The Mobile Takeover: It’s time to think mobile first

Do me a quick favor. Pull out your phone, head to your law firm’s website and ask yourself three questions when you get there:

  1. How does the site look?
  2. What’s the first thing you see?
  3. Is it easy to navigate?
  4. Is there a quick way to contact your firm?

The way you just got to your website is the same way the majority of your prospects are – on their phones. Do you think your website is meeting their mobile needs?

A Shift in Thinking

The gravity of mobile domination can be accurately felt by the numbers. According to the 2018 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 54 percent of legal consumers used a mobile phone to search for an attorney. What’s more – people are spending more than five hours a day on their smartphone and nearly 90 percent are more likely to recommend a brand after a positive mobile experience (Blue Corona, 2018).

However, what’s interesting isn’t the number of people using their phones to research a business. It’s that many of the websites consumers are landing on aren’t actually designed for these devices.

The reason I asked you to conduct the above exercise was to get you thinking about how your website is performing on a phone first. While desktop searches are still taking place, the majority of people are typing and tapping on five-inch screens, meaning your content, images and video should be created with this small real estate in mind.

What’s What?

Mobile
Friendly

Mobile
Optimized

Responsive + Mobile Optimized

Necessary

Ideal

Ultimate

Accessible to mobile users but designed for desktops

A separate version of your website designed for mobile devices

Designed for mobile first, and reformats depending on device used

Your Website is Like a Newspaper

You know that space someone first sees when they get to your website – the one before any taps or swipes take place? That’s known as “the first screen,” and it’s where your prospects are focusing most of their attention. Just like The New York Times uses a great headline to entice people to buy its newspaper, this portion of your website is where you’ll either grab or lose someone’s business.

There are a few things I suggest you focus on when it comes to this space. For one, include your practice area in the tagline. While the sentiment behind a general phrase like “defending your rights” is well-intentioned, it doesn’t give readers information on the kind of law you actually practice. And if someone is in desperate need of an attorney, they may not have time to poke around on multiple pages of your site to find out.

Also, have a way to contact your firm on top of every page. A mobile user’s intent is typically more action-oriented than someone searching on a desktop, meaning it’s critical to provide a seamless way to get in contact with your firm. Add a clickable phone number and email address to the header of your site’s template so it’s available on any page someone might land.

Don’t Be Afraid of White Space

The best way to understand the power of white space is by looking at an experiment Hotwire did a few years back. Because more than 60 percent of business travelers were using Hotwire’s mobile app rather than a traditional web browser, they decided to test out a new design for the “Rent a Car” product page to better align with the needs of the on-the-go users. Take a look at the original page and what they changed.

Which layout would you rather use?

While the starkness can be intimidating, the white space packs a powerful punch – especially on small screens. Hotwire eliminated the brown and gray backgrounds to create focal points on the page. The eye is now drawn to three spots specifically: the price, the look of the car and the button to continue with the purchase.

Learn from Hotwire as you think about your own website. Where do you want prospects to go and how can you use white space to get them there?

Last Minute Tips

  • Compress your images for a faster website. The need for speed is real, especially for people searching on their phones. According to Google’s research, more than half of mobile users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Images and videos are major culprits to a slow-moving site, so keep a close eye on your file sizes. A site like TinyPNG quickly optimizes images without losing quality, helping your website load faster.
  • Consider your font size. Using a font size of 16px for body text ensures your copy is readable when held in natural light at a farther distance – the typical experience of a mobile user.
  • Short and sweet is key. People using smartphones have short attention spans and a lot of distractions, so don’t overload your site with unnecessary copy. Take a look at Apple’s description of the new iPhone Xs. In just 50 words, it provides everything you need to know about the product.

Ready to learn more?

Discover where mobile prospects are searching for your law firm and which apps matter most with our Connecting the Dots playbook.

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