Lessons Learned: Website Redesign (Part 3)

by McManis Faulkner
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McManis Faulkner

Congratulations!  After many months of hard work with designers, techno-wizards, and fellow teammates, your new website is up and running for the whole world to see.   Sigh.  Isn’t it pretty? You and your team have agonized over each tiny detail.  Periods or semicolons?   Grey or Slate?  Calibri or Arial? Admire how beautifully those details have come together.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

And now, - Quit the fooling around, and get back to work! 

The content of your website begins aging the moment it goes live.  After the required moment of admiration, start combing the site page by page to make sure it stays shiny.

Check for bugs, glitches, and unforeseen bumps.  What used to work cleanly on your previous site may not have transferred cleanly to the new one.  Random bits of text and some photos may have changed size for no apparent reason.

Check the reactive parts of your new website.  For example, if you now have moving quotes or infographics on landing pages, are they working properly?  Is the speed too fast, too slow?

Of course, check for the usual traps that can make any website, new or old, look bad: out-of-date items, incorrect verb tenses, broken hyperlinks, and typographical errorss.

Update, update, update.

Know your site’s analytics.  When you know which parts of the site receive the most traffic, prioritize.  Check, re-check, and update these parts of the site first.  If one attorney’s bio receives more hits than all the others combined, then make darn sure that one is correct and looking good.  Does the introductory paragraph have a good hook?  Is the photo crisp?  Are speaking engagements, articles, blogs/vlogs recent enough to have value? 

But wait! Less-visited pages need attention too.

Simply because one area of the site gets more hits than another does not mean that you should leave the rest of the site to gather dust.  Yes, pay attention to the highly active pages first, but then bear down on the others.  Each visitor to your website – whatever page they land on - is a potential client.  You never know when that multi-billionaire will visit your site.  As it turns out, your firm hosted an event for their favorite non-profit organization.  And when they see the care you took to document the good works of this organization, who knows?  They might just stop visiting other legal websites altogether and call on you for help.

The future is now.

Here’s the harsh truth:  as soon as you launch your shiny, new site, the clock starts ticking.  The average shelf life of a website is somewhere around three years (law firms historically tend be a little slow media-wise…so you may have as many as four or five years before your site falls behind the curve.)  Starting now, keep your eye on other websites - in your industry and out - to help you identify new design trends, technological innovations, and new ways people consume media.  When you see something new that you like, ask yourself, can this be incorporated to our newly launched website?  Or is it something to bookmark for our next iteration?  (And make a note of it)

Congratulations!  Your new website is live.  Take one breath.  Now, get to work on the construction of your next new website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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