Lawyers Absolutely Need Websites
I remain surprised at the number of attorneys who do not have websites. I am also dismayed, because most of these lawyers are solos and smalls, and I am very partial to those folks. By failing to have a website, lawyers are simply putting themselves at a major disadvantage as compared to other firms.
When I ask attorneys why they don’t have websites, I tend to hear two things:
- I don’t need one, all of my business is from referrals
- It is too expensive and/or too difficult
Let me take these issues one at a time.
I Don’t Need a Website
Every business professional needs a website these days. The majority of people are online, and the majority of those people make decisions by surfing the web. These days, even if a client recommends you to a potential client, that potential client is going to want to look you up online. When she cannot find you, she is less likely to hire you. This is especially the case when dealing with anyone under the age of 40. Most people I know would never hire a business professional, never mind an attorney, who did not have a website. Simply put, a website is the key form of marketing lawyers need in this day and age. Every attorney must have a website.
Too Expensive & Too Difficult
I hear these two, I really do. I know the technology can seem overwhelming and the price can seem high. But the view that websites are too expensive and/or too difficult to create come from outmoded knowledge. These days websites can be had for very little money, and can be created by people with a minimum amount of technology savvy. A website doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. Even a simple website is better than none. As long as it isn’t hideous. Hideous is worse than none.
What You Need to Create a Site
- Domain name
The domain name is something like jlellis.net. Domain names can be purchased (rented really) for anywhere from a few dollars to fifteen dollars per year, for most domains. Just pick a registrar (GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost) and pick one out. Please use the domain name for your email address. You shouldn’t be using gmail.com or (God forbid) aol for your email address.
The host is where the website sits. I use BlueHost. The hosting and some additional security amounted to just over $250 per year. My favorite WordPress host these days is Web Synthesis. It includes security and backup, so in the end, it isn’t much more expensive than BlueHost.
Even if you are not comfortable installing WordPress (which you can do with the click of a button on some hosts) or setting up the basics, it shouldn’t be expensive to have someone do this for you. Just keep the theme simple. The theme is what makes the WordPress site look the way it looks. You can also buy good looking themes for reasonable prices.
If you write well and can find the time, content is straightforward. Worried about SEO (search engine optimization)? A well-written, robust web-presence is half the battle for many lawyers. You can just start there. Depending on your goals, location and practice area, you may be able to get away with having an appropriate number of well-written pages to address each practice area and blogging on a reasonable schedule. If you are in a competitive area, cannot write well for the web, and/or cannot find the time, you might need to hire someone to write for you. But that doesn’t have to be your concern at the beginning. Your concern at first should just be getting a website up and running. You can go bigger later on.
Please, Get a Website
There is simply no excuse for any business professional, including an attorney, to fail to have a website. Begin by creating a simple site, add content over time as you go. Show potential clients who you are, what is unique about you and what kind of lawyer you are. Just start by getting your feet wet. But no matter what you do, please, get yourself a website.