web developmentThis is the next article in my series on how to build the best website for your law firm. My last post in this discussion looked at how to develop a content strategy for your law firm’s online marketing. It is crucial that you leverage your analytics when determining the subject matter of your content. Too many attorneys simply decide to write on topics which they find interesting or important. The problem with that approach is that it amounts to presenting potential clients with the things that the attorney wants them to see, as opposed to presenting the thing that the potential client wants to see. By leveraging your analytics you can determine what it is people are actually looking for and then you can write on those topics. Such an approach will lead you to success while your competitors sit around wondering what it is they’re doing wrong. In this article I’m going to take a look at three things you should avoid when hiring a web developer. Let’s get to it!

Attorneys should avoid web design and SEO companies which want to reinvent the wheel

You may be surprised at how many attorneys hire web design and SEO companies which spend significant resources on reinventing the wheel. The cost of this reinvention then gets passed off to you, the attorney. As a few examples, quite a few law firm website providers have devoted time and resources into developing their own content management platforms. By this I mean the software that they use to build websites for lawyers. The big problem with this is the fact that WordPress (which powers this website) is completely free!!! WordPress, which is free due to its being open source software, powered roughly twenty-five percent of the world’s websites in 2016 and that market share is expected to have grown1. I’ve written before on why attorneys should use WordPress and I wont’ re-hash those arguments here. My point is that many law firm website providers are spending money on developing something, which in my opinion is unlikely to be as good as WordPress, and then passing the cost of that development off to law firms. By reinventing the wheel such companies are charging their customers much higher price than they likely should.

If you are utilizing a company which holds itself out as developing websites for lawyers then you may want to ask them if they have developed their own content management software. If they answer “yes” then you may want to ask take a look at how much your bill is being inflated as a result. By utilzing WordPress we are able to pass along cost-savings to customers of our attorney website and SEO services.

Another example I’ve seen of companies re-creating the wheel is the analytics dashboard which they provide to their customers. Some companies provide their customers with a custom analytics interface which allows them to see traffic information, etc. Guess what? Google Analytics is a completely free service which provides that type of information. This means that if you view your website’s traffic data through a dashboard that your provider built then you are paying for them to have developed something which they could have gotten for free. Again, this increases your costs.

The moral of the story, when it comes to the two examples discussed above, is that you should avoid companies which are trying to charge law firms for reinventing the wheel.

Attorneys should avoid web marketing companies which rely on pay-per-click

If you follow this blog then you know that I go on, and on, and on, and on, and…….on as to why attorneys should avoid pay-per-click. The bottom line is that if you’re paying a provider then you should own something at the end of the day. Companies who wish to funnel your money, into PPC, are doing so in an effort to earn management fees. I’ve written before on why lawyers should avoid pay-per-click management, in addition to my usual rants discussions about why you should only put your money into marketing assets which you will own outright. The bottom line is that if you do choose to use pay-per-click then you can easily pay a few thousand bucks for a nice looking website and manage your PPC yourself; Google will actually give you all the help you need in managing your PPC. If a provider is trying to sell you pay-per-click management services then that’s someone you should avoid in my opinion.

Lawyers should avoid web marketing companies who can’t market themselves online

Think of how many times you’ve been called by someone promising to get you to “the first page of Google.” Also, think of how many times you’ve been called, approached, sent mail, or sent other items from large companies trying to win your web marketing business. Think about this for a second – if someone was good at online marketing then would they be cold calling people, sending them items in the mail, or otherwise contacting people directly? It may sound like a “duh” statement but the way I look at it is that if I’m going to hire someone to help with my online marketing then they better be able to market themselves online. If someone is contacting you directly then that should leave a big question mark as to how they will help your web presence.

What are some things you feel attorneys should avoid when hiring a web developer? Please chime in through the comment form below.

References:

1 How WordPress Ate The Internet in 2016… And The World in 2017 – Forbes – December 22, 2016. Accessed at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/montymunford/2016/12/22/how-wordpress-ate-the-internet-in-2016-and-the-world-in-2017/#13c597e4199d