If you’re redesigning your firm’s website, I’m recommending a must-read post – to read now and save for future reference. The post, “12 Biggest Content and Web Design Mistakes Marketers Make During a Website Redesign,” is by Laurel Miltner (she/her), the Director of Digital Strategy at Orbit Media Studios.
I selected a few of Laurel’s “mistakes” to show how relatable and applicable they are for legal marketers.
The first mistake that really hit home was this one: Underestimating stakeholder input, timelines, and revision rounds. Laurel says, “You need a strong leader, clear goals, and a solid internal project manager to coordinate it to adhere to your timeline and budget.”
How does this mistake apply to Legal Marketers?
✓ Your timeline must reflect your ability to gain approvals from your lawyers.
Put simply, you know your firm and how time-consuming it can be to get approvals — let alone the number of ‘friendly email reminders’ to get your lawyers’ attention, right? Then you must be realistic when developing your timeline. Don’t set yourself up for failure by underestimating the time it truly takes for content review. While it may be critical to your timeline and project goals, remember, from the lawyers’ POV, client work always trumps marketing deliverables. Unless your deadline is set in stone, take a page from IT. They always seem to know how to set expectations in a law firm. Somehow, the well-known phrase, “Under-promise and over-deliver,” plus a secret handshake (known only to your IT pals), seems to do the trick.
Another mistake Laurel identified: Working on design and copy separately. “Copy often needs to be a certain length for design, conversion and SEO purposes. Conversely, content needs will likely dictate page templates, page types and page block design tweaks. This is why your design and copy teams should collaborate closely.”
How does this one apply to Legal Marketers who are redesigning their firm’s website?
✓ You must engage your writers early in the process.
I just finished up a website project and had the luxury of working with a designer and developer who took us through the story mapping process. He understood our audience(s), helped us work out scenarios, user paths, and developed the wireframes. He also identified the headline/sub-heads and word count for each content block, plus so much more. What a difference! When content decisions are discussed upfront and in a group – instead of doing it ‘the old way’ (writer, off in a back corner, tossing copy over the fence after the design and development has already begun), there are fewer surprises; ones that either cost money, cause delays or both.
I hope you found this helpful and wish you all the best with your firm’s website redesign.
Orbit Media Studios