I was surprised to learn that 40% of small firms do not have web sites (See infographic here). Web sites are useful tools for any company, especially a law firm. It will not only provide your clients an easy way to contact you, but it will get you clients who would not otherwise be able to find you in the sea of lawyers. If you do it right, it will even help differentiate you from other lawyers.
If you are still contemplating building a site, and you are intimidated by the costs or the potential hassle of building a site, I can assure you that you can build your site in an hour using the tools below. And it will only cost you about $20-$100 (per year) and 1 hour of your time.
Follow these easy steps:
I. Get your domain name: Domain names should be memorable, and should be as close to your law firm name as possible. I would avoid underscores, dashes, and any other marks that take away from the name itself. If your law office name is John Smith and Parnters, I would go for “johnsmithlaw.com,” or “johnsmithpartners.com.” Simplicity is key. You can get your domain name at www.godaddy.com for about $12.99. You can use godaddy.com or you can register the domain name using the platforms in Step 2. WordPress charges you an extra hosting fee, so you may want to register everything through them to save a few bucks and extra steps.
- Unique Domain Addresses: If you want something unique or you want to be the top search result for a particular area of law, it may cost you more to get a memorable domain. If you want to be “insurancedefenselawyers.com,” that may cost you a lot of money as it is a more general domain name and will get you more traffic than your actual name. People would have to know “John Smith Law” to search for it, whereas searching for “insurance defense lawyers” on a search engine will return the domain name above. It’s more valuable in sense of attracting traffic. If your goal is to get more traffic from key search terms, then this may be your best option.
- New Domain Extensions: In the past few years, new domain extensions have come out that you can use to differentiate yourself. I am still not sure if the new extensions are as valuable as “.com,” but I personally like them. My blog is “disrupt.legal” not “disruptlegal.com.” This can differentiate you from other sites, but may not be as memorable and obvious as a “.com” address. “JohnSmith.legal” is not as obvious and intuative as “johnsmithlaw.com.” However, if you want to test out the extensions, they may be cheaper and a key differentiator for you. I do get a lot of comments about my .legal extension, so for me it was worth it.
II. Building your site: You can hire a developer to build your site, or you can build one yourself. It’s not as hard as it seems. There are plenty of website builders and platforms that make it easy to build a site with even if you have never coded in your life. Here are a few of my favorites:
- WordPress: You can choose from 100s of themes, many of which are free. If you use the template, you can create a static page in a few minutes with just your basic contact information and biography. Hosting a site on WordPress costs about $13 per year. Yes, year.
- Shopify: Shopify is an ecommerce site. Why would I recommend an e-comm site? If you have fixed rate services, you can sell them through your shopify site. You simply create a “product” and you can sell it online. Connect it to your IOLTA account or your business account if you provide a published document, and it’s a quick way to sell your services. Shopify also has lots of templates that are ready to go, and you simply fill in your information to get it set up. Shopify has a monthly hosting fee, and it varies depending on the number of products and features you want to have on your site. Click here for more info.
- Squarespace: Squarespace is my favorite. It is similar to Shopify, but even easier to use and has lots of themes. It’s also cheaper. You can even build logos, and if you get stuck building your site, they have a user-friendly help site that can provide answers. For more pricing information, click here.
III. Marketing: Marketing your site is not as complex as it seems. Sure you can hire a pro, and they can really get your name out there and get you brand recognition. But if you want the simplest way to market your site, social media is your best friend. You should have a page or an account on the key social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. If you want to make your life even easier, and you want to post the same content on all three platforms, Hootsuite is your new best friend. Any time you post something, it will post it on all platforms for you. I do not use Hootsuite yet because I post different content on all three social media platforms, but once I map out my marketing plan, I will definitely start using their services.
For marketing ideas, and how to increase your conversion rate on your site, I would definitely follow Lexicata’s blog. I am not playing favorites, but their tips are amazing for a law firm of any size.
Here’s a few of their latest blog posts on marketing your practice:
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these companies, nor do I endorse their products. I did publish a review of Lexicata on my blog (see the review here).