PART 1: THE DESIGN OF THE AVOCAT WEBSITE
” The form is the bottom that rises to the surface » . Victor Hugo.
- A sober and elegant website: Bellenger Blandin Avocats
1. Typography: finesse and elegance
Typography, or the choice of fonts, is a major element of website design.
It is largely the typography that will mark the personality from your website:
- modern vs traditional
- light vs serious
- corporate clientele vs start-up clientele
There are two families of fonts:
- The Sans Serif fonts (Arial, Helvetica, Circular, Acumin, Europa…) which will rather give a modern look to your site
- The Serif typefaces (Garamond, Bodoni, Times New Roman…), with ornamentation, will mark a more traditional positioning.
Take care to choose one (or two) fonts, which will give personality and finesse to your website.
2. A sober and striking color code
Color is an important aspect that will bring dynamism to your website.
I advise not to multiply the colors, which can give a disjointed aspect to the site.
- One or sober color: black / anthracite / navy blue for the text
- A bright color that will be used to highlight certain elements (buttons, color backgrounds, etc.)
3. An airy and uncluttered layout
I strongly recommend that you keep your ventilated site consistent with the values of the legal profession: sobriety, clarity and rigour.
Here are some handy fitness tips that will facilitate readabilityparticularly on the web:
- Space out and ventilate the elements between them
- skip to line regularly
- Structuring with bullet points
- Structure in columns
- Structure with titles and subtitles
- Don’t overuse bold and italics that make reading heavy
- Choose a light color background (white, grey, beige) which will facilitate reading.
- Use buttons “call to action” to guide the user to the handshake
- A presentation adapted to the web: digestible.
4. photographs personal and authentic
Regarding the photographs of your website, you have to think of two types of photographs:
- Portrait photographs
These are, in my opinion, essential. The profession of lawyer involves a strong intuitive personaeand visitors, especially those who don’t know you, need to “put a face” on your Cabinet.
If there are several of you in the Firm, be sure to harmonize the framing of the photographs for a harmonious rendering. You can also display a team photograph that will highlight the collective spirit of your firm.
- Atmosphere photographs
If it is possible for you to take photographs of your premises, do not hesitate! This will give your website a more personal and embodied look. Otherwise here are two free resources that I use to find royalty-free photographs: https://unsplash.com/ https://www.pexels.com/
PART II: THE CONTENT OF THE AVOCAT WEBSITE
5. Structure: don’t reinvent the wheel!
The structure of the main menu will guide the visitor during his visit. Visitors will always enjoy a simple, clear and intuitive structure, that makes it easy to find the information you are looking for.
A good practice: all the pages of the site benefit from being accessible in 2 to 3 clicks from the home page.
Here is the classic structure that I recommend:
- Presentation of the firm
- Presentation of the team or the independent lawyer
- Presentation of skills (if possible 1 page per skill)
- News page / blog
- Contact page & practical information
- Fees page
- Legal notice page
- Customer testimonials page
- Recruitment page
6. Authentic content that highlights your differentiation
A classic pitfall of the content of lawyer websites: the generic aspect.
To avoid this, try to put yourself in the place of the visitor who searches for a lawyer on Google and who would compare different websites.
- What makes you differentiates of your colleagues in your approach? What do your customers particularly like about you? ? Your responsiveness, your technical expertise, your transparency, your advantageous fees, your fighting spirit…
- What are the specificities of the people in your Firm ? Present yourself, your journey with precision and generosity. If you belong to associations, or if you have particular subjects of interest, do not hesitate to indicate them.
- Present your skills accurately. Do not hesitate to go into the details of your skills, for example with an “inventory à la Prévert” format. This will allow the visitor to realize the extent of your skills.
7. A living blog
The blog is an opportunity to give credibility to the Cabinet with visitors and show the dynamism of your activity.
A time-saving way to keep your blog active is to republish case law briefs in your areas of expertise.
Don’t hesitate to include your news in the skills pages.
8. SEO: lay a good foundation from the creation of the site
For a complete and in-depth guide to SEO for lawyers’ websites, you can consult our dedicated article on the subject.
The objective here is rather to alert you to the points to consider from the creation phase of the website so as not to be blocked during the referencing phase.
One of the “SEO principles” is to create a dedicated page for each targeted keyword. For example, you will need a page for “paris criminal law lawyer”, a different page for “paris family law lawyer” etc…
- Site structure: Avoid “one-page” sites that will limit you.
- Skills pages: create a different page per skill (1 page per target keyword).
On the technical aspects:
- Responsive: make sure the site adapts well to mobile phones
- Loading speed: Make sure the site has a fast enough loading time.
PART III: THE TECHNICAL AND REGULATORY ASPECTS OF THE AVOCAT WEBSITE
9. Technology: an easy to manage, stable and scalable CMS
The choice of your CMS is important. This is the software that will allow you to create, update and manage your website.
Lawyer websites are often technically simple sites that do not require complex technologies.
This is why I advise you to give priority to technologies attractive design, easy to use on a daily basisand technically robust
Here are some classic CMS options:
- WordPress (open source)
- Webflow (more technically advanced)
If, however, you want to develop a manually coded website (“from scratch), make sure you have simple administrator access that does not require coding skills.
Indeed, it is essential that you are independent in the management of your website without calling on an external service provider to:
- Edit page content
- Add an article to your blog
- Add someone to your team
- Add a new skill
(You cannot imagine the number of lawyers who no longer have access to their website or who are dependent on a service provider for any change).
Similarly, make sure that your website is scalable, that is to say that it can evolve if new needs appear, for example:
- Integrate an online appointment module
- An online fee payment system
- A bilingual version of the site
- Integrate a live chat
10. Ethics & GDPR
Here are some good practices to follow in order to comply with the rules of ethics of the profession.
- Be sure to choose a domain name that is not generic “eg: avocats-penal.fr”
- Perform a request for validation from the Bar Association before the launch of the website. This will give you feedback and ensure that the site is compliant. In theory: “Any update substantially modifying the content of the site and which may be such as to justify a new validation by the Order must be the subject of a new validation request. “.
- Integrate a legal notice page. You can rely on models. Consider including a section on mediation and conflict resolution.
- Do not use the mention “Specialized” if you do not hold the certification of specialization.
Regarding personal data protection and compliance GDPR :
- Inform the Internet user of the data collected and cookies on the Legal Notice page
- Obtain consent of the Internet user before any cookies are triggered (via a Cookies module for example).
- Include CNIL notices below the contact forms collecting personal data
- Provide a direct means of contact for users to exercise their rights.
Take care and do not hesitate to contact us if you need support.
In summary, here is our checklist of 10 points to keep with you when creating your website:
the choice of typography
the choice of colors
an airy layout
a simple structure with a clear and unique menu
precise content that marks your differentiation
a living blog
a site optimized for natural referencing
a site that complies with the ethical rules of the Order
a GDPR compliant site.
I hope the tips shared in this article will help you in that regard.
And don’t hesitate to share your questions or comments in the comments!