If you’ve been practicing law for more than 10 years, you probably hated creating your first law firm website. Chances are that it was too expensive, took too long to develop and probably doesn’t even have half the functionality that today’s sites do.

Bottom line:  If your law firm website is not generating quality leads for you, it’s a loser.

By now, you surely know that prospects are checking you out online and one of the first places they will go to is your law firm website.  Some law firms make the critical mistake of concentrating their legal marketing efforts on getting prospects to visit – just once. They miss the mark completely if they expect their legal website to be an effective marketing tool without providing compelling reasons for clients to return consistently and repeatedly.

If your site is still hobbling along on its original legs, it’s time to consider investing in a redesign. If it’s been even a couple of years since your site was overhauled, you need to give some serious thought to an update. Examine your site now and see if any of the top 10 things that prospects hate about law firm websites are on yours:

1. Pop-up ads. People hate them. So don’t use them. Instead, have a good call-to-action on every page of your site and create compelling content to get them to do what you want.

2. Generic stock photography. We’ve all used it, but people are savvy to what is fake. Use photos of your real people, not those stock images of good looking models who look like they are all simply delighted by the piece of paper they’re staring at.

3. Legal jargon. Don’t write for other lawyers, write for real people. Tell them how you can solve their problems by telling compelling stories and engage them with thoughtful content.

4. SEO-driven content. Write for people, not search engines. Google’s algorithm is very sophisticated and can detect a page’s relevancy better than you think.

5. No way to share. Include social share buttons on your pages so people are not frustrated by being unable to share your content.

6. No blog. Prospects want to learn more about the real you when they come to your site, and having a well-written blog lets them in the door.

7. Boring copy. Create great titles and (yes, I am saying it again) content that is compelling.

8. CTAs with strings attached. Nothing is more frustrating to a prospect than to discover that your call-to-action comes with strings attached. Ever been on a retail site where you are offered 20% off, only to find you have to spend $100 first? Big turn-off.

9. Bad internal links. If you create internal links taking people to irrelevant pages, they will dump you fast. Be sure all your internal links go to the right place.

10. Slow load. Sites that are slow to load are abandoned quickly, and they are also penalized by Google. Don’t let the design interfere with the reason you have a website in the first place – to get prospects to become clients.

You can also use this decision tree infographic from Bluehost to determine if it’s time for a redesign:

How to Tell if Your Law Firm Website Needs a Redesign