Mobile Platforms Critical to Law Firm Web Success

Successful big law websites are publishing platforms. They’re no longer mundane, corporate websites; they’re used to showcase firm thought leadership and demonstrate expertise. With high-quality content, the right promotion, and sound SEO practices, firm websites can convert a referral into a highly interested prospect online.

As legal professionals showcase their thought leadership through their websites and potential clients increasingly use mobile devices for online searches, large firms must understand and adopt Google’s latest innovation in mobile search: the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, known as AMP.

AMP, which was announced in October, could be a boon to firms in a world where nearly one in four encounters with digital media occur on mobile devices. And this trend is continuing to rise.

AMP aims to speed up the mobile web for visitors who are impatient with slow page load times and sites that greedily consume data. Law firms that adapt can continue to enjoy strong search visibility. Those that don’t will ultimately see a decline in website traffic and engagement.

AMP Defined

AMP is a worldwide, open-source initiative designed to make the mobile web faster, easier to navigate, and less data-intensive. Essentially, it’s a web development specification that allows coders to create separate supercharged webpages for mobile devices (as opposed to desktop computers).

For readers, it means lightning-fast search results and web pages with speeds to match. Pages built with AMP will appear in the favored “Top Stories” section of the results page. So with the swipe of a finger, readers can easily navigate to the page that best satisfies their search.

The results for consumers are profound: Pages built using the AMP platform load four times faster and consume 10 times less data than conventional pages. For publishers, such as your law firm, that’s important because website readers — your potential clients — will not abide a slow site. If your site doesn’t load in three seconds, they’ll move on to the next law firm in the search results.

How AMP Affects Your Firm

While speed is arguably the most important feature of AMP, visibility is a close second — this is where sound SEO practices come in. Law firms are increasingly focused on optimizing their search engine results by driving traffic to their thought leadership organically rather than by paying for search engine advertising.

Providing an exceptional user experience for mobile users also increases visitor engagement with the content. They will stay on your site longer, and they will visit more pages. In fact, research has shown that mobile-optimized sites enjoy 75 percent higher user engagement.

So what’s the natural next step? Because Google already punishes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly — and a shockingly high percentage of the Am Law 200 still aren’t — AMP-compatible sites will be further favored in search results.

Only one in five legal blogs use responsive site design, which automatically adapts a webpage’s layout to fit the device. And a recent study found that more than a third of the Am Law 200 sites aren’t mobile-ready at all. The news is even worse for the 900 blogs published by big law overall: Almost three-quarters of those sites aren’t optimized for mobile viewing.

How to AMP Up Your Site

At this point, firms that publish on sites that aren’t mobile-optimized and responsive may be wasting their time. First, make sure your site is optimized for mobile. Then, follow these steps to adopt the AMP format:

  • Involve your web developer. Your website’s success depends upon your relationship with its developer. If your website developer is more of a vendor than a partner, focus on finding a partner. Your developer should be intimately involved in maximizing your site’s thought leadership content and should understand your firm and its goals.Be ready to answer questions that challenge you to articulate the requirements of your website. Your development partner needs to know what your objectives are in order to ensure that the right users can find the right content at the right time.
  • Prepare to measure results. Be aware of tools that can embed analytics into your AMP-enabled pages, and make sure analytics are tied to all content published in AMP format. You’ll be able to track its performance and see the effect the platform is having on your site’s user experience.Ask your developer about setting up A/B tests to compare the performance of pages built for your desktop site vs. your mobile pages. Done right, you can use those results to make adjustments that enhance the functionality and improve the performance of both.
  • Publish and promote. As more law firms learn and implement AMP, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. A rigorous schedule of promotion that relies on industry best practices is essential for the effectiveness of your AMP implementation and your site.

As more website traffic migrates to mobile devices and tablets, law firms must commit to an excellent user experience to accompany their high-quality content and legal expertise. Otherwise, potential clients will click right past your firm as they satisfy their need for speed and an optimized user experience. 

Jaron Rubenstein is the founder and president of Rubenstein Technology Group. His experience, technical expertise, and passion for design empowers creative partners to identify opportunities, manage complex projects, and maintain the integrity of their work from concept through launch. Rubenstein Technology Group is the leading technology partner for top creative firms. Brands ranging from Bloomberg to Harvard University to Nizuc have benefited from his design-led engineering focus on empowering user experience.

This article was originally published on Bloomberg BNA

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