Your website represents your firm online, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. It is a reflection of you and users will judge your firm based on the contents of your site. With that in mind, ask yourself, does your website reflect all the things you wish to tell your prospective clients?
Like the rest of your practice, your website needs to keep up with the times. A badly designed and written website is a poor reflection of your firm. Here are a few thoughts to consider when deciding if the time has arrived for an online overhaul:
- Is there enough quality content on your site? Keeping in mind that your website is speaking for you when you are not available, ask yourself, is there enough information on your site to inform a prospective client as to what your firm is about, how you function and your general philosophies as they apply to your target audience and why they should choose your firm? If not, it may be time to overhaul your content and get more relevant information to your website viewers.
- Is your website user-friendly? Design trends and technology change over time and they affect how people view websites (i.e. where do they naturally look to navigate a website properly?). Does the general design of your site make it easy for prospective clients to find the information they are looking for? Or, is the design of your site counter-intuitive? If a viewer has to exert too much effort in order to find the information they seek, chances are they will move along to the next site that does make it simple for them.
- Is your website full of jargon and content that could alienate your prospective clients? Perhaps when you first did your site, you didn’t have the resources or time to pay close attention to the text. We’ve also seen websites with articles and newsletters that are not meant for lay people but for the legal professionals. It is acceptable to have such content, but you should indicate that so that your prospective client will know that the information is not meant for them and not to waste time or be frustrated and leave your website. Read up on whether or not you are alienating your prospective clients with your words here.
- Does your website reflect your firm’s brand? You may have invested a decent amount of money in the production on your business cards, letterhead and other firm material. The look, feel and messages of all pieces should be the same, and that also applies to your website. Consistent branding is key to keeping you top of mind with prospective clients and referral sources and goes miles in presenting you as professional.
- When was the last time you updated your content? Search engines like to see updated content. So, post some helpful articles and answers to frequently asked questions or a newsletter. As well, posting updates to divorce laws and how they affect a prospective client or perhaps listing your speaking schedule goes a long way to reaffirming your position as a thought leader. What about adding some interactive features, like a blog? This also makes your website more of a resource for visitors to return to and pass along to others. As you add new sections to your site over time, the site may need to be re-organized.
- Are you paying hundreds of dollars a month for your website? Some of our clients come to us because they are paying a high monthly fee for their website. Partly the reason is that they are “renting” content and are paying for that, partly because they are just simply paying a high monthly fee. For some of them, it is cheaper to have their website redone and hosted by us then to continue to pay a high monthly fee.
- Are you renting content? While renting content is not necessary a bad thing, you have to weigh it against the alternatives. Do you need that content? Is that content bringing you prospective clients? Is that content even user friendly? Can you replace that content by writing it yourself or pay a one time fee to have it written for you so you may own it and not have to continue to pay every month?
Your website must be more than just an online business card with trivial details about your practice and your attorneys. It should instead be a reflection of your firm and be helpful in order for you to engage your clients and enhance your practice.
On the financial side, if you are paying too much every month for your website, you may want to take this opportunity to look at having a new, up to date website done by another company. You just may end up saving money and a better website.
You can learn more about how to create a better website by reading this excellent article: “10-Point Checklist for Family Lawyers’ Websites”. If you are a family lawyer, and it is time for you to revamp your website, make sure you read this article: Common Mistakes Family Law Firms Make with Their Websites.
This article was written by Dan Couvrette, CEO of Divorce Marketing Group, Divorce Magazine, and www.DivorceMagazine.com. Dan Couvrette and his company specialize in marketing divorce professionals and helping them grow their practices. Divorce Marketing Group offers a wide range of marketing services, including website design, hosting and promotion, video production and promotion, print advertising, advertising on multiple divorce websites, electronic promotions, and providing content to divorce professionals with websites.