There comes a point in the life cycle of every Web site when it
begins to feel dated. Design elements that were once cutting-edge now
seem trite. The text no longer hits the mark. The site no longer works
the way you want.
Does this mean that you need an entirely new Web site?
Perhaps. However, there often is a viable alternative: a
renovation. Think of a Web site renovation as a tune-up that will help
make your current site become a more effective business-development
tool. A renovation preserves what is good about your existing site–and
then improves areas that are falling short. You’d be surprised what
a few nips and a tuck can do.
A Web site renovation often includes one or more of the following:
# Homepage Redesign: The homepage is often the focus of a
renovation, and rightly so. Studies show that visitors will judge your
company within 50 milliseconds of arriving at your homepage. A firm with
an outdated Web site runs the risk of appearing hopelessly out of touch.
Typical homepage design improvements include: adding larger and
more striking photos, rewriting the headline and text, tightening the
layout and adding subtle Flash motion graphics.
# Messaging Improvements: Oftentimes, a Web site’s design is
good–the messaging just needs to be updated or improved in a few areas.
Most messaging improvements are made to reflect new services, changing
market conditions or an evolving firm.
# New Pages and Sections: As a firm grows, its Web site may need to
expand to include new practice areas, an improved careers section, new
client case studies and, of course, additional attorney profiles.
# Streamlining Navigation: Sometimes, rearranging where pages are
found on your Web site can make all of the difference. Slight changes
can allow users to more easily find the information they are looking
for, while driving them to the articles, case studies or biographies
that best make the case for your firm.
# Functionality Enhancements: It’s likely that since your Web
site was originally built, technology has evolved and user expectations
are now greater. The good news is that adding new functionality is
possible. Technical enhancements can include a content management
system, an event registration system, video and blogs. More
sophisticated enhancements can marry the firm’s CRM with the Web
site and search engine optimization.
In many cases, there are compelling reasons to choose a Web site
renovation over a full redesign. For example:
# Speed: Renovations can happen much faster than redesigning a Web
site from scratch. Think weeks for the entire job, not months.
# Less Bureaucracy: Unlike a full redesign, a Web site renovation
can often fly under the radar. Renovations may be subtle enough to avoid
the scrutiny of the firm’s entire marketing committee, and thus can
be completed much more quickly.
# Cost Savings: Renovation often costs 50 percent to 80 percent
less than a full redesign.
# Faster ROI: In these tough economic times, everybody is focusing
on return on investment. Within weeks, a Web site renovation will be
able to assist you in developing new clients.
Not every Web site is an appropriate candidate for a Web site
renovation. Some Web sites don’t have a suitable foundation to
support a renovation. For example, if you think that it may be necessary
to “gut” the majority of your existing Web site in order to
achieve your business goals, a renovation is probably not right for your
However, most law firm Web sites have a solid foundation and
include elements that can be preserved. A carefully planned renovation
can transform such a site into a reinvigorated, highly effective
business-development tool that radiates energy and offers renewed value.
Robert Algeri is a partner at Great Jakes Marketing Co., which
writes marketing plans, creates marketing materials and crafts search
engine marketing strategies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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