#014 – How To Keep Visitors On Your Website Longer
Your law firm’s website (and Google Analytics) records the way visitors view your site, and if they consistently exit after viewing only one page, these interactions increase the “bounce rate” for your law firm’s website. Since you want potential clients to thoroughly navigate your site and see all that you have to offer, the lower the bounce rate, the better.
But, here is the IMPORTANT part: Reducing your bounce rate means that Google will serve you up before other law firm websites!
You can take steps to make your site more hospitable and accessible to visitors, and reduce the bounce rate for your law firm’s website.
Some of the resources I visited about in today’s episode include the following:
Note: Link to websites may include affiliate links, in which I would receive a small fee or reward for the referral. However, please know I only provide referrals for companies and services I either use myself or believe in strongly.
Hello! We are going to talk about how to keep people on your website and why it matters! This may sound like it’s going to be a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo but I promise that it’s not, and I promise that the information you get from this is going to be really valuable and really helpful for your law firm!
You have probably invested time, maybe a lot of money, certainly probably some creative energy in your law firm’s digital marketing and your law firm’s website. Maybe you’ve spent time on the branding, on your logo, the way your website looks, the content you’re placing on it and your website is really (like I have said many times) your home base.
It is really the place that you want everyone to be coming back to. It’s your home base and it was designed to inform potential clients and draw them in to virtually meet you and your law firm through all the different pages on your website.
When a visitor browses only one page of your law firm’s website before turning back to the search engine this very brief visit is very damaging for your law firm’s SEO, which is search engine optimization. At the end of the day you want your law firm’s website to rise in the google rankings and to be optimized on search engines, which is where we get the term SEO – search engine optimization.
Your law firms website and google analytics are recording the way that visitors are viewing your website and viewing the content on your website how much time they are spending on different pages how they are clicking through your website and how long they stay and if potential clients or viewers to your website are consistently exiting after viewing only one page or they are only interacting for a short period of time and then leaving your website.
These interactions will increase what is called the bounce rate for your law firm’s website. A bounce rate is exactly what it sounds like people come to your website and they bounce away they are not interested in the content that you have there or for whatever reason, it did not answer their question or Google did not appropriately send them to the right website.
If you have a very high bounce rate where people are coming to your website and immediately jumping back to a search engine or to a different website that will negatively affect and impact your overall SEO and google rankings since you want potential clients to thoroughly navigate your website and see all that you have to offer.
You want to keep them on your website as long as possible and lower your bounce rate. Reducing your bounce rate means that Google will serve you up before other law firm websites. Google has the very difficult and complex job of making decisions who to serve up on their front page.
The SEO puzzle is massive and it includes a lot of jigsaw puzzle pieces as I have explained before in other podcast episodes – there is your google rankings, there are your google reviews, your google my business page, how much traffic you get to your website, how long they stay once they’re there, do you have consistent content being placed on your website, etc.
The google bots you know they’re not our robot overlords yet but they understand a lot and they are synthesizing all of this information in order to make a determination regarding how you compare to your competitors and whether or not you should rise in the google rankings.
A large portion of that is your bounce rate so you want to keep people on your website as long as possible and you can take steps to make your website more hospitable and entertaining and accessible to visitors and thereby reduce that bounce rate which can negatively impact your google rankings. So let’s talk about your website’s bounce rate and how it impacts your SEO and how you can make sure that people are staying on your website to get to the top of google or at least increase your chances to get to the top of google.
The first thing I want to talk about is web analytics. Now listen, I know data, ugh…. your eyes may be glazing over at this point just stay with me! If you’re not already looking at or considering looking at your web analytics you should do this immediately because in the midst of all of that data that (again your eyes may be glazing over in the midst of all of it) is the bounce rate statistic. And this will document the visitors who exit your site after viewing only one page.
And the bounce rate is figured (I know there’s going to be some math here so hang on) the bounce rate is figured by dividing the amount of visitors who exit after viewing only one page by the total amount of visits to the website. Okay I promise there won’t be a test on this at the end but the point is you want your website visitors to not only get to your website and not only to view the piece of content that they were interested in that got them there the bait that hooked them to get to your website you want them to start clicking through and looking at other pieces of content on your website again, which is why it is so important to be having consistent content placed on your website.
So back to the bounce rate – a bounce rate of 75% means that three-fourths of the website visitors to your law firm’s website left after only viewing one page. That means that the other 25% of people that came to your law firm’s website stayed on your website to look around. Maybe they looked at another blog post that you hyperlinked within that blog post they were interested in something else.
For example, if you have a blog post about a car accident inside of that article might be explanations of possible types of injuries traumatic brain injury, aortic dissection, whatever it might be. You can hyperlink those to other blog posts you have about what to do if you believe you have a traumatic brain injury after a car accident.
So if your bounce rate is 75% then that means that three fourths of the people only looked at that one page the other 25% again stay to browse and look around and not only are they browsing other pages they are staying on your website longer a high bounce rate basically tells google that your website or maybe just some of its pages need some improvement in the area of user experience or maybe page design or frankly the quality of the content that is on that page.
Let’s make some sense of this data. A bounce rate can be high on certain websites because frankly visitors never really intended to stay. They just wanted some quick information they found it and then they took off. However, if the bounce rate for your law firm’s website is high it might be because a visitor found the website difficult to navigate or they didn’t really find what they needed.
Another reason could be that your website is so fantastic they just picked up the phone and called!
That’s possible but google analytics doesn’t usually reward it. Google doesn’t know whether or not someone actually picked up the phone and called and hired you as an attorney. Google instead is going to look at that bounce rate along with all of your other websites statistics to develop a story about your website and try to determine what visitors are experiencing once they’re there.
Another thing that Google will look at is if visitors consistently spend a very small amount of time on your website. For example, they’re not just looking at one page on your website but they’re also not spending very much time on it 10 seconds or less. That’s a clue that your website might need some improvement because whatever someone went to your website for they didn’t find the answer that they needed they bounced away back to google or wherever they went in order to find the answer to their question that you didn’t provide.
A bounce rate of 50% or less is optimal and a bounce rate of 50 to 70% says that your website might just need some tweaking to make it more effective. If your bounce rate on your law firms website is 80% or higher it means that you might need to make some improvements to that website.
Let’s talk about some of the improvements that you can make on your website to help keep people on your website longer. Here they are. The first is more compelling and more valuable website content. I’m sorry I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if someone is searching for an article and somehow they come across your website and they don’t find the answer to their question or the way that you’ve presented the answer is not entertaining or compelling or informative enough they’re going to bounce away to try to find that information in a way that they can either understand it or apply it to whatever question or concern they might have.
The next way you can improve your bounce rate is to increase the speed of your loading page. This is often a very technical area and you may need to have a web designer help you or an IT specialist help you. You can go to the place that is hosting your website (whoever’s hosting your domain) and ask them if there’s anything you can do to increase the speed of your pages and loading of your website. There are tools that you can use online – they’re free you can just google to find out how fast your website loads.
It really has to be under two seconds anything longer than that people just bounce away because they feel like they don’t want to wait for the content and unfortunately that is the society that we live in that everything has to be ridiculously instantaneous. So you may have the answer to their question the perfect answer to what they need, but if your website is taking a very long time to load they’re not going to wait for it. So invest some time into looking at the speed of all of the pages loading on your website
The next way to keep people on your website is to make sure that the navigational structure of your website is easy to follow. Make sure it’s easy not on only on desktop but also on mobile and the way that you want to do this is to make sure that you have silos of content on your website.
I’m going to take a bit of a detour right now and explain this because silos are so important on websites. If you are a personal injury firm that also does estate planning and bankruptcy those are three different silos of content. And when someone is coming to your website for bankruptcy information they do not care about business and starting an LLC or a car accident. They’re only interested in bankruptcy information which means that your website should be very easy to navigate.
The hyperlinks that you have within a bankruptcy article should only lead to other bankruptcy articles. They should not lead to business formation or personal injury. Only those silos of content should be linked together. This is also exceptionally important for google because the google bar again they’re not our robot overlords yet they don’t understand a piece of content if it links to another piece of content that’s completely irrelevant if you had an article about bankruptcy and it linked to an article about chocolate chip cookies, google is going to be very confused.
And while it may make sense to you to link a bankruptcy article with maybe a family law article about divorce because sometimes those two things are interconnected, they are not for google. So it’s very important that regarding the navigation of your website that you keep everything very siloed in separate areas.
This will also help the users that are coming to your website when they’re looking for information. They are looking for bankruptcy information they’re not interested in family law or personal injury or estate planning, so make it easy for them to navigate and make the path easy for them to stay on your website and consume more content that is directly relevant to why they originally came to your website.
Okay, the next way to keep people on your website is to have greater optimization for search engines. What does that mean? That means that when you put content on your website you need to try to optimize it for the search engines. You need to keyword it correctly, and I have a podcast about that. You can check it out and I also have a blog at LawQuill.com in my blog area about how to keyword articles if you’re going to try to do that yourself.
If you’re not interested in that you can you know hire someone like me to do that for you, but optimizing does not just include proper keywording it also includes linking out to authoritative sources which shows google that you are linking to sources that are more authoritative than yours and that you are sort of hitching your wagon to someone who has more authority than you. That usually should be government websites or.org or.gov websites. So optimize your pages and your website for the search engines and that will help people stay on your website longer because you will be served up higher than in the google rankings which means more people will be coming to your website and google will see that the quality of your content is better and serve it up more often.
Frankly, these are the very best ways to keep people on your website. I’ll just go over them again — to create compelling and valuable website content created often and consistently —make sure that your website pages are loading quickly — make sure that you have silos of content so that it is easy to navigate your website and then — make sure that you have optimized all of your pages and articles for search engines.
I am now going to give you even more ways! These are seven ways to reduce the bounce rate for your law firms website!
The first thing is to have excellent website design. Researchers who study website design discovered that the average website visitor judges a website and the company behind it the law firm behind it by its appearance. So you can have an awesome team helpful information great content but if your website does not have good branding and does not have good design with images infographics content and videos it’s simply not going to be engaging enough for a potential client to stay. So you want to keep people on your website by having excellent website design.
Another way is to have distraction-free reading. This means that when you insert information into your website as in a blog post you want to make sure that you are breaking up big slabs of text into smaller chunks. Use restful white space in between those chunks of content. You want to create bullet points to make reading effortless. Use headings h1 h2 subheadings to make it easier to both read and understand and that is both on desktop and mobile. We all know that people are reading your content on mobile, so make it easy for them to consume that content. And the truth is that website pages are the most effective when they are on distracted and focused. So if you are providing content that is valuable in a way that a website reader can consume it easily without a bunch of extra clutter, then that is going to keep people on your website longer.
The third thing is to create vibrant content, your visitors need a reason to return to your website’s content over and over again. So give them fresh copy images and information. And, frankly, you are giving your audience content that they can use immediately to answer their question.
And then you’re hyperlinking. Hopefully, that content with other valuable content, which is going to keep them on your website. At the end of the day, giving really great content in a format that is pleasing to the eye with great design, that’s distraction free, that is vibrant, is going to keep people on your website longer.
The fourth thing is to make sure that it is mobile-friendly. I just touched on this a minute ago. But the truth is that your law firm’s bounce rate can increase, because people looking at it on a mobile phone, cell phone are having difficulty navigating your website, or seeing the material or reading the material that you have on your website easily. Just make sure that your website is responsive to all mobile users, you can do that through different web platforms. And frankly, just use your own cell phone to see what your website looks like to visitors, visitors should be able to smoothly transition from a phone to desktop and back again, on your website and not see a huge significant change.
The next thing we’ve already talked about, which is the page loading speed, attention spans are getting shorter and our tolerance for websites that are not loading quickly. It’s very low. So again, Google analyzes millions of landing pages, and they confirmed that slow-loading pages have higher bounce rates. So that again, factors into Google’s analytics, you want to just make sure that your website loads as quickly as possible.
The next thing to keep people on your website is to have a search bar. Having a search bar on at least your blog section and the main page of your website can be very helpful. Because if someone comes to your website, and they are looking at an article, and it inspires them to think about a different area of law that they might be interested in, for example, if you’re a business attorney, and they are on an article that they got to through social media, regarding LLC’s, and you have written in that article about S corporations, or C corporations, they may be interested in that. If you have a search bar on that page, it makes it very easy for a website user to then use that search bar to search for S corp or C Corp. That is helping them stay on your website longer. It’s just making it easy, it’s giving them the option to look for additional content on your website, instead of just starting to have to search, you know through every page and your whole blog. So just make it easy for them to do that on their own through a search bar.
Also, speaking of links, your website pages should also have links within each piece of content that, for example, the example I just gave, there should be a link within your LLC article about S corp about C Corp and then link to articles on that as well.
I just want to take a side note here really quickly and say that you should check your website periodically for broken links. And I have a blog post on broken links as well that you can go check out on LawQuill.com. But if you have a broken link, or a URL doesn’t function properly, website users will bounce away from your website as well and they will just leave. So you want to make sure that you periodically check your website for any kind of broken links because you don’t want that to be frustrating to visitors.
The very last thing you need to keep people on your website is a powerful call to action. A call to action is when you are telling someone to do something so in the case of law firms you need to be telling them to call you or read this other article or email you or visit with your chatbot whatever it is that you want them to do sign up for your email list whatever it is you need to assist your visitors by directing them to what you want them to see, which is frankly the core reason why you want people on your website anyway.
A call to action is just essentially a message that is trying to induce a visitor to perform some favorable action to your law firm. Without a call to action a website visitor might just leave and drift away because they aren’t sure what to do, so make sure your call to action is clear and unavoidable and on every page of your website. And different pages can have different calls to action.
If you have a blog post that is on bankruptcy at the end of that blog post you could say consider visiting with our experienced bankruptcy attorneys at blah blah blah today or you could say join our email list to get more information about bankruptcy options for you today.
Whatever your call to action is you should have that on your website because it will not only keep people on your website it will get them to actually do what you want which is to call you and hire you.
So i know that this was a lot of information and I know some of it is frankly a little dusty and a little bit boring and when you get into google analytics and data it can be a bit boring i’m not gonna lie, but it’s really important that you take some time to look through and see what your bounce rate is.
Your law firm’s website is one of the most important tools for your business but when visitors come and go too quickly your law firm website is really not being used to its fullest potential. And if you want to reduce the bounce rate of your law firm’s website, just start by looking at the analytics and just set some goals for improvement by taking the steps that I outlined in this episode.
By taking just a few easy steps you really can engage visitors more efficiently and more effectively and inspire them to ultimately contact you!!
Of course if you are ever interested in having someone help you create that engaging informative and useful content throughout your law firms website and to help potential clients stay longer and help them see you as an authority in your field of law and eventually pick up the phone and call you, you can always contact Law Quill to help you in that endeavor!
That said I hope that this episode really did help you understand how to keep people on your website why it matters and what are some steps you can take today to make sure that that happens .
As always thank you so much for all of your encouragement and support and if you are listening to this on itunes I’m just going to ask if you could leave a little review a little note for me because that really does help me in my rankings for Legal Marketing Lounge! So again hit the subscribe button and i cannot wait for the next episode and to visit with you even more to help your small and solo law firm grow here at the Legal Marketing Lounge.