With so many other challenging aspects of running their businesses, law firms can easily be forgiven for putting issues relating to web marketing at the bottom of a to-do list.
However, for those firms not in the midst of crisis management and who realise that online marketing is now very significant for solicitors, those firms should be checking and considering the useability of their website.
It is not uncommon for law firms to have a website created and then to largely forget about it, save perhaps for adding content. In the last year there has been a marked increase in blogging by lawyers and social media activity, but it is worth remembering that most traffic to websites comes from search engines, especially google.
Technology, like the Legal Services market itself, is changing incredibly fast. One aspect of the rapid change is that we are all browsing less and less on traditional desktops or even laptops and instead, increasingly we are using tablets of all shapes and sizes and smartphones, with latest data suggesting that desktop searching is less than 80% now and falling rapidly.
In fact, with the recent popularity of tablets such as the IPad, google nexus and Kindle to name just a few, this research suggests that tablets are even more popular for web browsing that smartphones at the moment.
Same website different look
Having had a website designed and implemented in the last 5 years, many law firms may believe that the site will look the same and have the same overall impact on visitors regardless of device on which it is viewed. This is very wrong.
Many law firms are also surprised to be told that an average visitor to a legal website will spend less than 2 minutes on page, so initial impressions and concise and clear information are as vital for legal webpages as for other business sectors.
A searcher on a smartphone is also more likely to be out and about and to want basic information only, such as a local provider, rather than in-depth information about a topic or supplier, so there is a fundamental difference between the right content for that type of search as opposed to a tablet or desktop search where the searcher may want more or is prepared to delve a bit deeper into the site.
Given the above, it makes sense to consider getting your website revamped and simplified for the smartphone market and to take advantage of the fact that google has a different search engine for mobile searches than for desktop (many are also unaware of this). It is now possible to have a website modified so as to be seen differently on mobile and tablet searches at relatively modest cost and a good example of a firm who have recently done this can be seen by searching on a smartphone or tablet for Lloyd Green Solicitors.
In addition to the desktop/smartphone differences, there have been rapid changes to the tablet market. In the last 6 months, many new tablets have come onto the market at a range of different sizes, with the latest trend being towards tablets which are around 7 inches tall, halfway between a mobile phone and a full size IPad. The difficulty with these is that a website will not necessarily look the same on this size device as it would on desktop or smartphone or an IPad. Failure to consider how your website now looks on these devices can easily result in lost visitors and potential work. The principle is in some ways very similar to solicitors rightly suggesting to clients that they need to review and update their contracts regularly.
As an example, and I am in no way picking on this firm, Orbis Solicitors have a very nice website, which is modern and which has clearly had money and time spent on deign and useability. I particularly like the very prominent use of video on the homepage. Their site looks great on desktop and IPad, but on my 7 inch google nexus, it frankly looks a mess.
In summary, in market where many law firms are slow to react to technological changes and may not even be aware of them, being ahead of the game can reap real and lasting rewards based on a competitive advantage. A mobile version of your website plus some testing and tweaking on a range of tablets are definitely worth doing.