Your law firm’s website is the base of your digital business which is why it’s important to invest in it. A successful law firm needs a website that’s well-branded, informational, aesthetically pleasing, SEO-friendly, and easy to navigate. However, before committing thousands of dollars to an agency to have them redesign your site there are several considerations you must make to avoid ownership issues and mistakes you can’t fix. Here we provide 11 things to know before hiring an agency to redesign your law firm’s website.
Who would you trust more to perform heart surgery on you, a cardiologist or a general practitioner? Probably the cardiologist. When you’re making a big investment, specialization is key. This is why you might want to consider working with an agency that specializes in law firms, not just web design in general. Why? They know the market and they’re familiar with legal industry-specific best practices. When hiring an agency to redesign your law firm’s website you want to choose the team with the most pertinent knowledge about your industry and your competitors. This can help avoid having a site that’s too cookie-cutter or on the other end of the spectrum, not appropriate for a law firm.
Ownership & Access
If your law firm’s name is on the website and you pay for it, you own it right? Not quite. A lot of firms don’t realize that domain ownership and content rights are not automatic when hiring an agency to create your website. Therefore it is critical that you ensure that your contract specifically states who owns the domain name of your law firm’s website and then all the content uploaded there once it’s live. If your firm ever needs to change agencies, it’s vital to have the right control and access to your law firm’s site. This includes all passwords associated with where your site is hosted.
Modern Design Capabilities
Nowadays, having a modern design that’s visually appealing is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, you also want to work with a legal marketing company that is capable of designing a site that falls in line with your branding. Ask to take a look at their past work, and ask them if they’d be able to design a site that is both in line with your branding and appeals to modern design principles.
Responsive Web Design
You’ll want to make sure your site appears well across devices and window sizes. Ask if they’re capable of designing a site with responsive web design.
A huge part of having a solid website is being able to provide a positive user experience. User experience refers to the ease with which a user is able to interact with and navigate your site. A good legal marketing company should be able to build a site that’s optimized for UX.
Even the most attractive and engaging sites are useless if they don’t rank highly on search engines. This is why SEO is a critical component to consider when you’re designing your law firm’s website. Yet, some web design agencies don’t offer these optimization services. This means you should either hire an agency that handles both design and search engine optimization or be prepared to pay an extra price to optimize your site’s content after it’s designed.
Who will be writing the content for your site? Will you provide copy that’s created in-house, outsource, or will the company write the copy? Whether you are building a site from scratch or redesigning a current site, the content should be looked at to determine if it needs to be rewritten.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Furthermore, how will you update content on the site moving forward? Ask what content management system they will use and who will have access to this. If you already have a CMS in place, ask about the complexities of them switching it over.
Ask what website builder they will be using for this project. Try to have a clear understanding of which one they’ll use, then you can research the pros and cons of that tool and work to understand if it’s the right option for your firm.
Once your website is live, you’ll want to track certain metrics on a monthly basis. For example, how many visitors did your site get or how long are people staying to read your content? If you’re a legal marketer, this information is important to develop new strategies and make improvements. Make sure you hire an agency that can set up Google Analytics and Search Console for you and ensure that you have access.
Will the agency help you make website changes and additions after it goes live? If not, will they at least provide your law firm with training on how to navigate the backend of your site? Maintenance is another area that often gets overlooked in the rush to launch the site. In order to avoid being left with a site that your law firm doesn’t know how to use, talk about the maintenance details from the outset of the design project.
Before beginning the web design process with an agency, be sure to create a list of detailed questions to ask. You’ll want to consider who will own, host, and set up analytics and search console for your law firm’s website. Being prepared before the design process starts will help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible while working with the agency and after.
If you’d like assistance building and designing a website, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.
This post has been edited and republished from Sep. 8, 2018.