Long gone are the days when law firms could publish a website and pay no attention until a change in personnel required an update. Today’s savvy consumers require fast answers to their questions and will quickly bounce off to a competitor if a site does not meet their needs.
We’ve listed below five critical tactics to make sure your website conforms with today’s technology and search engine best practices.
- Make your website secure and help your site’s ranking
Google has made the security of your website visitors a priority and so should you. In October of 2017, Google announced that it will start penalizing sites that are not secure. When consumers complete a form on your site, they will receive a “Not Secure” warning. To secure your site, install an SSL certificate (which will cost from $100-$150 for a two-year license). Once your site is secured:
- Your domain changes to https://.
- The privacy of visitors to your site and the information they fill out on the form will be protected
- Your site is protected from unwanted third-party ads (injections) being displayed
- Google may give a small ranking boost to secure websites over non-secure websites, which can increase your visibility and website traffic.
- Be mobile friendly
Nearly 60% of all online searches take place on a mobile device; more than 50% of consumers coming to Lawyers.com and Martindale.com do so from a phone or tablet. Check your website here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If your site fails the test, you may be losing out on prospects who have no patience with sites they cannot read on their phones. Work with your website designer to make your site responsive or find one that will: Selecting the Right Law Firm Website Design Company. Make sure you optimize for mobile in the process.
- Load quickly
People want answers to their questions quickly which is why Google includes page speed as part of its ranking algorithm. Effective July 2018, page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile searches as well. Run your website through here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Does your website pass? If not, work with your website developer to identify and fix the elements slowing down your site, including optimizing your images for each type of device.
- Deliver a great experience and better ranking through ease of use
The best way to turn visitors into leads is by making it easy to find the additional content on your website that answers their questions. This sounds like common sense, but attorney websites often don’t bother. You can provide great navigation in two ways.
- Push users to relevant pages through internal links to other pages of your website. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney and someone lands on your homepage, you want to provide them with more information on car accidents, wrongful death, and medical malpractice. This would be too much information to have on your homepage, so you should mention the topic and then link to each specific practice area landing page for greater detail.
Not only is this good for visitors but good for Google and your SEO efforts. Internal links connect your content and give Google an idea of your website’s structure. The links establish your site’s hierarchy, indicating to Google and your visitors which are the most important pages and posts
- Pretend you are your site’s prospect: Can you quickly find what you need? Provide users with an easy-to-find and use website navigation. This is traditionally done through a “main menu” that’s found horizontally across the top of your website. You’ll want to make sure all important pages are added here. You also can add useful links/pages to sidebars and the footer as well as create an HTML sitemap to help users navigate through your site if you don’t have one already.
- Make sure you can be found
Once you have implemented the above tactics to establish your site’s top-notch performance, take steps to make sure your prospects can find you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential, whether you do it on your own or hire a professional. At a minimum, list your website on top local directories, legal-specific directories, and social media platforms. Not only will this help drive additional traffic to your website, the backlinks will be good for Google (SEO), and you will create brand awareness and trust.