A law firm’s website is the hub of their online presence. Everything from search engine marketing, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing relates back to the website. While personal referrals are important, more and more people are turning to the web to find lawyers.
The future of law firm business development is digital.
For many prospective clients, your law firm’s website is the first impression they will have of your firm. They’ll take a look around, and if they don’t like what they see, then they will move on to a competitor. Moreover, your law firm’s website may not be designed to convert web visitors into leads.
If you are like most lawyers, you may be thinking that your 10-year-old website is doing just fine. Unless it has been frequently updated and optimized over the years, I’m here to tell you that probably is not the case. Consumer expectations have changed. Google search algorithms have changed. Even your law firm has changed (new headshots, anyone?).
Still not convinced? Here are ten signs that your law firm needs a new website.
More than 50 percent of search queries now come from mobile devices. The world has gone mobile, and if your law firm website is not yet optimized for mobile use, it’s time for a redesign.
You may be thinking to yourself, sure it’s nice to have a mobile responsive website, but how will that help increase new clients?
Think about your ideal client. Are they a small business owner? A rural farmer? A low-income family facing costly medical bills following an accident? Regardless of who your ideal client is, where they come from or what they are looking for, chances are good that they (1) have a smartphone and (2) are using that device to search for legal services. For many of low income and rural Americans, a smartphone may be the only access to internet they have!
According to one study, 62% of companies that designed a website optimized for mobile saw increased sales.
In this day and age, user experience on your law firm website can be the difference between winning or losing a new client. Ask yourself, do you really want to lose business to a competitor simply because you failed to meet your client’s needs?
Search engines have changed over the years. If you are ranking low in search engine results for keywords that describe your practice, it may mean it’s time for a new website.
In the past, SEO “experts” gamed the system by loading up law firm websites with as many keywords as possible. Even meta titles and meta descriptions were filled with keywords.
Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird update, released in 2013, having original, high quality content on your site trumps those cheap SEO tricks. That is one reason why law firm websites with blogs and individual service pages are performing well in search engine results.
If your law firm website was built more than 5 years ago, and hasn’t been updated since, then it’s time for an update. There is a strong possibility that the website was not optimized to compete in Google searches with the Hummingbird update.
Many law firms think that refreshing their content will be enough, and major overhaul is not needed. Maybe you are thinking the same. While that could be true, consider other SEO factors such as site speed, mobile readiness, site structure and internal links (all of which will be discussed in this blog).
We recently launched a website that saw tremendous gains in search engine rankings. Click HERE to read the case study!
Flash websites used to be all the rage. There are (probably) hundreds of law firm websites built with Flash. In fact, I’ve come across several in the past week while conducting market research that had Flash. And guess what? All of the Flash elements were broken!
So why is Flash so bad for your law firm’s website? For starters, iPhones and iPads do not support Flash. Moreover, it’s terrible from an SEO standpoint. Google, Bing and Yahoo are unable to read Flash. Above all, visitors have to install Flash on their device (or update to the latest version) in order to see your content. This is devastating to the user experience.
Flash is outdated, difficult to use, difficult to create and nearly impossible to maintain over time. Fortunately, web developers can create dynamic law firm websites with smooth interactions and animations using HTML5. Relieved of using Flash, law firm web developers can now create dynamic websites that are compatible with all browsers and devices.
If you have access to Google Analytics for your website, check out the bounce rate, pages per visit and the average time spent on the site. These metrics will give you a good idea as to whether visitors find your law firm website helpful. If the bounce rate is low, the average time on site is high and the average pages visited is above one, then you’re doing okay. But if you have a high bounce rate, and people aren’t sticking around to see what’s on your site, then you have a problem.
A well designed website’s purpose is to capture attention and create a positive user experience. People visiting your website should be able to find the information they are looking for, and they should be able to navigate your site easily. Your pages should also load quickly, keeping visitors on your website instead of wandering off while a page loads.
You may have great content and perform well in search engine rankings, but none of that matters if you can’t keep people on your website!
Building a new law firm website takes a considerable investment in time and money. You should be able to track the return on your investment through conversions.
For many law firms, web conversions are almost an afterthought. Sure, they have a form online and a phone number, but most of their clients come through personal referrals.
If your website is not set up to capitalize on conversion opportunities, track conversions or conversions simply aren’t coming through, it’s time to redesign your law firm website. You’ll want to keep in mind your ideal client and how they like to communicate, then define a path to conversion with good design, compelling content, social proof and clear calls to action.
If you are embarrassed to hand out your law firm website URL, then chances are you are in the market for a new website. You know it's old. You know that it isn't modern. You know that people will not be impressed. My question to you is what are you waiting for!
I've worked for a number of lawyers who drive new model cars and lease out office spaces with a prestigious zip code, yet their website looks like it was built by their neighbor's 15-year-old nephew. For the cost of a custom suit, they could have a truly bespoke website that was equally as impressive as their fountain pen collection.
But you don't have to be a rainmaker to afford a new website. Law firm websites can be updated on almost any budget. Plus, websites often pay for themselves after the first few web visitors convert into clients.
Websites should not only convey information, but they should inspire. If your law firm isn't inspiring your or your potential clients, it's time for a new website.
People expect websites to load in 2 seconds or less. In fact, 40% of people will leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Think about your own web browsing habits. How long do you wait for a page to load before jumping ship and clicking back to the previous page?
If your law firm website is slow, you are not only risking losing potential clients, but you are also killing you search engine ranking. There is no shortage of law firm websites with great, keyword rich content that fail to rank on the first page of Google simply because their website is too slow.
Having a new, fast-loading website will encourage your visitors to stay on your website, give them a better user experience and improve your search engine rankings.
Law firms grow. Interns become associates. Associates become partners. Partners retire. Names change. New practice areas are added. More services are offered. Locations change. Locations are added.
Law firms are always in a state of flux, meaning that a law firm website that worked well in 2010 may not work great in 2018. You may need more team bios added. You may need more service pages. The entire architecture of your website may need an overhaul. Everything from your navigation to your calls-to-action to your internal links may need to be updated.
Of course, you could try to work with your existing site, but hiring a web team to redesign an existing site is often just as expensive and time consuming as building a new website with all the bells and whistles.
With a new law firm website, you can recreate the structure of your website to not only accommodate the growth your law firm has experienced, but also plan for future growth.
Similar to the point above, law firm names, brands and messaging often evolves over time.
We’ve worked with one bankruptcy law firm, for example, that wanted to move into a very specific niche market. The look of their website was not aligned with the market they were targeting. Everything from the menu options to the messaging needed to change.
Your law firm website is one of your most important marketing assets. If the look of your website does not resonate with your target audience, then it is time for an update.
Law firms with older websites often lack control over their content. Ten years ago, it was enough to have a web developer create a website and hand over the keys to them for ongoing content updates. For most lawyers, updating web content seemed to0 technical.
Fast forward to today, and that is no longer the case. Most lawyers are sophisticated enough to log into the backend of their websites and post new content on their existing pages and law firm blogs.
If your website was built on a platform that lacks a blog, or limits your ability to take control over your content, it is time to to build a new website that puts you and your associates in the driver’s seat.
If you think you may need a new law firm website, but don’t know where to begin, I encourage you to submit your site HERE for a free website analysis. We’ll take a look at your current website and send over a detailed video showing exactly how you can optimize your website to attract more traffic and convert more visitors into leads.