Back in July, I shared 8 top signs that you need to redesign your law firm website. So now you know you need a new site what are the top issues to focus on to make your new site the best it can be for your firm?
First you need to identify goals for your new website and align those with your existing one. This will highlight where some of the gaps are and how your current website is failing your law firm and the lawyers as a whole. I guarantee you not all the issues on your list will be technical in nature as lawyer bios and online content marketing are the new black when it comes to effective law firm marketing.
Next you will probably need to get some advice from experts who know how to address these issues both technical and otherwise and who can help your firm over the long haul, not just up to Launch Day.
Top 22 questions you need to answer before starting your new law firm website
- Does your law firm have a defined strategic, business development or marketing plan that can guide the priorities of the new website?
- Do you have an established Brand Style Guide or does one have to be created so the new website can reflect it?
- Have you done a competitive analysis, of the other law firms and lawyers in town, including SEO?
- What is your firm’s key messaging?
- What are the business goals for the website and most importantly how do you intend to track them once you go live?
- Have you written business requirements for the new website?
- What budget do you have to work with?
- Will you be integrating it with any other platforms, e.g. email marketing, CRM etc.?
- Will there be multiple phases to your rollout?
- Are you going to conduct a full “content audit” of your existing site or just replicate all the old content? If the former, what level of commitment are you going to get from your management team, lawyers, internal/external resources and the budget, to re-tool existing content or develop new content as needed, both pre- and post launch?
- What is the scope of the content you will be producing (web text, lawyers bios, case studies, lawyer or industry blogs, online documents, whitepapers, brochures, email marketing, video) and do you have the right tools and resources to manage their creation?
- Have you allocated funds for photography (custom or stock), video, writing, translations services, ongoing maintenance?
- What is your social media strategy?
- Who will project manage this effort, including finding all the resources required, determining all the touchpoints, people, departments (inside and out) to be kept in the loop and on-board?
- If you’re hiring outside consultants, do they understand law firms and can they establish a more robust relationship, adding on-going value? Or, are they a website factory “feeding the monster”, churning out templatized websites day-in-day out and who will throw your new site “over-the-fence”, then call you two years later saying, “your site needs to be redesigned coz its outta date and everyone is using HTML 10 now“?
- What are they actually building for you? A shell (which you have to create and add all the content for) or a fully fleshed out website with all the final content (including video & photography) created and deployed by your vendor?
- Will you be doing usability testing with clients on the site before you go live to get feedback and make changes?
- How will you conduct Quality Assurance and User Acceptance Testing?
- What does your “change control” process look like?
- How with you be managing security on your new website and social media accounts?
- How are you going to rollout the new website to the market?
- What are your post-launch goals and activities?
If you can answer these questions then you are ready to start your law firm website re-design.
Having had many years experience building law firm websites these are just some of the many issues firms have not considered prior to engaging us and it can be daunting to most who don’t do this on a regular basis. Over the next few months I will be looking at how best to approach some of these issues, providing my thoughts on best practices for building law firm websites after having spent many years in the trenches.
If your need is more urgent and you need assistance with any or all of the above feel free to reach out to me directly and I would be more than happy to help out.