I know you feel like you just built your website. You may have spent thousands of dollars getting it done. However, it is time to start over and redo it. Websites have a limited life span. It’s pretty much always time to start over.
Here are the reasons you need to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to move on because:
- It looks like ass. Last year’s website is like last year’s tie. Your design is straight out of “Little House on the Prairie.” Style changes. You’ve got to keep up, or you look like you’re out of touch. Even clients who don’t manage their own style particularly well will appreciate it if you stay current. There’s a reason people buy new cars, new phones, etc. We’re a very style-conscious culture, and it affects our perception.
- There’s nothing to share. Social media is “the media” now. If you haven’t noticed, people now pay more attention to Facebook than they do to ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN (combined). Your site doesn’t give us anything to share. There’s nothing interesting for us to pass along to our friends and families. We want to share your stuff so we look smart, informed, and cool. Give us something.
- You don’t have a blog. How can we know how smart you are if you don’t show us? Sure, you can tell us you were the editor of the law review, but (1) we don’t know what law review is, (2) we don’t care, and (3) we don’t believe you when you tell us. You’ve got to show us how smart you are, and the only way to do that is to identify our problems and demonstrate solutions. Your blog is the perfect place to make that happen.
- Your site doesn’t work on mobile devices. It looks great on a desktop, but it doesn’t work on an Android or iPhone. It needs a responsive design so it looks right regardless of whether I’m on my laptop or my tablet. Different devices require different approaches, and you need a site that works no matter how I choose to visit.
- You can’t update the site. Making changes requires e-mailing someone who sends you a price quote for the change. You approve the quote, and the designer enters a work order. Then the designer communicates with the developer, and they send you a page for review. Two weeks later, the change goes live. Totally unacceptable. You need to be able to make changes RIGHT NOW! You need to be able to do it yourself.
- It’s about you, not them. The site needs to be about your prospective clients, not you. Visitors come looking for answers. They want to know what can be done, how it can be done, and how much it will cost. If all they’re learning on the site is that you’re a wonderful lawyer with a bright smile, they’re quickly clicking away to a place that provides the answers they seek. The site needs to be about them and their problems.
- You don’t have a calculator. Visitors love calculators. They want to check boxes, input numbers, and click a button to see a result. There must be something you can help them calculate. At a minimum, give them the ability to predict your fee after inputting some simple data. Calculators are just the beginning of the tools you can build. The only limits are your creativity and your budget.
- You’re being judged by your website. Prospective clients often form their first impression of you on your website. They used to judge your clothing or your office lobby. Now it’s your website. Just like you buy new suits and keep the lobby clean,it’s important that the website make a strong first impression. The website is more important now than it ever has been before. If you haven’t done a refresh lately, then it’s time get to work.
Start the work on your next website the minute you launch your new website. It’s a constant cycle. Shoot for about 18 months between launches, and always watch for new approaches and developments in design and technology. It’s burdensome, but it’s necessary. Marketing your practice is something that never ends.