8 Seconds to Impress: How Prospective Clients Judge Your Law Firm’s Website

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8 seconds.

What can you do in 8 seconds? Not much, you think.

Well, you’re already wrong.

The average website visitor will give you approximately 8 seconds to impress them before they leave. In 8 seconds, you can persuade someone that your law firm is the best one to take their case. In 8 seconds, you give a potential client a headline that spells out your unique selling point as a business. In 8 seconds, you can either gain a client, or not.

So how can you make the most of that 8 seconds. What can you do to make your website count? How can you convert web traffic into clients for your law firm?

Every Second Counts, Even Before You Start

With such as short time frame every single second counts. This means that you need your site to load as quickly as possible, and for every image to be there too. As the digital world progresses, people are becoming more and more impatient. We all expect sites to pop up immediately, instantly accessible and available for navigation. We don’t wait for time bars, or watch the mouse becomes an ever turning sand timer. We just try another, faster website.

In fact, a 1 second delay can reduce conversions by 7%. The numbers may all look small, but price it up. What is 7% of your annual income? That’s how much saving 1 second could be making you.

Actually, the 8 seconds we started with is assuming that your site loaded within 2 seconds, which is the average time we are prepared to wait for a page to load now and 47% give up after this tiny period of time. So to even make it to the 8 second time frame, you need to make sure that your site is loading within 2 seconds.

How to Reduce Load Speed to Increase Visitors

To reduce the amount of time that your site takes to load, there are a lot of things your developer can do. For a start, you need to make sure that your have minimized the number of HTTP requests your website is making. As your website loads, it has to make HTTP requests to different servers in order to present the content – images, text, videos – to the person loading the website. The more places the content is coming from, the slower your website will be.

You can also increase your speed by ensuring gzip compression is enabled. This reduces the bandwidth of your pages, essentially making them smaller and easier to load fast. However, do be aware that some content like music, video and images are already compressed so can’t be compressed again.

For every company time is money, but for a law firm, often appealing to people who need to make a fast decision to get help at a critical time in their life, you need to give them everything they need to hire you fast. Your website is where they will look first.

First Impressions Are Everything

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and yet so many of us do. The principle is the same for websites: you shouldn’t judge a website by how it looks, but we all do. In fact, people are more likely to read something that has an appealing layout than something plain.  Which makes sense since people in a rush tend to skim for highlights and headlines rather than try to work through a block of text for the most important parts.

This gives you an advantage. People are looking for the highlights, they are looking for lists and they want information now. So give it to them. Make it as easy as possible to hire you with bold, declarative statements that make it clear who you are and what you do. Once you have caught their attention, give them plenty of opportunities to click through to relevant pages on your site. Simple navigation is crucial to the conversion process and so making sure that you provide all the information they are looking for will influence their decision making process, and will give you a greater chance of converting them.

For your law firm, making a good first impression isn’t about wearing a formal suit or introducing a client into your smart office space. Now, your first impression will most likely be online. However, the principles remain the same. Your website has 8 seconds to persuade someone that you are the best lawyer for the job. Use those 8 seconds to your advantage. Show your clients what they want to see.

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