Website Marketing and Bounce Rate Myths for Attorneys

For Lawyers, Doctors, and Dentists

Yesterday I attended a presentation about website marketing for attorneys.  The presentation was an overview of website marketing and really did not get into the details of what is working and what is not working today.  Part of the reason for that was the audience, which, although very savvy about marketing for attorneys in general, was not as up to date on website marketing for attorneys.  

I suspect that the other reason for the 30,000 foot view is that the speaker had only been working with attorney websites for the last five weeks.  While knowledgeable about the general subject of website marketing, most of his experience was in other verticals.  

While there were many good suggestions, one comment struck me - that a high bounce rate is bad.  (A bounce rate is the percentage of time that a visitor leaves your website after visiting only one page.)  I decided to write this blog post because that statement was reinforced by a blog post I read this morning.  As with the presenter, I will not highlight the blogger's name or the blog itself to protect the innocent.

First, I am not sure what  a high bounce rate is since it varies so much from attorney website to attorney website.  In the past, we have talked about wanting to keep bounce rates on law firm websites below 50% or 60%.  Times are changing, however.  I am much less worried about bounce rates today than I have been in the past.  The reason is that many people visit attorney websites to find a phone number to call the office.  Others go to attorney websites for the law firm's address so they can drive to the office.  (Both of these options are even more prevalent when the attorney has a mobile website.)  Still others who are researching particular types of cases and attorneys who might be interested in handling their claim get interrupted by a chat box and leave the website after an online chat with the chat agent.  (We continue to hear from our website marketing attorney clients that online chat leads are much more likely to lead to retained cases than a webform lead.)

With phone tracking and online chat now readily available, we see far more people taking advantage of these vehicles to contact the office than in the early years of attorney website marketing.  In those days, people were uncomfortable, with their online presence and were more comfortable reading multiple pages in anonymity before completing a simple webform and waiting for an email response.  Today, online chat and two way communication is ubiquitous with Facebook and other social media.  And more people use Google like a phone book to find phone numbers to call the law firm.  

For all these reasons, if your law firm has a website, I believe that you should spend a lot less time focusing on your bounce rate and a lot more time focusing on how many leads you generated from the tracking phone number on your website (a must if you don't already have a unique tracking number on your website), your online chat leads (another must) and, finally, your webform leads.  Beyond that, you need to carefully evaluate what happened to each lead - How many and what percentage turned into retained cases - and, the ultimate metric - identifying and quantifying the value of each case generated.  At the end of the day, these numbers are for more important to the financial health of your law firm than your website's bounce rate.

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