Building a whole new website is time consuming and expensive. With a busy court schedule and clients taking up all your working hours, it may be easy to let your law firm’s website content slide to the back burner. But for how long? When should you update your law firm’s website content?
Updating Your Law Firm’s Website Content vs Posting Blog Posts
Before we dive too far into when you should update your law firm’s website content, let’s make a distinction between the website and the blog. Yes, both of them require content. And yes, adding new content to your blog on a regular basis — some say no less than every 2 weeks for search engine optimization — can keep your website fresh and drive traffic to it. But if your law firm’s website was built in the 1990s, no amount of blogging is going to make it successful. Sometimes, you do need to update the content itself.
Keeping Up With the Trends
New website trends happen every year. At one point it was a scrolling carousel of pictures. Then it was a pop-up chat box. Now it is a continuous scrolling layout and high fidelity photos. There’s no way a small firm will be able to keep up with all the latest web development trends. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them entirely.
If your website looks old and out of date, it tells readers you don’t care about their experience on your site. Just like lawyers spend thousands of dollars every month to maintain an attractive office that conveys success, your law firm’s website should look like you know what you are doing. By working with a web developer to incorporate some, not necessarily all, the modern features, you show people who find your page that you are successful, competent, and that you care about your image online.
Big Changes Mean It’s Time for an Update
Big changes mean it is almost always time to update your web copy. If you are writing a press release about something going on at the firm, there is a good chance you’ll need to update your law firm’s website content as well.
You don’t necessarily need to invest thousands of dollars into your website every time you bring on a new staff member or get a favorable decision. Those kinds of changes may only take hiring a content writer to put together an attorney bio or new blog post. But if your firm is moving or taking on a new partner, now it’s time for a full-website check up.
That new firm name, or the city where your firm is located could show up on every page of your site. So you will want to review everything with with a careful eye to make sure everything matches.
This is especially important when you are removing a partner. Some states’ attorney professional responsibility codes prohibit listing a partner who has retired, passed, or left the firm. If you don’t update your website to remove that partner’s bio or their pictures, you could be facing disciplinary action.
New Law, New Content
It is a good idea to audit your law firm’s website content at least once a year to make sure all your legal statements are still good law. If something big changes, like Congress overhauls the tax code or a new statute changes the way custody is determined in your state, you may need to rewrite those pages to make sure they don’t include any outdated statements of law.
New law is also a great source of inspiration for those weekly (or at least bi-weekly) blog posts. While you are updating your website’s content, consider writing a longer blog post or white paper about the new law and how it will affect your current and potential clients.
Bottom Line: Plan a 5 year checkup, or whenever big changes happen
Even if you don’t have any big news, you should probably budget to revisit your law firm’s website content at least every 5 years. Online marketing is a fast-moving target. Waiting more than 5 years between updates could leave your website looking old and sounding out of date.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help updating your law firm’s web content, contact Legal Linguist to schedule a meeting.