Report: Megafirms Have Mediocre Web Sites

America's richest law firms do the worst job, when it comes to their websites, in 5 areas:

  1. Communicating their branding message. “Firms are missing out in making a good first impression,” said Deborah McMurray, CEO of Content Pilot LLC in Dallas, TX. The home page should reflect your positioning strategy or what’s special about your firm. It should be client, practice and industry-focused.
  2. Displaying narrative content about their practices and industries experience. “Content should be visitor and client focused, but it’s difficult to do that if you have 35 practice descriptions. You should talk about your audience as opposed to talking about your firm," she said.
  3. Web site interactivity and outreach.  This including blogs, webinars, podcasts, RSS feeds, an alumni center and e-newsletter sign-up forms.
  4. Lawyer Biographies. “Photos should be re-shot every 3 years, so if I hire you, the client will say that it actually looks like the lawyer. Put the list of admissions, education and publications out of the way so it can be scanned quickly.   Also, visitors don’t want to know what you’ve done for the last 20 years. Only include those things that are reputation building and want to be known for."
  5. Site optimization for online search engines. You can do many things in-house: optimize page titles, display a current site map, put content in metatags, keywords and page titles.
  6. Site “hygiene” – this includes images that don’t display, error pages, broken links, misspelled words, and printability of pages.

MacMurray spoke recently at the Chicago Legal Marketing Association Chapter about research her firm conducted about the websites of the AmLaw 100 -- the nation's top-grossing law firms.

The websites were assessed on McMurray's ten foundational best practices.  The megafirms score well on graphics and design, ease of navigation, availability of contact information, site search function,

"There is giant room for improvement," she concluded.

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