Website Trends for 2017

Like everyone in the digital marketing space, legal marketers need to stay up to date with where the industry is headed. It’s impossible to ignore the changes that are occurring across the internet; today’s customer dislikes feeling sold to, and the amount of time a business has to catch their interest continues to get shorter and shorter. Content marketing has moved to the forefront for many marketers, and current website trends reflect that focus. Has your firm’s website stayed up to date with these trends?

Content is king

From blog posts to infographics, content is taking center stage on law firm websites. One of the best ways to gain the attention and the trust of a busy, easily distracted potential customer is to provide content and resources that are useful and interesting to them. Because of the breadth and depth of content on a site, there is no longer the guarantee that a visitor will be “entering” the site through the homepage. In fact, research shows that fewer than 40% of visitors arrive on a law firm website via the homepage. Look at every page of your site through the eyes of a first-time visitor: does it have everything you’d need? Rich media like podcasts and video, recommendations for related articles, lead-generating forms and more are elements that help keep a visitor on each page longer, and to then funnel them deeper into the site.

Site personalization

Custom content and personalization is a major trend in the digital marketing field, particularly in consumer product websites. These systems allow your website to automatically deliver the appropriate content to the appropriate visitor – for example, someone who had recently been searching for information about traffic violations might see a blog post about what charges result in a license suspension, or a user who has visited the same page several times might be served a more aggressive call to contact an attorney than a first-time visitor sees. Depending on the system in place, this data may be based just on IP address and site cookies, or it may include access to a much larger database of consumer information. Expect to see this technology continuing to spread across the web.

Magazine-inspired design

With all that content, it’s no surprise that law firm websites are taking cues from online publications when it comes to design. New wider screen resolutions mean websites with dramatic edge-to-edge images and more real estate for laying out articles, videos, images and more. Many sites have started to adopt a “magazine-style” page layout, featuring a number of different content pieces on a single page to allow a visitor to browse a variety of content at once before selecting one to investigate further. Firms have also taken inspiration from publications by including links to related content following blogs and articles. These links help present the most relevant content to your visitors, keeping them on the site longer. Not only is this useful in building your brand with individual users, but search engines consider the amount of time a user spends on-site when determining page rank.

Simplified navigation

Web sites of all kinds are pruning their site navigation, whittling down the top level options to just a few major buckets. One major reason for this change is the rise of the mobile device; brands that want to get ahead can no longer ignore the importance of a responsive website, and trying to navigate an over-stuffed navigation menu on a phone is an exercise in frustration. These simplified navigations are also part of the current web design trend toward clean simplicity. Ideally, these broader tiers of navigation will make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for on your site, but a robust site search is a natural partner. Take advantage of the custom search tools available today like predictive search, smart matches and more to make it easier than ever to direct your site visitors to the content they are looking for.

Web Designer in Roswell

The digital world is constantly changing and evolving, and it is important to keep up to date with emerging website trends. Not every trend will be the right match for every website, but staying aware of trends will help you make sure that your site is on pace with those of your competitors. Visitors expect a site will be easy to search and navigate, designed to be accessed on any device, and filled with useful, engaging content. Without these elements, you risk your site seeming outdated and irrelevant.