In association with Connect: a law firm’s website, like any other, will start to look dated if not regularly refreshed – with unimpressed clients potentially looking elsewhere instead

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the importance of your firm’s website and the need to keep it up to date.

Once you get it up and running it feels like the job’s done and, apart from adding one or two occasional news items, you can let the site sit unceasingly telling the world about your firm and its services.

However, the truth is that if you ignore your site and fail to keep it up to date, its effectiveness will steadily slip away week by week, month by month.

Fresh content not only enhances your search engine ranking; it helps you maintain your position as a leader in your area of expertise. And as security, technology and compliance all evolve, it’s always better to be ahead of the game rather than running to catch up.

Client’s eye view

The simplest and most important way to assess your site is to imagine you are a prospective client coming across it for the first time.

  • Does it have every feature and function you’d expect to see in a modern site?
  • Does it have the authoritative, up-to-date content you’d expect?
  • Does it still reflect the makeup of the firm and the services you offer?
  • Does it still look good in comparison to competitor sites?
  • Is it fully synchronised with your social media channels?
  • Does it give visitors a great experience, whether they’re using a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone?

Some recent studies have suggested that more than 90% of consumers use the internet to research people, companies and services before buying, and 80% make decisions based on what they find.

Though visitors may come to your website via other media, such as a law list, LinkedIn, Facebook or a Google search, none of these can take the place of an up-to-date site.

The stark truth is that if you don’t have an effective website, potential clients will go to competitors who do.

Always open

Bear in mind that your website is accessible and operational around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Existing and potential clients can find out about your services and make contact with you at any time. Importantly, the site gives you the chance to let clients know why they should put their trust in you.

Of course, a website is a great way to let people know about new services, announce upcoming events and provide added value through tips, resources and other information.

And these days, videos, podcasts, webinars, e-books and other online media allow you to showcase your expertise more effectively.

Specialties in the law

Connect is one of Scotland’s pre-eminent digital and print communication companies, with long expertise in the legal sector.

Account manager Roisin McGroarty comments: “Creating or updating a website for a law firm can be different from other businesses. Naturally, there’s a high emphasis on ethical compliance and you must not make false or vague promises. The focus should be on how you can serve your clients.

“User-friendliness is vital and it’s important to eliminate unnecessary legal jargon.

“At the same time, like other commercial enterprises, you will be looking to attract and/or retain clients, market your firm and build your brand.

“The online environment is constantly changing. For example, there is speculation around the concept of the ‘website of the future’, which creates interest and credibility around a specialty and user experience.

“It’s important to have someone that will help you to keep reassessing your goals and make your website a significant way to achieve them.”

First impressions matter

Remember, your website is often the first resource a prospective client will use to determine whether your firm will meet their needs.

It gives a snapshot of your experience, specialisms, abilities, people, services and reputation. Within seconds, a visitor will decide whether to stay on your site or jump to another that’s more attractive, user-friendly and informative.

Make sure your website is up to date and you are helping to guarantee that existing and potential clients stick with you.

You can contact Connect to find out more about the benefits of refreshing your website at 0141 561 0300

How often should you refresh your website?

The internet is constantly changing, with new design sensibilities emerging. For example, it’s now essential to have a responsive website that can be browsed using a mobile device.

The way you would design a website today is radically different from the way you would have designed one just a few years ago.

If your last site redesign was more than two years ago, it’s likely the site is looking outdated. This makes a major difference to the first impressions someone receives when they visit your website, and it could be losing you potential clients.

There are lots of positives to a website redesign:

  • it tells your existing audience you still care about your site and are still at the top of your game;
  • it’s a good way to communicate a change of direction or new outlook for your firm;
  • it allows you to develop and improve your content strategy;
  • it keeps you ahead of competitors when it comes to search engine ranking.

According to one estimate, the average website lifespan is two years and seven months. No matter the sector you operate in, the shelf life of your website is relatively short. Technology moves quickly; it’s wise – and profitable – to keep up.

Social success

Social media is a great way to bring traffic to your website and a great way to share content from your website.

However, to be truly effective it must be part of an overall online strategy. Despite their fleeting nature, social media entries should not be ad hoc or unplanned – they should be carefully scheduled to reinforce your brand ethos and complement other online activity such as that on your website. 

Relying solely on social media to attract clients can prevent some prospects from doing business with you, and these platforms have their limitations. Crucially, you do not own the content on social media and cannot control what happens to it. It could disappear at any time without prior warning.

On your website, your content can be viewed by everyone anywhere; you are in control of what people see and the information they receive.

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