About 40 out of 100 firms listed in 2017’s Vault Law 100 ranking (“the most prestigious US law firms”) have non-responsive websites. Among many other drawbacks, it may cause the decline in traffic due to Google’s algorithms promoting responsive websites in mobile search results.
No matter how big or experienced your law firm is, it is a good idea to reconsider your online presence from time to time.
You can do it on a regular basis or use the checklist below to find out if it’s high time to get to work.
In general, you should consider getting a new website for your law firm when:
Mobile online traffic increases every year. In fact, there are more entries from mobile devices than from desktops or laptops. Imagine clients who want to find:
If your website is not responsive their experience may be expressed with a single word: frustration.
They struggle to zoom in and tap on the tiny buttons that were designed for a „desktop and cursor“ interface. Every attempt to read starts with looking for a magnifying glass.
It’s a total disaster, so they quit. Frustrated.
Your clients come to you to solve a certain problem, whether they can name it or not. When they visit your firm’s website they should be able to distinguish how can you help them.
You can achieve this in many different ways – just to name the two: by listing your major practice areas on the home page or by showing recognizable attributes of industries you work with.
Either way, the areas of expertise are the one of the three most important information about your firm, that a prospective client should be able to find easily at your website.
“The whole is greater the than sum of its parts”. It is obvious and it also applies to marketing efforts. Yet this simple truth is often forgotten by lawyers developing their practice by merging with another law firm.
When you start a new entity or create a new brand, remember that you have to make a great first impression. People will check your new business and you should go an extra mile to make sure, they will remember your firm as a reliable partner.
Some law firms expand very fast and there are lawyers who envy them. Beside many upsides, there is a downside that occurs from time to time. Partners start to forget about keeping the pace up in all areas. Marketing and online presence are among those easily forgotten.
If your team, practice areas or experience grew rapidly in recent years, you may find yourself in a situation where your firm doesn’t appear to newcomers the way you would like it to.
I remember a lawyer who told me a story about his firm being fired from cooperation with a corporate client after a few years of delivering satisfying results. The only reason for this was that the law firm looked like it fell behind its’ client. And the client wanted to have lawyers that he could present to his business partners without a fear of being laughed at.
There is a simple rule you should follow: “if your law firm grows, show it to the world”.
The purpose of having a website may change over time. A common scenario is, to begin with simple, template-based page with random stock photos. It is cheap and quick to setup. It may serve as a good online business card.
But as your firm develops you may find out that you want to achieve a certain goal with your website. For example, it may be:
In order to do it right, think of your website as a tool that should help you to succeed.
Imagine having a car without an air conditioning, an automatic transition and a glass, panoramic roof. It can still be a decent car, but it lacks all these fancy features. One day you decide that, for whatever reason, you want to drive in a cool interior, looking at the sky through the roof and without the need of changing gears in a dense, morning traffic.
An attempt to get all of these features installed in your car may be a failure… No wait, it will be a total failure.
If you are ready to spend money on these add-ons and you really need them, it is probably a better idea to get a car with everything you need in place. It is safer, it lasts longer and may be even cheaper.
The same applies to your website. You may change and upgrade it to a certain extent. But at some point, it is better to start from scratch.
Content on your law firm’s website should be up-to-date. There is no doubt about it. Your clients should be able to find accurate information about the firm, staff, offices, and areas of practice.
The easiest way to manage the content is to use a CMS – Content Management System. There are many of them, but it is the functionality that matters.
You should ask your developer or marketing agency for a tool that will be comfortable to use. Only then you will use it often to update your content.
There are still lawyers paying IT companies to publish a news or add a new lawyer to the “team” section of the website. Please – don’t be one of these lawyers just because of the clunky CMS. Managing your website by yourself gives you more freedom and flexibility.
Go to Google.com and search for your firm’s brand and your name. If the first 10 search results don’t include your company’s website, then you have a serious problem.
Checking your website is what your prospective clients will do, even if you were recommended by a friend or a business partner.
There may be a lot of reasons why you can’t find yourself in search engine results – low code quality, duplicate content, images with text used instead of plain text and much more.
Without going into technical details, at least talk to someone if this can be fixed. Maybe someone just forgot to add a few lines of code or took a bad shortcut.
Legal profession still relies heavily on personal relations. Let’s skip artificial intelligence and robots for a moment.
If potential clients visit your office, you probably won’t start with showing them signs saying “we’re here to help you”, “best law firm in XYZ”. No.
There will be a person greeting these clients.
There will be another person who will talk with them about their problems.
Now think about your firm’s website. I encourage you to expose your entire team. It is very important, both for clients and staff members. Here is why:
Some lawyers have reservations about exposing all co-workers on the website because:
And there is a final reason: “my former boss didn’t show the whole team; I wasn’t there”.
Don’t be like your former boss. Be better. That’s why you started your own law firm.
There are many reasons to visit a website, but a final goal in most cases, is to get in touch with the law firm or a particular lawyer.
Try to stand in your client’s shoes for a moment and visit your website with a single task – find a way to contact your firm.
Ask yourself these 4 simple questions:
Pay attention to it, because it may be the biggest friction point for your current website.
If any of these 10 situations sound familiar, that should ring a bell.
Don’t consider getting a new website just because someone else does.
Do it only when you feel you need to do it or complaints about the website become a routine.