Many lawyers are under the mistaken impression that the web is mostly a visual medium—and you can't blame them, given the increasing popularity of YouTube and such picture-oriented sites as Picasa and Pinterest. But the fact is that the Internet is, first and foremost, an informational medium: it's where people go to learn new facts, settle arguments, find out what their friends are up to, and make important decisions (such as which lawyer to hire).
Your Website's Graphics Should Supplement its Content
If you look at the average lawyer website, you'll probably see the following visual elements, some of which work and some of which don't:
- The law firm's logo, occupying a box or banner on the top of the page (important!)
- Pictures of the law firm's partners, either individually or posed side-by-side (also important)
- A photograph of the firm's conference room, occupied by serious-looking attorneys discussing an important case (not so important)
- A skyline view of the town or city where the firm is located (not important at all)
- Pictures of satisfied clients (may be important, if you wish to flatter a particular client)
- A picture, usually obtained from the public domain, of a gavel or courthouse (completely dispensable)
It goes without saying that your website should have a pleasing look, and not be taken up exclusively by long, unbroken blocks of small-type text. But you have to think of graphic elements as the “spice” that perks up the nutritious meal, which is the information you are offering to clients. A client will hire you because he likes what you have to say, not how the inside of your conference room looks!