Put Your Site to Work
Many talk about law firm Web sites as if they were something brand-new. But LPM’s recent online survey of members of the LawMarketing and SOLOSEZ electronic discussion groups shows firm sites are now the norm. The survey reveals that 82 percent of the 100 responding law firms have had a site for more than two years. And 41 percent have used a site to market their services for more than five years.
Of course, having a Web site is one thing. Making it work to the max is another matter. Which may explain why one-third of respondents said they have redesigned their sites twice in the past five years. (Another third have recrafted their sites once.) Clearly we’re growing more sophisticated about how to put the Web to work and modifying our sites to make them all we need them to be.
But the survey results also reveal that 63 percent have no system in place to track how much business comes in because of their Web sites. And only 34 percent could say that their sites have been a source of significant new business. Nearly 70 percent described their sites as "a necessary" expense rather than something that "pays for itself."
The science of Web site creation is still emerging. But it’s becoming obvious that putting money and muscle into the "look" of Web sites isn’t enough. Asked where they will focus more time and energy when next revising their sites, our respondents cited "content," "interactivity" and "usability"—in that order. Only 8 percent want to invest more in design.
Special Thanks to Guest Editor Larry Bodine
So this year’s Technology and Marketing issue focuses on that next stage of development for law firm Web marketing. With some stout help from LawMarketing’s Larry Bodine as a special guest co-editor, we’ve pulled together some great information for those who are ready to really put their Web sites to work. It’s time to move from "Yes, we’ve got a site!" to "Wow, does our site ever do the job for us!"
We start with Larry’s solid grounding on what prospective clients seek out on law firm Web sites, accompanied by titillating thoughts about "what’s next" on the Internet from a cadre of forward thinkers. You’ll also want to study the top usability guidelines from Dr. Jakob Nielsen. It’ll get you thinking.
Then keep turning the pages and read up on the basics of do-it-yourself site building; expanding client relationships with extranets and online deal rooms; optimizing for top search engine results; and expanding into the world of Web conferencing. Plus, don’t miss the super list of hot Web site designers working with law firms.
Many thanks to the wonderful Mr. Bodine for some thoughtful and provocative editorial thinking.
Merrilyn Astin Tarlton