With mountains of casework, extensive trial preparations, robust document management, and so much more, law firms are swamped. Keeping up with billable work alone is a struggle for many firms, not to mention all the operations work and daily upkeep it takes to run a successful organization. So we’ll forgive you if thinking long-term about your firm’s website isn’t exactly top of mind. But we do strongly urge you to take a hard look at your firm’s web presence and determine if it’s time to prioritize making some changes.
Your law firm’s website should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. It’s a central hub to promote your firm’s work. It’s often the first impression potential clients have of your firm. It tells the story of your firm and its successes and serves to entice and inspire visitors to solicit your services.
But in today’s highly competitive digital space, it’s not enough to just have a website. It needs to be well-designed, responsive, and engaging. It needs to run efficiently and effectively using the latest technologies. It needs to boost your firm’s profile, not burden your organization. It needs to make prospective clients feel comfortable taking the leap and seeking out your services, choosing you over your hundreds—or maybe even thousands—of competitors.
So are you confident that your law firm’s website is delivering maximum value to your law firm? Maybe it has been some time since your last site redesign. Or maybe you’re just not seeing the return on investment (ROI) you’d hoped for following a recent web overhaul. Whatever the case may be, investing in the long-term success of your firm’s web presence is always a good decision.
In this article, we’ll explain how to know when it’s time to redesign your firm’s website. Then, we’ll examine the benefits of a redesigned website and consider the key components of a good law firm website design. Read on to learn how to keep your firm’s web presence up-to-date and delivering value.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO REDESIGN YOUR LAW FIRM’S WEBSITE
There are no hard-and-fast rules for the life cycles of websites. Every website has its own unique set of business goals, challenges, and desired outcomes. Therefore, it’s difficult to put a finite lifespan on a site’s design.
There isn’t a concrete number or boilerplate formula you can use to calculate when to redesign your website. It isn’t like other solutions in your firm’s tech stack that only require routine maintenance to perform as expected. Furthermore, unlike these other tech solutions, a website is entirely client-facing, meaning it needs to be consistently reviewed to ensure it’s accessible, easy to navigate, and provides an excellent user experience (UX).
While there isn’t a set-in-stone time frame for when to redesign your website, there are some key indicators that it’s time for an overhaul. Routinely reviewing your website to diagnose problems will make sure you are consistently making improvements—and you’ll know when it’s time to commit to a full redesign.
STAYING AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION
Technology on the web moves fast. From advances in frameworks and programming languages to the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to the growth of headless content management systems (CMS), the world of web development is constantly evolving.
It’s never been more important for firms to adapt to shifting technologies. A failure to keep up with the most important trends and implementing solutions based on these trends could mean your firm loses out on attracting major clients—perhaps to your more up-to-date, tech-savvy competitors.
It’s critical for firms to routinely examine their website. If you don’t, you risk continually operating on outdated code and offering an inferior UX, making it difficult to convert visitors into clients. Potential clients will move on to your rival firms’ sites if they cannot find the information they are looking for. Don’t risk losing out to your competitors. Stay ahead of the game by ensuring your firm’s website is up-to-date.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR REDESIGNED WEBSITE
If you’ve determined that your site is due for a redesign, great! Now, you’ll need to hone in on what key elements and components you’ll need to implement in the new design. As mentioned above, staying on top of the latest tech will help ensure your new website is built for the future. Let’s outline some of the key elements that will be crucial to the success of your redesigned website.
When planning a redesign of your existing website, you must ensure the new design is properly configured for mobile users. Modern web design has transcended the confines of the desktop browser. Web developers must consider not only a user’s choice of browser but also the devices that are used to view the site.
We live in a world where smartphones drive 70% of internet traffic. The steady increase in smartphone users, combined with shifting user habits, means that more people are using smartphones to complete tasks that were traditionally done on desktop computers.
It’s essential that your new site be easily accessible on both mobile and desktop. Successfully replicating your site’s UX across platforms is important. For this reason, redesigning your site to be responsive should be top of mind.
Client portals allow attorneys to communicate and collaborate directly with clients on a secure online platform. Using a client portal, clients create accounts, then log in to the platform to engage in case-related activities, such as viewing documents, sending messages to attorneys, and locating previous discussion threads. With an online client portal, all attorney-client communication can happen right on the platform, meaning fewer scheduled meetings, abrupt phone calls, or other time-consuming client communications.
Client portal software allows your law firm to replace outdated methods with faster, simpler, and more secure processes. Incorporating a client portal into your website improves your overall client experience and helps you establish a competitive advantage over rival firms.
SEO PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to a specific set of guidelines that help site owners optimize their content for prime positioning in Google searches. SEO guidelines are constantly shifting and evolving as Google updates its algorithms, but the basic principle remains the same: if your content does not make use of SEO standards, you will be missing out on a significant number of views.
Putting your law firm’s site on the first page of search engine results should be your ultimate goal. Redesigning your site is the perfect opportunity to consider optimizing and improving your written content to make your firm’s website more easily discoverable. There are several best practices to ensure your site’s content is optimized for search engines. They include:
- Removing any duplicate content on your site
- Incorporating clear and concise page titles, meta descriptions, and permalinks
- Including headers and subheaders
- Targeting the most impactful search keywords on all landing pages
- Using readability scoring tools to make your content more easily digestible
- Improving site loading times on all pages
THE BENEFITS OF REDESIGNING YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE
A full website redesign offers a host of significant benefits that can help law firms grow, scale, and prepare for the future. A website represents an opportunity to refresh your branding, improve UX, boost site performance, and so much more. Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the many perks of a well-designed, engaging legal website.
Law firms frequently handle sensitive data and information that needs to be safeguarded. Website security breaches need to be avoided at all costs. A redesigned site with robust security capabilities can help to ensure client confidence and ensure sensitive data and information stays out of the hands of hackers.
SUPERIOR MOBILE UX
As mentioned previously, prioritizing a responsive design will mean mobile users get a more consistent and well-rounded experience when navigating your site. Because responsive web design allows for flexibility with all screen sizes and resolutions, you’re able to create a single, unified experience across all touchpoints, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
More and more people are using mobile devices to conduct the bulk of their internet browsing, so ensuring your site delivers a superior mobile UX is one of the key benefits of undergoing an extensive website redesign. By optimizing your site for mobile, you can turn more mobile visitors into clients, and steer them away from your competitors.
SPEEDIER SITE PERFORMANCE
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content in a single page on your site takes to load. The longer pages on your site take to load, the more frustrated visitors are going to get—and the more likely they are to look elsewhere for legal services. Additionally, slow page speeds can impact your rankings on search engines. Needless to say, making your site load faster is extremely important.
Pages with longer load times see higher bounce rates and lower average time on page, so to engage visitors and boost conversions, a full redesign is necessary.
We’ve talked about how your website represents a fundamental piece of your firm’s digital marketing strategy. Another key component of that strategy is your brand. Your brand is the experience of interacting and engaging with your firm. It can be expressed and reinforced through visual elements like photos, videos, and graphic design, as well as through written content like blogs, case studies, and more. A full-scale web redesign presents an opportunity to adapt your web presence to more accurately tell your brand story, express your unique value proposition, and help people form a lasting relationship with your firm.
By now, we’ve articulated how a large-scale website redesign can boost performance, improve UX, and drive conversions. But would you believe us if we said it can also help to reduce your overall web costs?
A full website redesign presents your firm with the unique opportunity to completely re-envision your site’s technical ecosystem. You can switch up your hosting service, purchase a new CMS, and revisit your plugins and third-party integrations. It’s a chance to look at less-costly alternatives to key front-end and back-end technologies to save money on your overall site architecture. Plus, your new and improved site will be optimized for conversions, meaning you miss out on fewer revenue opportunities. Cut costs and generate more revenue at the same time, sounds like a pretty good deal, right?
The key to a successful website redesign is making sure all of your firm’s unique needs are met. A complete overhaul of your firm’s web presence can mean more visitors, more conversions, and ultimately, increased revenue. But the only way to reach that goal is through a commitment to continuous improvement, and a solid understanding of your firm’s unique value proposition. Consider what attracted current clients to your law firm: What makes you successful? What makes you stand out when compared to your competitors? Where are there opportunities for improvement?
Assemble this knowledge, conduct a thorough analysis of your existing web presence, then plan a robust redesign accordingly.
If you do elect to completely redesign your firm’s website, make sure you do it right. Enlist the help of a trusted UX web design agency to construct a website that’s built for the future. At Codal, our expert business analysts and designers can help identify exactly how to tailor your law firm’s website to meet your short- and long-term business goals. We understand what separates the great websites from the average, and we consult and guide firms to ensure their vision is fully realized. To learn more about Codal’s law firm web design and development process, reach out to us today.