Okay, to be real, there are lots of things your law firm website must have, the three biggies are:
- A way to get in touch with you (contact form, phone number, address, email address)
- A reason to get in touch with you (clear headline and copy explaining what makes you high-quality)
- A reason to trust you (list of clients, testimonials, address)
But you didn’t just enter the game. You got that stuff on lock. So what’s the must-have only 30% of law firm websites boast?
Your law firm website absolutely must be mobile friendly! LexBlog’s State of the Am Law 200 Blogosphere report covers more than 900 large law blogs. According to Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs, 73% of those blogs aren’t ready for mobile viewing.
Three trends make this a must-do:
- People are looking for lawyers online
- More and more online searching is happening on mobile
- Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites
People are looking for lawyers online
The days of finding lawyers through word-of-mouth recommendations from friends are gone. When asked, more people said they would use the Internet to help them find a lawyer than said they would ask a friend or relative. And two-thirds of adults who have looked for an attorney in the past year have used online resources according to the Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group. The same study showed consumers are slightly more likely to conduct an Internet search than they are to ask people they know for leads.
More and more online searching is happening on mobile
And they are increasingly online on their mobile devices. ClickZ analyzed Google search traffic at the end of 2014. “Traffic to the two major U.S. search engines shows that a substantial proportion of their traffic comes from mobile devices.” From June to November, almost half of all traffic to Google was from mobile: 52% from desktops vs. 48% from mobile. Then in November, mobile traffic blasted past desktop. According to SmallBizTrends, 60% of online traffic comes from mobile browsers and apps. SearchEngineLand predicts that by the end of the year mobile will drive half of Google paid search clicks.
So, clients are looking for counsel on their smartphones. Smart attorneys will take steps to be available on mobile devices.
Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites
You know who wants to have to zoom, scroll, and turn sideways to use a website on their phone?
And Google doesn’t take ‘lazy-webmaster-providing-a-bad-user-experience’ lying down. Just like they started penalizing sites for slow load times, on April 21, 2015, Google will start penalizing websites that aren’t “mobile friendly.” They started by highlighting mobile-friendly sites. Now they’re going to rank them higher.
Page load time is also important for mobile friendliness, as not everyone will be browsing on wifi. For mobile data, 4g still isn’t as fast as most wifi and most users don’t even have access to that most of the time. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will show you what you can do to make sure users aren’t waiting too long to get to your site.
Penalizing isn’t really the right word here. What Google actually does is give ranking priority to sites that load quickly and are mobile friendly. But it will certainly feel like a penalty when your site carefully optimized for “Peoria Criminal Lawyer” starts ranking below your less-optimized but mobile-friendlier competitor.
Figure out how far you have to go.
To figure out whether your site is mobile-friendly, search for your firm from your phone.
If your site is considered “mobile friendly” by Google, it’ll say so. For example, this is what comes up for The Cyber Advocate:
You can also use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
If your site is mobile-friendly, you’re good to go! If not, time to get to work.
2. Get a responsive design
Web design is responsive when it adapts to different screens.
To see an example of a responsive law firm website, check out nhemploymentlaw.com on a desktop and mobile.
The easiest way to get a pretty, inexpensive, responsive web design is to have a designer customize a responsive web design template. Some web developers might try to sell you on a separate mobile site, and stakeholders in your firm might not want to redesign the main site. This isn’t the way to go because it creates duplicate content, splits your domain authority, and forces you to update two websites.
Having a designer customize a template is cheaper than having one create a custom design from scratch. Templates are generally more search friendly, and often involve less code bloat for faster load times. Possibly the biggest advantage is that many templates are being constantly updated. There’s likely no reason your website needs an entirely custom design, so don’t pay for what you don’t need.
Some additional questions to consider:
- Are your links far enough apart that users won’t hit one when trying to hit another with their fingers?
- Is your text readable without zooming?
- Are your images big enough to make out but small enough to not increase load time?
Going back to paid search clicks from mobile, if you’re doing any PPC, check to be sure your advertising campaigns are optimized for mobile.
So, does your law firm website have a responsive design? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!
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