As experts in law firm web design, we believe lawyer websites should be built for the future. You can’t predict everything, but looking at trends can give you some clues about what will be important a few years from now.
Sadly, according to the ABA, lawyer website design doesn’t seem to be looking towards the future as a whole. We will look into that in greater detail in the first section of this article.
Suffice it to say for now that many of your colleagues and competitors are falling behind technologically. Feel free to contact FORWARD Lawyer Marketing at (888)590-9687 to get back on track with the changing (and, frankly, already changed) landscape of the web in 2022. In the meantime, here are our topics:
Law firm websites are essentially ubiquitous at this point. The late 2021 American Bar Association tech survey showed that 94% of respondents had websites, compared to 77% in 2018. If you do not have a website yet, you are in an increasingly dwindling minority.
It might not be good to be in the minority of firms without a website. Trends squarely indicate that online advertising is the call of the day.
Other minorities might benefit your business. Namely, just a few of your competitors are using anywhere near the true potential of their websites.
There is next to no interactive content, a surprisingly small amount of blogging going on, and less than a third of the firms do any type of video production. The trend on the internet as a whole is towards multimedia interactivity and two-way conversations. It’s surprising that lawyers, who were among the first to advertise on the Internet back in the 90s, are falling behind now as the web is well into its next iteration.
One of the potential explanations for this is that you need a strategic approach to prioritize the options that would best develop your business. There’s simply too much to choose from. In the early days of the internet, online advertising was more of a simple analog of newspaper or magazine advertising — a no-brainer, in a way.
Our goal is to cut through the noise and help you focus your business development budget on what works. Please give us a call at (888)590-9687 to schedule a consultation and analysis today.
As mentioned in the previous section, web content for businesses used to focus mostly on traditional advertising. You would send out your message and invite people to contact you or buy your service.
Mass mailers evolved into email blasts. Classified ads evolved into Google Business Profile listings and pay-per-click advertising. Magazine spreads evolved into websites. Nearly everything was directly analogous to a traditional print medium.
The internet is now coming into its own as an advertising medium. It’s becoming a highly adaptable place for multimedia, interactivity, and complex, automated ad targeting.
Unlike print, web ads can change based on who’s viewing them. Search engines can determine where people are and display local attorneys, for example. Unlike TV ads, web videos can contain interactive links to contact forms, updates, or expanded information. Perhaps most importantly, all of the content is dynamic, allowing you to modify your message at will.
The key idea is interactivity. Viewers can interact with your content while consuming it, and you can interact with it while maintaining and upgrading it.
Websites are increasingly the first point of contact, enabling the two-way text conversations that are only possible with the internet. It’s somewhat shocking in this context that only 6% of attorneys had live chat on their websites in the 2021 ABA survey.
Online live chat thankfully comes with support. In other words, your website does not necessarily have to be linked directly to your phone. You would have a service that answers the chat for you and forwards relevant information or connects you when appropriate.
Your other option for live chat is social media. Most law offices have LinkedIn profiles, while a smaller majority have Facebook.
As we proceed into the 2020s, it’s a good idea to stick with social media but also adopt your own chat. Social media is becoming a more distracting and ad-saturated experience. There’s even a possibility that advertisements from other law firms will pop up and compete for attention when your potential client goes on LinkedIn or Facebook to message you.
Social media is far from ideal. However, it makes sense to cover your bases and give people the option to contact you in the way they feel most comfortable.
Even if you don’t want online chat, you definitely want a contact form somewhere on your website. Many people prefer to use this method rather than copying and pasting email addresses, and it can give you more options to streamline your intake process.
As you might expect from the low utilization of live chat services, mobile optimization has been lagging for most legal websites. This is too bad — mobile compatibility happens to be one of the best ways to both reach a wider audience and increase your search engine ranking.
Mobile optimization essentially programs your website to display a lightweight version when a visitor is using a mobile device. Additionally, the optimization process often includes reducing the file size of various graphic and media elements.
Combined, the lightweight graphics and mobile versions speed up the average loading time of your website. This loading time is one of the metrics that search engines like Google use to calculate your search rank.
That might seem strange at first, but people really do not like to wait for websites to load. Even a few seconds can make visitors leave your site and go back to the search engine to find someone else. To make matters worse, this bouncing behavior can further reduce your search engine rank.
Going forward, you will need to balance a fast loading time against a rich, interactive, multimedia experience. That will mean being strategic about your webpage content and being as efficient as possible in a technical sense.
For all of social media’s increasingly advertising-derived faults, it remains the best place to get organic sharing traffic for your website. This is especially important if you maintain an active blog.
Taking a step back for a moment, you should be publishing a blog if you do not already. In essence, this can be anything you want as long as it is a regular, original publication that pertains to your office, your territory, or your practice area.
Blogging has several benefits. It provides a resource for your clients and potential clients. It establishes you as a more authoritative site in search engine algorithms. Also, coming back to the point, it gives you something original and valuable to regularly share on social media.
Integrating your law firm’s website into social media can be a challenge because these platforms are driven by engagement. A simple self-promotional plug is rarely engaging to anyone except a smattering of highly supportive followers. Blogs solve this problem by giving you something that people might find informative or entertaining — in other words, something people might want to share.
There is another, more technical aspect of social media integration that you might want to consider: remarketing. This is an advertising technique that puts your message back in front of people who might still be considering retaining legal services.
Remarketing works by tracking the behavior of visitors to your site. For example, if they perform certain actions on your website and fall short of contacting you, you could have your remarketing campaign automatically put your advertisement in their social media feed.
FOWARD Lawyer Marketing is a full-service, dedicated legal marketing agency. We can handle all of the aspects of website design that we discussed here in this article as well as any of your search engine optimization or online advertising.
In terms of website design, we can overhaul the technical side of your website, redesign it entirely, or start over from a blank slate. For our other marketing and advertising services, we offer everything from one-off advertisements to completely managed multi-year campaigns.
Give us a call today to start the conversation about your website. We can discuss how our law firm web design and lawyer marketing services might fit your goals and budget. Our number is (888)590-9687 — we’ll hope to hear from you soon.