The Cyclical Seasonality of Legal Website Traffic

If you’ve worked in any industry long enough, you’ve recognized the seasonal trends that affect business. A notable example is in travel booking. Companies like Expedia and Priceline see strong surges in website traffic in the early summer months when people are planning their vacations. Then in the fall it dips when school starts again.

We see the same thing at FindLaw.com and with our thousands of customers’ law firm websites — there is a seasonality to legal issues. In November and December consumers simply aren’t searching for legal help at the level they do the rest of the year. It makes sense. With the busyness of the holidays and demands of school schedules, many people naturally push their non-immediate legal issues to the side until the new year.

That’s why on FindLaw.com we usually receive less traffic and directory activity these final months and then see them pick up dramatically in January. Depending on your practice area, you’ve likely experienced such changes with your own website traffic the last two months of the year.

What does this mean for your firm? You may see a dip in your traffic from FindLaw.com and directory contacts. While watching these metrics decrease can be troubling, it’s important to know that the change in traffic is related to the market’s natural rhythm. Remember, much like the general population, legal consumers are focused on the holidays. Unless there’s an urgent need for an attorney, they are comfortable putting things off.

The marketing lesson is to always keep the bigger picture in mind and seek out the long-term trends that tell a more complete story. Acting from short-term information can lead to expensive and potentially harmful actions to “improve” a situation that is out of your control. During this period, a better approach would be to use the time to prepare your marketing plans for 2018. Or, if you’re feeling bold, even dip your toe into other practice areas with higher market demand at the end of the year (e.g., DUI).

From the more than 11 million visits a month to FindLaw.com and the data from our customers’ websites, we’re able to track and understand big picture trends like seasonality unique to the legal industry. We know that a slowdown for firms at the tail end of the year more than likely will not continue in January when people finally confront their legal issues. So do the right things now and remember to keep the long game top of mind.

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