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Three Ways to Manage the Brave New World of the Mobile Web

The New Mobile World

Check out the statistics below. Can you see a trend taking shape?

  1. More than 143 million American adults now own smartphones, and another 60 million own tablets. (Source: Pew Research, 2012)
  2. Approximately 25 percent of all U.S. residents only use their mobile devices to access the Internet. (Source: On Demand Research, 2011)
  3. By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will use smartphones and tablets than PCs to surf the Web (Source: IDC, 2011).

In short, the future is now when it comes to mobile search. While desktop- and laptop-based searches won’t go away anytime soon, they’ll shrink in importance as mobile continues to expand. How should law firms deal with this fundamental shift in consumer behavior?

1. Make the shift

It’s simple: Want to get found on the Internet? You’re going to need to embrace the mobile Web. Non-mobile-friendly websites typically don’t function well on smartphones or tablets. They tend to load slowly. The content is crammed into a smaller space, forcing users to scroll, resize and hunt for information. And animations often don’t work (particularly if your site uses Flash, which is incompatible with Apple iPhones and iPads).

That sort of experience can seriously bruise your brand and drive away potential clients. According to Google, 57 percent of users won’t recommend a business with an inadequate mobile site, and 40 percenthave turned to competitors’ sites after a bad mobile experience.

2. Look beyond the short term

The decision to go mobile is like the one businesses faced in the late 1990s when the question was whether or not to get a website. Companies that made the leap positioned themselves as progressive, forward-thinking operations. The ones that waited lost out on business.

And mobile-friendly sites do seem to be a potent business tool. Consider:

  • 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within an hour (Source: Mobile Marketer, 2011)
  • 61 percent of local searches on a mobile device result in a phone call. (Source: Google, 2012).

As for reasons why, maybe these stats are a function of today’s want-it-now consumer mindset. Maybe they reflect how people use smartphones to search for information at the moment they need it. Either way, a mobile site can help you reach clients when they’re looking for legal help or information.

3. Relax — you might be better prepared than you think

Already have a law firm website? You’re probably in good shape. Many sites can be optimized for mobile. Doing so requires thought into how visitors will access and use the site, however. For example, mobile users often multitask, so your site should be organized clearly, and the text needs to be concise. The navigation buttons should be easy to use for people on the go. And you’ll need to pare down and prioritize your content.

Those are only a few of the concerns that go into creating an ideal mobile user experience. We’ll cover more in an upcoming article. As significant as those considerations are, however, the key is to get moving. The longer you wait, the less visible you’ll be — and the more business you stand to lose.

If you would like to learn more about how FindLaw can help with mobile website solutions, please contact us for a free legal marketing consultation.

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