What Professional Services Firms’ Websites Get Wrong Reviewed by Momizat on . Five Ways Professional Services Websites Fall Short (Part I of II) Business leaders today know that how a firm’s website is planned and organized matters more t Five Ways Professional Services Websites Fall Short (Part I of II) Business leaders today know that how a firm’s website is planned and organized matters more t Rating: 0
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What Professional Services Firms’ Websites Get Wrong

Five Ways Professional Services Websites Fall Short (Part I of II)

Business leaders today know that how a firm’s website is planned and organized matters more than ever. What worked well enough five years ago to separate your firm from your competition may simply not work today. At Hinge, we audit hundreds of professional services websites a year—and we see many of the same mistakes repeated. In this article, I will explore five of the most fundamental mistakes professional services firms make long before a single page has been designed and published. Whether it was due to a broken planning process or some other dysfunction, here are five ways professional services websites can fall short.

Business leaders today know that how a firm’s website is planned and organized matters more than ever. What worked well enough five years ago to separate your firm from your competition may simply not work today. At Hinge, we audit hundreds of professional services websites a year—and we see many of the same mistakes repeated. In this article, I will explore five of the most fundamental mistakes professional services firms make long before a single page has been designed and published. Whether it was due to a broken planning process or some other dysfunction, here are five ways professional services websites can fall short.

1) When Firm Leaders do Not See the Value of a Great Website

While firms increasingly recognize how much a high performing website could do for their business, some leaders still need convincing. Websites that are built without sufficient investment tend to become outdated quickly.

Consider these data points collected by the Hinge Research Institute:

  • Buyers today are searching online for insights 66% more frequently than they did five years ago
  • 72% of buyers utilize digital resources to evaluate service providers
  • 90% of buyers will cross a firm off their list before even talking with them
  • Each year, professional services firms generate more leads online than they did the preceding year

The days of treating your website as a simple online brochure are over. Marketers must continue making the case to their leadership teams of the need to invest in a more sophisticated and compelling website. (See our Lead Generating Website Guide for a revealing look at what a professional services website should be.)

2) Inconsistent Website Strategy and Metrics

As your marketing plan evolves, so should your website. One sign of a poorly developed website is when visitors can clearly see that the site has not kept up with the firm’s overall strategy. You have seen many examples of this—such as blogs, news, or events sections that have not been updated in months, or broken links.

Your website should be continually making the case to prospects that you have the solutions they need. Unfortunately, if neglected by your internal team, your website will start telling a very different story. Your marketing team needs to review your site’s content and goals on a regular basis—and make sure it aligns with your overall business strategy. Here is an article listing some key B2B website metrics that will help you do so.

3) Inefficient Systems for Working with Subject Matter Experts to Develop Content

When we conducted our 2020 High Growth Study, professional services firms ranked content creation as their number one marketing priority. Many professional services marketers have difficulties engaging their firm’s subject matter experts (SMEs)—the same SMEs your prospects want to hear from.

When a firm’s blog section has not been updated in months, that is a sign that their content creation process is either inefficient, their thought leaders are not invested in content creation as a strategy, or their content creation is not a priority for the firm.

But a high-performing website needs fresh content, all the time. For ideas, check out this article on the impact of a content calendar.

4) Updating the Website is Too Hard

I get it: you are a marketer, not a website developer. But at the same time, you cannot afford to rely on a third-party developer to do all your website updates for you. Your website must be a resource that you and other members of your team can update easily.

The real problem is, not all websites are created with you in mind. If you feel like you are hostage to a system that makes updates hard, consider redesigning your website on a more user-friendly content management system (CMS). For more insight on how a CMS should integrate with your B2B website strategy, check out this article.

5) Form is Getting in the Way of Function

Naturally, you want your website to look modern and fresh. An all-too-common problem, however, is when a site’s cutting-edge design hinders the user experience.

Distracting videos, elaborate animations, and “clever” navigation, for example, can all derail the main message. Remember: you have only a few seconds to make your first impression on visitors to your site—so do not make them feel lost from the start.

Just to be clear, your website does not have to be plain or unoriginal. But truly good design is about more than just good looks. It makes it easy for users to navigate and delivers your message with real clarity (here is a link to just one example).

One Final Mistake

Poorly designed professional services websites come in many flavors. If your website is not living up to expectations, try to improve it. Identify where your website is lacking and begin making adjustments. And if you do not have the time or skills to handle it in-house, reach out to a qualified partner who understands your business. The final mistake you could make … is to simply do nothing.


Lee W. Frederiksen, PhD, is Managing Partner at Hinge, the leading branding and marketing firm for the professional services. Hinge conducts groundbreaking research into high-growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to become more visible and grow. 

Dr. Frederiksen can be contacted at (703) 391-8870 or by e-mail to LFrederiksen@hingemarketing.com.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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