What does the speed of your website have to do with your business? For a moment, imagine that your website is not online, but is your business office. The office is open and you are waiting for customers to enter. When a customer enters, your office is absolutely empty. No office plaque, no chairs, no table – nothing! However, after a minute of waiting, your business label pops up, five minutes later, a few chairs appear and then finally, after ten minutes, your table appears. Now your office is starting feel like an office. However, guess what – by the time the rest of your office ‘appears’, the customer has already left.
This very same example can be used in context to a website. If your attorney website takes too long to load, it won’t capture customers. According to a survey conducted by Kissmetrics, the average web user won’t wait for a page to load longer than 6-10 seconds. You should check out this survey as it contains information on how loading time affects visitors on your website.
The point is that your legal website needs to load quickly. Even though 6-10 seconds is the expected norm, the quicker your website loads, the better for your customers. They don’t bounce off your website, they spend more time on it and have a high chance of converting.
Here are some ways to speed up your attorney website to improve your website.
Know how Slow your Website is
The first step you need to take is to identify how slow your website is. There are several tools that you can use to do this.
Page Insights: A Google tool, Page Insights, brings you data on how quickly your website loads according to Google. The report also presents data on what causes delay.
PingDom: While Page Insights focuses on your whole website, PingDom identifies specific web pages that are causing your site to slow down.
WebPage Test: The advantage of this tool lies in that it allows you to run a speed test from various locations and browsers. This enables you to assess your website loading time based on location and OS.
YSlow: YSlow is a browser plugin that analyzes the speed of the website you are on.
Many of these tools not only offers insight into how slow your website is, but they also give you information on what’s making your website slow and how you can improve it. This is the perfect starting point to increase the speed of your legal website.
Optimize your Images
Images are a must for any website. It’s most basic role is to capture the attention of your visitors.
They can highlight aspects of your law practice and deliver messages in an impactful manner. However, images could also be one of the biggest elements slowing down your website. Images that are above 1 MB can take a serious toll on your website’s speed.
Your images need to be well-optimized in terms of size. Here are a few tools to do so.
TinyPNG: Drop any PNG or JPG file and TingPNG will compress it for web use. It does so without losing quality.
JPEGmini: JPEGmini completely focuses on JPEG images. Hence, it is a much better platform to convert your JPEG images without losing quality.
Smush.it: Wondering which images needs compression on your website? Just drop your web URL in smush.it and let this tool identify images that need compression.
EWWW Image Optimizer: As bad as the name sounds, this is a pretty helpful tool for WordPress sites. The images you upload are automatically optimized to allow for a quicker loading time.
Better Hosting Plan
Web hosting is where website data is stored. To fit within your budget, you may have chosen a shared hosting option. However, Virtual Private Server hosting is the best option, but it is expensive.
To improve your attorney website speed, you either need to upgrade your hosting plan or choose a better hosting provider. Bluehost is a recommended web hosting service. You can also try Flywheel, which is redefining the web hosting market.
Edit your Website Code
This part will require the assistance of your web developer. Editing your website code without a professional web editor can lead to a disaster, such as your website crashes. Ensure you backup everything before moving forward.
Compress your CSS
CSS or Content Management System, if not compressed, creates large bulky files. CSSCompressor is a tool which allows you to optimize your CSS manually, however, this may be a tedious process. Autoptimize is a WordPress plugin that automatically compresses your website, minifies the HTML code and makes your website lightweight.
Switch on Browser Cache
Browser cache can greatly increase the speed of your website for returning visitors. By enabling browser cache, visitors essentially save the framework of your legal website for a certain period. Hence, when they return to your site, only certain elements, such as content, will have to be transferred.
Reduce HTTP Requests
When visitors click on your website link, their device sends out HTTP request for your server to send back data packets. These data packets are pieces of information that load the site. The more HTTP requests that are required, the longer your attorney website will take to load. There are many ways of reducing the HTTP requests.
Take up CDNs
An effective way of increasing your website’s speed is to switch your web server to one that handles volume easily and transfers data quickly. With CDNs, you take that one step further. CDNs or content distribution networks are a network of servers located around the world and contain the cache of the site’s static data.
The CND provider copies your static data on multiple servers across the globe and visitors access data from the server closest to them. This would greatly increase the loading speed of your legal site.
Once you have enhanced your website speed, watch your bounce rate decrease and your session time increase. As more visitors stay on your legal website and spend time on it, you have a greater chance of converting them into clients.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.