How Would You Rate This Legal Website?

by Nick Nichols, Professional Services Marketing Expert

A recent request for comments posted at a LinkedIn legal group was:

This summer, we decided to do our own site. Enough with poor design, poor content and no control! So, we hired 10 Interns. Web Development/ SEO Mktg./ Editor/ Writers/ Analysts/ Graphic Design. I recruited 10 people. 9 of them were sane. Check out the new site – and we are still working on our niche sites as well!

First, the good news: The site uses the WordPress platform. Because the WordPress content management system started out as a pure blogging platform, and because Google loves blogs, pages and posts on WordPress sites can get indexed quickly.

Now, the not-so-good news…

Way back in 1996 when I started reviewing websites I coined the term "Large Useless Graphics" or "LUGs." Nearly 100% of this home page above-the-fold real estate (top-half of page) is taken up by a slide show of LUGs! While their office interior and track record is impressive, this is an example of what I call inner-focused content.

Inner-focused content is all about the firm. The majority of all marketing content should be outer-focused and must address the question that every person who visits a website wants to know:

"What’s in it for me if I stay here and see what this site is all about?"

Sadly, most legal websites and non-legal websites alike are guilty of displaying predominantly inner-focused content on their home and other website pages.

So instead of wasting precious home page real estate with LUGs and other inner-focused content, you must display outer-focused content that answers the "What’s in it for me?" question that all visitors have on their mind when they visit your site. If you don’t you will needlessly lose visitors and what they might have paid you to help them.

Another major problem with this design is that it is not mobile-friendly!

Forrester Research predicts that by the end of 2013 more people will access the Internet via mobile devices that via desktop and laptop computers.

To the left you can see what this firm’s website looks like on a smart phone. Impossible to read without pinching and scrolling.

Guess what? If people can’t easily read your web pages on their smart phones they will click away and find a business that has a mobile-friendly website!

Click here to see what Google has to say about this website’s mobile readiness.

Think of the negative ramifications to a criminal law practice that doesn’t have the sense to create a mobile-friendly version of their website. When someone gets arrested and they call a friend or family member from jail to get them out, that friend or family member is most likely NOT in front of their desktop or laptop computer. But chances are nearly 100% that they have their smart phone with them. If they can’t read your web page or worse, if they can’t click to call you, you WILL lose clients and revenue.

Getting just one client because you have a mobile-friendly version of your website would more than pay for its cost. Yet, I’m amazed at how many local businesses – law firms included – think they don’t need a mobile website. In today’s high-tech world, that’s like thinking you don’t need a telephone.

And finally, in my 20+ years as an online marketing advisor it’s always amazed me at how SMB owners (law firms included) will gladly pay good money for things like office renovation, accounting services, security and other important services, but when it comes to website design and marketing in general, they skimp and save or worse, they use unqualified people!

I bet this firm didn’t use a team of interns to design and build their offices. But they did for their website! Unfortunately, they got what they paid for or rather, they didn’t get what they didn’t pay for!

Need help with your marketing? Call Dalfort Media at 214-458-2290.