Web Site Renovations vs. Extreme Law Firm Makeover


More often than not these days, I am speaking with law firms who are interested in renovating their Web sites –getting a face lift or adding search friendly content instead of rebuilding it. Makes sense.

Hey, many law firms and marketers are still skeptical that they “get clients” from their Web sites and hesitate to pour more money into a new one. Frankly, I’m still skeptical that a lawyer “gets” a client from anywhere except from their own wits.

Engaging someone to quarterback your legal needs is a high involvement purchase. It’s not like purchasing a book download for your Kindle. Before signing the engagement letter, a client will likely do a lot more checking on a lawyer than a quick browse of a Web page or two.

I previously blogged about the power of a referral in the development of new business, here.

People use a variety of sources to find trustworthy information prior to engaging a lawyer, including that which comes from the lawyer’s own mouth. Certainly their win/loss record is of interest, and certainly the number of successful deals they’ve done can be convincing.  It’s also pretty certain that you can’t underestimate the touchy feely stuff like presentation, demeanor, tone, and even chemistry.

So, if you think about it, a Web site can actually be a decent proxy for a referral. At the very least, it serves a purpose in the decision chain. I’m almost positive that even if Uncle John, the Mayor of Our Town, or a law school classmate refers a client to your firm, that prospect still does a search of your site to learn more about you.

Why wouldn’t you want that proxy to be as engaging and thorough as it can be? It hedges a solid bet in your direction if it is modern, well-executed, answers the right questions, speaks to the client, and represents your value proposition clearly and accurately without cliches.

Often these touch ups do not require an extreme make over. But, it is not a simple project either. It may cost less cash, but takes more staff and attorney time to get the messaging right and adjust the look and feel to the improved content.

If you’ve got decent architecture and a serviceable content management system, a face-lift or resurfacing may be just enough to get you through till the next generation of technology hits the Web.

There are more hidden gems in that pile of Web code sitting on your server. It just takes focus and creativity to make gems into valuable jewels.

I plan to write a follow-on post with suggestions on how to convince your firm to invest in the face-lift. Stay tuned.

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