When it comes to understanding how well your firm’s website is performing, lots of people get stuck on the amount of traffic the site receives and bounce rate. Now, with your or professional services marketing strategy, make sure you remember bounce rate is the percentage of people averaged out that come to your website and bounce out of it.
Traditionally it has always been thought that a high bounce rate, say over 50% means that your firm’s website simply isn’t engaging and therefore not working. Well, its not always that simple. For example, the first question has to be has your website got any content that would encourage someone to stay longer. For a site that is overtly basic with little content, you wouldn’t expect someone to stay longer than necessary. Also, for some sites we’re involved with, when the high bounce rate correlates with high conversions, than bounce rate is essentially irrelevant and usually points to an engaged cohort of users that know what they want, scoop it up and away they go. Now, that’s usually the contact details and its why your firm should always have them ever so prevalent on every page of your site. Remember that not everyone will come to your site via the homepage. Now, when you consider bounce rate in this context, you should look at the bounce rate of every page of your site, because not all pages are equal. You would expect a high bounce rate on your contact page for example.
So, the message with bounce rates is that never consider it as the definitive tool for working out your site’s performance.
There are other metrics that in our opinion are much more important, particularly exit rates and engagement rates.
Ideally your firm’s website should be a series of stepping stones where you have crafted a path that increases engagement along the way and then of course eventuates in conversion, or in other words, the client contacting your firm.
Now, this is where page exit rates are so important, because it will tell you which stepping stone is broken and leading to a high exit rate on one of your pages. This will be so overt if you’ve got your website configured around a content strategy. In other words, mapping out user engagement pathways, or how you want the user to interract with your site’s content. This is so important, and if you haven’t thought about this, your website essentially is just a brochure online. Now, you’ll never get this completely right and its why you need to be always testing. For one client we’re working with, we’ve literally pressed out 4 or 5 iterations of both site and content and test which performs best.
Now, the other metric I wanted to touch on comes from a great book called Digital Impact by Vipin Mayar and Geoff Ramsay. These guys are essentially saying that one of the most important metrics is the engagement Score which sees user engagement in a pymarmid where at the base a user engages by just viewing your content, then interracting via video, slideshare, to then responding by rating, voting or commenting, to then requesting information, to sharing via social media to contacting the organisation. Now, what they say is that you asign a value to each and then calculate the Engagement Score. What I like a lot about this, is that when you adopt this type of approach in trying to understand how people are interracting with your firm’s website, you’ll be disappointed and it will force you back to the drawing board.
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