How do you know if your law firm needs a new website? Does it need a “refresh” or a complete redesign? When making decisions about website projects, law firm marketing professionals must consider several factors.

Is Your Website Responsive?

Almost every website today has a high percentage of visitors using a mobile device. A mobile-friendly or responsive version of your website will ensure that these visitors can navigate your site easily, read your content, watch videos and perform actions without having to pinch and squeeze.

If your firm’s website does not look good on a mobile phone, you have a couple of options for making it “mobile friendly.” A web developer can create a mobile menu and modify the styling to size the content (text and media) correctly, based on the screen size that’s opening the site. These modifications are far less expensive than moving the entire website to a fully responsive platform. However, mobile-friendly versions created this way are often not as seamless as fully responsive sites.

The second option is to move the website to a fully responsive theme or platform. Such projects are typically more time-consuming – and thus more expensive – but the website will always render perfectly on every screen size.

If moving to a responsive design, consider doing a complete overhaul at the same time, which includes rethinking the site’s design and functionality.

Do Your Web Pages Take More Than 3 Seconds to Load?

If your pages aren’t loading quickly, you’re losing visitors. Not only do visitors drop off with slow page-load times, but Google and other search engines consider speed a factor in ranking your website in search results.   

Depending on the reasons for slow page-load times, speeding up load may be as simple as compressing high-resolution images on your pages. A web developer can evaluate the causes of slow page-load times and recommend tactics to resolve the problem. Generally, it doesn’t make sense to completely overhaul your website due to speed, but speeding things up can make a big difference for your visitors and your search engine rankings.

Does Your Current Website Convey Your Firm’s Brand Messages Accurately?

If you have recently rebranded, you probably will need to completely overhaul your firm’s website. New logos, color palettes, messaging statements, taglines and firm stories warrant a fresh creative direction. Make a big splash: Commit the time and money to a full redesign.

When rebranding projects are limited to a new logo or a revised firm story, a simple refresh is possible and can often be achieved with in-house resources.  

Do You Need Your Website to Perform New Functions?

Depending on the content management system your site is built on, adding functionality is often a matter of developing something new within the existing structure. When web developers build a site, they often don’t leverage the full functionality of the content management system.

Before you decide to completely rebuild your website to gain additional features, first ask a web developer if you can accomplish your desired functionality within the existing structure.

How Old Is Your Website?

If the answer is eight years or more, then I most definitely recommend a full redesign. Old coding can expose your firm to potential cyber attacks and other security vulnerabilities. Also, deferred maintenance over time, and unsupported plugins and modules, can result in broken functionality on your firm’s website. Imagine a website visitor trying to sign up for your firm’s e-newsletters, but the sign-up form is broken. How does that reflect on your firm’s image, never mind the loss of a potential lead?

For websites that are “middle aged,” the decision to redesign or refresh could go either way. If your firm’s website has multiple problems that will be time-intensive to correct, it may be better to rebuild from the ground up. However, intelligent repairs can often make a big difference in your website’s performance and the user experience.

Here are a few “refresh” tactics that won’t break the bank:

  • Changes to navigation – Moving pages around within navigation structures is generally inexpensive and often improves the user experience.
  • Updated images and headshots – Sprucing up visual content goes a long way in making a website look more current.
  • Fresh content – Rewriting practice area pages and bio pages to reflect the firm’s brand messaging or updated service offerings will keep your content relevant.
  • New web forms – Adding request forms, like an email sign-up page or contact us page, can help accomplish your firm’s business goals.

Do You Simply Hate Your Website?

Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. If you absolutely hate your website, look for ways to freshen the design. Adding new images or changing the color palette might provide a pleasant surprise.

If you’re not sure which direction to take with your law firm website redesign or refresh, feel free to reach out to me, Melanie Trudeau, at mtrudeau@jaffepr.com.