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Template Vs Custom: Elevating Your Law Firm’s Website

Written by Gary Honold on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > Template Vs Custom: Elevating Your Law Firm’s Website


Key takeaways:

  • Custom websites offer more than templates, but your brand identity is your choice.
  • With a custom site, your firm has room for expansion.
  • Improper coding is more common than you might think with templates.
  • Mobile responsiveness is essential for performance.
  • Slow loading times can hurt sites.
  • Custom sites can specifically target business goals and what converts for your firm.
  • Array Digital can craft a unique site for your brand with scalability.

Whether you are a new law firm looking to market your services immediately or an established firm looking to break into the digital space, you must first build a visually appealing and helpful website. You can get this done quickly using a template on a web builder platform, but this might hurt you more than it helps. If you want a website strategically made for desktop and mobile that is user-friendly and converts users into clients, look no further than the custom web design offered at Array Digital. To speak with an expert in website design, call 757-333-3021 or use our contact page today.

What Is the Purpose of a Website Template?

monitor and smartphone showing a website

A lawyer website template is something some practices turn to for a fast and simple way to create a website. It is often a predesigned resource. It provides the basics of the website structure, layout, and features. Suppliers often provide website templates to make web design a bit easier for the designer.

Lawyer website templates are supposed to be a fast way for a law firm to get a homepage, contact form, and some basic pages up without spending too much money. You may find a variety of options out there, including free themes from a visual builder or a simple HTML template.

You may think that using a drop page builder may work for you. Before making that decision, consider a few key factors.

Template Website

Pros:

  • Website builder is easy to implement
  • Some pre-designed layouts are free

Cons:

  • Other lawyers could use the same template
  • May come with structural or coding problems
  • May run slower than competitors

Custom Website

Pros:

  • Wholly unique
  • Responsive design suited to your firm
  • Can continuously maintain and host your site

Cons:

  • More costly than a template
  • Requires more effort unless working with a development agency

Are There Downsides to Using a Law Firm Website Template?

There are numerous limitations and disadvantages to a law firm website that uses this type of template. Using a template like this on a web builder is less desirable than using a custom website for many reasons.

  • You risk having the same template as a competitor.
  • Template websites come with structural and coding problems.
  • Your site’s mobile functionality can suffer over time.
  • Your website may run slower, driving away clients.

Take a closer look at some of these limitations.

Other Lawyers Use the Same Templates

There’s less originality for your law office in some basic lawyer WordPress theme templates.

It’s common for numerous law firms to use the same attorney website template. They simply plug information into the various locations in the header, footer, and other spaces and add images, and they are done. Your website may look much like theirs.

Improper Coding and Structure Are Common

Coding concerns can be a big problem for many organizations, including issues with an HTML5 template, the CSS or CSS3, or other coding components for your website. Errors in a standard lawyer website template could end up hurting your business. Furthermore, if your firm works with several bilingual clients, you must learn to use tools like WPML, which requires a deeper understanding of WordPress’s software.

When you use a template on a web builder, you may find problems related to the improper structure of the design itself.

One common concern relates to breadcrumbs. Breadcrumb navigation is a critical feature for law firm websites that helps by:

  • Helping visitors find their way around the site
  • Reducing the number of actions visitors have to take to get to the page they want
  • Making navigation of the website easier across the various sections and pages
  • Providing a visual aid that helps users know where they are on the website

In short, without this type of functionality, it’s hard to know where to go next when looking through the site.

Another concern is the heading structure. Headings are an important part of web design because:

  • They help improve the site’s appearance and content.
  • They make the website more accessible.
  • They work to split information into different sections, letting people quickly move through the page visually and keeping them interested.
  • Proper heading structure is also necessary for assistive technologies — those used by visually impaired individuals — to use the website.

Without the proper header structure, an attorney’s website isn’t going to meet everyone’s needs.

As a lawyer, you may not know the rules of technical search engine optimization (SEO). Technical SEO is a crucial part of any legal or business website that helps by:

  • Allowing search engines to crawl the page and determine the proper ranking, or positioning, of your website in the search engine results pages, mainly Google search
  • Helping prospective visitors to find your website when they type queries like “best lawyer near me” or seek out an attorney to answer their questions

Less Mobile Responsiveness Over Time Can Occur

Responsive websites are essential. If you do not use a responsive template, this can limit your abilities to meet your readers’ expectations now and later. This is particularly problematic for mobile access. For example, adding new elements to your website over time can negatively impact mobile devices’ usability. Instead, you want a clean, retina-ready solution.

Array Digital’s design team knows just what elements to add to a website and where to add them for maximum efficiency. We can also integrate busier elements onto your website, such as a social media feed, while keeping your site balanced.

Slower Website Speeds

A website you create yourself in builders like Bootstrap or Wix will likely not pass Google Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals are particular factors that Google believes are critical to website user experience. This includes three specific page speed and user interaction measurements:

  • The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • The First Input Delay (FID)
  • The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

These three factors focus on the website’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability, and are all very important to the usability of the site. These are parameters with which lawyers are often not familiar.

Array Digital boasts a dedicated web development team that builds and maintains websites using SEO best practices with Core Web Vitals in mind. We focus on every detail of the process to ensure your multipurpose website is fully functional. Even better, we can accommodate most needs with our ADA compliance offering.

If you want to showcase other parts of your online presence, such as your business listing on Google Maps or LinkedIn profile, our team can integrate those features into your website. We complete several rounds of testing to ensure that all new content is efficient before publishing your website with integrations.

What Are the Benefits of a Custom Website?

 

Montagna Law homepage layout

A custom website supports everything that a template website does not. That includes everything listed above. Benefits of a custom web design include:

  • You’ll have a high-quality website with a modern design that you select.
  • You’ll have a responsive design for your law office that communicates the legal services you offer and incorporates everything essential to great functionality.
  • We can continuously maintain, update, and host your website.
  • Your new website will be fully compatible with future expansions and updates.

Our goal is to ensure you have the best law firm website possible.

A custom website from Array Digital is an investment. We build the website, maintain it, update it with content if you are an SEO client, and host it. Array Digital asks for client feedback during the website design process, too. We highly value collaboration with all lawyers we work with to create and maintain custom sites.

Competitive law firms pay agencies to build and maintain their websites. We believe in developing solutions that work specifically for your legal offices. Unlike stock lawyer templates, we can provide a specific solution that attracts the right cases.

A custom website is a custom solution.

We build websites with future additions in mind. For example, in the future, you may want to add an SEO plan to expand your business. We design websites to be fully compatible with any future marketing additions you may make. The goal is to give you all the tools you need to be the legal advisors you want to be and easily bring in potential clients.

Do Custom Sites Convert Better for a Lawyer Than Template Sites?

When it comes to custom websites, converting visitors to clients is important. A predesigned law firm WordPress theme may not work to achieve this. If you want to bring leads in from a beautifully designed landing page, you need pages specifically developed to convert.

Having a custom website draws users to call your firm for consultations or to purchase additional products you may offer (i.e., videos, books, etc.). When built intentionally, users can navigate the website to find various practice areas for which you provide service, click on the information they need, and quickly get to the contact form to contact you for more information.

With the proper widgets, plugins, and other built-in tools, a responsive layout encourages visitors to take action. People use your professional website to learn what you can do for them, get sound legal advice, and then take action. They read your testimonials to learn from your past clients’ experiences, and they browse your social media feed and blogs to learn more about how you would potentially handle their cases. When your website houses all of this information, website users have a higher chance of converting.

What Does a Custom Law Office Website Cost?

Many things go into the cost of a custom website beyond just site templates. With all of the flexibility we offer, costs vary significantly. However, we offer competitive pricing for our digital marketing plans. You can learn more about our current pricing on our web design pricing page.

For those who need a custom solution, no problem! Speak directly with our sales team to find a solution that works for you. We can work with you to get every detail in place, from color schemes to plugins that help build your online presence. When you need more than a basic WordPress theme with limited flexibility, let our team help you.

Conclusion: Should You Go With a Custom Website or Use a Template?

Array Digital’s verdict: A custom website is a better long-term investment for lawyers.

Custom website vs. template can be a tricky question in website development. How much you want to invest in your firm’s online brand is ultimately your choice, and the type of website you choose plays a major role. A template-based website can get the job done, and it is remarkably affordable. The catch, however, is that you may not achieve the reach or conversion goals you set for yourself. Custom website design will likely put you in a better position for growth, but it requires some initial investment.

Array Digital’s web design agency offers a unique custom-built website for every client’s needs, from the back end to what visitors see upfront. Plus, our prices are competitive and flexible. We design all our sites with future development in mind, so there is always room to expand. We understand that every law firm has something unique to offer, including startups, so our job is to ensure that your target audience can see exactly what you can do for them.

Why Law Firms Partner With Array Digital

Law firms have repeatedly experienced the benefits of our services in the past thanks to our dedication to creating custom strategies for each and every client. Our team strives to get to know your firm first before developing a web design plan. We use a goal-oriented approach to learn your unique business needs before moving forward to facilitate your marketing strategy and messaging. Take a look at what a previous client had to say about their custom website from Array Digital.

Testimonials

“Array Digital has built an awesome website for our law firm and has used SEO to move us to the top of the page on Google. Two of our best recent settlements were for clients who found us on Google, which is a direct result of the great work Array Digital has done for us. They are true professionals who know their stuff!” – James K.

Call Array Digital for a Custom Solution for Your Law Firm

Go beyond using pre-made law firm page templates. Let us build a website that is uniquely yours that properly represents your brand. To speak with an expert in website design, call 757-333-3021 or reach us through our contact page today.

Written By Gary Honold
President / CMO
I am a digital marketer and SEO manager with 30+ years’ experience driving web traffic, leads, and conversions for clients in highly competitive markets.

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