In the age of information and online reputation, your law firm’s website presence can impact your bottom line in many ways. How? Let’s take a look at how a typical client may find your firm…
First, they will search online (mostly on mobile devices) to find any local firms that cater to their need.
Potential new clients tend to do their due diligence when choosing legal services or an attorney to work with. In most cases, it is not something most people search for every day, and it can be quite nerve racking even thinking about meeting with a lawyer. So, having a professional web presence that showcases your firm’s expertise and ability is extremely important. Some clients may even be referred to your firm, but may never reach out to you because they couldn’t find you online.
Secondly, what they find when they do see your firm’s website says a lot about you – and your firm. Does your website represent you and your firm’s reputation?
So, let’s now look at what they may find in terms of your website, and see why we believe Lawyers should be practicing law – and not spending their time designing and maintaining their own websites.
Of course there are some do-it-yourself options available like Wix, Squarespace or WordPress. Or, you can hire a local web designer or a legal-focused Internet Marketing Agency (Like Precision Legal Marketing).
So, let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons we think law firms should not be designing and maintaining their own websites:
1. Do-It-Yourself sites like WIX and Squarespace and other similar FREE platforms typically don’t work well for Law Firms
Sure, these platforms are quick to set-up a site for your office, but tend not to be the best option when trying to market your efforts. Would you recommend a client to a cheap doctor or refer to a cheap lawyer?
The reality is these platforms are designed for a small business that is just starting out and needs something simple. This is fine if you just want to have a small website up to say, “Hey, we’re here.”You may be thinking, hey that’s me, I’m just starting out.
The challenge with these platforms is that they typically aren’t search engine friendly. This means that your small website gets lost within the noise of millions of other businesses and law firms. We’re sure you’d rather stand out and have site architecture set-up to help market your firm to the world, and not just have a web page that gets lost in the crowd. We will cover SEO in more detail in a later blog post, but for now all you need to know is that is a long term investment in the position of your website on a search engine.
2. Small or low-cost hosting plans tend to have their own set of pitfalls
These plans often have little to no site security, which increases the amount of spam that you may receive both on the website and also in your email inbox. With a lack of proper site security and increase in spam, this also slows down a websites ability to load quickly on a browser.
Slow sites rank poorly with search engines, which doesn’t help the bottom line of your business as it doesn’t help potential clients find you. In fact, Google has launched a whole host of tools for looking at site load speed and how to make your site load faster. If it is important to Google, it should be important to you too. Remember, 78% of all searches are done at Google.
3. Site Security may be Insufficient
It is imperative that your law firm’s website is secure. A simple appearance of having HTTPS as part of your sites URL not only brings security, but also credibility to your clients, to social media outlets, as well as search engines. Google has started to display a warning to potential visitors if a site isn’t secure. Once this warning is seen, it is difficult to get that potential client to return.
HTTPS can often be difficult to install and debug, but it is a must have.
4. WordPress and Plugins
WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Platforms being utilized by millions of businesses worldwide. This platform is one of the most robust on the market. It is extremely Search Engine Friendly, when built right, and allows for an ever increasing level of customizations.
It’s very tempting for a Law Firm to build a site utilizing WordPress, and knowing how to navigate this platform oftentimes requires experienced web designers to create the desired user experience.
Each component of a word press site has to be carefully considered for its functionality as well as its overall design to enhance a visitors user experience. The most common components of WordPress site are called themes (what makes the sites look the way it does) and plugins (which ads functionality to a site).
There are some serious items to consider when adding templates and themes and plugins…
What you may not know is that not all plugins work with all themes, and visa versa. Also, not all plugins work together either. Also, plugins are the leading source of website hacks and other nefarious activities that can affect your site. We have seen entire websites taken down by a single plugin someone installed.
Because each plugin and theme is authored by anyone who has the ability to code, there are several potential challenges in terms of making sure all of the components are compatible. Also, a WordPress improves it’s platform, each theme and plugin also has to be upgraded regularly.
Upgrades to the WordPress platform and to the various themes and plugins may lead to a component becoming outdated, or even worse, have the potential for your site to be hacked.
Having an experienced team manage your Law Firms websites allows the liability to rest on your team, and not on you. This allows you to focus more on your clients, where really your efforts should be, right?
5. Time is Money, and Your Time is Valuable
Let’s be honest here, if you have enough free time to build your own site – maybe you should consider the root cause of your free time – not enough clients.
Consider this: dividing your time to do-it-yourself projects is costing you in being the best Lawyer for your clients. After all, would you recommend your clients represent themselves in court? No – why are you??