Updating your website is a process - one that can feel overwhelming, even if you’ve been through it before. To help you navigate the journey, we’ve partnered with a few marketing experts to bring you a candid collection of advice and best practices, which we’ll be delivering through our Redesigning Your Website series.
Last time, we shared some suggestions to help make the Building Phase a little easier. This week, we move into the Connecting Phase.
PHASE 6 – CONNECTING
More and more, users are reaching websites either through social networks or on their mobile devices.
Here are a few things you can do to make sharing and connecting easier:
MORE MOBILE. MORE RESPONSIVE.
Two years ago, Hunton & Williams LLP, a firm with more than 800 lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, redesigned its website. Now the firm is working on a version that will translate to mobile devices.
Creating a mobile site should take less time than a redesign because mobile sites offer highlights of the bio, contact and other main site information—which can often be scaled down and repurposed.
“We [took] a few key pieces of information and translat[ed] them over to make them work [on the mobile site],” says Gail Hageman, formerly of Hunton & Williams (now at Steptoe). “You can always link back to the full site. The mobile site serves as a road map to find out the rest of the information.”
If your firm can redesign its site and launch a mobile site simultaneously, you’ll ensure more users can access the most important firm information.
“People used to take care of the desktop version first,” says One North Interactive Architect Michael O’Laughlin. “But you need to make the assumption that the site will be viewed on mobile devices and tablets —and have a strategy in place.”
Some firms instead opt to create an app for users. Although apps offer some functionality advantages—like personalizing the user experience and performing complex data calculations—be aware that they can be expensive to build and require regular maintenance. Users also need to invest the time to download new versions.
“Many times, really, all you need is a mobile site, not an app,” says One North Interactive Account Director Alyson Fieldman.
Another option is to design a single website that would respond to all devices. Using a layout with fluid grids, responsive design allows firms to present site content in a format that provides the best user experience — because it’s tailored to the device the viewer is using. The same “Mobile First” mentality applies when designing for the mobile state, but only one website is required to reach your firm’s many audiences.
SAY YES TO SOCIAL.
Business law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP already had a presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook —but wanted to incorporate more social media elements into its site.
Now, a ‘What’s Trending’ section on the bottom of the homepage can highlight six of the firm’s industry-specific social media outlets at a time; another page lists all
Benesch’s blogs and social media links.
“We now have a person who spends at least an hour a day handling all updates,” says Julie Gurney, Director of Marketing & Communications at Benesch. “We’ve got fresh content coming out of Facebook several times a day and have gained literally hundreds of new followers on Twitter and LinkedIn since our site launched.”
Revamping your website also gives you the opportunity to redesign your social media properties. Prior to launch, ask your web design partner for ideas on how to incorporate the look and feel of the new site on your firm’s social profiles – such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Once the basic design and technology has been determined, it’s time to start planning and developing your site content. Next week, we’ll share a few tips to help make the process go smoothly. Want those tips now? You can find all of the phases in our Definitive & Candid Guide to Successful Websites.