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Seven law firm website priorities for 2022

  • By 3chillies

Corporate websites are a critical part of the digital strategy for every law firm. They remain a key channel to increase brand awareness, generate connections and leads, distribute content updates, establish thought leadership, promote the expertise of individual partners and validate the credibility of law firms. As we move into 2022, the pandemic is still with us, and digital touchpoints are essential for connecting with clients. Improving your law firm website and investing in its features and content is a must-do activity.

Law firms have paid far more attention to their websites and other digital channels over the past few years. However, the legal sector is generally lagging behind some others when it comes to investing in external-facing digital experiences. This is partly down to the nature of the industry and its priorities; clearly, legal firms don’t need to focus on delivering TikTok videos in the same way that B2C brands might. Despite this, most law firm websites have significant room for improvement.

Here’s our view of seven priorities for law firm websites that digital marketing teams should be actively working on during 2022.

  1. Align GDPR and cookie management with your firm’s advice
  2. Many law firms provide advice to their clients on matters such as GDPR and privacy, thus it is essential that your own corporate website is fully aligned with the advice that your partners and associates might be giving to their clients. One of the roles of a law firm website is to validate credibility and ensure there is consistency with any advice being given, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.

    Getting this right means paying attention to the details around how you handle consent relating to forms, your privacy statement and the way you manage your cookies. In the back end, it also means looking at how you store personal information and the potential integrations and workflow between your CMS, CRM system, email marketing system and related digital marketing tools. In 2022, we think aligning professional advice and corporate website features should be a key priority for every law firm.

  3. Reinvigorate measurement with Google Analytics 4 and act upon your analytics
  4. Most digital marketing teams in the legal sector will report internally on the performance of their website and other digital channels, but all too often, this doesn’t go beyond monthly visitor statistics grabbed from Google Analytics that subsequently get hidden away in a PowerPoint deck. Reporting is important, but actual analysis of analytics is a real opportunity to improve your website, driving usage and engagement; many law firms’ digital marketing teams are not actually acting upon the numbers they report on.

    In 2022, we’d love to see more law firm digital marketing teams focus on measurement in two ways. Firstly, it’s worth looking at the numbers you are reporting on. We recently posted about the new Google Analytics 4 which has some fundamental differences in how the underlying data is gathered. Upgrading to GA4 in 2022 is a good opportunity to revisit and enrich your monthly reporting. Secondly, teams should diarise time to both review and act upon your numbers. What do they mean? Which content was popular? Where are your referrals coming from? How could you improve? Focusing on acting upon the numbers by setting aside time and having a regular process can really change the collective mindset with regard to improving your website and making a difference.

  5. Work with your lawyers to improve their content
  6. Most law firm websites will have technical content that is directly authored by partners and associates, but this can lead to problems like very long titles, unnecessarily lengthy articles and verbose and confusing copy. Lawyers love text.

    Let’s be honest - there is a massive disconnect between the way most lawyers write professionally, and engaging, SEO-friendly content appropriate for a web environment. This is partly because some content is highly technical and written for other legal professionals, but even here, there are invariably improvements to make. Most digital marketing teams do not have the time or technical know-how to edit updates or posts from partners and associates, so improvements must usually come from establishing guidelines and training.

    In the same way that some law firms have invested in social media training for their lawyers, investing in guidelines and training on writing for the website and making content more findable for your content contributors should be a priority for 2022. If done well, this can really improve both content quality and SEO.

  7. Move from content management to customer experience 
  8. Many law firms invest in underlying technologies for their website that are very powerful. There are fully fledged “digital experience platforms (DXPs)” that go beyond just content management capabilities and can provide personalisation, marketing automation and even some orchestration across different channels. In addition, there might be digital asset management, analytics, e-commerce, email marketing and more. However, many law firm marketing departments are not fully exploiting the range of features they have at their disposal, and some are merely using their costly DXP for content management.

    In 2022, committing to better utilising the full capabilities of your platform can reap dividends, extending the capabilities of small central teams and getting you started on more advanced approaches, all at no additional cost bar the necessary time and effort. Increasingly, AI and automation are playing a role here, lowering the barriers to usage of these features. Dipping your toe into the world of personalisation and marketing automation can also drive momentum for other improvements and help teams effectively move from content management to customer experience, resulting in better law firm websites.

  9. Improve website findability
  10. Many law firm websites have large collections of text-based content, some of which might be highly technical, while others may detail service areas, with the latter sometimes extending to a large number of pages. Typically, visitors to a law firm site have highly specific content needs based around a particular topic, service or need. The combination of a high volume of content and specific needs means good findability is key - a visitor should be able to find what they need quickly and effortlessly.

    A 2022 priority area for any law firm team should be to improve the findability of your site. This usually requires a co-ordinated approach covering several different tactics including making adjustments to your underlying search, improving your site navigation, optimising the search experience from a front-end perspective, tagging your content, creating navigational aids such as an A-to-Z index, improving the SEO of article titles and reducing the content on your side to lessen search noise. Ensuring your visitors find what they need can help support website success, such as in generating conversions and encouraging repeat visits.

  11. Feature more video and podcasts
  12. The way we consume business content is evolving to reflect changes in how consumers like to digest their content. Law firm websites have generally been quite cautious to adopt new content formats, but we are now seeing a wider use of video and podcasting within the legal sector. The high quality of video that can be made on a smartphone, the acceptance of recorded Zoom conversations as a legitimate video format and the evolution of popular podcasting platforms are all making it easier, cheaper and faster to produce high quality video and audio content. In 2022, we think more law firms should experiment and innovate with video and podcasting, and move away from over-reliance on text-based content. More podcasts, fewer PDFs!

  13. Improve communication and workflow with your digital agency
  14. Here at 3Chillies, we’ve always believed that strong communication between digital agencies and clients is a cornerstone of success, but it’s not always a given. Miscommunication and fragmented workflow can lead to misunderstandings, delayed projects, less than successful output and ultimately, bad relationships. Investing in improving communication and workflow with your digital agency will always reap rewards. This covers not only account and relationship management, but the basic processes around workflow during sprints and deployments as well.

    In our experience, most law firm marketing teams are good at communicating with their agency, but there are always improvements to be made. This is particularly the case when a relationship between agency and client is several years old, and the agency is perhaps paying more attention to newer clients when there is an initial “big” project to focus on.

    In 2022, commit to a review of the way you communicate with your agency covering all touchpoints, including everything from collaborating on projects, defining requirements, providing updates, reporting support issues, ascertaining the systems you have access to and wider account management. We can guarantee this will result in improved outcomes.

Need help with your law firm website priorities for 2022?

3Chillies has a long track record of helping law firms achieve success with websites, apps and other digital projects. If you need help with your law firm website or digital channel, then get in touch!

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