We recently analyzed the website traffic data from all the law firm websites that we host and maintain. This revealed that in the last two years (January 2012 to January 2014), mobile traffic had increased a whopping 243%.
At the risk of being obvious – that’s a big number. But taking a closer look at the data brought some fascinating insights:
For some of our clients, nearly 20% of their traffic comes from mobile users. This means that 2 in 10 people visiting their website are doing so on some type of mobile device (a phone or a tablet).
The data align with our predictions. Last year, we found that slightly more than 1 in 10 visitors use a smart phone or tablet device to visit law firm websites. As the graph below shows, there’s been steady upward movement. We feel that it’s safe to assume that four years from now, the percentage of people accessing your website via a mobile device could be nearly 40%.
Responsive design mobile functionality led to increased engagement on a law firm’s website. After a firm implemented responsive design mobile functionality, mobile traffic spiked and then remained elevated. The size of the spike varied for each of the law firm websites that we launched last year, but the sustained increase in mobile traffic was consistent. (We’ll monitor this throughout 2014 with the launch of another 4-6 responsive design-enabled websites.)
Bottom-line: An easier-to-use website leads to more usage.
So what does all this mean for law firms and their websites?
First, law firms will need to cater to mobile users a lot more – and that means tailoring websites to accommodate the various devices that are accessing them. There are dozens of types of devices with different screen sizes. A firm’s website will need to adapt for each.
Second, links to content (articles, videos, blog posts, PowerPoints, etc.) get shared two ways: via email and social media. As a result, traffic often bypasses the homepage. A firm’s mobile solution cannot be limited to the website’s homepage if the firm hopes to engage users.
Third, it’s time to ditch the old “mobi” website solution and embrace something called responsive design. Good responsive design (there’s a lot of bad out there…) automatically adjusts the layout of each web page to elegantly fit any screen, regardless of the type of device that’s being used to view it – and also takes into account the context in which the page is being viewed. (More about this can be read here: Responsive Design for Law Firm Websites – 10 Questions Answered.)
Two or three years ago, our advice to our clients about how to address mobile functionality for their website was to sit tight – new technology would soon be surfacing. (Here’s a link to the blog we wrote in 2010.) Well, that moment has arrived. The technology has emerged. It’s called responsive design, and in the last year it’s matured to the point where it makes sense for law firms to embrace it.