The website of any brand or business is a shop window and the point from which many clients will make contact. For the top 100 law firms, it is important for this reason, that their websites are accessible and easy for clients to work their way around.
Visitors arrive on law firms websites using a variety of technology including tablets, laptops and mobile phones. A factor that affects the user experience on each of these devices is the speed at which website pages load. Not only does this impact on the overall user experience, website loading speed is also included as a search engine ranking factor.
Did you know that a one second page response delay could result in a 7% loss in conversions?
Visitors expect a comparable experience between mobile and desktop and if your website isn’t loading fast enough, you will potentially be losing customers through page abandonment. In this article we will discuss the results of a test Tela carried out into the web page speeds of the top 100 UK law firms, and the factors that affect page loading speeds.
The aim of the test
The main aim was to see how the top firms were performing with their desktop web page speed compared with their mobile web page speed, and the effect this could have on the user experience. With 65% of UK based consumers using a smartphone to access the internet, it is clear why firms should be optimising their webpages for these users.
As of April 2015, 49% of the top 100 law firms website were not optimised for mobile. Our own research conducted in June 2016, shows that while that figure has risen slightly,
26% of websites across the top 100 law firms that are not mobile optimised to offer the best possible user experience.
We wanted to find out how well in general the top 100 law firms were doing at optimising their websites speed.
How we tested the top 100 law firms mobile website speed
To allow for fluctuations in traffic and loads on the underlying technology, we completed the speed tests on each of the top 100 law firms websites on two separate occasions, during the morning and afternoon. We used the Google Developers PageSpeed Insights tool. The test fetches the url twice, once with a mobile user-agent, and once with a desktop-user agent, each of which are compared against a list of rules set by Google. Google Page Insights not only analyses the web page content but also gives suggestions on areas you can improve to make the pages faster. By having a faster page load time, bounce rates can decrease which gives greater opportunity for conversion rates to increase.
The PageSpeed Scores range from 0 to 100 points. The higher the score, the better the performance of a page. Google states that a score of 85 or above indicates that the page is performing well.
We discovered that only one of the top 100 law firms have a score of 85 or above for their mobile sites, compared with 12% achieving above 85 for their desktop sites.
Page Speed Results
The number is out of a maximum score of 100 ( generated using Google Page Speed Insights ). The results below show the top ten websites with the fastest mobile speeds, with some law firms coming in joint places.
Across the top 100 law firms, 77% had mobile responsive websites, which is a significant increase from the 49% reported last April. Interestingly, six websites out of the top 10 still aren’t joining the other 72% in providing a mobile responsive website for the clients to view. Considering that a large proportion of traffic arrives from mobile devices, it is surprising that more law firms are not offering the best possible user experience to their clients.
On top of these findings, we also discovered that only one of the top 100 law firms were hitting scores of 85+ in the Google PageSpeed tool for their mobile responsive sites. This is compared with 12% of law firms getting 85+ on their desktop scores. The results show that the loading speeds of the majority of the top 100 law firm’s websites are not loading content quickly enough, which makes the process of interacting with the website and communicating with the law firm more difficult.
The average mobile page speed for the top 100 UK law firms was only 56, demonstrating how much opportunity there is for improvement on the mobile web pages. In comparison, the average desktop loading speed was placed at 67, which is slightly higher than the results of the mobile responsive page speeds but still nowhere near high enough to be ranking in Google’s recommended top bracket of 85+.
Benefits of having a fast website
Google uses site speed as one of the signals to determine search engine rankings. Speed has always played a part in the way that Google ranks websites in its search results. Having a faster website could be an important factor in helping law firms outrank their competitors and gain more exposure to a wider audience. The standard set by Google is for mobile web pages load in less than one second, however this is not always practical of easily achievable.
Page loading time has a direct impact on page abandonment with mobile users expecting comparable page load times across mobile and desktop experiences. Having a fast website makes for a better user experience and having a good user experience can in turn lead to higher conversion rates.
How to Speed up a Website
Optimised images: Images on a webpage should always be optimised so that they can load quicker. A quck fix can be to open up the images in photoshop and click File> Save for web. This can decrease a file size by as much as half without reducing the quality and could result in a higher PageSpeed score.
Enable Gzip Compression: Large pages with lots of content typically take a while to download. One way to speed up the download speed is to compress files into a zip file. Compression helps reduce the bandwidth of the page, which in turn helps the user’s browser load them faster. When a user accesses the web page, the file will unzip and reveal the content. Gzip is a tool used to compress website’s files and speed up the page load time.
We hope that by having access to this data, law firms will be able to benchmark performance against their peers.
Improving page load speeds across the legal services sector will benefit clients by offering a better user experience and law firms by driving more traffic to their websites and making it easier for visitors to find the information they require and instigate communication.
Get in touch
http://tela.uk/ is a creative digital agency. We deliver website, online marketing, lead generation and conversion optimisation campaigns to some of the UK’s leading law firms. If you would like to learn more about the ways you can improve the speed of your website contact Tim Sheed: 01799 524 464 | firstname.lastname@example.org