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Your one-and-done website … the one on the back burner for the last 10 years … is likely a bad website. As others renovate and update their websites, your bad website bleeds you dry of opportunity. For the sake of your website (and your firm), it’s time to:
Get busy living, or get busy dying.*
You’d think “living” and “dying” carry all the weight here, but “busy” is the impact word, as in “actively and attentively engaged in work.” Your website (and your homepage) requires active and attentive work … creativity, originality, management, thought leadership, etc. If you’re “busy” with your website, your firm’s probably living; if not, you risk dying.
In football-speak, it’s the difference between the ’85 Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle and the New England Patriots’ groaner -- New England, the Patriots and We.
Da’ Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Super Bowl Shuffle:
sold a half-million copies, reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and lost the best R&B vocal performance by a duo or group Grammy to "Kiss" by Prince & The Revolution.
The Bears’ opponent in Super Bowl XX -- the Patriots -- fired back with New England, the Patriots and We. Both Super Bowl songs had a video:
(Please visit the site to view this video)
It’s a cartoonish example (and a little out-of-date), but for illustration’s sake, compare your website to these two videos:
Which Super Bowl song/music video is your website's dead ringer?
By ‘80s standards, the Super Bowl Shuffle video is proactive, modern and well-designed. The reactionary video -- the response from the Patriots -- looks blah, unpolished and rushed. Few remember New England, the Patriots and We.
And not that the songs/videos had anything to do with it, but the Bears won Super Bowl XX, beating the Patriots 46–10.
A Web Designer, You Don’t Have to Be
You don’t have to be Beethoven to know a good Super Bowl song from a not-so-good Super Bowl song. The same can be said for a website. Take these law school websites for example:
A non- expert can see the difference. The University of Oklahoma (1st one) got busy and modernized its website. West Virginia (2nd one) needs a remodel; they need to get “actively and attentively engaged in work.” One moved forward … one risks being left behind … both go head-to-head in recruiting law students.
In head-to-heads between law firms, aesthetics can play a part in client-wins. Maybe your physical office doesn’t have the aesthetics of Park Avenue, but that’s no excuse for your strip mall website. Lack of knowledge isn’t an excuse either.
So educate yourself … stay up-to-date. You can subscribe to the Nielsen Norman Group, where laymen can learn a wealth about web design. Two recent articles:
· Cringeworthy Words to Cut from Online Copy
· The Illusion of Completeness: What It Is and how to Avoid It
Or from Elegant Themes, here’s 55 Web Design Blogs to Follow in 2016.
And a Note About Law Firm Blogs
Despite their musical flop, you’ve gotta commend the ’85 Patriots for trying to respond with like force. But of greater commendation, the Patriots plowed forward and evolved. Today, the Patriots are a football dynasty, much different than they were in 1985.
Often, law firm blogs don’t plow forward from the “respond-with-like-force” stage. Initially, firms sound the alarm -- “That firm has a blog on its website so we need a blog on our website” -- but after a year or two, the blog dies. Progress comes to a halt, and soon, website real estate grows tangled with weeds. For a 2016 client, it’s disheartening to visit a website and find the blog space littered with 2013 posts.
It screams neglect.
It implies abandonment.
Keep your legal blog active and up-to-date. If you don’t, you’re leaving blight on your website. Maybe da Vinci was thinking this when he said:
Even the richest soil, if left uncultivated will produce the rankest weeds.
*From The Shawshank Redemption