Lawyers are beginning to see the value of having a website. For some, they have a website but not effectively utilizing the huge benefits they could get from it. There are 5 vital signs that your law firm needs a website improvement.
For most lawyers, referrals are the No. 1 driver of business development. Research on the client-side supports this; according to Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report, 59 percent of clients who needed an attorney sought a recommendation from someone they knew.
To capture the full ROI of your referral base, it’s imperative to strategically craft your website to be a closer for your business. Far too many websites are the online equivalent of the receptionist who answers the phone “Hello, law office” – they are generic, and they fail to persuade prospective clients that you are the absolute best solution for their problem.
You will definitely agree with me that 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.
Indeed, 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.
Is your law firm’s website 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 must be brutally frank with you, you’ve got work to do. Consumer expectations have changed. Google search algorithms have changed. Even your law firm has changed.
In 2021, the biggest marketing tool next to your personal and professional relationships is supposed to be your law firm website.
If you haven’t updated your website in the last couple of years, it’s probably time to take a look into this.
For many, the issues vary. Such issues include:
I will analyze a few:
Let’s think of the navigation like a map. If someone comes to your site, they need to be able to easily find their way around. In many circumstances, someone looking for a lawyer may not entirely know what they are looking for, they just know they need someone to help them with their situation. Your navigation should be clear and easy for someone who doesn’t know a lot about your profession to navigate.
The navigation menu of a law firm site is not something to lightly dismiss. For example, it’s the difference whether you use a menu item that says “Contact Us” or “Call for a Consultation” because every word matters and has the potential to make a different impact.
Here is an example of great navigation
What can better navigation options do for visitors?
Navigation and design go hand in hand. We will discuss this later, but the design of your website will help with the navigation tremendously.
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.
According to a 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?
3. YOUR LAW FIRM SEO RANKING IS LOW
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 change.
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 updates, 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.
4. YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE IS USING FLASH
Flash was an incredibly popular plugin back in the day. Today, however, it’s a very different story. Apple’s iPhones and iPads can’t support it. Search engines like Google can’t read it.
When potential clients come to your site, they want to see your content right away. Updating your site and getting rid of Flash makes it easier for potential clients to view your pages on any browser or device.
5. YOUR LAW FIRM’S ONLINE VISITORS ARE LEAVING
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.
In conclusion, we live in a world where people have increasingly high expectations of businesses, and law firms are no exception. Firms who find a way to use technology to increase their speed, efficiency and service will win more business, and law firms that function on antiquated technology and processes will not.
This is a shift that you simply must embrace. Just like you are required to continue learning in practice, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the legal tech industry. It’s changing fast, and there is always something new to learn. Continuous Learning education is vital for everyone.
Finding the right technology investments for your practice can make a world of difference, but it requires careful consideration and a strategic approach.