Should I Use WordPress for my Law Firm Website?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: I consider there to be two main types of websites for attorneys. One is for lawyers that don't need or want to attract clients online, and just want to offer a professional face to the world (like a business card). The other, more common type, is for attorneys who want to gain clients through their website. There's a significant difference between the two.

Business Card Websites

For lawyers looking for the former, I would recommend using Weebly, Wix or Squarespace. They each offer a relatively easy method to build a good looking site quickly and inexpensively. Just follow their templates and you really can't go wrong.

Websites to Attract Clients

For most attorneys, the ones looking for more clients through their site, I would recommend WordPress. WordPress is an open source content management system that runs roughly 25% of all the world's websites, everything from individual bloggers to behemoths like the New York Times.

WordPress for Law Firm Websites

WordPress is continuously updated to work better, add more features and become more secure. Almost every hosting company, from the cheapest to the most expensive, supports it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is at the forefront of its development and without proper SEO, you're almost guaranteed not to attract clients. WordPress is also very extensible to accommodate virtually any need you have, whether it's integrating with your marketing email service, using it as an intake platform for your law firm or dozens of other uses.

Due to its popularity, there are tons of people who are experts, making it easy to find competent, inexpensive WordPress help. The one downside to its popularity is that it has become a prime target for hackers. You MUST keep up with WordPress updates and any WordPress plugins used on your site, or you WILL get hacked. You don't want visitors to your site getting redirected to "adult entertainment" sites. You can also kiss your SEO goodbye if Google finds malware on your site. If you're not paying attention to your site, it's likely Google will find the malware before you do.

Employ professionals

Just as you advise your clients not to attempt to do their own legal work, I advise that you stick to what you know and let a professional web developer build your site. Your website is too important to be a do-it-yourself project, a favor from a semi-technologically competent friend or the cheapest person you can find.You're looking to generate clients and revenue, the lifeblood of your business, so you should be thinking in terms of return on investment, not how cheaply you can get it done. However, don't interpret this to mean that the more money you spend, the better your website will be. Like anything else, some companies offer better value than others. Some charge ridiculously high fees just because they can. You're usually not going to want to go with the cheapest or the most expensive option.

Another Note on SEO

While WordPress is SEO friendly "out of the box", it doesn't magically make your site appear number one in a Google search result. You need to know how to properly use titles, meta descriptions, header tags and a whole host of meta tags and structured data, so Google and the other search engines not only recognize the words on your page but the meaning of those words. You also want to be sure that if you or someone else shares a page on your site to Twitter or Facebook, it appears just the way you'd like. None of this happens by accident, and a professional will employ the proper techniques to make this happen for you.

Proprietary Solutions & WordPress Warnings

Be wary of companies that offer proprietary solutions that you can't take with you when you eventually decide that you no longer want to use that firm. It's one thing to pay Squarespace a few bucks a month for a simple site; it's an entirely different story to pay hundreds of dollars a month, or more, for a site that will disappear the moment you stop paying them.

Some agencies that do use WordPress won't let you take your content with you. They entice you into paying a lower upfront price for a guarantee that you'll pay them too much per month to keep the site operational. That's a bad deal for you in the long run, and you don't want to have to start all over again when you decide to go with a different firm. Make sure at the outset that your content is yours to do with as you please.

The Legal Techie

The Legal Techie employs best practices when building websites to attract more clients and help convert them into paying clients. We offer a reasonable website hosting plan that includes timely updates to all WordPress software, as well as any other software on the server used to run your site. It's hosted on fast servers that your visitors and Google will like. You'll receive analytics reports to get an overview of what's happening on your site. And finally, we include 30 minutes of our time every month to make updates to your site.

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