I will be practically explaining to you how to design, build and create a mobile responsive website for attorneys, lawyers and law firms using the power of WordPress software.
While this is a lengthy tutorial (almost 5000 word count), I would want you to be patient and implement all recommendations and suggestions. The aim of this tutorial is to show and teach you how you can do it all by yourself without stress.
Table of Contents
- Get Facts and Materials needed
- WordPress Themes Template
- Domain name registration
- Getting the ideal Web hosting
- Installing WordPress software
- Detailed Set up and Configuration ( MUST READ)
- How to maintain the site
- Getting on Google search console for indexing
- Getting needed traffic using Social media
Get Facts and Materials needed
Building or designing an attorney and lawyer website is not rocket science if you leverage on the use of WordPress and not trying to write programming language and complex codes.
Because this is a project, your first task is to compose yourself, plan out every details and you can accomplish all this by:
- Getting required facts about the nature of website needed and information to be posted there.
- Materials to use e.g. pictures, videos, testimonials, contact, about etc.
- Detailed information on the particular law firm, number of attorneys, lawyers present, whether they want to upload the pictures of these lawyers on the FrontPage design or for each individual lawyers, or more so , maybe they just want the ‘About ‘ Page to contain all information about them.
- Accomplished /Cases won: This is essential to boost the moral and convince clients further on the potential and ability of the particular attorney, law firm or lawyers to represent them and win their cases for them.
- So, you will need to actually sit down, get all these facts before proceeding further with the design concept.
These are some of the facts I can remember right now, your task on this project is to first get your acts together!
Let us continue!!
WordPress Themes Template – Designing
Acceptance is of importance, and without a great looking professionally designed website, I am afraid that you may not get the much needed acceptance.
Point two to also note is the fact that your website should be mobile responsive, an average of 9 people out of 10 people are actually surfing the internet from their mobile phones; this concept has now become mandatory that the site you are about to build should have this special features.
I am recommending to you the use of specially designed mobile responsive, fast loading WordPress themes (website templates) that are built, programmed and coded specially for an attorney, lawyer or law firm. Some of these templates are shown below:
These templates and others can be obtained only from the following respected and dignified companies:
The above ones may not be appealing to you, however, when you get to the above mentioned company websites, you can simply check for various themes of your choice. But always remember to view the demos.
Because what you see and what you bought is what you will get!!
When you make the purchase, you will need to download the purchased templates (it is mostly in ZIP file) on your computer.
Domain name registration
What is the name of the law firm? What is the name of the attorney or lawyer? These questions gives answer to what is called branding.
And the same name is what we are going to register what is called ‘domain name’; A domain name is the identity of the law firm on the internet, it is a name all internet protocols understands and identify with.
Examples of domain names are:
- facebook.com etc.
Because of the purpose of branding, it is advisable to use the already established name of the attorney or law firm.
However, you will need to check to see if the name is still available for registration (probably it may be registered or being used by someone else).
To check and carry out the verification, you will make use of the domain name verification checker box below.
Test and check out different names until you are satisfied with the right one to use; however, one general rule when choosing a domain name are:
- The names short be short
- The names should be memorable and easy to remember and spell
- It should not contain numbers but only alphabets
Once you get and understand these rules, then go ahead and register your domain name as soon as possible.
Getting the ideal Web hosting
A reliable web host is important to the perfect uptime and zero downtime of your site. While there are many web hosting service providers, including the free ones out there, I will never recommend them to you because of poor service delivery and actually free is not really free.
The web hosting company I use (been using them for more than 8 years) is what I will be recommending that you should use. You need these company because you are going to buy a space on the web server to have your domain name and the contents go live on the internet.
I am recommending the services of Bluehost Webhosting Company, with their services, the registered domain name becomes free (you save USD18 for one year), you have access to a whole lots of features including emails for yourself, clients and staffs (e.g. email@example.com etc.), you have access to 24 hours excellent customer support services etc.
The domain name registration and hosting occurs at the same time on the same bluehost platform, getting them on a single platform is beneficial because of DNS issues.
Installing WordPress software
Now that we have completed the domain and hosting registration, the next step is to install and configure the needed software that will be used in building the site.
The software in question is software; WordPress is the best website building software because of its numerous advantages, chief among which is the fact that it is the best open source software, supported and maintained by over 2000 programming professionals in more than 13 countries.
To install WordPress, just follow the guidelines below:
- Accept the terms of service, click on the ‘WordPress Logo, W’ for the installation to proceed.
- When you click proceed, then the installation is being processed in the background, you do not have to stress yourself with the whole process.
- Follow the image guideline below for your fast understanding;
- During the installation, create a password for the account, and once everything is successful, you will be brought to the WordPress dashboard as shown below.
I need to point some few facts because it is very important you know them and keep the record both on your notepad and also inside your head:
- You are done with Bluehost at this stage (i.e. bluehost.com); you only them if you need to contact the customer care support services
- To contact bluehost again, just remember your login details (which is username: domain name and password is created when you registered the domain name and also host the site). Please keep it safe.
- You are now on your WordPress dashboard (image above); anytime you want to access your site i.e. to maintain, publish or edit anything on it, you will need your WordPress login details. Your WordPress login details are (username: Admin or your email address and your password should be done by you during the installation of the software).
- Again, to access the site, you will need to use the same WordPress login I just mentioned by first typing the following login URL address which is mostly in this format: yourlawfirm.com/wp-admin/ , once it opens, you will see the image below:
On this page, just enter your username and password and you will be directed to your dashboard.
Once you are done, the next stage is the real practical teaching and tutorial on how to design and actually set up the website.
Detailed Set up and Configuration
This is where the main works lie; for the purpose of your easy understanding, the following areas will be discussed:
- Uploading and installation of purchased WordPress themes
- The header, footer and logo set up and editing)
- Set up of the Menu
- The entire FrontPage and homepage set up/editing
- Uploading of Images and videos
- Pages and posts set up/ creation
- Change of default permalinks
- WordPress plugins installation and configuration
- Widget Settings
A detailed explanation on each listed points above;
STEP 6 (1)
Uploading and installation of purchased WordPress themes
Now that you have purchased the WordPress themes built specifically for this purpose, it is now time to have it on your site.
We will be uploading the demo so that the new site can look 99% like the purchased themes (templates).
The following guidelines are needed:
- Login to your WordPress dashboard (remember what I earlier told you, or you simply scroll up and see the instructions); and if you are already logged in, that is better.
- Go to appearance (very much visible by the left hand side of the dashboard), under appearance, locate themes, click on add new themes and you will be taken to the themes settings page
- On that page, go to the upload box, click upload, look for where you downloaded the purchased templates ( it is in ZIP file), upload this file and within 9 minutes, it will uploaded
- Click on activate and it will be activated.
Demo upload and installation
Wait, you have not finished yet, we are still going to import and upload the demo file also;
Follow the guidelines below carefully
- Go to the purchased WordPress file (where you downloaded the file)
- Go to the file and unzip it (just write click on the file and chose unzip; this action allows you to see the contents and be able to move it)
- After you have done this, look inside the folder and search for demo or anything with .XML; if you find it good.
- But in some themes, you may not see this feature, they may package it in the overall ‘themes option settings’ which will be displayed boldly to you in the dashboard (usually before the appearance link)s
- Now, if you see the demo or xml, that is good, then you will need to go to ‘tools’ ( by the same left hand side of the dashboard), click on import and from the import page, install the import plugin.
- Once the plugin is installed, it will locate what you want to import. Simply import the demo file or the .XML file and all the contents will be imported to your new design.
- If the pictures are not imported, do not worry, you can always do this manually!!
- Please know that the import of the demo contents is not just the contents but the entire settings, including page, SEO etc. are imported (so, you have a ready- made site in place!!)
STEP 6 (2)
The header, footer and logo set up and editing
Now that the site is in place (almost 75% ready), we need to start making adjustments so that it will conform to your own preference.
We will start with the header, footer and the logo
The image below is the headers ( using the template as an example)
You will need to edit the header, what you are going to edit from the header is the menu, the logo, the description and any other things that are not supposed to be there.
Editing of the header can be done from:
- The widgets (located in the appearance)
- The theme options (if the theme has a special theme settings panel, you will see it on the dashboard, e.g. themes from Mythemeshop has this panel)
- To set the logo and upload yours, you can also do it from the widgets and from the theme options panel.
To edit the menu, I have written the special tutorial for it below.
STEP 6 (3)
Set up of the Menu
The following image is the menu:
However, what you are seeing is the sample, you will need to adjust to yours. The menu has primary and secondary menu and to edit the menu or probably set it up, follow the instructions down.
Go to the menu settings page, go to appearance, and in it, you will see ‘Menu’, click on it and you will be at the menu settings.
But remember, your menu is from the imported demo, so, everything would have been created. Study this page and start editing the elements and components one by one.
You build your menu by adding pages and posts to it; so study the page very well and implement changes one by one.
Any changes you make, remember to save it and when you go to the homepage to view it, remember to also refresh the homepage to see the new changes. If you do not refresh the browser, the changes will not show to you, even though it is already done.
STEP 6 (4)
The entire FrontPage and homepage set up/editing
You already know your homepage ( also called FrontPage); editing of the header, logo, footer etc. are all part of the FrontPage editing because the footer, header and logo remains the same/constant throughout the entire pages of the site.
To edit your homepage, the following are some things you will want to change:
- Background image or picture/color
- Displayed images/pictures
- Written description and texts etc.
To accomplish this, you will:
- Edit from the FrontPage/Homepage directly
- Edit from the widgets
- Or from the theme options (if available, based on the type of themes you bought).
To edit from the FrontPage, look at the top of the page and if you see the edit icon ( not all themes FrontPage has this option), click on it and you start editing.
To change anything pictures and videos, you can do that from the ‘media’ section of the dashboard (explanation on this is further below).
STEP 6 (5)
Uploading of Images and videos
Images and videos are powerful because of their proven influence on achieving results and getting high conversions.
Either you want to upload videos or images on the FrontPage or selected areas on the site, you can do that by:
- Using the media section on the dashboard
- Directly uploading to the post or pages
I will explain
- Go to media, on the dashboard, by the left hand side, click on it and when there, click on ‘add new’
- Go to the images or videos you want to upload and upload it.
- It will now be uploaded and stored in the media storage area.
- So, if you want to insert any picture or video on anywhere on the site, just come to the media section and upload it
The second method is straightforward (though, the image or video will still be saved in the media section)
- Just go to the post, pages or even the FrontPage, click on the place you want to upload, look for the source (either on your computer, mobile phones or any other external storage device)
- Click on upload and it will be done;
STEP 6 (6)
Pages and posts set up/ creation
You need to check and know the pages already imported. This is important when building the attorney or lawyer website. To check, go to:
- Go to pages, click on it and you will be on the pages repository
- There, you will see all pages, both published and yet to be published
- For example, you may have the ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ page already published (because we imported the demo contents); however, the contents will not be what you want, so you have to edit the contents
- Other pages you do not want, simply delete them straightaway.
Now, if you want to create and publish a new page (for example, maybe for testimonials or cases won, our clients, about our law firm etc.); follow the guideline below:
- Go to pages, but instead of clicking it, click on ‘Add new page’
- On the new page (it will be blank), give the new page a title (e.g. testimonials or cases won, our clients, about our law firm), scroll towards the right hand side, upload a featured image (featured images are important, they are mostly shown on Google search images).
- Then click on publish!!
Now, if you want some of these pages to appear and show on your menu, simply go to the menu, click on the particular page, and click on add. It will automatically be added to the menu by the right hand side, as seen below:
STEP 6 (7)
Change of default permalinks
You will need to change the permalinks default settings, just follow the image below to do that.
You will see the permalink link in settings (by the left hand side of the dashboard), click on settings, then on permalinks.
STEP 6 (8)
WordPress plugins installation and configuration
Your new attorney or law firm website is not complete or will not be able to function without the WordPress plugins. WordPress plugins are accompanying tools to use instead of writing codes.
The following are essential plugins you need to install as soon as possible on the site:
- Yoast SEO plugin: For search engine optimization.
- W3 Total Cache: Faster loading experience.
- Akismet Plugin: Deals with spam
- Jetpack plugin: Must have plugin (you need it to create contact form).
- Sumo plugin: Social media buttons
- Real Time chat plugin: Instant chat messaging plugins. Excellent!!
After installing the plugins, the next step is to activate them.
STEP 6 (9)
Nearly all sorts of editing and set up you want to do on the site involves the use of the widgets. If you want to add code, any elements, advertisement codes, even contact page with social media buttons etc.; you will have to come to the widgets to do all that.
You will see the widgets settings under appearance, click on it and you will be there; anything you want or do (even changing of background colors can be done from the widgets, however, it also depends on the particular template/themes you have).
Maintenance of the site
Congratulations because the site is now ready and is live. People can see it, on their PC, laptops and also on their mobile gadgets.
If you are having problem with the whole set up, just reach out to me, I will be glad to be of help.
Now, the maintenance is what is next, this is not rocket science and it is not a task you will be doing every day. It may be two times in a month.
To maintain your new site is by:
- Regularly posting news, articles etc. on it.
- Regularly updating the software i.e. WordPress
- Regularly updating the WordPress themes and the Plugins
To accomplish the three tasks mentioned above is by logging into your account (i.e. WordPress dashboard) and updating the required.
How will you know?
This is simple and very easy; a notification will appear on the dashboard after you have logged in, and the notification will tell you that ‘an update is available for the specified plugins and also the themes.
Getting on Google search console for indexing
The next step, very essential step is getting on Google. Why?
Google is a search engine, and it help your new site to be discovered easily be people looking for litigation solutions, people will be able to search for you and transact business with your company.
In essence, the search engine is needed to send traffic to you i.e. targeted traffic involving people that are actually interested in what your business offers.
To get started with Google, you start by opening a free account on Google search console at www.google.com/console.
You can start by following the steps below:
- I will advise you use a new Gmail email account.
- Login to search console after signing up using the Gmail email address I mentioned.
- Submit your new website (i.e. law firm site) and get it verified; to verify your website (you will make use of the Yoast SEO plugin you earlier installed.
- Just go to the plugin settings on your dashboard, read and follow the stated guidelines there.
- Once the verification exercise is done and is successful, then you will need to:
Submit your sitemap; the same Yoast SEO plugin will handle that for you, you just go to the plugin and activate the sitemap features.
Copy the sitemap address and submit it in the sitemap section of the search console
- After submitting the sitemap, before 2 hours, Google will crawl and index your new site.
If you encounter any issues, just reach out to me.
Getting needed traffic using Social media
If you are building this project for a client, they will be glad if you can just complete the whole task and you handle the site to them.
One major aspect that you should not forget is that you need to get the site on the world’s leading social media networks.
Get started with Facebook
- Open a free Facebook page using the name of the site (I mean the domain name) e.g. facebook.com/mylawfirm etc.
- Once you do this, invite people to like the page, perfect the profile with summary of what the law firm does etc.
- Complete the profile and background pictures with relevant pictures.
- Even on the page, when active, share interesting court cases there, upload pictures of your court sessions, even cases won etc.
- The bottom line is that you need to get the page busy, engaged and active.
Every staff of the firm should be a fan/follower by liking the page etc; the pictures you will use as the background should be that of the lawyer or attorney etc.
Get started with twitter
Twitter is powerful, get a free account on twitter also. Complete the profile with detailed description, right pictures and start following relevant people in this niche.
Get started with Instagram
Instagram is very much popular, I do not need to tell you that you are supposed to be there. Go on Instagram and open a free account. Follow my advice above on Facebook and implement the steps mentioned.
The three social networks mentioned above is okay for you to get started. Just make sure they are busy, active and engaged.
WordPress is the way to go when thinking about building or creating a website for a law firm, an attorney office or even a private lawyer.
The use of WordPress makes everything easy, even to a novice; this tutorial is well detailed, I hope you have gain a great insight and have the ability to just handle the project by yourself.
Peradventure you encounter any problem or everything looks strange to you, just reach out to me, I will be very glad to be of help.
Have a nice Day, Cheers.
NB: The only help I need from you is that you link back to this article, share it on your Facebook account and also on twitter. Thank you so much.