Anyone facing a website redesign project has most likely been asked, “If we’re spending all this money to redesign our website, can we expect a measurable return on our investment?” As marketers, we need to justify our marketing strategies. That can be difficult when it comes to website development, since the costs are high and the measurement capabilities are limited. That said, there are some methodical steps legal marketers can take to get buy-in on a website redesign and capture the resulting ROI.
Justifying the Initiative
If you’re faced with defending your recommendation to redesign or refresh your law firm’s website, consider the following:
- Almost every client who hires you has probably visited your firm’s website.
- Your website is a direct reflection of your firm and its brand – whether old and tired, or shiny and new.
- As the backbone of most marketing campaigns, a website should be one of the top priorities in your marketing strategy.
Justifying the Cost
Even with these justifications, website redesign projects are still substantial investments for law firms. Not only are website builds expensive, they are also time-consuming and can sap valuable firm resources.
Considering the total cost to develop a new website, firm management often wants a guarantee that it will show a positive return on investment. For law firm marketers, drawing a straight line from design and development costs to an increase in firm revenue is next to impossible. Potential clients typically don’t hire attorneys when influenced by a singular marketing touch point. Instead, prospects in a sales cycle come to decisions based on multiple factors and influences, making it difficult to assign a single element to a sales conversion.
While direct correlations are difficult to make, you should expect several quantitative results when redesigning your firm website. Looking at Google Analytics year-over-year comparisons, here are the top metrics that should improve with a website redesign.
1. Lower Bounce Rate
A new design and updated website content should lower the bounce rate across the site. During the strategy phase of a website project, we look at the bounce rates of the top most-visited pages. Pulling out the pages with above-average bounce rates and examining why a visitor would leave these pages is the first step in creating a better web page. Look for ways to entice visitors to visit another page on the website. Related content listed in sidebars, internal links and additional resource links are just a few ways to encourage a second click.
Navigation changes will also improve bounce rates. A user-friendly primary navigation structure positioned intuitively on a web page will provide an easy path for visitors to click through to a second page during their visit, thus lowering the bounce rate.
2. Higher Average Time on Site
Better websites mean that visitors will spend more time on a website, resulting in an increase in the average session time. Improving the “stickiness” on each page – how long a person spends on one page – and lowering the bounce rate should be the goal of any website redesign. If done well, the metrics should reflect an improvement.
3. Higher Average Pages per Visit
Logically, with a lower bounce rate and a longer time on site, the metrics will inevitably show a higher number of pages visited per session. You can probably see where this is headed. A better website will show better user engagement metrics.
4. Increased Number of Visits
As user engagement improves, good things start to happen:
- Search engines start to rank your website pages higher in search results.
- Higher rankings usually mean more visitors.
- More visitors mean more online visibility.
5. More Conversions
Finally, the part that law firm management cares about most: conversions. (A “conversion” will mean different things for different sites. Anything from a webform contact completion to an email sign-up can be considered a “conversion.”) If your metrics as outlined above have improved, then your website is well-positioned to increase conversions. Fortunately, most conversions are measureable if configured properly.
While an increase in conversions does not necessarily correlate to an increase in revenue, more conversions should be feeding your sales funnel with a high number of relevant leads. Nurturing these leads and guiding them through the sales cycle is a topic for another post.