Five mistakes law firms make when redesigning their website

1. No project brief

You wouldn’t go on a holiday without doing some form of research or planning first, so why would you design a website without knowing what you want? Writing a brief doesn’t need to be complex, it just needs to have the following 3 areas:

  1. What do you want to achieve with a new website? E.g. Lead generating or a brochure site?
  2. What new features do you want?
  3. Will you keep the current content or rewrite it?

2. Budget or lack of

Understanding what type of budget, you are working with helps yourself and the agency or designer to deliver what is possible. Having an unrealistic budget matched with high expectations is a recipe for disaster. Most good agencies should be able to give you an indication of a low, medium and high project costs with examples. From here you can then allocate what type of budget is required. But please don’t say “we don’t have one”. You wouldn’t go shopping for a car unless you had some kind of budget in mind.

3. What works today?

A lot of firms have some great content or features on their website, but when they go through a redesign this can sometimes get missed off the list of requirements. Review areas of your website that works for you and your clients. To do this just go into your Google Analytics and see what pages prospective clients are looking at. You might have an online payment option or a conveyancing calculator. Don’t assume this is included in a redesign.

4. No time frame

Set a goal of when you want the project to be completed and take into account your current caseload. The two biggest delays of a website project are the following:

  1. Design reviews – Signing off content can be a real problem, especially if it needs to go before a number of partners or directors for sign off. 
  2. Content review – Agreeing on what new content will be created and what will be pulled through from the old website. Does your content need to be updated? Is it accurate for today’s legal market?

5. The new website has gone live, now what?

You invest all this time and effort into a new website, and then what? Cross your fingers and wait for the clients to flood in? Of course not. Think of your new website as a race car, you need to put premium fuel in it, racing tyres and well you get my point. With your new website now live you need to look at the following 4 areas:

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Have some form of ongoing SEO in place to help maintain or build on your search rankings
  2. Content – continue to feed your news or blog pages with relevant and engaging content. Content your clients will find useful. Don’t write it from a perspective that benefits you.
  3. Reporting – hopefully you will have some rough idea of what your website was doing before. Review your website’s performance every 4-6 weeks. Without this how do you know what or where your digital presence is going?
  4. Review – Look at your strategy and adjust it according to the legal market. Today’s purchaser of legal services doesn’t just look at one website. They look around, and your firm should have an understanding of the type of clients you want to attract.

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