Conversion Rate Optimization for Law Firms: A Best Practices Guide (Part 2: Bounce Rates, Tracking, and ROI)

Illustration of people analyzing data on a computer monitor, which displays bar and pie charts. One person sits at a desk with a laptop using Google Analytics, while another stands holding a magnifying glass, as though they're consulting "Reviews for Law Firms: A Best Practices Guidebook.

Now that you have an understanding of why conversion rate optimization is important, and how to improve SEO and design to achieve it, we will go into the next steps: analysis, tracking, and estimating your ROI.

These elements of CRO are important because they allow you to monitor user activity and conversion success over time, while also showing what sources and areas of your website to focus on. Let’s get into it!

Note: for part 1 of this CRO guide, click here.

Bounce Rates of Web Site Referrals

Understanding bounce rate data is key information

for any legal marketer, firm administrator, or lawyer who runs their own site to improve conversions. Bounce rates give you an indication of how incoming traffic acts once on your website. In this section on bounce rates, we will make a case for where you can get the most traffic, which directory or search engine has the lowest bounce rate, and how you can improve your site.

According to Google, the bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Basically, it is how many people leave your site because it’s ugly, poorly designed, or not relevant to their needs.

Bounce Rates are a Key Indicator of How Your Website Performs

Think of it this way: If 100 people visit your website, and 75 of them leave without clicking on any page, you would have a 75% bounce rate (75/100 = 75%). That is considered poor.

In fact, that is a waste of your money and time. Your site should be redesigned. Imagine if 75 out of 100 people left your office without even making an appointment. Yikes – you would want to change something.

If only 50 leave, then that is doing a little better. You can probably make layout changes to improve usability, along with calls to action and copy changes. Minor changes can dramatically decrease the bounce rate.

If only 30 leave when they hit your homepage, and 70 stay on your site for more pages, then you are doing a good job and should further refine with conversion testing. Finally, if you get your bounce rate down to 10%, you are doing spectacularly and should work on expanding your site into new areas to gain more traffic.

Our Study of Bounce Rates

We previously have mentioned that there are good and bad bounce rates. We have also mentioned that slow loading sites raise your bounce rate. Our bounce rate study is a review of 10 law firm websites to determine the bounce rates of traffic referrals. We will determine which sites pass over good traffic and which pass over visitors that tend to leave quickly.

For our study, we compared the bounce rates of 10 random law firm sites in our portfolio. The firms ranged from 15 to 200 attorneys, were located in 6 different states, were in major metro areas, and practiced in a variety of areas. So we covered small, mid-size, large, plaintiff, defense, and boutique firms across the country. We compared the bounce rates of each site coming from Google, Yahoo,,,, and other major legal directories. (For you geeks, you can see the underlying data here.)

What did we find?

Bounce Rate

  • The average bounce rate was 30%. (We do, after all, build solid web sites!)
  • Martindale provided the lowest bounce rate to our firms, with an average of 10%. This is a very low bounce rate for referring sites.
  • Google passed over the most traffic and had a decent bounce rate of 30%. This is really a “no brainer” for most web design teams, as Google has a 70% market share of search and provides a ton of traffic to many web sites.
  • Findlaw came in second with a 15% bounce rate – not too shabby.
  • Superlawyers came in third with a 17% bounce rate, but did have very low overall traffic volume.
  • Social media sites (such as Facebook and Linkedin) had a very high bounce rate at 47%. Also in the high mix was Avvo.

Time on Site

  • The overall average time on site was 2 minutes and 28 seconds.
  • The average time on site was highest with Findlaw, at e 9 minutes per visitor. (Note: that data was skewed by one website that had a really high 1,000+ second page view time. However, even removing that data, the time on site was 239 seconds, or nearly four minutes.)
  • Martindale and also had the second and third most time on site, with over two and half minutes each.
  • Google and other search engines all averaged a bit over two minutes.
  • The lowest time on site was from Facebook and Avvo.


  • The average number of visits per site during the month we studied was 203.
  • Search engines were the top three traffic providers with Google leading the way, followed by Yahoo and Bing. Google had the lion’s share with on average over 40 visitors per day, per site. Yahoo and Bing provided on average 4 visitors a day.
  • Martindale and brought in on average a visitor per day, per site.

Pages Per Visit

  • The average number of pages per visit was 5.59.
  • Findlaw led the way with an amazing 11 pages per visit. Again, this number seems a bit skewed by one site that had 34 pages per visit. With the one site removed, the page per visit dropped down to 4 pages per visit.
  • Martindale had the second highest (the highest if the one Findlaw site was removed) pages per visit with over 7 per visit.
  • Google and the other search engines had about 5 pages per visit.

What Does this Mean?

  1. If you want a lot of traffic to your site, then strategize how to rank high in Google. They provide the lion’s share of traffic and the bounce rate is pretty solid. Not only are you likely to get more traffic from Google, but people are likely to stay on your site for longer. We recommend a search optimization, Google local search, pay-per-click, and social media campaign to drive traffic.
  2. Bing and Yahoo provide the next highest boost of traffic, just 4% lower on average than Google..
  3. The legal directories of Martindale, Findlaw, SuperLawyers, and provide extremely low bounce rates and high page views. All of their bounce rates were below 22%, with Martindale even coming in below 10%. People who visit from those sites are highly qualified individuals looking for attorneys, so this does make sense.
  4. Social media sites such as Facebook and Linkedin have higher than average bounce rates.Avvo also fell into a higher bounce rate category at 47%. This is to be expected, as many social media sites are driving visitors to individual articles on the site and perhaps one-time reads.

Conversion Tracking via Clicks: Useful for Downloads and Videos

The next tool that is important to understanding your conversion rates is on-page click tracking. The concept may sound mystifying, but it doesn’t have to be. It is useful for tracking PDF downloads, video plays, or any click event on the site (perhaps even clicks to contact you by phone).

The following section will help you understand how to track on-page clicks to increase conversions.

Step 1

Update your normal link:

<a href=”/files/Diminished-Value-eBook.pdf” target=”_blank>Download</a>


<a href=”/files/Diminished-Value-eBook.pdf” target=”_blank” onclick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Download eBook’, ‘Click’, ‘Download eBook’);”> Download </a>

Essentially, you add in this code:

onclick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Download eBook’, ‘Click’, ‘Download eBook’);”>

What does this mean?  Good question:

  • Send = mandatory field to tell Google what to do.
  • Event = mandatory field to tell Google what to do.
  • Download eBook = This is the event category. In this case, we called the event Download eBook.
  • Click = mandatory field for type of interaction. We used click, but you can also use play for a video.
  • You can also add in an event value with the event, but we did not need one here.

Step 2

Once you add the code, just log in to Google Analytics and set up an event with that name.

  1. Go to Goals
  2. Add a New Goal
  3. Click Custom
  4. Click Event
  5. See Screenshot to add details to match labels.

For more on event measurement, click here.

Setting up Campaign Custom Parameter Tracking and URL Referrers

We also like to track inquiries and where they come from. Using Google AdWords, you can easily track the specific keyword phrase, ad type, and device of the inbound inquiry.  Moreover, using server referrer tracking in PHP, you can track the referrer URL information to see where contact forms are coming from. All of this is useful information to help you understand your conversion rates better.

We are able to add information to all our inquiry forms to track where they came from.


Remote Address:

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36

Final Page: /free-consultation/?device=c&keyword=best%20law%20firm%20websites%20design&matchtype=b&gclid=XXX(removed)XXX

Referrer Session: Direct Visitor

Referrer Cookie:

PS Website Photo

Easily track your inquiries, including keywords, ad types and the device of the inbound inquiry.

Easily track your inquiries, including keywords, ad types, and the device of the inbound inquiry.

Here is our setup on a Linux server using PHP and MySQL:

Campaign Level Setup

  1. Sign into your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the campaign you want to test.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
  5. Scroll down and click Campaign URL options (advanced).
  6. Next to “Custom parameter,” enter the name and value of your custom parameters.
  7. Click Save.


Add to campaign level, but you can add to Adgroup or ad level if needed.  You can use a variety of variables, but we prefer to track device, keyword, and matchtype.

Ad URL Options Advanced


{_device} = device

{_keyword} = keyword

{_matchtype} = matchtype

You can also set various other parameters (total of three).  Matchtype = b, p or e (broad, phrase or exact)  Device = c or m (computer or mobile).  Keyword is the actual keyword phrase.

Header Files for PHP

Here is the code to create a cookie/session to log all referrals:

session_start(); // Start session for popup form

if(empty($_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_URL’]) && !empty($_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’]))







$cookie_name = “referer”;

$cookie_value = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’];

setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 30), “/”); // 86400 = 1 day


// For Google referral link





$_SESSION[‘referer’] = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’];




$_SESSION[‘referer’] = ‘Direct Visitor’;



For Contact Form

// Start the Session



Insert your sendmail email message code here to create your email.  Then add on extra code below to add on the cookie/session variables.


$message .= “<br /><br /><br /><strong>Statistics</strong><br />”;

$message .= “<strong>Remote Address:</strong> “. $_SERVER[‘HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR’].”<br />”;

$message .= “<strong>Browser:</strong> “. $_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’].”<br />”;

$message .= “<strong>Final Page:</strong> “. $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’].”</p>”;

$message .= “<strong>Referrer Session:</strong>”. $_SESSION[‘referer’] . “</p>”;

$message .= “<strong>Referrer Cookie:</strong>”. $_COOKIE[‘referer’] . “</p>”;

</ span>


Finalize your script



All of our contact forms are appended with this information.  Not only is this good information to have for tracking results, the IP address even helps detect spam.


Remote Address:

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36

Final Page: /free-consultation/?device=c&keyword=best%20law%20firm%20websites%20design&matchtype=b&gclid=XXX(removed)XXX

Referrer Session: Direct Visitor

Referrer Cookie:

Using CallRail to track conversions

Measuring the return on investment from your website or Internet Marketing campaigns is one of the smartest and important items a law firm can do. PaperStreet has reviewed several online lead management applications, and we recommend CallRail. CallRail tracks the visitor conversions of your website allowing to properly measure the value of both call and contact form inquiries.

How CallRail Works

CailRail starts at a mere $45 per month, which is a minimal investment from a marketing budget perspective. Yet the information obtained is great for that price. Included with CallRail’s Starter plan package is both call and contact form tracking and much more.

CallRail uses dynamic number insertion, which, in lay terms, means that when a prospective client comes to your website and calls the firm from one of your marketing initiatives (like an organic SEO listing, a paid ad listing, a referral listing like Yelp, etc), their system will automatically update the phone number on your website to a unique phone number that tracks how well this specific portion of your marketing is returning. With that said, all direct traffic into your site will keep your standard regular phone number (unless you decide to update that too). If, for example, you hand out a business card at a conference or meeting, that user will NOT get a dynamically interested new phone number. This way, you are exclusively only tracking marketing.

As previously mentioned, CallRail can track your websites contact forms too. We can see this same valued return in addition to phone calls.

How to Calculate Your ROI with Our Calculator

One of the questions we are asked most often is “what is my return on investment?” You should be asking this question in just about everything you do online. If you are putting in maximum effort (or money) and not receiving results, something needs to give.

To calculate your return on investment, check out our free ROI calculator.

How Does the Calculator Work?

Fill in the first four blanks with your information. Then click,”submit” to see the answers in the last three fields. (1)

How Do I Calculate the Number of Website Visitors a Month?

You should be able to login to your Google Analytics account to see the exact number of visitors to your website in a 30-day period. (See our full best practices guide on Google Analytics here.)

How Do I Calculate My Website Conversion Rate?

You can determine your conversion rate by logging into your Google Analytics account. However, you can only determine your conversion rate if you have goals setup. So, for example, if you set up a goal to increase conversions on your main practice area page, then you would set up a goal in Google Analytics to track the visitors to the page and the number of times the goal was achieved (the form was completed, an email submitted, poll completed, etc).

The system then determines your conversion rate by dividing the number of people who visited the page by the number of times the goal was completed. Across industries, the average conversion rate is 2.5%.

How Do I Calculate my Sales Conversion Rate?

The sales conversation rate is the percentage of prospective clients that actually turn into real clients and real cases. As we reviewed above, a website conversion is how many users have converted (through calls and contact forms), but a sales conversion rate is how many of those users that converted on your website actually become clients.

A sales conversation rate is typically calculated by tracking phone and email inquiries internally. For example, we have clients who track sales conversation using Google Spreadsheets and Excel documents at the end of the month by reviewing their emails and new client records for the last 30-days.

How to Accept Payments on Your Law Firm Website

The last important item to successful conversion rate optimization is ensuring that your payment system is up, running, and easy for clients to use. In general, part of making your website useful to clients is accepting payments online.

In this section, we discuss the many options you have for online payments. PaperStreet has worked with dozens of websites that offer online payment services, and we are sure that you can find one below that is a best fit for your firm’s needs.

Third-Party Applications to Try


Paypal is a

fast and safe way to send money, make an online payment or receive money.


Stripe is a set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables a business to accept and manage online payments.


Available through the American Bar Association’s Member Advantage Program, LawPay’s features are specific to those in the legal industry.


Square is a device that connects with your technology to accept payments. Some of their features include fast deposits and online invoicing.


Aliant makes it easy to accept payments for your clients when you are on the go.


A PayPal company, Braintree accepts PayPal transactions as well as most major credit cards.

Accept payments online, in your office, or on your mobile phone with

When you have decided on a third party company and set everything up, the support team at PaperStreet can integrate the payment system on your website. Usually, it is as easy as providing a payment link in an area of the site that is easily navigated too. However, should you require something custom, we can accommodate that as well.

Accepting payments on your law firm website

Conversion Rate Optimization Summary

When you’re looking to increase conversions on your website, it’s important to understand what to look for, how to improve or build the systems and items needed to make improvements, and how to analyze your results. When the PaperStreet team does a conversion review on any website, we start with the following comprehensive list – so let’s use this to summarize everything from part 1  and part 2 of this guide.

Identify the Firm’s Focus

Before you dive into the full list, the biggest question to answer is “what does the firm do?” Quickly ask yourself, “can I identify what the firm does in three seconds or less?” If the answer is no, there is an issue. Your conversion problem could be as simple as people not understanding what you do. Fix this before moving forward with the rest of the list.

Revise Content

The following are issues to consider when determining if your site has the most effective content:

  • Clear Headline — Is the H1 headline easy to understand?
  • Tagline — Does the headline contain keyword phrases and a specific tagline about the firm?
  • Sub Headlines — Is there at least one H2 sub headline that follows up the H1 for further explanation?
  • About the Firm — Is there copy explaining about the firm?
  • Services — Does the copy discuss the firm’s services?
  • Benefits — Does the copy address the benefits of working with your specific firm?
  • Tell a Story — Does the copy tell a story and invite the user to read more?
  • Call To Action — Does the copy include a clear call to action, inviting readers to get in touch?
  • Format — Is the text broken into short paragraphs, bullet points, numbered items or use other conventions to guide the reader’s eye down the page and aid readability?
  • Audience — Does the copy genuinely appeal to the needs, concerns, and issues of your target audience?
  • Credibility — Is the content trustworthy? Do you explain why you are a credible, reliable, experienced source?
  • Images — Does the content include colorful visuals such as photos, infographics, videos, illustrations, and screenshots?
  • Unique Content — Is the copy unique for each page on the site, or simply duplicated from previous pages?
  • Length of Copy — Does each page have at least 500 words of copy (750 for home page)?

Show Your Social Side

These are the top issues to check regarding the social media and awards linked to your firm:

  • Badges — Do you have badges?
  • Awards — Do you have awards?
  • Social Media — Do you have social media on the page?
  • Relevancy — Are you active on social media? Linking to pages with no activity can also look bad.
  • Wins — Do you have big wins, cases, verdicts or settlements? If so, list them so potential clients can see your history of success.
  • Videos — Do you have videos? Are they listed and easily played? Are there categories and do they show up on related practice pages or related bio pages? Is the still/photo/screenshot of the video pleasant or is it uninviting? Do you have video testimonials of real clients?
  • Press Mentions — Have you been mentioned in the media, cited or quoted by other sources, or featured in an article?
  • Case Studies — Do you have case studies that illustrate ways you have helped your clients?
  • Reviews/Testimonials — Do you have a testimonial page or feed of reviews that are pulled in?
  • Rich Snippet Reviews — Do you have rich snippet reviews set up? The eventual goal with this would be to add Star Ratings to show up in organic listings.
  • Offer Online Chat — Do you currently offer live chats? This allows you to connect with customers in a way e-mail and contact forms do not.

Update Layout

Here’s what you should consider with regards to the layout on your site:

  • Easy to Read — Is the layout easy to follow? Can the eye go quickly from one section to another?
  • Effectively Placed Headline — Is the H1 headline above the fold? Can the user see the main message when the page loads.
  • Balance and Proportions — Are the logo, menu, photo, headline and other items in balance? Are they well proportioned in relation to each other?
  • Phone — Is there a phone number above the fold, or at least a clear contact button?
  • Footer Contact — Does the footer also have calls to action and contact information?
  • Streamlined Menu — Does the menu make the site easy to navigate? Too many options may confuse site users.
  • Focus — Is the home page focused and not distracting? Too much simultaneous activity can detract from your firm’s message.

Clean Up the Menu

The menu is an important aspect of your site. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Clarity — Is there a clear, clickable menu?
  • Mobile Navigation — Does the site offer an easy-to-use mobile navigation experience?
  • Rollovers — Does the menu have rollovers to indicate what to click?
  • Concision — Does the menu clearly guide the user to what they need, without confusion?

Improve Photos

Media is an important part of your site. Remember to think of the following:

  • Tone— Are you smiling in the photo? Are you serious?  Either is fine, but you’ll need photos of your firm that set a consistent tone.
  • Relevance— Is the photo appealing? Does it reinforce the brand and support the firm’s message or practice area focus?
  • Quality— Is the photo a good size and resolution, with the ability to respond to different devices?
  • Blog — Are the blog photos resizing for the design?

Strengthen Calls to Action

It’s important to have a call to action (CTA), encouraging users to reach out and get in touch with your firm. Everyone’s life will be easier when you are mindful of the following:

  • Contact Form — Is there a contact form on the page or a clear button? Either is fine, so long as it offers a clear way to contact.
  • Phone — Is there a clear phone number listed on the page?
  • Reason to Call — Have you offered reasons for why someone would contact you?
  • Free Consult Check — If you give out free consultations, did you state that on the page?
  • Contingency — Does the client work on contingency? If so, is there mention of this in CTA?
  • Non-Interstitial Penalty Pop-Up Contact Forms — Are you using a pop-up overlay that uses a reasonable amount of screen space? Or, does your website offer a pop-up box with a call to action when you’ve reached the end of the page?

Streamline Forms

If you’ve gotten a potential client to fill out a form online, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to use:

  • Minimal Fields — Are form fields streamlined to be as concise and easy to complete as possible?
  • Error Checking — Is there client side error checking?
  • Confirmation Page — Does the contact form go to a confirmation page? Does that page have information indicating what is next for the potential client?
  • Submit — Is the submit button clear?
  • Follow Up Guarantee — Do you offer potential clients a time frame in which you’ll be in touch?
  • Blog Sign Up Form — Have you added a simple blog signup form so potential clients can stay up-to-date on your latest posts?

Update SEO

Search engine optimization is key to high rankings and increased conversions. You won’t want to forget about these:

  • Title Tag — Is your title tag around 50 characters long, with a key selling point? Ex: “Law Firm SEO.  Exclusive, Ethical, Results. PaperStreet.”
  • Meta Description — Does your meta description contain keyword phrases about the firm, with a memorable tagline?
  • Call to Action Links — Do the calls to action contain links to the contact page and telephone links on phone numbers?
  • Keyword Research — Are you creating your content around keyword phrases that people are actually using to find information on your topic?
  • Headings — Are content sections on the page broken up with optimized headings?
  • Blogs — Do you have a blog? If so, are you posting at least twice a week, with posts optimized for keywords?

Test Functionality

Nothing’s worse than a website that doesn’t work for you! Ask yourself these questions to avoid functionality pitfalls:

  • Search — Test the site’s global search. Does it give the results a user needs or is it just searching news or your blog?
  • Site Speed — Is the site slow when loading?
  • Broken Links — Do all links within the site function? Any broken link can deter potential clients.
  • Trust Seal — Is your site equipped with an SSL certificate? If so, it could offer users more peace of mind when submitting contact forms.
  • Online Payments – what online payment system are you using, and does it make it as easy as possible for clients to make a purchase?

Check Mobile Responsiveness

  • Other Devices — Does all of the above also work or look good on all mobile devices?
  • Mobile Navigation — Are all the navigation titles from the desktop version included in the mobile menu? This is especially important if there is a two tier menu system on desktop.
  • Phone numbers — Are all phone numbers clickable in mobile format? The correct format is tel:+1-xxx-xxx-xxxx.


  • Bounce rates – what is your website’s bounce rates, and what sources of traffic are giving you the best and worst ones? Low bounce rates may indicate needed improvements on your website to make the user’s journey more engaging and/or easy. Low bounce rates from certain sources can show you where to focus your advertising and SEO efforts.
  • Conversion tracking – do you have conversion tracking set up correctly on your website? What CTAs or resources are getting you the most conversions? What do you need more of, and what do you need to improve?
  • Conversion rates – do you have Google Analytics installed so you can track your conversion rate and calculate your sales conversion rate? Using this information, are you able to see what your ROI of your online services is?

If you’ve made it through all of these steps, then you should be able to sit back and watch your conversion rates improve.

Optimize Your Conversion Rates with Expert Help

While we have laid out the key tools and considerations needed to successfully optimize conversion rates in this guide, it can certainly be a long and complex process.

However, optimizing conversion rates is one of the most important things you can do for your firm’s success. Luckily, PaperStreet’s expertise in web design, SEO, and analysis is guaranteed to bring you more conversions even if you don’t have the technical capacities to do it yourself.

To learn more about how we can grow your conversions, contact us today.

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