When you get quotes for a new law firm websites, the pricing and options will be all over the place. You’ll see everything from free to $10,000+ and may not be exactly sure what you’re getting.
This blog is provided for general information only. Always talk to a laywer or other appropriate professional before making decisions.
Where to Get Websites
DIY solutions are limited by your time and expertise. Even if you’re “good at computers,” you still need to know technical things like how search engines evaluate your website and what technology you need to set up to get good ratings.
WordPress is a very popular option. It’s easy to get started if you just need a business card website, but it does have a learning curve if top SEO rankings are your main goal.
Squarespace is another popular option. This is a more business-oriented solution that focuses on being even easier to use than WordPress and delivering good enough results. Again, it’s good for a business card but maybe not enough for advanced SEO.
People who sell themselves as web designers generally like to focus on providing a flashy appearance. It’s true that having a great looking website can help you win more clinets.
The main thing to be aware of is that buying a website is like buying a car or house. It might look great on the outside, but there could be mechanical issues on the inside. Websites that put appearance first often use bloated code that slows things down, causes searchers to leave before viewing your site, and drops your search rankings as a result.
SEO companies like to create simple websites that focus on speed. This is imporant because speed and usability are important SEO ranking factors. At the same time, you don’t want to ignore design altogether.
College students often seem like a cheap option, but they’re not a good value option when you view your website as something easy to make. There are two times you want to bring on a college student:
- When you’ve decided to DIY, are spending time learning what you need to do, and need to delegate some tasks you don’t have time for.
- When you understand the limits of someone who’s just starting to build their portfolio, they’ve demonstrated some competency, and you don’t really need a top-tier option at this point.
How to Evaluate Website Portfolios
When you’re deciding who you want to use, it’s important to look at their portfolios. There are a few checks you want to make.
What you see with your own eyes is, of course, important. Do the designs look professional? Are they similar to what you want your brand to be? Are they easy to navigate?
Get examples of live websites and run them through PageSpeed Insights. You want to see passing scores on all the core web vitals.
Keep in mind that factors other than web design, like hosting, can affect speed. Try a few different sites.
If you’re seeing mixed results, look into the Opportunities and Diagnostics. They will give you a better picture of exactly what is slowing the site down and who is responsible. If you don’t understand a line item, search it in Bing. There will be a lot of results from developers and site owners trying to fix these issues on their own sites.
You should also check the SEO performance of the portfolio websites. You can use tools like Semrush and ahrefs to check their traffic and rankings.
Traffic and rankings may vary by practice area, location, content, and the firm’s marketing efforts. You’re not necessarily looking to find the site that ranks best. You do probably want to avoid a developer who has no sites that rank well. Mixed results, especially with some strong performers included, often show that you will be able to rank a website.
Where to Get Content
The last step is filling your website with content. This is one of the most important steps in SEO but is often one of the most overlooked.
The all-in-one solution may be easy, but it’s rarely the best option. Web developers and SEOs usually see content as a recurring profit center. They often farm content out on the cheap, and results will be mixed in terms of both search rankings and conversions.
Either build your content separately, or make sure you’re choosing a web developer or SEO that has a reputation for building out strong content.