17 June 2010

0 A New Website Face Lift

Hollywood celebrities aren’t the only ones who should consider a face lift to stay competitive. Your business or organization should too! We live in an age where technology rules. Your public - be it investor, customer, potential employee, blogger, media, or competitor –can find a wealth of information on your organization in minutes thanks to the internet and our good buddies at Google. More often than not your own website will be one of those information stops on the internet highway. Do you really want the virtual face of your business to be circa 2002?

This is an exact conversation that I had with a legal client recently. While my work day is spent online, I realize not everyone’s is, least of all my client’s. And really 2002 wasn’t that long ago, so you may wonder, how could their website be that out of date? But if we take a trip in the way back machine you’ll learn that in 2002 the average screen size was 800x600, today the average monitor displays 1280x1084 or greater! The average screen displayed 65,536 different colors, today’s monitors display over 16 million. Those are huge differences!

Now consider that the majority of websites were designed in tables and any form of dynamic flash element was still relatively new. Not to mention the world had yet to even hear of MySpace, Facebook, YouTube or even the Motorola Razr. Considering this how can one of the top birth injury legal firms in the U.S. realistically expect to stand out and catch a web user’s attention with a website from 2002? They can’t.
While the niche website was bringing in a significant number of new visitors a month, between 900-1,300, it wasn’t keeping them. By early 2010 the website was averaging a bounce rate of roughly 70% with users visiting an average of 1.67 pages and staying on the site for approximately 58 seconds. Incoming web leads were almost nonexistent. It was apparent that something about the site wasn’t appealing to them. It was easy to figure out what was most likely the cause – the design. The website was designed sometime in 2002 and gave the initial impression of an amateur parenting advice site run by an internet newbie in 2002, not a leading New York City law firm in 2010.

The Before Design

Last month we rolled out the new website. The client was adamant about avoiding flash. They didn’t want it to look too “lawyery”, but sharp, clean and professional. I’m very happy with the results of the new design, as is my client, but most importantly so do users. Over the last three weeks we seen a significant increase in the time users are spending on the website and how many are pages they are visiting. (I’ll post again when I have more concrete stats.)

The New Design

Notes on a Few Features to Check Out
1. The header image  - This image consistently changes as you click to other pages of the website. If you return to the site another time (or hit refresh) the image you see may not be what you saw the first time.
2. The internal page images - By far one of my favorite elements of the website. The designer incorporated Web 2.0 technology to bring the images out to the user, if they want to take a closer look, in a very professional presentation. (Pictured below, but for the full effect you have to see the live thing here)  

Take a closer look at the after design for Trief & Olk’s Erb’s Palsy Info site.


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