Just as you rent an office in the real world, you’ll need to rent hosting services for your law firm’s online presence.
You have three options: using one of the national law-focused website companies, using a local web designer, or doing it yourself. What’s right for you depends on your budget, comfort with technology, and business goals. Let’s dig in.
- Local Web Designers
- National Law Firm Website Providers
While there are many content management platforms, you should stick to WordPress. Because it powers almost 30% of the websites in the world, a healthy ecosystem of service providers has sprouted around it.
Need a theme? ThemeForest has many options, for a one-time cost of $60-$100. Remember: beyond a minimum level of professionalism, the only person who cares about your site’s look is your ego.
Need to hire a custom designer? There are likely dozens in your hometown.
Need to pay someone to host it? There are plenty of options, including WordPress.com, WPEngine, and Bluehost. Expect to pay $10-$30 per month.
Local Web Designers
Your city will have many competent web designers that are only a short Google away. They will typically offer to host your site for a reasonable fee, especially if you also engage them to do the initial design and potentially ongoing maintenance.
You should expect to pay between $500 and $5,000. At the lower price point, expect a minimalist site using off-the-shelf templates, with no custom design work. You’re basically paying them to press the buttons for you, not to do design work.
When interviewing designers, consider these points:
- Do they have a portfolio of sites whose look appeals to you?
- Can they provide at least three satisfied customer references?
- Are they familiar with the Bar Association marketing rules that apply to you?
If they’ll be hosting your site for you, also ask:
- How long have they been in business? Ideally, you’d like at least three years of continuity.
- What content management system (CMS) will they be using? Ideally, you’d like a portable, industry-standard CMS like WordPress or SquareSpace.
National Law Firm Website Providers
These companies exist solely to provide websites for lawyers. They often offer additional marketing services like link building, copy writing, or pay-per-click ad management. When they provide marketing services, they do so ethically and in compliance with bar association rules. Their websites typically look very similar to one another.
The average law firm website has 8 links from 4 domains, and a PageRank of 2.32. While links and PageRank aren’t guarantees of organic traffic, they’re generally correlated.
|Provider||# of Customers||Average # of Links||Average # of Domains||Average PageRank|
Be warned that some lawyers have reported difficulties leaving some of these providers. In our opinion, you should not work with a provider who uses a proprietary system.
FindLaw, by Thomson Reuters, is the largest law firm website marketing company. Their clients number in the several thousand. They operate a website with legal information and listings of lawyers for people seeking legal advice. Additionally, they build and host sites, which they will then promote on the aforementioned legal information site.
Their designs are clean, if a little simplistic – check our FindLaw organic SEO and web design page for more information.
Their reviews on Yelp suggest some dissastisfied clients:
Terrible company to work with. I signed a one year contract with them and got one case. The customer service is terrible. Their platform is outdated. As soon as you sign their 1 year contract they have their hooks in you. Their website division could care less about your business. Almost no Beware! feedback no guidance. Biggest mistake I’ve ever made as a business owner.
With only several dozen clients, Juris Digital is something of a boutique. They offer a variety of à la carte services, from web site design, to copywriting, to hosting and pay-per-click advertising management. Of all the firms whose performance we’ve monitored, Juris Digital’s customers fare the best in terms of link building and PageRank.
Their designs are modern and responsive. Read our Juris Digital organic SEO and web design page for more information.
With a clientele measuring about half the size of FindLaw’s, Justia is still a dominant force in the legal marketing world. Like FindLaw, they operate a legal information and listing directory that they leverage to send traffic to their customers.
Read our Justia organic SEO and web design page for more information.
LawLytics is the only major vendor with transparent pricing. Their marketing takes more than a few jabs at vendors who mistreat their clients. They offer design, copywriting and hosting services, but no pay-per-click advertising management.
Their designs are simple but effective. Read our LawLytics organic SEO and web design page for more information.
From a technical perspective, their SEO leaves much to be desired.
Scorpion Internet Marketing
Scorpion Internet Marketing offers all-in-one services including design and ongoing marketing.
Their reviews on Yelp suggest a mixed bag of results:
Absolutely horrible results, we get this whole pitch from a sales guy Brandon, promises a great ROI, after 6 months and thousands of dollars out the window, we dropped them. They are not transparent about the ppc spend, they own the site, they don’t do social..
Scorpion is unabashedly for people with large monthly budgets. Their designs are modern and attractive. Read our Scorpion organic SEO and web design page for more information.
Zola Creative offers end-to-end marketing and practice management for lawyers.
Read our Zola Creative organic SEO and web design page for more information.
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