8 Signs You Need to Update Your Website
Your website is the most significant and valuable investment you can make for your online marketing. That is why it is unfortunate that many attorneys create their website as an afterthought. Without a great website, you are unable to compete in the SEO game, and your potential clients may never find your law firm.
We have reviewed hundreds of attorney websites, and there are many ‘tells’ that your website is broken, unused, and underperforming. If your site is guilty of one or more of the items listed below, you need to contact a web developer right away!
1) Your Website is Not Mobile Responsive
Mobile responsive means your website adjusts to fit the size of the screen. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you aren’t going to get sufficient SEO traffic. Google expects sites to be mobile-friendly. Their algorithms check for this, and if your website isn’t designed for all screen sizes, your website won’t rank.
Most WordPress themes are mobile friendly by default, but many attorney websites don’t meet this criterion. Mostly, these are websites that are “hard-coded,” or built with basic HTML and CSS. Any developer worth their salt will make you a mobile-friendly website. If they won’t (or can’t), you need to hire a new developer and have your site rebuilt.
2) You Haven’t Published a New Blog Post in a Few Months
Many attorney websites have good design and are mobile friendly, but they lack content. Writing good content can be time-consuming and challenging, but writing is the only sure way to build good SEO value for your website.
If it has been months since you have optimized the content on your website, you should develop a content calendar for your legal staff or hire a freelance copywriter to start writing blog posts and articles. If you are regularly publishing content, your website will be in good shape.
3) You Can’t Update Your Website Without Contacting a Web Developer
Many old sites are “hard-coded,” or build using basic HTML and CSS. If your website is “hard-coded,” you aren’t able to add new content regularly. If you have to contact your web developer for every minor change or update on your website, you need to request a website build on a content management system like WordPress.
4) You Don’t Have a Call-to-Action on Your Home Page
People mistakenly believe your home page should feature a large banner image or “hero” image and make that the focal point of their website. This logic is incredibly flawed, because your potential clients don’t care about your “hero” image at all.
Instead of wasting that valuable real estate on your homepage on a banner image, you should turn it into a lead generation device. Place a call to action in the home banner area. Offer your website visitors a free report, or at bare minimum ask them to schedule a free consultation.
5) Your Website Just Looks Old
Your website is the first thing people will see, and so it should make a good impression. If your site looks old, odd, or it is unusable on mobile devices, you need to hire someone to give it a facelift. Having an ugly website won’t kill your law firm, but it should be updated at least once every two years to stay relevant.
6) You Use Lots of Images and Very Little Text
Overusing stock images on your website is definitely a bad idea. These photos don’t add value for your users, who want answers to their legal questions, and they look insincere and artificial. Instead, provide people who visit your website a lot of content to read and watch.
7) Your Web Forms Don’t Work
“Of course, my website works!” is what I hear from a lot of attorneys right before I tell them part of their website isn’t working. We assume our web developers are taking care of this for us, but if you are not double checking, you do not know.
The market is flooded with “developers” who don’t know what they are doing. They purchase a WordPress theme, insert your law firm name and logos, and assume their job is done. Unless you hire a reputable web developer, you may end up with a pretty website that doesn’t work as it should.
8) Your Leads Aren’t Saved in a CRM
What happens when someone fills out a contact form on your website? Do they get an email notification? Is someone assigned the task of following up with them? Is their contact info stored in a database? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, it is quite likely their contact information is lost. You may have their info saved in an email, but that is quickly lost in your inbox. Instead, we recommend a good, automated, system of storing and following-up with people who visit your website.
If your website is guilty of one or more items on this list, it is time to update your online presence. Find a web developer that you can trust and who can deliver on their promises and talk to them about what you need. Remember, not all web developers are marketing experts. Ideally, you should find a vendor with an eye for design and experience in law firm marketing.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.