The online publication ReadWriteWeb recently posted a piece that asked, “Is the Website about to Become Extinct?” The premise of the article is that the likes of Facebook and other social media sites will eventually obviate the need for having a traditional law firm website. Legal marketing authority Kevin O’Keefe tackled this idea in an excellent blog post, which he concluded by saying, “I cannot see destination sites going away anytime soon.”
I agree with Kevin. If anything, I believe that he’s understating things. In my opinion, the law firm website is going to flourish. In fact, I expect that most law firm websites will grow three or four times larger than they are today.
Why? Because attorneys will be creating more and more content. Powerful market forces have converged to make content marketing (the creation of reputation-enhancing articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts) more prevalent than ever. And it only makes sense that all this content is compiled in one central place — on the firm’s website — even if it was originally created for publication elsewhere. As a result, I expect that you’ll see an explosion in the size of law firm websites.
The big question
In my opinion, there is really no question about whether law firms will continue to need a website. Rather, the big question is whether law firms’ current websites can accommodate all of the content that will be created by attorneys. The proliferation of content introduces some big logistical challenges:
Navigation challenges – As the volume of content grows, it’s important that the content be organized in a way that makes it easy for users to find what interests them. This is no small task. Many law firm websites will become un-navigable if much more content is added.
Oddball content – Currently, the overwhelming majority of website content is text-based. This is changing. You’ll be seeing more videos, podcasts, PowerPoint presentations, and social media content. Unfortunately, most law firm websites can’t gracefully accommodate oddball content.
In short, the proliferation of content means that the next generation of law firm website will be bigger and more flexible than its predecessor. How exactly will this manifest itself? We have some ideas. However, I’m curious to hear yours.