Unsucking Your Law Firm Website
There’s a pretty good chance that your law firm website sucks. Of course, you probably don’t even realize that it does. This is especially true if you’re the one who built it. After all, you put your blood, sweat, and yes sometimes, even tears into building your website. But even if your site is meeting a “threshold of professionalism,” it’s likely a liability for a number of reasons that you haven’t even considered.
Speed kills. Well, when it comes to your law firm website, it’s actually lack of speed that kills. Most lawyers, especially those that set out to create their own websites will search for popular website hosting companies. Next, they’ll sign-up up for a cheap hosting account. Finally, they’ll use some crappy website builder software to launch a site.
“Wow,” they think. “I built a website all by myself.”
But because they choose the cheapest hosting that they could find and used some economy level website building tool, their site is extremely slow. Of course, when they visit their site, they don’t notice a speed issue. I’m not going to get into all the reasons that your perception of your site’s speed is flawed here. Instead, I want to help you diagnose whether you might have a speed problem.
There are two common ways to do this. The first way is through Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, navigate to:
Content -> Site Speed -> Page Timings
Then take a look at your average page load times:
Is it over 3 seconds? Then you might have a speed issue. However, it’s important to keep perspective about the page load time metric from Google Analytics. It might not be telling you what you think it is.
Another way to test your site’s speed is via Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
The tool will give your pages an overall score. Furthermore, it will provide a break down of areas in which you might be able to improve upon site speed.
You might be wondering why site speed even really matters. And the answer to this is very simple: do you wait for websites to load?
Chances are you don’t. You hit the back button on your browser to look at other results. If your pages aren’t loading fast, you’re losing visitors. It’s just that simple.
Everyone, including us, is talking about the mobile web. More people are accessing your web pages from mobile devices. Many more people. But chances are that your site wasn’t built with mobile devices in mind. And if it was, it was probably built with a poor mobile experience.
Want to know whether your site sucks on mobile devices? Simply view your site (with a critical eye) on a mobile device. Is it still easy to read? Are you calls-to-action still the “right spots?” Or, is your site difficult to read? Is the layout all wrong on mobile devices?
Open up your site on a variety of smartphones and tablets. It’s likely that your site doesn’t look great on these devices. Which means that you’re losing users. Just like slow websites, sites that aren’t easy to read and use on mobile devices are costing you users. Which means they’re costing you business.
Optimize your site for mobile devices. In fact, re-design your site with the mobile first mantra. In other words, build your site for the most restrictive devices (i.e. smartphones) and scale features and functions for larger screen real estate.
What They Want
You think that your website should includes things that you think are important. You think that it’s important for you to “like” the design, content, etc. But does what you want really matter? Maybe, if the purpose of your website is to make you feel good.
On the other hand, if the purpose of your site is to attract visitors that might actually hire you, then what you want doesn’t really matter. It’s what they want that’s essential.
Unfortunately, most lawyers and their marketers get this wrong. They spend hours trying to decide which design mock-ups they like best. Which images they prefer. And the list goes on. They don’t consider, even for a moment, what the people who they are trying to attract to their website want.
Even those lawyers and marketers that know they need to take a purpose-driven approach to the design and development process, don’t listen to what their desired visitors are saying.
Are you listening to how your clients describe your services? Are you listening to what types of problems they are facing? Are you listening to the common questions that they have?
They’re telling you what they want. Does your website answer them? If not, it probably sucks.
You vs. Them
You spent a lot of time on your attorney bio page. You had professional photos taken and videos produced. You obsessed over your marketing messaging. You understand how important it is to communicate the value of your services to your prospective clients. The problem is that your focus is all wrong. You’re focusing on you, not them.
Time for Some Action
What are you trying to get your visitors to do? Call you, right? Are you making it easy for them to do that? Are you making it obvious why they should? No, posting your phone number all over your site doesn’t count.
Your site should be purposefully designed to motivate visitors to take some kind of action. And you shouldn’t limit your concept of action to calling to hire you.
Maybe you should have a way for your visitors to download information from your site. Maybe a way for them to subscribe to receive more updates from you. Maybe to communicate with your firm via live chat. Maybe you just want to motivate them to help you share your content.
The effectiveness of your website should be measured by one really simple concept:
Its ability to motivate people to take desired actions.