This is the second post in my series reviewing the website design options for attorneys in 2015. My last post served as on overview of the criteria by which I’ll be evaluating a law firm’s options. Before diving into the various options, it’s important that we spend a few articles discussing what you should be looking for when choosing a web developer/consultant. Following these tips will help you weed out the riff raff and will ensure that you hire a guy who looks like this:

Web developer standing by a server

as opposed to a guy who looks like this:

Man needing help with computersMaking sure your firm hires the right person means looking for three things. First, they should have an approach that focuses on investing rather than spending. Second, their focus should be on the site’s content and user experience. Third, they should be able to articulate exactly what it is they are going to do, why their strategy will help you in search, and their explanation should be in terms that you can understand.

Lawyers should hire web developers who focus on investing rather than spending

I’ve written before on why attorneys should be investing in their firm rather than spending money on it. The concept is simple. If you pay $1,000 for monthly advertising and it brings in $5,000 a month then you are making money. The problem, however, is that the $1,000 is gone and won’t generate anything beyond that month’s $5,000. To make the next five grand you have to spend the next $1,000. This is true of all advertising, whether it be television, radio, billboards, pay-per-click, putting your name on the side of a blimp, etc. If you invest your money in quality content, which will continue to get clicks over time, then you pay money once and you keep getting a return. As an example, I recently spoke with an attorney who blogs twice a month. A post she wrote at the end of 2013, which took her about an hour, received 125 organic clicks in 2014. First, if she had been using pay-per-click then that level of exposure would have cost her roughly $2,500. Second, and more importantly, that post is still getting clicks in 2015. So that one hour of blogging has kept on givin’ to her bottom line. She’s seen similar results from her other blog posts. This investing has led her to having high phone volume while maintaining lower overhead than other law firms.

The bottom line is that if you interview a web company and they mention using pay-per-click, directory submissions, or anything else that you would pay for then you should take off running just like this guy:

take off running

None of our clients use pay-per-click or other paid advertising. This is because we stress the approach of investing in content. Ask yourself this question – why pay a web guy just so you can turn around and pay for pay-per-click? Personally, I don’t see the idea of paying a marketing guy, so I can turn around and pay for third-party advertising, as making a lot of sense. If you’re having to pay for third-party advertising then you might as well just pay someone a few thousand bucks to build you nice looking website and manage a pay-per-click campaign yourself (which takes all of about two hours a year). The bottom line – you need someone who stresses an approach of investing.

Attorneys should look for a web developer whose approach to SEO focuses on content

I’ve written before about how attorneys need to understand what actually constitutes search engine optimization. The bottom line is that it means providing useful content to your audience in a way that provides a good user experience. The search engines, fortunately, give objective criteria as to what constitutes a good user experience. Everything that constitutes SEO, such as building back links which stand the test of time, will flow organically from providing good content and a good user experience. Google’s webmaster guidelines are readily accessible. Simply make sure your developer is following them. We discuss how to develop good content, and to ensure that your web developer is following the right steps in our 2015 SEO Guide for Attorneys.

When interviewing a web developer, make sure they can articulate their approach in a way you can understand

The biggest complaint and concern, bar none, that I hear from attorneys is that they don’t understand what to look for in a web developer/seo consultant. Let’s face it, attorneys have heard so many versions of what will work from scamming morons who don’t know the first thing about search marketing self-proclaimed “seo experts” that they don’t know what to believe. This, understandably, leads attorneys to believe that anyone claiming to be a web developer/seo consultant shouldn’t be trusted. Here’s the simple truth – make sure they can articulate exactly what it is they are going to do, how they are going to do it, and that they can explain these things in ways a non-techie lawyer can understand. If they can’t explain these things in layperson terms then a) they’re full of it or b) they don’t understand the steps themselves. Simple explanations are a big must.

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