Website Self-Review and the Consumer Review Approach

How to perform a self-evaluation of your law firm's website.A quick review of your website can go a long way. Broken links, dated blog posts, underwhelming headlines, poorly chosen images, they are all small mistakes that can add up.

It’s been my experience that a 10-minute review of your website can yield quick and meaningful results. There two ways you can review your website; first, as the business owner, second as a visitor. Probably 80% of the time you look at your own website it’s as a business owner. You’re looking out the overall design and layout. Are the profiles of all the employees correct? Do you have a current headshot? Should you add a new report offer below or above the fold? Can you write a new blog article? Is there enough web real estate devoted to your criminal vertical? Should you add more video content? Does the FAQ section need revision?

Those are all valuable questions to be asking yourself. If you’re not already doing it, start now. But that’s not how your website is actually experienced by the end user. Sometimes you need to step outside of the ownership hat and step into the shoes of an end user. Simply put you should occasionally pretend to be the person who will navigate to your website, a person who looks a lot like your ideal client. Upon landing on the homepage what are your eyes drawn to, now go there. Oh, nothing worth your time is there, try navigating to the place you thought you were going to. Could you find it? If not, bounce away from the website and roll over to the next URL Google spit back and try navigating around that website for a minute.

Now try your website again and follow your eye, where do you naturally go. What content did you get exposed to? Was the content well written enough to continue on? Did the content enter the conversation going on in your head? Was there some great free info you thought was worth requesting? Was video link you landed on broken or the information played heavily dated? When you read a specific concept you wanted to know more about was there an internal link driving you to find that extra information? Were you convinced that this business understood you better than the rest? Did the information naturally guide you to a next action set like downloading a report, making a call, requesting a book, or filling out a contact box? Did you see all the awesome things others have said about the business? What’s your larger impression of the person who put this together for you? Did they appear lazy, self-indulgent, boring, vanilla, incompetent? Did they appear empathetic, relatable, informed, skilled, personable?

Can you be an honest self-critic? If not (and you possess that level of self-awareness) have someone else do it, and make sure that person is someone who will feel comfortable providing candidate feedback. Also, consider getting into your Google dashboard and see where users are actually going and spending their time. Get a feel for what users most commonly do from the moment they touch your website to the moment they leave. Pay special attention to what the ‘average’ user’s experience would leave them with. What would they know about you? What information were they exposed to? Should they have gone elsewhere? Are you pleased with what it looks like? Did they take the next action steps in your marketing sequence? Where did they visit after your site?

Often this exercise is the impetus for a small change on your website. Those small changes add up and will improve your conversion. This is especially important because lots of us spend big chunks of money sending leads to our website in one-way or another. Those leads need to be going to an effective conversion tool, not a leaky bucket. At a bare minimum, you will better understand and anticipate the behaviors of the leads you talk with on the phone or in person.

Joe Mann
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Joe Mann is a former insurance claims adjuster turned Partner Manager at Great Legal Marketing.