You or your web developers have been working on your site for a while now and there’s one problem. You skipped an important part and it’s a turn-off to both potential clients and search engines. You didn’t make your site run fast. Read on and this article will likely surprise you at just how much business attorneys lose by not ensuring their sites run as quickly as possible.
Attorneys make the mistake of focusing solely on their website’s content
“Content is King!” That’s a phrase anyone concerned with web marketing will throw around. There are two things about this saying. First, it’s true. Any web strategy that doesn’t focus on content as its foundation is doomed from the start. The second is that, while content may be king, there are lots of kingdoms with important people besides the king. In other words, content is the most important part but there are other things to consider as well.
Your site has to return a good user experience for potential clients and search engines to think highly of it. The reason why is simple. People become frustrated by sites which provide a poor experience and Google doesn’t want to refer its users to sites that frustrate them. This is where you are thinking “my site is beautiful and of course it’s a good user experience.” Wanna bet? The big majority of law firm websites are slower than what Google finds acceptable because speed has never been considered a priority between either the attorneys building these sites or the web developers hired by law firms to do so.
Attorneys and law firms can increase business by making their websites faster
I’ve had quite a few conversations with attorneys building their own sites who have explicitly told me they’re not going to worry about how fast the site loads. I’ve heard comments such as “I’m going to focus on content because that’s what’s most important” or “I’ll worry about the speed later because I want to focus elsewhere.” If you’ve never considered whether your firm’s site loads quickly, or worse you are an attorney and know your site’s slow and don’t think it’s a priority, let’s look at a few things.
Google and Bing did a joint study a few years back where they intentionally slowed down their servers to see what that does to user interaction on web pages. The results will give you an idea of just how much business you’re losing[i]:
- Adding just one second, one lousy second, of loading time results in a page view reduction of 11%. People become frustrated and simply leave the website after one second. In other words, if your pages take more than a second to load than you’re losing 11 out of every 100 possible clicks on a page.
- Many sites also saw a 7% drop in conversions with a one second delay. So just a slight slowdown means that, out of 100 potential phone calls, you just lost seven.
- It goes without saying that the study demonstrated that as delays become longer then user interaction drops even more rapidly.
Inversely, simply increasing a site’s speed slightly was shown to increase interaction. So if you speed your site up just a little bit you suddenly gain more clicks, more phone calls, and more money for your law firm.
So we know users (meaning potential clients) are less likely to interact with an attorney’s slow website. Poor speed also makes Google less likely to return your firm in search results – for obvious reasons the search giant doesn’t want to provide its users with sites they’re unlikely to interact with. This is why they state, directly in their webmaster guidelines, that speed matters in search rankings[ii].
It’s this simple – speed your site up, even a little bit, and you will immediately receive more calls because people become more likely to interact with it. The great news is that obtaining gains in speed can often be done quite quickly. The fact that so many attorneys either blatantly ignore speed, or don’t consider it, is a great chance for your firm to score some extra clients.
I’ll be writing a follow up article discussing, in layperson terms, things that can be done to speed things along. If you’re not interested in increasing engagement by potential clients by the 11% mentioned above then feel free to ignore this advice while other people score those clients you’re missing out on. Last I checked, an 11 percent increase in business may make you look like this guy:
Why do you think so many attorneys ignore the speed of their website? Chime in on the comment form below.
[i] Performance Related Changes and their User Impact, Eric Schurman and Jake Brutlag. Accessed at: http://www.slideshare.net/dyninc/the-user-and-business-impact-of-server-delays-additional-bytes-and-http-chunking-in-web-search-presentation
[ii] Google Webmaster Guidelines. Accessed at: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en#1