8 Signs that Your Legal Website Needs Help – Now!
You’ve worked hard to build your legal practice, but if you’re like many, your website might not be a good reflection of those efforts. A quality website is essential these days because it shows your clients who you are, and it’s often the first place they go to evaluate your services. You only get one shot to make a good first impression, so if your website isn’t doing its job, then it’s time to make some changes – and the sooner the better.
Is your website built to convert or kill? Read on for 8 simple but sure signs that your website might be doing more harm than good.
1. Your website is outdated
Speaking of first impressions, nothing makes a bad impact like a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated in years. Visitors to your website decide within the first few seconds whether they will continue browsing your pages or not, so the first step is to ensure your site stays with the times. Your website is outdated if it:
- Provides a poor user experience. Outdated websites don’t perform very well, often posing problems with speed, navigation, and ease of use. Visitors should be able to stroll through all areas of your website easily while finding exactly what they’re looking for quickly.
- Doesn’t accurately represent your practice. If it’s been awhile since you updated your website, it might not do a great job of representing the mission, services, and special offers of your legal practice.
- Isn’t social media compatible. If your website doesn’t’ provide social media buttons, allowing viewers to share your content on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, not only do you appear out-of-the-loop, but you’re missing on great PR opportunity.
- Looks bad on mobile devices. If your website doesn’t offer a clean, easy to navigate look when viewed on mobile devices, your customers might go elsewhere. Ask friends, family, and colleagues to check out your site on their own devices and offer constructive feedback.
2. Your website isn’t built with responsive design
Responsive websites look great no matter which device or size of open window is being used to view them. Whether your viewers visit your site via desktop, mobile phone, or tablet, you want your site to function well and look its best. Older websites don’t use responsive design, so if you haven’t updated your site in a while, yours likely isn’t responsive either. You need a mobile-friendly website because:
- Mobile browsing is on the rise. The days of desktop browsing are fading. In-fact, over 50 percent of all web searches are done using mobile devices.
- Customers view your site on multiple devices. Having a website that looks great on a mobile phone is important, but a true responsive design will look great across any mobile platform.
- Search engine optimization. Major search engines like Google give more credence to websites that offer mobile-friendly designs, so if you want your page to rank well and get seen, you will need a website with responsive design.
3. You don’t have a custom home page
Website design standards are changing. In the past, a standard home page with a few widgets and a welcome message was perfectly acceptable. These days, it’s best to steer clear of templated designs, especially if you want to stand out among the competition. You should have a custom Home page because:
- It’s the standard for business websites. If your website looks like a cookie-cutter legal website, viewers might take notice. To avoid a lazy, unprofessional feel, create a Home page that’s as unique as your practice, highlighting your most important features.
- It allows you to focus your goal. A custom Home page gives you the ability to draw focus to specific areas of your website. Pick a central goal that you want to achieve and gear the design and content of your Home page accordingly.
4. Your website loads slowly
In our fast-paced society, we expect instant results; your website viewers are no different. Did you know that 64% of smartphone users expect websites to load in under four seconds? If your website is slow, viewers won’t wait around, but will instead go straight to your competition. Your website might be slow because:
- Poor server performance. No matter how fast everything else in your website performs, if your server is slow then the page will not load properly. If this is your issue, then you might consider a different website hosting provider.
- You have too many plugins. If you have a WordPress site, it’s easy to pack on the plugins. Just keep in mind that each plugin goes through a process of file retrieval, and too many will slow you down. Keep the ones that are most necessary and eliminate others.
- Images aren’t formatted properly. Extra-large images take longer to load, so sometimes the problem is as simple as downsizing a bit. Also, keep in mind that certain image formats work well, like JPEG, PNG, and GIF, while others don’t including TIFF and BMP.
5. Navigation is confusing
Have you ever visited a website that lacked clear direction? Most of us have, and we don’t usually stick around very long. Clear navigation is fundamental for making sure your viewers can find exactly what they’re looking for, which is especially important if you cover a lot of practice areas. Good website navigation will:
- Consider user experience. If you were a new viewer and potential client, what would you expect from the website? Can you easily flow from one page to another, finding the information you most need quickly? If you’re not sure, this is another case where having someone offer some constructive criticism can be very valuable.
- Include internal links. Good websites connect relevant pages together. For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, then your main practice area page would include links to sub-areas such as auto accident injury and medical malpractice. Each sub-page would ideally link back to the main page, or even other subpages when appropriate.
- Return to the Home page. One of the key complaints people have about navigation is getting lost in a sea of pages, unable to get back to the Home page without hitting the back button over and over. A clickable, static icon that links to the Home page is a great and simple way to solve this problem.
6. Content isn’t engaging enough
If your website reads like an instruction manual or doesn’t make readers think, “this is the best law firm for me,” then you need to re-work your content. Quality website content is fundamental for establishing the credibility of your legal practice. You might need a content overhaul if:
- It contains spelling or grammar mistakes. Though seemingly obvious, you’d be surprised at how many legal websites contain mistakes. When clients see errors on the website, they are lead to think the same can appear when you are drafting legal documents for them. This is unacceptable if you want to retain the integrity and professionalism of your legal website.
- It doesn’t set your legal practice in its best light. Does your website content fail to describe your legal practice effectively? No matter how great your services, if your content doesn’t convey that to your viewers, they will never know that you are the best choice for them.
- It isn’t reader (and SEO) friendly. Falling into the legalese trap is something a lot attorneys do. But, if your readers don’t know what you’re saying, they will go elsewhere. Keep the conversation intelligent,, but don’t over complicate the language. Reader-friendly content is professional, formatted properly, but also friendly and easy to understand. Your website should also contain a good amount of SEO content, so search engines will direct people to your site.
7. Your website isn’t ranking well
Your legal website can display a state-of-the-art design, function seamlessly, and read like it was written by Shakespeare, but it does you little good if no one can find it. If your website isn’t ranking within the first 3 pages of a Google search, you need to optimize your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important because:
- Half of your views comes from sharing. If clients can’t find your website, they can’t share it. If your pages are never shared, you are losing to the competition big time.
- Over 80 percent of views comes from proper SEO. Most website views come from search engine results. Sometimes a viewer might click a link that leads to your site, but usually they are looking for something specific such as “Estate Lawyers in Florida.” Proper SEO will direct the right clientele and boost your pagerank.
- SEO content and design converts. What makes a website top-ranking is quality design and rich content tailored directly to your readers. If you’re website is SEO-friendly, it’s likely client-friendly too – which means higher conversions.
8. Your website doesn’t convert
What’s the number-one reason for having a website for your legal practice? Getting more clients, right? If your website doesn’t lead to new clients, then you need to consider the website as a lethal opponent, ready to kill your practice on site (pun intended)! In addition to the other conversion killers mentioned in this article, there are more reasons your website might not convert including:
- There is no call to action. Every page should contain a direct, motivational call to action. A call to action prompts viewers to contact you in order to learn more about your services or to schedule a consultation.
- You don’t make special offers. If your competitors provide special offers on their websites such as free consultations or some kind of quality guarantee, and you don’t, your potential clients might take notice. If you offer any special deals, make sure your website highlights them.
- There are too many options. Legal websites that are too busy, or offer too many ways prospects can reach out to you, they will get overwhelmed. Make sure your phone number is noticeable and if you have an online request form, that it’s easily seen. But, too many features create confusion.
How to prioritize more time for updating your website.
So now, the moment of truth. Is your website helping or killing your practice? If you can relate to any of the problem areas here, then reach out to website design, SEO, and website content writing professionals as soon as possible! Who knows the amount online opportunities that are going to the law firm down the street?
What if your legal website isn’t the only thing that needs a makeover? A major reason why a large amount of legal websites don’t look as sharp as they should has a direct correlation with the amount of work on your plate. Prioritizing website updates, new articles for the blog, and updating old photos can be difficult when you have mountains of work.
With Infoware’s legal writing software, you can stop wasting several hours a week formatting documents, digging through multiple ribbons to find a certain tool, fiddling with numbering systems on Word and performing other time wasting activities. Infoware has taken the Microsoft Word processor as you know it and tailored it from the top down for the law profession. Now, creating professional custom legal documents can be done in a fraction of the time.
Infoware’s legal documentation solutions will keep your legal office running smoothly, efficiently, and at its best! In fact, it can save you 49 minutes a day! Book a free demo with us today so you can see how Infowares suite of legal writing software programs can increase efficiency, so you have more time to focus all aspects of your law practice.