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May 28, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Law firm website ROI

For any organization it is a challenge to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) for the website. I think this is especially true on large informational websites such as law firms’ and other professional services firms’ websites.

Investing website Investopedia defines ROI as the following:

A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or  to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate  ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the  cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a  ratio.”

Put simply, do you get out more money than you put in to a given project.

On e-commerce websites this is usually done strictly through quantitative web analytics which can track how much money each product sold online is generating and what campaign is tied to the sale. I strongly believe that web analytics should be a big part of evaluating a law firm website (see my earlier post titled Apply  basic Web Analytics Principles to Law Firm Websites) but I also believe that there are more qualitative measures needed to truly determine if the website contributes to a firm gaining or retaining clients and top talent.

Get feedback from your website visitors when they are on your website

This is something that anyone with a large website should probably be doing. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to technology for requesting feedback on websites. I am biased of course to the option that Siteimprove provides but you could also check out iPerceptions for this type of service.

Either way by asking your website visitors targeted questions while they are on your website you can gather some great information to assist you when determining the ROI.

For example if you know that the majority of your traffic is going to the attorney biographies (and research by the Great Jakes guys says that it does) then that would be a great place to ask a question like “Were you able to find the information you were looking for?” Simple yes/no questions like this are more likely to be answered and you can have an option for people to leave a comment if they would like to share more.

By gathering this type of information over time you can begin to understand the effectiveness of your key pages on the site and build that satisfaction into your ROI calculation.

Ask people who call your firm…

if they used your website to evaluate your firm. This can be new clients or new hires. By finding out what role the website is playing in the evaluation process you can certainly find a way to determine if the site has helped land the new client or hire. Web analytics can only take you so far and at some point you just need to ask the client if they used the site and how. By gathering this information you can determine the overall role the website has taken in landing a client and factor that into your ROI calculation.

I would be interested to hear from some firms either in the comments or by email if you have done this and how it has helped you evaluate the value of your website. That would be a great topic for a follow up post.

Use Client Surveys

I am sure by now that most firms use some form of a client survey when a case has been finished to understand the client’s overall satisfaction with the firm. Here is another great time to ask a question or two about the website. I am not suggesting that there be an entire page dedicated to website questions but a couple questions can go a long way to helping you calculate ROI.

A couple examples could be “Did you use our website when working with us?” If yes, did you find it helpful and if no, why did you not use our website?”

These are pretty basic questions and I am sure individual firms could ask better questions that more specifically answer what you want to know but I hope you get the idea.

As I stated at the outset of the post it is a challenge to calculate the ROI of a website for any organization and law firms in particular. To do so you must combine quantitative and qualitative data over time allowing you to better understand if your website is a success. For more thoughts on this idea I suggest you have a look at Siteimprove’s blog post on the topic after you finish here.

How does your firm determine the ROI of the website? Are you using any of the above methods or something completely different?

As always, thanks for reading.

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