Your website will make a first impression law firm on visitors who discover your law firm on search engines, social media networks, and local review directories. The adage, “You get what you pay for.” can be true when it comes to web design in some, but not all cases. In this post, we’ll analyze several answers to the question, “How much are attorney websites?” to determine the best approach for your law firm’s budget and online marketing strategy.
Multiple Approaches to Law Firm Website Design
The first step to determining the cost of an attorney website is to decide who will create and maintain the website. This person would be responsible for:
- Choosing and registering the domain name.
- Choosing the website platform and hosting.
- Setting up the website software, users, and general settings.
- Finding and customizing a design/template.
- Installing plugins, analytics, and other tracking code.
- Monitoring for security, hacking, and other intrusion attempts.
- Maintaining software, plugin, and design updates.
What if you are a solo practice or small law firm that doesn’t have time to deal with the technical ins and outs of website maintenance? There are several other options that can suit your needs as well.
What You Need in Your Law Firm Website
Ultimately, the cost of your attorney website comes down to getting essential information about your law firm on the internet. At the bare minimum, your law firm needs the following pages to have a solid website:
- A home page.
- An about page for your law firm.
- An about page for each of your attorneys.
- A services page for all of your legal services.
- A detailed page for each of your legal services.
- A page for each of your offices.
- A contact us page.
To price out your website with certain services, you will need an accurate count of the number of pages you will need, the total number of attorneys, and the total number of offices.
Approach #1: How much are attorney websites if my law firm can do it ourselves/DIY without hiring someone new?
Let’s say you or someone in your law firm has the time to create and maintain your attorney website. Here’s the total cost you would be looking at for your law firm’s website.
- Domain names start at $11.99 per year for a .com on GoDaddy.
- The top content management system (CMS) is WordPress according to W3Techs and BuiltWith. It would allow your law firm to collect leads, publish blog content, run live chat, and much more.
- Top web hosting companies recommended for WordPress include Bluehost, starting at $2.95 per month, Dreamhost, starting at $3.95 per month, and SiteGround, starting at $5.95 per month.
- Themes/designs for attorney websites cost $3 – $99 on Themeforest.
Vaultpress backups and security protection start at $3 per month.
This is going to be the least expensive approach to attorney website startup and maintenance. It is also going to be the most labor-intensive if you are not a fan of online technology.
Approach #2: How much are attorney websites if my law firm does it ourselves/DIY with a new hire?
In this approach, let’s say you decide you want to create a custom attorney website for your law firm. In addition, you want someone who is available in-house for continued maintenance and updates.
Here are some ideas of how much you would pay per year to keep your website maintained with an in-house hire.
- Website designers/developers have an average base pay of $52,691 per year.
- Digital marketing specialists have an average base pay of $57,152 per year.
- Lead generation specialists have an average base pay of $54,181 per year.
It’s important to decide whether you want a designer/developer, marketing, or lead generation specialist as your full-time in-house hire. Which one is going to give your law firm the most ROI each year? You’re less likely to need someone to re-design your website each year. You’re more likely to need someone to market it and drive leads throughout the year.
Approach #3: How much are attorney websites if we outsource designers and developers?
What if you don’t mind maintaining your law firm’s website, but you don’t know how to get it up and running? In most cases, you can outsource the initial work of creating your website to a freelance designer or developer.
The cost of this approach can vary, based on the large number of places you can source freelance website designers and developers.
- You can find freelancers on Fiverr who will offer to build a website for your law firm starting at $75 per project.
- You can find freelancers on Upwork who will design responsive websites for your law firm starting at $50 per hour.
- You can find the top 3% of freelance designers and developers on Toptal for your law firm’s website. This would be for large law firm websites that need custom development and functionality.
Approach #4: How much are attorney websites if we use managed hosting?
Another approach to the cost of your law firm’s website: what if you are happy with creating it, but don’t have the time to maintain it? That’s where managed hosting comes in.
If you choose WordPress for your attorney website’s platform, you can choose a managed WordPress hosting plan where the hosting company handles the technical details. These include:
- WordPress software installation when you sign up for your hosting account.
- WordPress software, theme, and plugin updates.
- Security, hacking, and malware scanning.
- DDOS attack and intrusion prevention.
- Daily backups and restoration when needed.
- Faster speeds and more reliable servers.
The same hosting companies recommended by WordPress that we mentioned earlier also offer managed hosting options. Bluehost starts at $29.99 per month, Dreamhost starts at $16.95 per month, and SiteGround starts at $5.95 per month. All allow you to start up your law firm’s website on WordPress with less technical headaches.
Approach #5: How much are attorney websites if we use a legal website design service?
There are several platforms that offer turnkey attorney websites packages. These monthly services typically include:
- Your law firm’s new website including custom design, content, and setup.
- Web hosting, security, backups, and other maintenance provided by the service you choose
- Advanced search and social media optimization features.
- New content for your law firm’s blog, ghostwritten and published under the name of your law firm.
- The opportunity to generate leads from the traffic the platform already attracts from organic and paid search marketing.
According to the pricing calculator on Lawlytics, we found out a website packages for a 2 – 5 attorney law firm in Illinois with one office would be $195 per month with a one-time $495 setup fee.
While there is no pricing on the Avvo Websites page currently, previously it was listed as $99 per month with a 12-month commitment. Some articles currently list it as $200 per month.
FindLaw by Thomson Reuters also doesn’t list pricing for lawyer websites. Articles from outside reviewers have listed their service as starting at $250 per month.
Summarizing the Key Differences in Attorney Website Costs
So what are the key differences in how much attorney websites cost? Here is a quick summary of the cost of the above approaches.
- The first approach – DIY with current staff – is going to be the lowest cost up front and long term.
- The second approach – DIY with one new hire – is going to be the most expensive cost upfront and long term.
- The third approach – outsource creation and DIY maintenance – is going to be a higher cost upfront and lower cost long term.
- The fourth approach – DIY creation and managed WordPress hosting – is going to be lower cost upfront and average cost long term.
- The fifth approach – a legal website design service – is going to be a higher cost upfront and long term.
The main difference between choosing your own web hosting for your law firm’s website and using a lawyer website design service? The latter is likely to charge you for the size of your law firm – especially the number of attorneys and offices you have, as these mean more pages and locations to manage.
A web hosting service is only going to care about the amount of traffic your website receives. Unless your law firm generates a huge volume of traffic, you won’t pay as much for managed WordPress hosting as you would for monthly legal website design service fees.
Best of all, the amount you would save by choosing a less expensive platform and web hosting solution could go towards a more effective marketing strategy and marketing services. Those would be more likely to produce a positive ROI on a monthly basis.
Which approach should you take with your law firm’s website design? Continue the discussion the comments below.