Halloween is a fun time to spend trick or treating with friends and family, but this month, we’ve got some scary website myths to tell you about. There’s nothing scarier than spending money on a site that’s not bringing in new business, so avoid falling into these traps and keep your website performing at its best.
MYTH #1 – IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.
You can have the best site in the world and publish content daily, and it won’t matter if you’re not promoting it in other ways. A recent study estimated that as of March 2019, more than 4.4 million blog posts were published every day. That’s 51 new blog posts per second, 24 hours a day!
What this means for you and your firm is that in addition to putting out good content consistently, you need to have a plan to get it in front of your potential clients.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your law firm should include the following components: on-site SEO (technical and content elements on the website itself), local SEO (Google My Business, reviews, citations, etc), and other offsite SEO (link building, sponsorships, partnerships, etc).
Also, don’t ignore the business process elements you should have in place to handle that traffic and figuring out what’s working once you’re consistently getting leads from your site: attribution tracking (call tracking, analytics), a good CRM system to track everything, solid intake processes and a predetermined way to ask for reviews.
MYTH #2 – IF IT LOOKS GOOD ON MY COMPUTER, I’M ALL SET.
Across our client base, we’re seeing over 50% of aggregate visitors coming to client sites on a mobile device (tablet, phone, etc). That’s crazy! 10 years ago, you’d have never thought that would be the case. That means that just because your website looks good on your computer, it’s not necessarily rendering well on other devices and for people visiting on their phone.
A responsive law firm website is one that displays the site in different layouts based on the user’s environment and device. If your website looks the same way on your phone as it does on your computer, just smaller, then it’s most likely not responsive.
Making sure your site displays well on all types of devices should be part of any site designed in the past few years and is a critical part of making sure you’re ranking well and reaching your potential clients online.
In addition, avoid the temptation to add complexity to your site – sliders, loading animations, busy or distracting elements, plugins that mess with scrolling, or other similar items. These can all distract and aggravate your users.
MYTH #3 – MY LOW-COST HOSTING WORKS WELL.
We get it. You’ve got to keep expenses low – it’s part of running a successful law firm and a successful business. One of the significant factors in user experience and in SEO, though, is site speed.
When you’re using low cost shared hosting, your site can suffer from speed and uptime issues. We‘ve seen attorneys that are spending thousands of dollars per month on pay per click and other types of advertising, then having site speed and availability issues because of a low-end host, with visitors encountering error messages or the site timing out.
Investing in a quality managed WordPress hosting company and keeping your site secure, monitored, and up to date will keep this scary situation from affecting your firm’s site.
MYTH #4 – WORDPRESS UPDATES ARE AS EASY AS CLICKING A BUTTON.
They can be — but what happens when something breaks? Or some formatting gets messed up with a plugin update? It’s important to visually compare before and after when your website is updated, and to have someone to handle fixing the site if a plugin update does break something.
Our best practice when doing plugin updates is to apply the update, visually check the before and after snapshots of the site, then have a system in place to automatically and immediately roll back and troubleshoot if the update breaks anything. This keeps the site online and available, as well as up to date from a security standpoint.
By keeping these things in mind as you’re continually building and refining your firm’s online presence, you can sleep easy knowing your website is a contributing member of your firm, working for you 24x7x365. Brian Craig