A law firm is no different to any other website in that if you don’t want people to click off without consuming any of your information, you need a fast website.
We’ve all been there, you click on a website.
It takes ages to load.
You get frustrated.
Then, you click off and find a new website.
It happens all the time, but if you follow the key steps to increasing your website speed, you don’t have to fall into the category of law firms who reduce the amount of traffic and increase their bounce rate simply because their website was too slow.
You might be questioning how fast your website needs to be and what you can do to speed up your website.
Luckily for you, this blog post will cover both.
Why speed up your website
Many law firms rightly use their website as a way to gather potential new leads from potential new customers.
But that won’t happen if you don’t have a fast website.
If you’re wondering how fast your website should be, the answer is simple: as fast as you can make it.
If you’re looking for a numerical value. If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, it’s too slow! 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, so at least for conversions, that is a number to aim for. For SEO, within 7 seconds and you will be in the zone according to Searchmetrics.
Many people might consider the speed of your site to be a strange thing to be concerned about, but the reality is, your site speed affects the rest of your metrics.
Even a A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in leads. And a reduce in leads is a reduction on your revenue.
A slow site literally loses you money.
Not only that, if you want to appear in the search engines, you need a fast website. Google takes into account pagespeed when they rank websites.
Improving the speed of your website increases the number of potential leads you get, which will in turn increase your revenue.
This is how it works:
Google includes a sites load time in their algorithm.
Having a law firm websites with excellent load times improves your sites organic ranking in the SERPS.
Improved organic ranking in the search engine brings you more organic traffic.
With more organic traffic and a faster website, your users have a better onsite experience.
This encourages them to stay on your website and finish what you intended them to do.
This increases your conversion rates.
You see, a fast website really is a catalyst for all other metrics to fall into play.
How to see how fast your law firm website is
There are a number of tools you can use to see how fast your law firm website is. We recommend you make a habit of using one, or all of these tools often. A website’s speed can change throughout the lifetime of that website, so it’s not enough to check once and be done with it.
Later on in this blog post, we’ll look at actionable steps you can take to reduce your website’s site load time.
Firstly, Pingdom allows you to enter your site URL and also the country you want to test the speed. This is especially useful if you want to check the speed from a specific geographical location.
Once you click ‘start test’ the system will get to work analyzing your website.
When it’s finished you’ll be able to see your results, or download them as a PDF.
The great thing about this tool is the summary it provides, not only does it tell you how quickly your site loads, in our case 1.32 seconds.
It also tells you how much faster you are compared to the other sites that have been tested.
They even go one step further and grade your site, providing you results from A-F that allow you to understand the things you can do to improve your sites speed.
Another tool worth mentioning is Google’s own site speed tool. Like with many of the Google tools, you do not need to pay for these features.
Enter your URL, and click ‘analyze’. Once you do, you’ll be presented with a screen that looks something like this:
The great thing about Google’s tool is not only does it provide you with tips for how to improve your specific website, it grades your site out of 100 and allows you to check the site’s speed on both desktop and mobile.
It’s important to have a fast website on both desktop and mobile as you never know where your audience will find you. You don’t want to put anyone off trying to connect with your law firm simply because they’ve experienced a slow website on their mobile device.
How to speed up your law firm website
The tools we listed above are great ways to see how your law firm website is holding up in regards to speed.
But what if you want to make smaller changes to your website to improve the speed at which it loads?
We’ve compiled a list of ways you can speed up your website today!
Don’t make your website too “heavy”
You already know how crucial it is to get all your key points across on your website. You need to show that you are an authority and in doing so you need to create and present a lot of information.
But what if i was to tell you that the more information you have on your website, the slower it becomes?
Shocking, right? How do you overcome this, surely it’s a catch 22 situation?
The key is to get the balance right between not enough content and too much content. Even if we forget pagespeed times for a second, having too much or cluttered information on your website is overwhelming and can sometimes turn away potential leads, if you don’t optimize the flow of the content.
In depth content is great for Google, so longer text that reads easily by using shorter paragraphs and plenty of bullet points, can make long content read and convert better.
So think about the content on each page of your website and make smart use of longform text that makes proper use of optimized multimedia. Think about the amount of images, videos and text you’re currently using and consider whether you could reduce the amount, but still get across the key points of what makes your law firm unique and right for your potential lead.
Having some images, video and or podcasts can make a page more interesting as well as making the page a link and share magnet but if you go too far, the page can bog down.
If we go back to our previous tool Pingdom, we can see that our site is 1.1MB in size.
With the average website being 2mb in size, it’s important to keep your figures below this. Unless you have powerful hosting to support a larger website (more on this later) you will struggle to have a fast website if your page size is too big.
Your hosting is effectively the storage place for your website online.
The web host provider and package you choose will have a large effect on the speed of your website. If you want a professional looking, fast website for your law firm, it’s important to choose hosting wisely.
But what makes some web hosting packages better than others? How do you choose which will be right for your website?
When looking for a webhost with speed, look for packages that offer a ‘fast hard drive’ which improves the loading process.
Also consider webhost packages that offer a VPS or dedicated server plan. This will save you the trouble of having to share resources with other websites.
Caching is a phrase used to describe the process of how your visitors view the elements on you page.
What happens when you visit a website is the elements on the page (text, image, videos) are all stored in a cache. This means when you visit the website the next time, it loads quicker.
This happens for all websites and is easily explained in the flow image below:
If you use WordPress to run your website, you can make sure it’s being cached correctly using either of the following plugins:
We’ve already mentioned having less elements on your page is key if you want to speed up your website. But what if you already have the minimum amount of elements you need to create an effective website, but it’s still slow?
One tactic you can do is to reduce the size of the elements on the page.
Reduce Image size
Often, your images will be the largest element on your website, if cutting down the number of images you use isn’t an option, you can optimize them for size by compressing them instead.
Image compression involves reducing the size of the image in terms of bytes, whilst still keeping the quality of the image.
Use any of these three WordPress plugins to compress your images:
Using a combination of the tools we’ve mentioned above, plus the tips we listed in our guide, you can speed up your website today.
Like we said, increasing your law firm’s website speed is a catalyst to improving many of the metrics you might actively be trying to improve.
If you want to see vast changes to the amount of visitors you have, a reduction in your bounce rate and an increase in leads, then start working on optimizing your page speed today.
What methods have you used to increase your page speed? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear?