a little time between other pressing tasks makes it a huge difference in how often you get blog posts out, how often you go over old content, and how “alive” your blog seems to visitors.
6. Can You Edit Your Library Articles?
Library articles are usually big, core pieces of content that explain major topics and concepts in depth. For example, an estate planning attorney might have an in-depth library article about estate planning for couples that gives an overview of options and explains how to choose what’s best for your situation.
Again, the information contained in these bigger articles probably doesn’t change very often. However, these articles also function as a “funnel” for people looking for more specific information. They might click on the “Estate Planning for Couples” article, but then follow a link to a blog post you wrote about trusts. So, along with the accuracy of your text, you really want the links in your library articles to be current, too.
Even if you have writers or web partners that create your library content for you, it’s nice to be able to make your own edits as needed. Sometimes you just want to adjust the tone a little bit. Sometimes you need to update facts or figures used in the article. Sometimes you just want to add a link to a newer blog post you published.
When you can edit it yourself, you can get those tasks done in a matter of minutes.
7. Can You Edit Your Contact Forms?
Contact forms are a major component of any law firm website’s “calls to action.” Along with the page text that convinces readers to click, the contact form itself can be customized to assure readers further and motivate them to reach out.
If you can’t edit your contact forms, then you’re locked into the same generic form every time. You can’t customize the text or buttons, and every contact form for every purpose looks exactly the same.
With something as important as the form your visitors use to convert to leads, don’t you want a little more freedom to optimize it for your goals?
Design a Law Firm Website That Changes With Your Practice
A website isn’t a billboard; it should change and grow with your law practice. So, if you’re feeling locked into the exact same website that you launched with months or years ago, it’s probably well past time for a change.
Ready for a new website that gives you the power to make the changes you want? Put yourself back in the driver’s seat. Contact our award-winning design team at 888.886.0939 or sign up for a law firm website design consultation now.