Research shows why law firms need mobile friendly websites

We all know that smartphones are the future – and it should come as no surprise to learn that the majority of web browsing now takes place away from laptops and PCs on mobile devices. Yet almost half of the UK’s top 100 law firms* still don’t have mobile-friendly websites.

A recent survey by HubSpot showed that:

Over 60% of people regularly use their phones to look up businesses– and around 1/5 of those searches are for professional and legal services.


So what impact does this have on conversion rates?

We’ve carried out some detailed research and the results are quite startling. In short,

Firms with non-responsive sites are losing up to 2/3 of visitors – with bounce rates of nearly 80%.


In this post we explain why your law firm’s website must be mobile responsive, and how you can boost the value of your mobile content.

In the digital age, no business can afford to make life difficult for clients looking at their website.

We’re all familiar with the uncomfortable experience of landing on a non responsive web page, only to give up when the content takes too long to load, or is out of reach of the zoom on your smartphone. Imagine the frustration of potential clients encountering this – and the impression that is created by an out-dated shop window.

Around 20% to 30% of law firm traffic comes from mobile devices – yet as of April this year only half of leading firms had mobile responsive websites – a surprising statistic given the recent Google update – which effectively favours mobile friendly designs.

So what impact do non-mobile friendly websites have on usage?

Non-Mobile Friendly Bounce Rates

On non-responsive websites, a law firm’s practice areas often act as landing pages – as people tend to arrive via search engines. These pages need to work quickly to sell the firm’s services and expertise – converting visitors into valuable new business leads.

Tela analysed the mobile statistics from 10 large legal services organisations and compared to how likely users were to leave a non-mobile friendly page.

We found that:

Mobile traffic bounce rates are on average 79% higher on non-mobile friendly sites compared to mobile friendly sites.


So why do 2/3 of people on mobile devices leave a non-responsive website?

Common complaints from visitors are:

  •      Content is tiny and hard to read – the ‘pinch and zoom’ effect.
  •      Contact forms are impossible to complete
  •      Too much zooming and panning to find content
  •      Buttons are too small to click
  •      Navigation is just too difficult
  •      Pages take too long to load

All of these factors make it harder for clients to find relevant content on a non-mobile friendly website – and the likelihood that they will become frustrated, and leave quickly, increases massively.

Content that looks good on a desktop might be cluttered and hard to read on a mobile device. Visitors won’t stay on your site if they have to pinch to zoom in and out of content, or can’t see the calls to action taking them to other pages.

Mobile Friendly Increases Engagement

Mobile friendly websites optimise the experience for every user – and provide a template specifically designed for the device, and screen size, they are using.

In theory this ensures that visitors are engaged for longer, and this was certainly the case with the law firm websites we looked at as part of our research.

Tela analysed the time mobile users spend viewing practice area pages on both responsive and non-responsive websites. We also looked at the different ways users digest content, and the results were striking:

Mobile visitors spend 23% more time viewing practice area pages on mobile –friendly sites than on non-friendly ones.


If content is king, then law firms without mobile sites are missing a serious trick here. A 23% drop in browsing time means potential clients are not finding the content they need – and are therefore much less likely to make contact with the firm .

Understanding mobile browsing behaviour is key to keeping potential clients engaged. These users want quick, basic information – a service overview, and contact details at most. More detailed content – such as news and blog based items – comes much further down their list of priorities, and should not clog up the landing page on a smartphone or tablet.

A non-responsive website could be killing your conversions.

Desktop websites in mobile browsers are simply ineffective at converting visitors. Calls to action and key content are often obscured. Forms are hard to submit. Links are difficult to click and if a visitor does want to learn more, relevant pages are hidden in tiny navigation menus.

Put simply, mobile users have very little patience. If they need to do too much work to complete a conversion, it’s far less likely they will complete an action which will benefit your firm.

Time for some window-dressing.

So in summary a mobile responsive website can have a huge effect on your law firm’s conversion and bounce rates.

Think of your website as a shop window. You surely wouldn’t dream of displaying your best products in miniature– or hiding them from your customers’ line of sight. And remember, it’s not just your clients who want to see relevant content– Google does too.



* Statistics gathered in August 2016


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