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Your website is more important now than ever before

UK adults are now spending more than a quarter of their waking day online according to Ofcom[1], which of course was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. This is a massive amount of time, and the chances are at some point, when they do look for legal services, they will do it via an online search first.

When they look for legal services, they will more than likely be searching one of the practising solicitors that only make up only 0.67 percent[2] of the total UK workforce and will likely find you at only one of the 12,000 law firms in the UK[3]. And having a website that performs well, can be easily found, and helps you to stand out in the crowd amongst your competitors, means that they might choose to work with you.

So, having a website that visitors can find you on whilst conducting their research is a no brainer, right?

Yet we still find we need to convince some of the law firms we work with how important it is to have a decent website and a digital presence, and that they should spend time, money, and resources on both.

Why? Well for one, having an online presence and a website will increase your firm’s credibility. Chances are your competitors offer the same as you, so you need to stand out with a website that looks good and clearly communicates who you are, what you offer, and why you are different. And with consumers of legal services looking at you online now more than ever before, people find comfort that you’re a real business if you have a website (and a decent one), and they may question your legitimacy as a business if you don’t.

Other reasons why having a decent website is important, is that you can use it to showcase your brand, your expertise, your specialisms, what your clients think of you, and of course your talented experts. By clearly establishing who you are, what you represent and what you stand for, you increase the chances of your clients using you rather than another law firm. Your website should also set you apart from your competitors.

Apart from the other obvious reasons why you should make sure you have a decent website; besides that, it will save your firm time. Your website acts as your first point of contact or as your customer services representative. If you miss a call from a prospective client, they will be left unhappy. Having an informative website will help to field many calls, will provide an all-around better user experience, and will leave your staff to focus on the most important parts of your business.

Most important is that your website should and can generate leads. If your firm has been around for years, the chances are you’ve relied on word of mouth to get you this far, so why would you not be able to rely on it in the future? The reality is that consumer trends and behaviours are changing. You need to accept that your ‘future generations’ of clients will research your website or online presence before they reach out to you. And if they are not coming to you via a referral, how they find you in the first place via online research, Google searches, review sites, social media, etc. is crucial. And if you are not convinced that online is where your future business will come from, consider this. Google handles 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year! And your firm needs to be part of those numbers!

So, with all the reasons why having a decent website in the first is important, let’s address A) what we mean by decent, and B) why benchmarking your website against your competitors is more important now than ever before.

What does a ‘good’ website look like?

Having a decent website means so much more than just translating your old brochure onto a web page. It also means a great deal more than just good design. Of course, a good design is important, but it is not everything. How your visitors navigate around your website, how they find information, how informative your content is, how they progress through the ‘customer journey’, how your website performs, how accessible it is, how ‘SEO optimised’ it is, and the ‘quality’ of the visitors’ overall experience will, and should, ultimately lead to them reaching out to you.

These factors, along with a few more not mentioned, will mean your website stands a chance of showing up in the 2 trillion global searches per year[4]! This gives you the opportunity to drastically increase your client base.

How well is your website performing?

This question could justify having its own blog, but in essence the top 8 key performance indicators[5] (KPIs) to track on your website are:

  • Bounce rate

  • Unique website visitors

  • Pages viewed per session

  • Average time on page

  • Top landing pages

  • Top exit pages

  • Goals and event completions

  • Onsite search queries

All these metrics can be monitored in Google Analytics. But to assess the overall efficacy of your website before you even start monitoring how it performs, you need to make sure visitors are reaching your website in the first place. The ‘standard’ most people now use is Google, because it has such a massive part of the search market and influences how your website is found in the first place.

Up until June this year, websites relied on effective search engine optimisation (SEO) for their website to rank and to get good search visibility. In June Google launched its latest algorithm called ‘page experience’[6]. It is a set of signals that measure how your website visitors perceive the experience of interacting with your website (it’s no longer just about the content or SEO). Google developed a tool called Core Web Vitals, measures how your actual website visitors experience your site for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the web page.

The higher the pages on your website score, the higher they will rank in Google searches or Search Engine Results Page. This means, once your site is optimised, you can then use the KPI’s above to evolve your website and further improve your visitors’ experience.

How to make sure your website stays ahead of the crowd

Whilst the reality is Google’s new algorithm may take a while to see an impact, you can still stay ahead online by testing your web pages against your main competitors’ web pages to see how you rank against them. By testing your web pages using Core Web Vitals, your marketing team or web design team can prioritise fixing any issues it raises.

Do remember though, there are other factors that will also impact your overall ranking on Google search results page, such as website links, page authority, domain authority, local SEO, keywords, etc. making sure that your website is performing optimally and that your clients or potential clients have a good user experience, goes a very long way to build confidence, trust, and the reputation of your firm and brand.

Need some guidance and advice or simply don’t know where to start? Contact us to find out how we can help you with your digital marketing.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

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