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Are you looking for a website for a legal firm or solicitors practice?
Solicitors website – why have one, especially if you are already busy?
Some advice for a legal practice to help determine what to do
For a Solicitor or Legal practice – why create a good website? Six common reasons include:
- To look professional when someone Googles you (and they do). You would make a point of looking professional in court, so why not on the web?
- To answer commonly asked questions. It would save a lot of time for your team and save on wages for your firm.
- To attract a certain type of client or business for preferred legal services and to put off certain types of unwanted clients.
- To allow potential clients send you an enquiry 24/7 through the website, at night, on weekends etc.
- To avoid losing work from existing clients who Google your name and find someone else, a ‘specialist’ who seems to fit the bill and has a website that takes enquiries 24/7.
- Attract high quality legal staff who are searching for a suitable practice. How do you look when these good people search for solicitors websites to research potential employers. How do you recruits at present? Save time and commission fees by advertising on your own website
Which type of website platform is best for a legal practice?
Your website is more than a tool, so do research how you will invest. You have to learn how to use it to good effect or have someone competent do it for you or with you, by outsourcing some of the work, so add that resource to your plan.
There are various options and each one comes with challenges and opportunities, costs and returns on investment. And your web presence is a lot more than just your website.
Platform options for your website
Open Source like WordPress
NOT Wix, Weebly or Squarespace which are too basic and are proprietary platforms, not Open Source
NOT Drupal or Custom Development, as these are overkill and only serve to complicate the whole project
NOT a basic html website as you will not be able to use it yourself
NOT Joomla as it has no futureand is too technical to use
Guidelines – 10 Tips for planning and layout of a good Solicitors website
Start with ensuring that any plan conforms with guidelines in the Irish Statute Book S.I. No. 518/2002 – The Solicitors Acts, 1954 To 2002 Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations, 2002 or refer to Law Society
Click on the box or + sign below to see each full point.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
Get a website that is built on a CMS Content Management System, which makes it easy to edit. Content is king, it will decide your success on the net, so create it, add it, curate it and make yourself stand out as an authority on matters legal. You are the best person to produce good content, do not leave its creation to someone else, unless they are competent content creators.
Get a website that is Modular, so that you can move elements around without needing a developer again. For example, drag and drop, add or move a scrolling ‘Testimonials module’ on the Home page yourself or move it to your ‘About’ page.
3. Open Source
Use a platform that is open source such as WordPress and allows you to move from one web partner to another. Avoid a one man band, someone who offers to be everything, planner, designer, developer, digital marketer. How many professional legal practices have just one person employed to do everything?
4. Design Theme
Get a solicitor website that is theme based, so that you can change the whole design theme without having to create a new website. Also, this makes it easier for you to move to a new web partner – avoid any basic HTML developers who have to make every code change for you – at a cost, in time delay and money.
5. Custom Design
Plan your branding, colours, content and CTAs Calls To Action before or when talking to a professional web developer, if how you look online is important to you to build your brand. Think Goodbody, Cox or Mathewson, Frys, McCanns or Mason Hayes & Curran, who all use Custom Design rather than an out of the box design theme for about $99, which may be used by thousands of legal firms
Make Navigation simple, intuitive, stand out and also logically show what you specialise in, services such as Family Law, Conveyancing or Litigation, specialist areas such as Medical Legal and experience or qualifications. Make it easy to find what you want to promote and less so for other lesser or less profitable services
Show off your knowledge, experience, and useful information from the industry, maybe articles about Family Law or Tax Guidelines on property sales. Try Guest Blogging or answering questions in forums! Optimise these articles and share them, to get more engagement
8. Social Integration
Tie in all Blogging, Social Media and Advertising to your website content and draw people to the site – they might just connect with you by asking a question. It also helps you monitor all your web output, so you have more control over what gets seen. To some point you can dictate what people see when they search your name or the name of the practice.
Bear in mind a solicitor website, like a car, has to be maintained and updated. It needs constant attention, security updates & patches, cleaning, plugins, software updates, apps updates and useful add-ons. Most of all, curate and continually optimise any useful helpful content or advice to engage with visitors, to help promote your practice.
Budget for a set investment in Year 1 to cover the planning, project management, design, branding, photography, Content Management System website, advertising, digital marketing etc. And then do a new budget for year 2 for building on that platform. The higher the spend the higher and faster the return – GUARANTEED (if done well)! If your new web presence was to generate an increase of €50k in fees in year 1, how much is that worth to you? This is NOT about spending money, it is about generating increased fees