Modern law firm marketing requires a website - we hope that goes without saying now! Some businesses can survive with only a social media presence. But, eventually, to take full control over design and content, you will need a website of your own.
It's easier than ever before to set up your own website. Nowadays, there's an App or SAAS (Software as a Service) platform for most things - including building websites.
What was once the domain of the IT professional, is now available to any of us. Providing we have the time and patience, of course. Gone are the days of having to know your HTML from your FTP!
We’re all familiar with DIY website builders - or at least the concept of them. Squarespace, Godaddy. Shopify and Wix are familiar to us, not least because they have all launched massive ad campaigns lately.
Some of these platforms even offer an attractive-sounding Artificial Intelligence solution.
Even so, we should approach these tools with a degree of caution - or at least an understanding of their (and our own) limitations. Just as a good lawyer will point out the pitfalls of DIY Will generators or the risks in trying to wind up an estate on one's own, it's incumbent on us to point out that these website generators aren't perfect.
Indeed, the "building" of the website itself is often the easy bit (provided you have some eye for design which I emphatically don't!). The detailed planning required to build a great site often isn't possible within these tools. Unless you have an understanding of SEO best practice, you can produce a site no one will ever find!
Website Builder Pros and Cons
Speed (of build)
If you need a website quickly, then a website builder can be a useful solution. You can start right away, and the only barrier to launch is your own skill! Having embarked on a few DIY websites, I can confirm that they are always bigger projects than you anticipate!
The subscription cost can be as low as £5 per month! Clearly, this will offer some restrictions on features, but it at least lets you dip your toe in the water.
Removing the need to design the site itself is a great saving in both time and cost. Having custom designs done (and often revised) can hold a project up considerably.
Using a template is quick and easy, and they can be customised with imagery and new colour schemes. That said, there are some downsides we'll cover below...
A good web builder will allow integration with other tools and software (Livechat, Estate Agency Modules, Video Calling etc) but not all do. It's worth checking and trying to 'future proof' your project in this regard.
Unlike with a website built on a CMS (content management system), you can be "tied in". The provider could change features, increase cost or performance could deteriorate over time. It's difficult, if not impossible, to migrate your site from one web provider to the other. Likewise, if the provider suffers any downtime, you don't have the control to restore your site.
Speed (of site)
One of Google's main ranking factors is speed: how quickly a site loads. Makes sense in today's 100MPH world, wouldn't you agree? This is where some web builders fall down. In delivering impressive design and functionality, they sacrifice speed. An impressive, feature-rich website with video headers and animation might look great, but it'll probably also load slowly, harming your search rankings.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Drag & drop sites are getting better at SEO. But there are still some issues including granting Google full access to the sitemap. In any event, fully utilising the SEO features takes a degree of knowledge.
When something goes wrong, you want to be able to call or email and have it remedied. Some providers are better at this than others. Some offer livechat support, others email or phone. Often, they restrict their most responsive "priority" support for those on higher tiers.
The alternative, of course, is to use an experienced agency to build it for you. This not only lets you benefit from their experience and use every feature, but it ensures a better final product.
Dedicated to Your Law Firm’s Success
If you would like to find out more about how to market your law firm, please contact Chris on 03333 442 722 or email