Your law firm is ready for peak performance this year. Is your website?
If it hasn’t been updated in a while, take the time to evaluate whether your website is still serving your firm’s needs. Is it communicating the right message? Easy to use? Ready to help you convert leads into clients? You don’t want to do all the work and commit to the cost of driving people to your website through social media, paid search and digital advertising, only to have them bounce off the site due to performance issues.
Three Steps to Ensure Your Website’s Performance Is Up to Snuff
There are plenty of things you can do to boost your site’s performance. For example, you might be thinking about adding call tracking or live chat. And if you use WordPress, you may be considering upgrading to the Gutenberg editor, which I wrote about here. Before you add features, however, make sure to conduct a website audit that covers these three basics.
1. Make Sure It’s Clear What Services You’re Offering
We’ll get to the technical things, but it’s important to do the foundational work when starting a new website or auditing your existing one. The answers to all of these questions should be apparent on your website:
- Who is your ideal client?
- What services do they look for?
- How do you provide your ideal client with solutions?
The homepage should immediately tell users what problems your law firm is solving. Does it?
- Are the headlines and images appropriate to the page? That beautiful city skyline at night may look nice, but does it convey what you can do for clients? Finding relevant images is harder but they are much more relatable to potential clients than stock photos of a city or a gavel.
- Is your website content clear? Is the text on your homepage and services pages about clients and how you can solve their problems — or is it more focused on your law firm and its accomplishments? Of course, your bio, awards and accomplishments are important. But that information is for the “About us” page, not the homepage.
- Is it clear how people can reach you? Do you offer multiple points of contact — phone, email, contact form, live chat?
Your website should be focused on your clients and how you can serve them. Make sure it communicates the right things.
2. Get Outside Reviewers to “Kick the Tires”
One of the best ways to rate your website performance is to ask someone else to review your site. Come up with a short list of tasks such as: find my website, contact us, sign up for our blog. Ask a few friends and colleagues to take a video of themselves completing these tasks on their computer, or look over their shoulder as they complete the tasks. Here are some questions to consider when watching someone else navigate your site:
- Does it take the users a long time to find your website through search?
- Does your website load easily? Is it slow? Do any broken images appear?
- Is your site easy to navigate?
- Are there distracting graphics, pop-ups, sliders or other features that make it difficult to navigate the site?
Looking at your website through fresh eyes will quickly show which features are working and which are not. You’ll be able to see firsthand how users experience your site. Site speed, in particular, is key because users are likely to leave the page if it doesn’t load within a few seconds.
Afterward, ask your testers for feedback. They may have noticed issues that you glanced right over.
3. Ensure Your Site Is Secure
In 2019, every website needs an SSL certificate. This is what leaves an “https” at the beginning of your URL and lets users know that you are serious about confidentiality, security and keeping your website up to date. Everyone needs this. If you have a log-in for your website, it needs to be secure.
Many lawyers think that because they do not accept client payments on their website, they don’t need an SSL. Regardless of payments, you are accepting information on your website. Your “contact us” form gathers email addresses and other information.
Most law firm websites are WordPress sites. Because this is the most popular content management platform, it is also the one most often targeted by hackers. If your website gets hacked, it can get blacklisted. This will make it difficult to send emails and can lead to bigger problems down the road.
The SSL is also important for SEO. Google considers the website’s security when ranking in search. If your law firm’s website is not secure, it will be penalized in organic search. Website performance in Google search is critical, so this — as well as issues like speed and load time — can really hurt your traffic even if your website never gets hacked.
An Annual Website Checkup Is Always a Good Idea
Every law firm is different, with different needs. When reviewing your website performance for 2019 standards, it’s important to take into consideration your practice, your various services and your clients. If you don’t have the technical acumen or time to complete an audit, you can outsource it.
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