A friend asked how important it is for her firms’ website is to be fast. As a general rule, the performance of any website is a significant factor in any online venture. In other words, you want your site to load quickly. This is true for a number of reasons.
User experience, in my opinion, is most important. If your site loads quickly, your users will have a much easier and more enjoyable time interacting with your site. If they like the site and it loads quickly at the same time, they are more likely to fill out your form or interact with you through your website. The percentage of people that fill out forms or interact with your site is known as the conversion rate. As lawyers, we want potential clients filling out our web forms and interacting with us online. High conversion rates are the goal.
Very important but maybe not as obvious to many law firms because speed affects Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google looks at how quickly your site loads. The site’s speed is one of the ranking factors used to determine where your site shows up in the search results. I am not an SEO expert, nor do I claim to be, but I can tell you that speed is a factor, and if you do a little research, you can find countless technical articles that explain this in greater detail.
Speed also affects your rankings for a somewhat less obvious reason. If users are on your site and it loads slowly or not at all, they are more likely to leave your site quickly. In the search world, there is a metric that measures this, known as bounce rate. This is when a user enters your site and then immediately leaves and does not view other pages on the site. A high bounce rate can harm your SEO.
Lawyers take away – Make sure your site is hosted with a reputable host and loads quickly and consistently. There are tools available that can easily help you determine your site speed and your competitors’ site speeds, but that feels like a topic for another post.