This review is part of my series that helps attorneys choose the best website providers in today’s rapidly-evolving world of online marketing. I previously looked at whether lawyers should use AVVO’s, FindLaw’s, or Justia’s website service.
In this article, I’m going to take a look at a company that pleasantly surprised me – Foster Web Marketing. I hadn’t heard of Foster until a reader of our blog requested that I review it as part of this series. This is a company that wasn’t included in my web provider reviews in the past years.
My conclusion on Foster is that if you’re willing to pay up some money, then you’ll receive a good service. However, Foster isn’t going to be for everyone due to their pricing structure.
This Foster Web Marketing review will include the cost of the service, the SEO potential of the product, how well the company adapts to the changing web environment, and other considerations. Let’s start with my experience with Foster.
My experience with evaluating Foster Web Marketing
After dealing with Foster and taking a look at their offering, I can say that they provide a better service than many others who specialize in serving attorneys.
I found their approach quite different from other companies that offer web marketing options to law firms. Comparing Foster to AVVO, Justia, and Scorpion Web Design was a night and day difference. I found those companies to be unresponsive, making me feel like I was trying to uncover closely guarded military secrets. In other words, I felt like this guy:
Foster, by contrast, quickly responded to my requests for information, answered all of my questions, and gave me a walkthrough of their software. The experience I had in conducting the review leaves me believing that an attorney hiring this company can expect excellent customer service — a breath of fresh air.
Evaluating the cost of Foster Web Marketing
Foster is expensive. There’s no other way to put it, but it’s something you have to consider — especially for newer and smaller law firms.
One good thing is that this cost isn’t paying ancillary services one has to buy to get another product. The company doesn’t have packages with a set price. Instead, they’ll put together a customized quote based on your needs and a list of services meant to help you meet your goals.
Fosters’ range of customizable services can include content creation (such as blogging), search engine optimization, video production, ongoing coaching for social media, as well as a variety of others. Prices, therefore, will vary based on the particular needs of your firm.
Attorneys utilizing Foster’s services will typically pay around $7,000 to $8,000 for the initial build-out of a website. This includes the writing of the content and training on how to use the company’s in-house designed content management/lead-tracking system (website and marketing software).
Ongoing support is going to start at around $500 to $1,000 per month (this includes the use of the company’s software, web hosting, email, coaching, and customer support). I find that the main bulk of Foster’s clients utilize that level of service and create the content themselves.
Average customers, who go for a more “full service” approach with extra marketing services, typically spend $4,000 to $5,000 per month. However, the true range of prices can range from $3,000 to over $20,000. This puts Foster out of the initial price range for most new law firms and many smaller firms.
Analyzing the SEO potential of Foster Web Marketing
The Foster websites I reviewed were better optimized for search than those I analyzed from Scorpion, Justia, and AVVO. A number of the issues I cited with those offerings weren’t present in Foster’s products. Foster’s websites performed better when analyzed under Google’s page speed analyzer. Also, Foster did a better job of structuring the <H> elements in each page and had better-formatted meta descriptions.
Of the three sites I looked at, one had issues using photos that had too large of file size, but, all in all, Foster performed superior to its competitors.
One issue with Foster, which was prevalent throughout all of the sites I reviewed, was the use of underscores in URLs.
This was common on all three websites I reviewed and is frowned upon by Google. This was also a problem with Justia and Scorpion Web Design.
The content I reviewed across various websites was more individualized to the specific firms than on sites I reviewed from Foster’s competitors. While there were things that I would have done differently, from a content standpoint, in my opinion, Foster beats Justia and Scorpion on this front.
I believe that attorneys concerned about SEO will get more bang for their buck from Foster than from the other common options reviewed in this series.
Foster Web Marketing and the changing web environment
All of the sites I reviewed from Foster utilized a responsive design. This is Google’s preferred approach to mobile. This is highly important for the reasons explained in my article on how Google is cracking down on mobile-friendliness.
The conversations I had with Foster’s representatives leave me with the impression that the company is on top of things and that they’ll continue to be so.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE CHOOSING FOSTER WEB MARKETING
The most significant factor about Foster that makes them stand out is they offer individualized coaching and support. This is an approach I stress to attorneys seeking a website designer or consultant. I think their personalization of services sets the company apart from Scorpion, Justia, and AVVO.
If you hire Foster, I strongly, strongly (strongly) suggest you make use of the coaching services they offer.
My opinions as to whether lawyers should use Foster Web Marketing
Compared to the competition I’ve reviewed, I give Foster Web Marketing a thumbs up — as far as web development goes. If you’re looking for an enhanced service to increase your organic client leads, you’re better off hiring a reputable agency that specializes in getting lawyers’ results.
The primary consideration for most firms is going to be the cost of services. From a technical standpoint, the company appears to be putting more effort into ensuring that their websites meet the standards provided by Google. Also, the fact that the company individualizes its approach to each client is a big plus. If Foster is within your budget, then this is likely an option worth your money.
Have you used Foster in the past? If so, how was your experience? Please chime in on the comment form below.