Allison GagliardiReuse or Revamp? The Role of Content in a Website Redesign

When a law firm decides to revamp its outdated website, the goal is usually a new “look and feel” for the site. With all this focus on design, it’s very common to overlook a key element: the website’s actual content, particularly the written copy.

Occasionally, this isn’t a problem; the existing copy is of high quality, and it can just be copied into the new framework. But sometimes, this is like pouring soured milk into a nice, new container. Everything looks great – until the user tries to take a drink.

When To Revamp Your Law Firm Website Content

Cases where you should revamp your content include:

  • When the website redesign is part of a rebranding effort;
  • When your firm targets a new clientele or audience;
  • When your firm focuses or expands its practice areas significantly;
  • When your existing copy is dense, unoriginal, long-winded or disconnected from any of the site’s new design/usability elements;
  • When the content is so outdated it includes numerous factual errors or makes the firm seem “behind the times;” and
  • When your existing copy is not optimized for search engines.

Simple Ways To Improve Your Law Firm’s Website Content

Revamping need not entail starting from scratch. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional, there are several fast and simple things you can do to improve your existing website content:

  • Focus on improving the elements visitors notice most (taglines, headlines, subheads, photos, video);
  • Break up long run-on sentences and lists into short sentences, bullet points or numbered steps;
  • Include – within the limits of good taste — important search engine keyword phrases that people are likely to search for;
  • Edit existing copy to bring it up – or down – to the appropriate level of the intended audience;
  • Cut any outdated/factually incorrect info;
  • Give specific examples of cases and legal issues your firm has handled, outcomes/verdicts (so far as your Bar rules allow), testimonials, client lists;
  • Add a FAQ section; and
  • Share the burden of writing new practice area content by assigning each attorney/partner one practice area, versus overloading one person with the work. (The exception to this rule is if there is one motivated individual who wants to handle all the content, has the time to devote to it, and possesses the authority to make decisions without being second-guessed.)

If You Do Nothing Else, Do This

The biggest piece of advice, however, is this: Start early. Firms should begin working on their new website content at the beginning of the redesign, not the end, when the rush to “get things done” inevitably lowers standards.

Incomplete content is one of the most common reasons a website launch is delayed. Poor quality content is one of the most common reasons a website redesign fails to reach its true potential.

 

 

 


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