How long should my website last? Here’s when you should make a change

animated gif of website construction stating that the average website lifespan is 2 years and 7 months

Your law firm website is like a speed dating app for potential clients. According to Hubspot, the average time spent on a website is 54 seconds. That’s less than a minute to make a great first impression on referrals or prospects who found your firm through search engines.

That’s not a lot of time with so much on the line. So you better be sure everything loads, looks great, and is up to date.

And that leads us to this question: What’s the lifespan of a website?

The average is 2 years and 7 months, according to research by Orbit Media Studios, which tracked the interval between major redesigns on the top 200 marketing websites.

Does this mean I should redesign my website every 2½ years? Not necessarily. But here are some questions that will reveal whether your site is still performing like new or a revamp is needed.

What do the numbers say?

Your firm’s website doesn’t exist to make the attorneys feel good about themselves (though that’s a nice bonus). It’s there to convert prospective clients into business.

So if your pageviews and conversions are down, take a look at your competitors and see if their sites are doing anything differently.

Also look at your mobile traffic. While 60 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, the law firm websites we manage see closer to 40 percent mobile traffic. If you’re not hitting these targets, depending on your ideal audience, your site might not have an optimal design for phone and tablet users.

Can your clients find it (and does it load)?

Remember that most visitors aren’t going to be on your site very long. Can you see a call to action (find a lawyer, contact us) before scrolling? Are your credentials and industry focuses clearly established?

Your website exists to validate referrals and connect prospects with lawyers who can help them. Make sure you’re doing the back-end work to highlight this content so potential clients aren’t wasting time when they show up on your site.

Most importantly, does your site load quickly? It doesn’t matter what’s on there if prospects tire of waiting and give up. If your load time is lagging, you may need to dig into site architecture. Are large images and autoplay videos slowing the page from loading, and distracting potential customers from the information they really need to make a decision?

And again, make sure your site has responsive design for mobile users. You don’t want to frustrate busy, on-the-go clients by forcing them to pinch and zoom into a desktop-only web layout.

Is your site secure?

Website security protocols ensure that communication between a client computer or device and the server hosting your site is secure. The protocol requires the server to present a digital certificate, proving that it is the intended destination.

If your security certificate is expired, many personal and corporate firewalls will block your website. Not only that, your website’s search ranking will decline.

Is your content timely and accurate?

This is another area to check on your website analytics reports. Declining pageviews could mean waning search performance, and not all new business comes from referrals, especially among younger clientele.

You can also address content outside of a full-scale website redesign. As we’ve said before, marketing should be a full-time endeavor to be effective, so make sure your most recent evidence that convinces clients is posted.

That means attorney bios are updated, latest credentials and endorsements are highlighted, and, if you have a blog or news section, articles that showcase your subject-matter knowledge are posted consistently to boost your search rankings.

Does the look represent who you are?

Trends come and go. If your site was designed with a predicted trend in mind, it might not be relevant for very long. It’s better to design your site around a brand identity that will last, using fonts and color choices that transcend the passage of time, and focus your energy on building a website that will speak to the audience you want to attract.

This speaks to quality, too. According to BTI Consulting, more than half – 56 percent – of law firm clients use websites to compare their lawyer to the other side. When stacked up against the competition, does your website portray a worthy, professional adversary? A bare-bones DIY site – or one with dated design and clip art – may not reflect your credentials and capabilities.

Firesign’s award-winning creative team has extensive experience in creating brand identities, logos and building and redesigning websites. If you answered no to one or more of these questions, contact us today to see how we can help get your law firm website back on track.

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