Had a revelation about firm websites – I was recently wandering the web looking for good examples as part of developing a client website and just about couldn’t find any. Most are, frankly, terrible. Outdated, stuffy, unattractive, “me” centered or all of the above. It’s amazing how many sophisticated firms, big and small, have websites that were first designed back in the ‘90’s – and look it.
Most firm leaders would huff at my accusation. “It works just fine,” they’d say. But then, it’s hard to measure how many people viewed their site and DIDN’T call.
I’m a marketer. I teach it. I create it. I manage it. And when I see so many of these websites I cringe at the lost potential.
Website designs have evolved dramatically from the early days, for good reason. Better thinking about what’s in the mind of the prospect, how they want information, how people perceive and absorb information, how strong design affects their perception of the strength of the firm, and so on.
A few of the biggest problems I see:
- Websites designed by website designers, attorneys and administrators instead of marketers.
- Websites written by website designers, attorneys and administrators instead of marketers.
- The “all about me” approach. “Ain’t we wonderful” is the theme. Nothing about what drives clients to a firm – understanding of the clients’ industries, problems, goals and frustrations. As Steven Covey so elegantly put it in his vaunted “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” “first, seek to understand.” It’s called one of the most valuable business books ever written for a reason.
- Websites designed in the frontier days of the web.
- The classified ad approach. Packed with verbiage, these sites try to say everything on their home pages, and are often driven by the deep legal compulsion to couch everything in the most careful legal and ethical terms. The result is a flood of words that pushes readers away.
And there’s more, so much more. Good article from Bloomberg BNA on the subject, “It’s Time to Start Caring About Your Website.”
If you’re brave enough to hear a marketing expert’s unvarnished critique of your website call me. 407-830-9810.