Attorneys can spend a lot of valuable resources in the pursuit of successful marketing, and an attractive law firm website often lies at the center of that plan. But the work of maintaining an effective website does not end after its published. Law firms need to periodically assess how their websites perform from the perspective of its users, so that weaknesses can be addressed and strengths can be highlighted. This post provides some basic tools for reviewing the effectiveness of your firm’s website and whether it is actually helping users navigate its features.
A Website Audit
A detailed website audit is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to analyze your law firm website’s performance. A third party, or even a member of your firm, can visit the site and take note of the following metrics:
Clear Menu Options
When visitors reach your website, the menu is often their first stop as they search for specific information relevant to their needs. If they do not see a menu clearly displayed, or it does not provide a distinct view of the site’s options, they will likely leave your site before reaching out to the firm. A clear menu with comprehensive options makes it easy for visitors to find what they need.
The average visitor to your site will not understand legalese and fancy language, so it needs to include content that is geared towards easily comprehendible communication. Use simple language and succinct content to convey your firm’s messages. Shorter paragraphs and bulleted presentations can also go a long way in helping visitors quickly and easily.
Website links are another area for potential problems on a law firm website. Try each link to ensure that they work properly and lead to the correct destination. Broken links impact the visitor’s overall experience and can diminish the confidence in your site. It’s also important to note that, when pages take longer than a few seconds to load, visitors may grow frustrated and leave the site.
Clear Calls to Action
What action do you want visitors to take before leaving your law firm website? Whether it’s filling out a contact form or subscribing to a newsletter, make sure that the call to action is clear and highly visible for visitors to see. Don’t assume that they know what to do next without easily identifiable cues.
Analytics are extremely useful tools when analyzing website effectiveness. They collect, measure, analyze, and report data that provides site managers with an understanding about how to optimize their website performance. Information about page views and the time that visitors spend on your website offers valuable data about which features of the site work well and which ones do not.
A variety of useful information can be gained through analytics, including:
- Website visits – This data measures the total number of visits to a site within a specific time period. Low visit numbers could indicate a need to drive more traffic your way, which can be accomplished through a greater social media presence or strengthening content for higher search engine results.
Unique visits only measure first time website visitors while return visits track users who have visited the site more than once. Low returning visit numbers may result from inadequacies in the website’s content. If it is not maintained and refreshed on a regular basis, visitors may find it outdated and useless, making them less likely to visit again. The returning visitor metric can be extremely useful in guiding the frequency of new website content.
- Exit Pages – This information lets you know which pages the visitor last viewed before leaving the website all together, which reveals a lot about the user experience. Pages with high exit rates are likely failing to deliver the content that visitors are expecting to find. They also may have broken links or users may decide that they are too difficult to navigate. For instance, if visitors are exiting from one practice area page at a much higher than another practice area page, it may be time to repurpose that content.
Each of these metrics offers unique information about an important part of your site’s function, so examine them individually and collectively to identify weaknesses and strengths, while making informed decisions about your law firm website.
An Effective Website Creates More Law Firm Leads
The law firm website is a substantial part of an overall marketing plan. By examining its effectiveness, you can gain a real understanding about the experience of users when visiting your site. Are they truly finding what they need and taking the steps to reach out, or are they getting frustrated and choosing to look elsewhere for their legal services? With an audit and analytics, you can easily obtain the information you need to make your law firm website a success.