3 Critical Reasons Law Firms Must Get Better at Web Governance

October 17, 2013 Shane Diffily

A note from John Simpson: Several years ago, I was interviewing a very bright, motivated young marketing coordinator for a position in our business. She had all the right experience, said all the right things, and fit in well with our entire staff. She talked of launching and managing her employer's first blog and what a success it was for increasing their brand awareness and SEO.

Naturally, I hit the web and checked out the blog. My enthusiasm for this job candidate dropped like a rock as soon as I saw the blog! Within the first page, I quickly spotted a few grammar and spelling errors. This was the candidate's crowning marketing initiative?!

So what’s the lesson in all this? Simple. Even the best "experience" can be derailed by relatively trivial errors. And from a "user's" perspective, my reaction could not have been more extreme - I felt like I'd been duped. Worse yet, I felt that I couldn't advocate for hiring the marketing coordinator because my peers also noticed the errors. None of us ever want to put a potential client (or an employer for that matter) in this position.

In this spirit, we hope you enjoy the following blog post on web governance by our new partner, Siteimprove.

Here are three reasons for anyone in charge of a law firm’s website to sit up and take notice:

  • 78% of executive level decision makers say they now use online to search for legal services.
  • 76% say the quality of a website influences their selections.
  • 53% say the quality of web content itself can determine whether a firm ends up on their shortlist – or not.

In a market like this, no business wants a site that regularly includes lots of misspellings, broken links or other errors. Not only is it embarrassing (just imagine how Chief Justice Roberts feels about this report on broken links on the US Supreme Court’s website), it is potentially very costly.

The figures above show that customers are making snap judgements about whether to engage your firm based on the quality and professionalism of your site.

But here’s the problem: with so many other things preying on your time, how can you make sure mistakes are captured before they go live?

WEB GOVERNANCE CAN HELP
Web Governance is a concept that describes how to manage a website in a controlled and orderly way. Its essential purpose is to guarantee a minimum standard of quality, so that you can focus on other more important things.

Here are 3 crucial ways in which Web Governance can help law firms online:

  1. Web Governance can reduce risk.
    At its simplest, better governance allows content publishers to rest easy. There will always be a system to “clean up after them” in the event something goes wrong.
              
    For example, imagine a senior partner publishes a lengthy blog post. Even if you don’t have time to review it, the right governance tool can automatically scan such content to quickly capture any awkward mistakes.
          
  2. Web Governance improves the online experience.
    In the early days of the web, managing the user experience was easy. Most websites were so simple that a great online presence merely meant having a nice homepage.
         
    Not anymore. Many legal firms now operate multiple web assets (intranet, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) on several platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet), each of which demands considerable time to oversee – time that isn’t always available.
         
    Web Governance can help by identifying the technology you need to manage such commotion. This ensures you can maintain a consistent standard across the board, whilst also achieving an advantage over rivals who adopt a less systematic approach.
           
  3. Web Governance increases Return on Investment.
    I admit it. Good governance is not cheap. But neither is redesigning a website every couple of years in the hope of rekindling online success.
        
    In fact, one of the biggest advantages of a proper system of Web Governance is that it focuses attention on getting maximum bang-for-your-buck right now - not at some aspirational future moment (“everything will be just great … after the redesign!”).
          
    A web team with the right tools (and equipped with the right authority & budget), can deliver more value at less cost than any cycle of redesign.

GETTING STARTED
Visitors are looking for a professional experience with accurate information when they visit your site. That’s what Web Governance helps to deliver.

The good news is that the systems and tools you need to get started are readily available (including from the guys over at Siteimprove). All you have to do now is use them.

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Shane Diffily Web Governance Specialist

Shane has over 14 years of experience in Web Governance and online operations. As author of the first practical guide to Web Governance (“The Website Manager’s Handbook”), Shane has also been published by A List Apart, Smartinsights & Forrester Research. For more about Shane, visit www.diffily.com.

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