My last post discussed why your law firm’s slow website is costing you clients. I discussed how a delay of just one second delay in your site’s loading time can decrease your page views by 11 percent. It’s important to understand that there’s an upside to this problem – speeding up your site, by even a little bit will greatly increase conversions which, in turn, will net you more clients along with making your site more search engine friendly. Let’s look at three ways that law firms can move things along on the web.
Three ways attorneys can speed up their websites
Obviously there are a lot of things that can be done to speed up one’s website. This list is meant to address the most common mistakes I see attorneys make while not requiring a computer science background to correct.
Compress the images on your site – This is the number one things attorneys can do to get a quick improvement in their site’s speed. Legal websites often include photos that are a megabyte (or more) in file size. Right now you may be thinking “that’s not a big file.” In terms of how a browser functions and the architecture on which the internet relies, the truth is that such a file is massive. By way of example, the reason this guy looks happy, and is making money, is because his picture only has a file size of about 15kb (or 15/1000 of the 1 megabyte photo I mentioned earlier) and he knows he is converting more clients due to the smaller file size of his photos.
Optimizing the photos on your website is not hard. Before your web master uploads a picture to the web then he or she should know to compress the file size using the “save for web” feature in programs such as Adobe Photo Shop (or other free alternatives). This will reduce the file size dramatically without reducing picture quality. This is an easy, easy, easy (did I mention easy) fix that will speed most lawyer sites up dramatically. Any future images added to your site should be compressed and the images already on your pages should be compressed as well.
Be selective when integrating social media onto your site – I see a lot of attorney’s pages which have endorsement buttons for virtually every social service, such as the Facebook “like” button and Google’s “+1” button. Having every possible endorsement button is a huge mistake. The “why” is beyond the scope of this article but trust me when I say that every time you add an endorsement button you’re adding a new anchor that is slowing things down. Having these buttons is important but you need to only include the ones where you think it’s truly important to have a sharing option for your content. Even though attorneys will see little marketing value with Twitter many still include this sharing button. Do you really think it’s important that your content be shared on Pinterest? Simply having the button on your site is slowing things down so be careful when making this decision.
Understand that everything you do on the web comes with a tradeoff – As I discussed in my last article, many attorneys don’t understand the extent to which speeding up your website will bring you more clients. That being said, you can’t focus solely on speed. The fastest website is going to be one with no photos, social buttons, etc. Obviously a site that is nothing but unformatted text isn’t going to net you any clients. It is important however, to recognize that every function or feature you add to your site is going to slow things down. You need to decide if adding a new feature is worth the decrease in performance. For example, we have a few newsletter subscription forms on our site and are fully aware that they slow things down. Making it easy for attorneys to subscribe to our awesome newsletter, which gives away excellent marketing tips not found on our blog (yes, this is a shameless attempt to get you subscribed), is something that we decided was worth the speed cost. There are other functions we would like to have on our site, but don’t, because we don’t see it as worth it. Whenever you think of adding a new function to your site, this is a tradeoff you should consider.
Attorneys who get serious about making their websites run fast will see an instant difference in conversions
The numbers don’t lie. Making your site run fast will lead to roughly an eleven percent jump in page views which, in turn, leads to more clients. All websites built as part of our attorney website design services are built with speed in mind and we pride ourselves on their zippy performance. In spite of the fact that the statistics don’t lie, many attorneys will read this article and continue to ignore their sites’ performance. Following the three rules above, which are quite simple, will give you an edge over your competition. Also, if you are an attorney who has built their site on Word Press then you may want to read our article on four common mistakes attorneys make with the Word Press platform.
Why do you think so many attorneys blatantly ignore the speed of their website? Please chime in on the contact form below.