Bad website designerThis is the next post in my Website Options for Attorneys series. I’ve previously discussed whether attorneys should hire a web designer when building a website for their law firm. Over my next several posts I will be evaluating the services of several web design companies that cater to the legal profession. Before conducting these reviews, however, I felt it was necessary to provide three quick tips to attorneys who are in the market for someone to build their website.

I was very fortunate when I started my law firm in 2006 as I had been writing computer code since I was a child. I was not in a position where I lacked understanding of the internet’s workings. I recognize, however, that attorneys often feel apprehension over which developer to hire in a way that is similar to the apprehension felt by the general public when trying to decide which lawyer to hire. Here are three quick tips for what to look for in a web developer for your law firm.

Attorneys should avoid website developers who make guarantees

Sign that say guaranteedWe’ve all been at our desk when that cold call comes in from a developer promising to “get you to the first page of Google.” These calls should be translated to mean “I will tell you anything to get your business.” The truth of the matter is that developing a site to perform well in search engines is never an exact science. Whenever we build a site as part of our attorney website design and SEO services we promise to follow the best practices for search engine optimization but never guarantee a particular result. Following these best practices has resulted in our clients doing very well in search; we don’t need to make guarantees because the results speak for themselves. If someone is making you a guarantee it is either because they don’t have an understanding of SEO or simply don’t have a track record of success, which leads to our next point.

Attorneys should evaluate how a web developer’s portfolio performs in search

It’s not enough for attorneys to simply glance at the websites a developer has built. One needs to see how they hold up in search. When a client asks for a sample of our work we not only show them websites but we have them perform several searches through Google to demonstrate how well the sites perform in search (on a side note, we don’t showcase a client’s site unless that client has given us permission to do so). The consistency with which a developer can gain first page results should be how you evaluate his or her portfolio.

Attorneys should understand that there are many website developers who actually don’t know much about SEO

One thing I find interesting is that there are many so-called “SEO professionals” who lack a background in software development and/or web design. Interestingly, there are also many developers who lack an understanding of the process by which search engines rank sites. Having an understanding of both is crucial. An attorney, after all, doesn’t go into Court saying “I need to know the facts or the law.” It is important that your developer understand how coding and technological aspects (some of the “facts” of your site) will be seen under Google’s algorithms (the applicable law). Finding a developer who understands both web development and SEO is crucial.

In my next post I will begin the process of evaluating web developers that cater to the legal profession, starting with Scorpion Web Design.