“Your law firm works hard to get actual case work and new clients through your website, not just to boost traffic that leads nowhere….”

Unfortunately, most law firm marketing companies put greater emphasis on increasing traffic and improving search result positioning instead of generating actual leads for your practice. Traffic is important… without question, as it represents the number of visitors that come to your website, but a lead is someone actually interested in using your services and takes the necessary actions while browsing your site which let you know they want to learn more, set up a consultation to discuss their case, etc.

When law firm marketing companies focus on bringing in more traffic for their customer without concerning themselves with the quality or relevancy of this traffic, your law firm loses a good number of potential leads. Even if you feel you have made sure to target the right audience with your website marketing efforts, you may still feel like there are plenty of missed opportunities but you just cannot seem to pinpoint what might be causing mass exodus, little engagement, or very little ROI if any at all.

If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing goals for your law firm’s website. The main question you should be asking yourself is:

“Why are visitors leaving my website instead of converting into a lead?”

If you want to increase your customer base it’s important to look at your website and think like a customer. Consumers visit websites to get a “feel” for a law firm and to learn more about the firm’s experience, credibility, and practice areas. And if they leave before ever considering if your firm is one they might like to hire, you’ve lost another lead, and potential case for your firm. Here are some of the most common reasons that visitors leave a website, especially a legal website:

#1 Bad or Out-of-Date Design

It’s unfortunate, but everyone judges a book by its cover. That means that if at first glance your website design is either poor or is outdated, it will reflect on your firm’s appeal. If you do not put enough effort into updating or maintaining your website’s design, which is the face of your company, the perception is that your firm cares little about its image or reputation to the public.

A good law firm web design, on the other hand, will demonstrate the professionalism, modern day approach, and appeal your firm exudes towards it target audience. In a study by Dr. Elizabeth Sillence, researcher and psychologist, tested subjects on whether or not they trusted a sample website. 94% of the subjects reported that they were uneasy with the website’s design. As Dr. Sillence states, “Your design can TRIGGER immediate DISTRUST.” If necessary, don’t hesitate to outsource your law firm web design to a reputable company.

#2 Poor Content

Prospects come to your law firm’s website to get information about your company, knowledge about specific legal topics or concerns, and more. If your content is written poorly and/or written for search engines and not for people, your visitors will get irritated and leave. Many law firms and law firm marketing companies “stuff” keywords into websites for SEO reasons, but it can actually backfire and get you penalized. Avoid it at all costs! If your content is well-written, useful, relevant to what the search user is looking for, and provides them with great information which satifies their reason for coming to your page to begin with, than prospects are much more likely to take action and you will generate a far greater number of leads.

#3 Lacking Important Information

As previously mentioned, consumers are looking for specific information when they come to your website. If your site is filled with “fluff” instead of actual information about your law firm you will certainly lose them to a competitor. Credibility or trustworthiness, especially for a law firm, should not be the slightest bit questionable when someone is looking at your website. Many law firms have also found that including a blog on their website with regularly published posts establishes even further credibility as well as authority in their practice areas, helping them build rapport with their target audience as both knowledgeable and trustworthy.

#4 Not Responsive or Mobile-Friendly

If your website is not responsive or mobile-friendly you are suffering a lot more than just lost leads. On April 21st, 2015 Google rolled out a new search ranking algorithm that was meant to push down the ranking positions of non-mobile-friendly websites and give mobile-friendly websites higher ranking positions in the search results. A responsive website is a type of mobile-friendly website which simply means that the website will adjust its layout according to the device being used to view it. This way its easy to use regardless if you are viewing on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

It’s worth mentioning that even some responsive websites are not mobile friendly if poorly coded, so even if your firm has a responsive website, make sure to test it carefully using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to insure your site is in fact mobile-friendly.

For many large companies, they see close to 50% of traffic from consumers on mobile devices. A midsize law firm or small law office will most likely see between 20% and 40% of their traffic is mobile-based. This number continues to rise. Also, consider the fact that many prospects in need of a lawyer are searching locally and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. Therefore, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly you could be losing up to half of your potential prospects. A mobile-friendly website, and ideally a well-built responsive website, is a must for today’s website users.

#5 Popups, Ads, Self-Playing Videos

When someone visits your law firm’s website the last thing they want is to be bombarded with pop-ups, advertisements, and self-playing videos. If a consumer feels as if they have no control over what they are seeing or a choice as to when they see it, they will leave.

A special feature displayed on your home page slider is perfectly acceptable, so is having a video on your page. However, allow the user to both see what you are presenting and make the choice to engage with it themselves instead of being force-fed your advertisement. They are already on your website, and this attention-grabbing technique is a complete turnoff.

What does this say about how your law firm treats clients?

Do you want to start a business relationship coming across as pushy and overbearing?

I would think not. 

#6 Difficult To Navigate

Nothing is more frustrating for a website visitor than not being able to find the information they are looking for. I promise you, they will leave.

Have you ever shopped at Home Depot for an unfamiliar item and literally walked up and down every aisle at least twice before having to ask for help or eventually stumble on the item when you least expected it? This is frustrating and really makes you want to take your business elsewhere, doesn’t it?

If the information your visitor is seeking is beyond two clicks from the page they entered on… If your valuable information is buried deep in your website… your visitors are going to give up and leave your website. You have to think like your customer and organize the information they want to find, up front and center.

#7 Low Budget Videos

Creating and hosting a low budget video on your website can send a bad message to your visitors. Videos should never be blurry, have poor audio or poor editing. If you absolutely cannot budget for a good quality video, avoid them all together. Also, keep in mind modern day video quality should be no less than the  standard HD 1080p.

#8 Slow Loading Pages

One of the biggest reasons why visitors leave a website is slow load time.  In a study by KISS metrics, they found that 40% of consumers will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to fully load. They also found that as little as a single second delay decreases consumer satisfaction by about 16%.

Slow loading pages are also a major factor when thinking about optimizing your site for tablet and mobile users. Slow loading desktop websites will be even more cumbersome to navigate on portable devices. If you don’t know how your site stacks up GTmetrix has a great speed test which also provides you with a detailed report of what is taking longest to load.

#9 Authority

Before a visitor decides to contact you about your legal services, they most often will dig around and learn what they need to know about your firm prior to picking up the phone to call or filling out a contact request / consultation form. They want to be certain that your firm is legitimate and will treat their case with the utmost care. Considering there are so many malicious websites and plenty that advertise services or products that do not do what they say they can do, it should come as no surprise that prospects will want to do their research before hiring an attorney.

There are many things you can do to help increase credibility and authority of your law firm such as registering for the local chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau. Online, you can give your visitors more confidence in your abilities to deliver excellent service and expertise by providing whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, newsletters, daily or weekly blog content, and videos (good quality videos). Most of these items you can offer in exchange for their contact information. When they download your content they will be able to get insight into your law firm’s capabilities and most often learn more about the legal matter they wish to resolve. And, your firm will now have a lead to nurture into a newly signed client. You can also utilize Social Media and networking to build further authority and expand your target audience even further.

#10 No Landing Pages

Even if your website converts visitors into leads for your legal services relatively well through your contact us page, it may not be enough to generate a substantial number of leads. Most business experts will tell you it takes 40 good leads to produce one paying customer. Granted that equation will vary depending on the type of business but that is a considerably higher ratio than most would expect. And if you think about how many leads your website has actually produced over the last 12 months that became customers, you may now realize you have a problem.

In order to have an effective website it’s important to build landing pages that will explain your qualifications, what type of cases you deal with, how you can help them with their cases, and always include a call to action or a lead generation form on each page. Each landing page should be specific to one particular service or area of law that you practice. This enables you, for example, to drive prospects interested in product liability law, to your product liability page. If you lump all services into one summary page, you have created a convoluted mess. Not only will the search engines have no clue what you page is about, but your visitors will not get the information they are looking for, specifically about one of your areas of focus. Always create one page for each legal service or practice area to insure the traffic you drive to that page is genuinely interested in learning more about that particular type of service.

In the page, your call to action will tell the visitors what you want them to do, and in your law firm website’s case, give you their contact information.

Wrap Up

You found this article because you wanted to learn more about the reasons visitors leave your law firm’s website and never come back. The majority of the issues mentioned above are easily repaired if you take the time to properly address each one. Also, a great number of these revolve around the written content you deliver or produce for the website, how it is structured, promoted, and utilized to capture leads. The visual appeal, content you deliver, structure of your website, and how your firm positions itself to develop authority and credibility will all play a major role in how your visitors respond to your website. These key areas will either encourage them to take further action or deter them and push them to find the nearest exit.

Your websites appeal is one of many challenges law firms face with modern day marketing. Take a look at our eBook that covers 7 Key Legal Marketing Challenges you should avoid and help get your law firm marketing plan back on track.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is a Small Business Consultant and Strategic Branding Specialist. He calls Monterey, CA home and is a life-long musician who spends his free time writing, composing, and producing music. He has also co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”

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