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Easy access: Ensure your website is smartphone-friendly

By Sarah Rodriguez
Dolan Media Newswires

Your law firm’s website may look great on a PC, but if it’s not customized to sync with mobile devices, it could be a headache for clients trying to find a lawyer on their smartphones.

Fortunately, a growing number of legal marketers are getting ahead of the curve and developing mobile-optimized websites to tout a firm’s services to potential clients who are on the go.

Darron Franta, marketing director at LeClairRyan, said his firm launched its mobile website in June 2011 after tracking significant growth in visits from mobile devices.

“People are traveling and moving and need information on the fly,” he says. “We wanted our site to be as user-friendly as possible.”

Here are some tips for firms looking to create their own mobile sites:

1. Consider your start-up options

When it comes time to set up a mobile site, there are several different approaches.

Franta and his team chose to integrate the LeClairRyan website with its mobile counterpart. Any time a news feed, attorney bio or practice area page is updated on the site, the change is automatically pushed through to the mobile version.

Richmond, Va.-based Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen took a slightly different tactic.

“We edited all the copy so it’s not an exact duplicate of allenandallen.com,” said Emily Krause, the firm’s marketing director. The firm debuted its mobile website in 2010.

For the mobile version, Krause created content that was more condensed and therefore easier to read on a smaller screen. Since the mobile site is its own entity, Krause maintains its content separately.

2. Consider a third party

To develop their mobile sites, both Allen & Allen and LeClairRyan worked with the third-party companies that were already managing their websites. But if hiring a third-party developer is not in the budget, there are a number of do-it-yourself programs available through the Web. Examples of such services include DudaMobile, bMobilized and Google Sites.

3. Less is more

“A mobile website should tell three things: Who we are, what we do and why you should care,” said Jeff Roberts, president and creative director of Washington-based Moiré Marketing.

While it’s tempting to make everything about the firm available on the mobile site, smartphone users are most likely seeking quick bits of information instead of performing in-depth research.

When designing the layout of the site, it’s wise to take a more minimalistic approach. Larger type that fits the screen, fewer links for simpler navigation and few graphics for optimal page loading help visitors get the information they need more efficiently.

“People interact with websites much differently on a phone,” Krause says. “Think about how the content will be used.”

But it’s a good idea to provide a link back to the full site, just in case the information the visitor is looking for is not available via mobile.


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