“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.”
I like to start off my relationship with any client by discussing their purpose – not just the purpose for the individual project or problem we’ll be working on together, but the client’s overall purpose for their firm. It’s an integral part of every firm’s mission, which means that the purpose should guide all of the firm’s activities. A firm’s website is no exception. Unfortunately, many of us don’t give too much thought to the purpose of the website beyond wanting it to be a way of getting clients.
Purpose needs to be considered not only for the website as a whole, but also for each element on the site, and particularly each individual page. Each page of your site must have a specific purpose. If you don’t know what that purpose is, and what you want your clients or website visitors to do as a result, how do you expect them to know?
When people are searching the web, they want information, and they want it quickly. They don’t want to have to think. If your site is too hard to navigate or they can’t find what they want or understand your message in a very short period of time, more likely than not they’ll click away and look for someone else that can help them. That means you have to lead your web visitors around and tell them exactly what it is you want them to do. Where do you want them to go after they read your home page? Do you want them to read about your practice areas? Look at client testimonials? Sign up for your firm newsletter?
Sure, there’s a navigation bar, and web visitors are free to use it. By why not tell them what you think is the next, most important step in their visit to your site? You wouldn’t have clients just wander around your office to discover things for themselves, would you? Of course not – you give them a personal tour of the office, pointing out the things you think will make the most difference to them. It’s the same with your website. Be your web visitors’ personal tour guide. And make sure you know and clearly convey the purpose of each and every element on your site.
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Allison C. Shields
Legal Ease Consulting, Inc
Creating Productive, Profitable and Enjoyable Law Practices
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