I’m happy you are here to explore this edition of WEBs' essential guide to Law Firm website redesign, where we help you create the next generation website that keeps your clients central to everything you do.
I’m guessing if you are reading this you’re feeling a combination of excitement and trepidation – after all this is your opportunity to impress your clients and your peers - so no pressure there then?
As it’s not every day you do this and it doesn’t matter if it’s your 1st or 10th time, we have created a simple process for you that takes away the pain and is it guaranteed to help you focus on your clients, which in turn removes internal opinion and that’s a challenge we can all do without.
First we need to put this in context and by that I mean making sure everyone internally is of the same mindset, that is; what you are about to produce puts your clients at the centre of all you do. It’s about simple mind set shifts and new ways of looking at problems through empathy and collaboration.
That means your new website is not for your partners or your directors, view what you are about to produce as a gift to your clients, I hope that resonates and I hope makes sense?
Broadly speaking there are three key steps to a website redesign for your law firm that keeps your clients central to everything you do.
- Step one: listen to your clients and document their challenges.
- Step two: be inventive and solve the challenges they face.
- Step three: test a prototype with them, improve it and go live.
By following those simple stages we keep focussed on your clients and don’t get stuck in other people’s opinion because there is only one opinion that really counts – that’s your clients. Our process will also give you the biggest competitive advantage because your competitors have been looking at each other and they’re going around in circles – but you need to make sure everyone understands the mindset of client focused thinking before you start.
Okay lets go into a little more detail on those three steps.
Step one: listen to your clients and document their challenges.
Listening to your clients is the lifeblood of any law firm website redesign. It will provide you with your biggest competitive advantage, so let me explain why.
If we are not listening to our clients you could be making some fundamental mistakes in how you deliver your services. Common sense would say – instead of designing your website by yourself in a room with others, maybe we should go out and talk to the people you are designing it for. So, all we have to do is stop guessing and just ask?
During these conversations ask for their ideas, learn what their challenges are, the types of content they look for and the tasks they want to perform. These insights set the stage for the entire project uncovering actual opportunities and help you give your clients what they can for.
By putting your clients first you can understand everything from, how they find you, the language they use, how they want to engage your content and to what happens when they exit your website. You may hear this referred to as the client journey and the user experience.
Working this way also helps your internal team look further into themselves and learn about a great client experience for your law firm. This needs the right people, cross business representation; getting different departments working with each other on collaboration.
This process is worth the effort and really helps you understand the challenges your clients face.
Let me take you though some of the methods you use in step one;
- Client interviews and surveys.
- Sales & support review interviews.
- Finally, define what success looks like.
- Website analytics review.
- Frequently asked questions review.
Now let’s look at some of the typical activities in step one
- Follow ethical guidelines and identify clients who are willing to help with interviews or surveys and document who they are.
- Listen to their challenges, their intent and the tasks they want to perform.
- Pay attention to sentiment.
- Involve internal teams for feedback and use empirical evidence from analytics to corroborate findings.
- Define the challenges and document.
Okay let’s turn our thinking to step two.
Step two, be inventive and solve the challenges your clients face.
It seems we are learning a lot about people, what they do on websites and their intent. So if we now incorporate that knowledge into some of the decisions that we are making, we’d produce better online businesses, not just an improved law firm websites.
If you get the client research element right then you're 80% of the way there, as it sets the basis for the rest of the website structure and this method will provide you with the most improvements for your law firm website redesign.
You need to solve the challenges your clients face. To do that think about creating client scenarios, how they flow through your website and specifically focus on creating engaging content based on what you know of their intent. Remember, we are here to help you understand key opportunities and provide clarity on future challenges.
Now let’s look at some of the typical methods used in step two;
- We create use cases and goals.
- Look at business process and measurements.
- Develop clear messaging directly addressing your clients’ challenges.
- Information Architecture.
- Content marketing plan.
- Interaction & Visual Design.
- Prototype Development.
Now let’s look at some of the typical activities used in step two;
- We identify technical features to best support your clients and only then select appropriate technology.
- Develop a prototype design with functions based on requirements and goals.
- At this point, we also start creating client focused content. Remember to use the same terminology they used in the interviews and avoid what you use internally.
- Solve the challenges your clients face.
So lets look at the final stage and that’s testing.
Step three: test a prototype with them, improve it and go live.
We know people don’t behave how they say or how we think they will. So that’s why this step is so important, that way you can improve your return on investment by choosing a design that is based on performance and not subjective likes or dislikes.
What do we test?
You may well have an idea what is working and what is not, for example you would like to increase the number of times your enquiry forms are used or the number of email newsletter sign ups. Each website test is very different and depends a combination of elements, here are just a few;
- Amount of text on the page (short vs. long).
- Page title or description
- Colour and placement of button’s.
Its worth noting when making changes to isolate each iteration and measure for at least 3 months.
Now let’s look at some of the typical methods used in step three;
- Usability and task testing.
- Quality assurance and accessibility evaluation.
- Revisions and optimization.
- Training and documentation.
- Create feedback loop.
- Go live.
Finally let’s look at some of the typical activities used in step three;
- Select the clients that helped you with the initial interviews or surveys.
- Deploy appropriate testing and validation methods to make sure systems work well for the people who use them.
- Last of all the final website build converts the creative vision into reality with functionality based on requirements, goals and revenue focused brand experience.
What you are creating is not just a website but a shared vision across your law firm.
WEB would like to invite you to take the 2020 Law Firm Online Marketing Benchmark.
This survey is being conducted solely for the law firm online marketing community. The subsequent report will highlight key trends, stats and averages, allowing law firms to benchmark themselves against their peers. It’s fantastic opportunity to reflect the reality of the online marketing community capturing your successes, challenges and expectations of the year ahead.
Here is a sample of the stats we’d like to be able to provide for you:
- What method has been most effective in picking up new clients online.
- How many enquires a successful law firm websites produces.
- How your online marketing budget is spent.
Remember if you have any questions about your websites redesign - you can start a conversation on 0131 4543 3311 or just add your contact details here and we'll get back to you.