Our Head of Design, Tracey Stock outlines the key things that ensure your new website will not only look great but perform well too
There are many reasons why you may have decided to launch a new website project. It’s an exciting time! Maybe it’s to redesign your site and raise brand awareness, increase your traffic, improve conversion rates, generate more leads, add functionality or improve the user experience (UX)? The list is endless! It’s no small task but the investment of time, money and effort will pay dividends in the end.
So here are my top six questions to ask yourselves before starting the design process. These questions will help give the project more clarity at the start and help the website become one of your most effective marketing tools at the end.
1. Who are you as a law firm?
It may sound like an obvious question but if you can’t define who you are, then your message becomes confused. If you can sum up who you are in a few short sentences, then this message is clear, front and centre when visitors land on your site.
Asking the following might help define who you are:
- What are your key values?
- How would you describe the personality of the firm?
- What is your position in the market?
- What is the culture like at the firm?
- What is your background?
- What is your vision for the future?
2. What makes your law firm different?
The legal sector is a very competitive market and one of the biggest challenges is to find a way to stand out from the crowd (such a cliché I know). You may well offer the same quality services that your competitors do but what is that 10% that differentiates you from other law firms?
- What are your USPs? They must be genuine; they must be important to your clients and they must be achievable by everybody and every aspect of the firm’s interaction with clients
- Is how you are perceived today? Do you have a true view of the firm? Have you asked your clients recently?
3. What are your goals for this project?
It’s good to have a clear plan of why you are doing this project now and what you want to achieve. What would a successful website look like for your firm?
- You want to create a better user-experience with better engagement
- You want to generate more enquiries and ultimately get more customers
- You have a new brand, and the site needs to reflect this in content and tone as well as logo, colours and images
- You want to increase your brand awareness?
- You have a digital marketing plan, and the new website needs to incorporate your new strategy
- You want a website that you can edit and manage yourself
- You want a website that reflects the firm you are today
4. Who is your target audience?
In such a competitive market, you have a very short time to appeal to your target audience. The design may look beautiful but if it doesn’t resonate with the user, it’s too confusing to navigate or it’s too slow to load, then it’s all too easy to jump onto the next website in Google.
Take the time to get to know who your audience is and understand their behaviour. The aim is to offer a good user experience that allows them to navigate throughout the site and find a solution, whether that is in the form of information or contact with the firm. A good UX will help engage your clients with your brand and build the trust needed for a successful relationship.
5. Who are your competitors?
It may well be a competitor’s new website has spurred you on to redo your own. We can learn a lot from their successes and failures. It also keeps us aware to not tread too closely to a similar image or colour theme. Knowing what you like and what doesn’t appeal is very useful information and can give us a good steer towards the look and feel of your future design.
6. Are there particular features you want to include on the site?
It is very tempting to want everything plus the kitchen sink - but be selective. You may still have tools on your existing site, that once added value but have now become outdated and will just clutter and slow down your new website.
Know your audience and consider their journey through the site – page to page. Videos, Case studies, Blogs, Chatbots, Social Media, can all provide relevant and informative content that will engage your user. Be mindful too that different client personas will engage in different ways and have different requirements ie. A Medical Negligence client may respond well to a video case study and have an emotional connection to a client’s story. A Corporate litigation client on the other hand may prefer a more direct and less ‘touchy feely’ approach.
At Conscious, we’ve designed and built hundreds of websites over the years and I have to say, the most successful projects are those that have a clear direction and a purpose. Agree your budget before you start. Gather your core decision making team. Plan your timeline – milestones can help keep a project on track but understand that sometimes milestones have to move! Lastly… make time for your content. Make sure it is informative, relevant and engaging.