A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner or practice manager
13 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice.
This may not be for you, but you can send the link to the person who is responsible for the web presence.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is enough to make a big difference. Some items may seem obvious to you, some advice will be new to you.
Linkedin including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles through the ‘Editor’ facility about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Comment in related posts. to show authority.
Connect with potential good clients or referrers. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.
Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or perhaps you should use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market, such as conveyancing or writing a will. Post details of good reviews to highlight happy clients. Get our Guide to using Facebook.
Note: Most Legal Practices can ignore the dizzy distractions of Instagram and TikTok. Stick with focusing on wherever your potential clients hang out and do this channel well.
Website focus on the legal services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you may be able offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever.
Be selective about what you add on your website. Use it to filter out unsuitable clients, to pre-qualify callers, likewise use it to appeal to your ideal clients. If you do not want to focus on Personal Injury, then take it off your home page or make it less obvious. Build trust by adding case studies and reviews. Read our Website Guide for Solicitors.
Type of website. Are you looking for a Dacia Duster or a Lexus RX? They will both go from A to B, but the performance is different, as is the road holding, how it looks to other people and how comfortable it is to drive or use. And the budget is quite different.
SEO – Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide. This is the act of creating pages of content around your individual services, backed up with blog items or posts in Linkedin, or in Google and on other websites. Sprinkle in some video for good measure. All optimised with regards the text used, the hyperlinks added and the user interface, along with overall design. This is a long term, ongoing marketing tactic.
Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites. It is a minimum standard for a website now.
Google My Business or Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google My Business profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.
Tip: Think of SEO as you telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are. Reviews would be other people telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are.
NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.
Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be considered to be a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service to work in, a location or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.
Google Page Insights is a tool that is FREE and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric. Check your website HERE.
Google analytics is also FREE and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool, but remember that having a high number of visitors to your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them, with your content, SEO and reviews. Read our Guide.
Google Ads – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, invest the time to get to understand it or just engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term if you are urgently in need of work or to use whilst you are working on your website design project and SEO Search Engine Optimisation. This is where you get people with high intent. Read our Google Ads Guide.
Conversion – However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click throughs, so people visit your website. Then they land on a page on your website. You still have to work on the design, the flow and the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer.
Otherwise, the number is just a vanity metric. If 1000 people walked in to your physical practice reception in a week, then walked out without engaging with you, then you would soon be asking why. This conversion is all achieved through your User Experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI. Do your website pages look well, deliver the answer to the question asked and clearly highlight the next step, to keep visitors engaged.
Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”.
Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a monthly website report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance. Create some metrics, set some targets, be purposeful and follow a plan.
As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work in a Web Presence Checklist. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. You can engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up to cover everything in a Web Presence Checklist.
However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use or understand some of these tools to see if the person, the practice manager or web design agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy, with the work you want to attract. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.
Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on Linkedin or Facebook or wherever your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.
Avoid wasteful advertising or interruptive marketing, where you just annoy people by turning up in the wrong place, looking desperate or confused.
How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Get your head around these 13 basics, read our FREE Guides and make a start on getting on top of your overall web presence.
Remember, in 2022 you are not who you think you are, but rather who Google says you are.
Any questions, let us know.
FAQs Frequently Asked Questions about Solicitor Web Design Agency Ireland
What do you want to know?
Does it matter where we host our website?
Hosting, it is like choosing a good neighbourhood for your website to live in with good neighbours and excellent services, including speed and access as well as support and security. Avoid the low cost, cheap option.
Definition – Hosting is a service which offers storage and computer hardware and software resources to host and maintain your website to ensure it is live online at all times, 24/7/365 when someone goes looking for it. Hosting can be referred to as ‘Web hosting’ or ‘website hosting’.
Hosting is a science in itself, as they have to have highly qualified technicians to manage the computers and internet connection, software and security. Find a supplier who has been in business for a long time and check out their reviews, especially the recent ones. How good is their customer support? And do they speak plain English when you engage with them, rather than technical gobbledegook.
Website Hosting should ideally be done in the country where you are trying to sell as it indicates to search engines that you are based there. Many of the bigger hosting companies have multiple locations for their servers, in a variety of cities across the world. This can help with overall speed of delivery.
Check out our Hosting Tips in our Guide.
Is SSL free or do you have to pay for it? And are all SSL certs equal??
SSL Cert or Secure Socket Layer Certificate
This is a Digital Certificate made up of some small data files that work to tie in a cryptographic key as a security measure on your website. It is responsible for generating that little black padlock you see when you are shopping online. Such secure websites also have https:// instead of http:// at the start of their domain url, as in https://solicitorswebsites.ie opposed to https://solicitorswebsites.ie. The S is to identify the security protocol that is in place when you have an SSL employed. This is all to create a secure connection between a web browser such as Chrome with the web server where we host websites. That authenticates the identity of the website for the shoppers.
Which sites need an SSL cert or https:// ?
Any site that needs passwords or username or credit cards, should have an SSL cert for security reasons. It will ensure that any data input at that site will only be read by the intended recipient or server. Google rewards websites for having an SSL cert and punishes those that do not when they should have one. Indeed it looks as if Google recommends all sites should have it nowadays. Any site that should have it, but fails to add it are punished by Google. So it is broadly accepted that this is just a normal part of basic website security going forwards. They are not expensive but range from around €100 to €500 plus depending on the value of the warranty or cover you want to get in case of a hack or break in.
Get one from your Hosting company and ask them to install it and configure it for you. We recommend SG Hosting for decent secure WordPress website hosting, with good quality 24/7support when you need to talk to them. Hopefully these hosting tips have given you a good insight into the world of web hosting.
Sometimes when someone gives us a review in Google it does not appear – why?
Google Reviews – Google planners or lead developers are working on the basis that if you get good independent reviews in your Google My Business entry, you must be good at what you do. But they do make people jump through a few hoops in order to register a review of any sort on your entry. It becomes self regulating, the Community ranking their own verified members.
The logic is good enough, people have to show that they go through some inconvenient steps and want to go to the trouble of doing a review because it matters enough to them, positive or negative. It also stops spammers or manipulators of Google rankings using black hat techniques. What is not to like about this policy? For better or worse someone who wants to log a review has to have their own verified Google account, which identifies them. This is a great way to keep us all honest and help prevent abuse of the system. People trust these independent reviews. Check your Google My Business entry regularly and keep it up to date, answer any questions and respond to any and all reviews. Do say thank you and never get in to a dispute with any reviewers.
If you do ever have any issues with reviews we recommend starting a thread and ask for help on the GMB Community Forum.
Answer: Sometimes a review can be remove for breach of guidelines, possibly a word or link or image, is deemed unacceptable. This is frustrating when it happens. You can ask the person to edit the text, maybe just select 5* and resubmit.
Tip: Think of SEO as you telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are. Reviews would be other people telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are
Read our FREE Guide HERE.
When it comes to letting people edit our website, does it matter who we give Administrator access to? What is the best way to have people add, edit or delete content in our website?
Think Deeds of House, insist that you retain Admin or Adminstrator Access.
After that users should be given just enough access to do whatever bit they are responsible for. Such as adding Blog or news items. Or accessing orders. Never give away control.
Do websites need regular updates or support?
Yes, yes, yes. Just like your new car needs fuel, oil, air, servicing and NCT.
You can do it yourself or outsource, but every website needs regular updating of the software ionvolved at hosting, website platform and plugin levels.
Get our FREE Guide at the bottom of the page HERE.
What is this Web Core Vitals that we are hearing about?
Google has decided that it will rank websites based on their mobile view, rather than the Desktop view.
This means all websites need to be optimised for mobile responsiveness and speed.
Why do I need a solicitors website?
Having a good website can instantly boost your credibility and capture the attention of new clients. First impressions count, and websites allow you to make a very strong impression.
A good website can help showcase your expertise in the legal field, possibly in a particular practice area.
How much does a solicitors website cost?
Solicitors Website Design Costs for solicitors vary, just like buying cars or houses, from hundreds of euros to tens of thousands plus. However, a reasonable ‘Rule of Thumb’ for affordable web design by a competent developer is about €250 to €300 a page minimum.