Attorneys regularly ask me how they can improve their firm’s security, and a key point that always comes up is their marketing assets.
Let me ask you: Do you own and control your own marketing assets, or are you “borrowing” them? This is a point we went over at length when we discussed how attorneys should compare SEO vs. PPC.
One key step towards owning your assets, and being in control of your future, is to ask your web developer which platform they’ll build your new website on. Interestingly, this is a question which I am seldom asked, but I feel it should be one of the most important points raised.
One key thing, and the topic of this article, is the fact that you need to have your site built on a platform that’s “portable,” meaning that if you choose to switch developers, you can take your site with you rather than having to have a new one built by the next guy.
For this reason, I strongly suggest that you utilize a developer who will build your law firm’s new site on WordPress.
There’s a very good reason why WordPress is the content management system of choice for a whopping 38.8% of all websites on the internet.
Let’s talk about why.
I’m going to give a very brief explanation of what WordPress is so I can explain why it’s the best choice for your law firm.
This is important so you can understand why WordPress should be your developer’s platform of choice. I’ll keep the explanation brief, so you don’t wind up looking like this guy:
Trust me when I say there’s a reason you need to understand the following.
WordPress is an open-source software platform that is used for building and maintaining websites.
This means it’s free for use by anyone.
WordPress is maintained and continuously upgraded by a worldwide community of developers.
Some of these developers’ volunteer time goes towards improving WordPress, and most make their living by developing third-party software applications that work in conjunction with a WordPress website.
These developers meet at events known as “Word Camps.” Back in 2006, the first camp drew more than 500 attendees. In other words, without paying a dime, web developers have access to one of the world’s most popular platforms.
That platform has a robust developer base that’s continuously maintaining and updating the software.
This contrasts with a web company that uses their own proprietary software, which costs quite a bit of money since they have to pay a pretty penny to their developers.
Another Point for WordPress: It’s Got A Huge Developer Base
A large percentage of the world uses WordPress for a reason — it’s simply awesome.
Indeed, it may not necessarily be the best option for a “DIY” attorney.
It is, however, the best option for those hiring a web developer. Let’s quickly look at why its huge developer base makes it better than most other software platforms.
As mentioned above, WordPress has hundreds of developers supporting the software regularly. This has led to seven upgrades in the software’s version in just the last year (which is a lot). Software developers are highly paid individuals.
Most “attorney website design” companies, who utilize their in-house software, are unlikely to have several developers even close in size to the group that supports WordPress.
It’s just hard to see, in my humble opinion, how such companies can come close to giving their product the level of support that WordPress receives. This means you’re getting a much bigger support group as a bonus with WordPress.
A critical factor in WordPress’s developer base is that they support it as an open-source project. If you hire a website designer who will build your site on WordPress, then that designer has access to free software.
This means they won’t be passing their software costs on to you. This is different from a provider who uses its in-house platform. They have to pay engineers to develop and maintain it (which means more overhead costs).
The short and skinny of it is simple:
There are going to be fewer developers working on in-house software than the number of developers supporting WordPress.
Website providers utilizing their own software are also likely to have a much higher cost structure than a developer using WordPress. This higher cost will likely be passed on to you.
WordPress Allows Attorneys To Own & Configure Websites To Their Needs
If you hire a provider who uses an in-house platform, you’ve got another problem. You won’t be able to set that platform up on your own server in the event you choose to part ways with that provider.
This means that you’ll have to get a new website built. Many law firm website designers attempt to spin this by saying that “you own your content“ at the end of the day. All this means is that you can build another website and bring your existing content into it. So, in the end, you still have to build a whole new website. WordPress defeats this problem.
It can easily be moved in its entirety from one server to another, and you’re not locked into someone’s proprietary platform. If you want to make sure you own your site at the end of the day, it’s simple to hire a developer who builds it on Word. Remember, when choosing a web developer, you should ask
1) Whether they use in-house software
2) Justify it given the issues discussed above.