Your law firm is growing, you’ve hired new attorneys, some support staff, and are excited about the future. Awesome! To make sure your staff has a steady flow of new cases to work on, you are likely reconsidering your legal marketing efforts. While there are numerous ways to go about marketing, in our experience, the #1 priority should be your business’ website. An effective website for your law firm can be an invaluable asset, helping to build your brand, provide information to potential customers, and most importantly, generating leads. But, how much should your website cost?

In this article, we discuss the options for legal websites and the costs for each. Don’t underestimate the power of a great digital platform for your business! Paying for your website should be viewed as a long-term investment in the strength of your law firm. As with any investment, you will want to make an educated decision on what serves you best. Let’s take a closer look at the factors affecting law firm website cost.

Types of Websites

While it may seem that all websites are essentially the same, the reality is that could not be further from the truth. A website is as unique and customizable as you want it to be. In a basic sense, there are 3 types of websites; sites that are built through WordPress, sites built with a page builder, and sites that are custom-coded. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each.

WordPress

According to Kinsta, 40% of all websites are built using WordPress, and for good reason. WordPress has established itself as the premier platform for SMB’s to build high-quality websites. They are as customizable as you want them to be, as there are thousands of themes that are available which provide templates for all types of pages, or you can use a 3rd party plugin or page builder to create your own unique design. They are easy to maintain and upgrade and allow for easy SEO optimization. Due to their extreme level of customization, both the lead-time and cost of building a new WordPress website can vary widely, ranging from a couple of weeks and $3,000-$5,000 dollars for a small site up to several months and $20,000-$60,000 for the biggest and most complex legal sites.

For 99% of law firms, a website built on WordPress is the correct choice from both a financial and performance perspective. Even if you decide to not have a long-term agreement with the builder of your website, WordPress sites can easily be transferred without issue and should be viewed as the correct long-term marketing investment for most firms.

Page Builder

Sites built through a page builder, think Wixx or SquareSpace, are generally viewed as cookie-cutter, drag and drop type websites. While these sites can be built by most people with a basic understanding of technology, they offer the lowest level of customization and are widely viewed to be substandard when compared to the two other types of sites. They have been proven to perform poorly when you look at mobile usability and rankings and are the most budget option available. While some firms may want to start with a Wixx or SquareSpace website to establish an online presence, they often quickly outgrow them or find that they simply can’t do everything the firm wants their website to do. Additionally, the SEO for these sites is normally poor, and while Wixx has invested recently to better their websites’ SEO capabilities, the sites will often underperform due to the limitations of the builder.

Page builder sites can often be built fairly quickly, and as mentioned, are the most budget option. Very few (and in our opinion, none should) reputable digital marketing companies use Wixx or SquareSpace, and it is often viewed as the most beginner option. With that said, if you have the money to invest in your firm, this should be considered your last option (realistically, not an option at all).

Custom Coded

A custom-coded website is exactly what it sounds like, built entirely using programming languages like PHP, Javascript, Python, Ruby on Rails to mention a few. In order to have a website built from scratch, you will need the help of a qualified web developer. As the name indicates, this type of website is fully customizable and can look like anything you want. If you have begun working with a developer on a site of this nature, and they tell you something that you have seen somewhere else can’t be done, you likely need to begin looking for a new developer. Custom-coded sites, if built correctly, are the fastest websites as they do not suffer from code bloat and can be optimized for speed down to each line of code.

While all of these things sound great, there are drawbacks to having a site that is hard-coded. First, they are the most expensive type of website as you are going to be paying a developer to devote all of their time to build the site from scratch. As such, they are also the most time-intensive type of site, often taking months to be built. Additionally, most dedicated web developers are not experts at SEO, so you will likely need to hire a firm to manage your website once it is built to optimize it for search and ensure that all of that money you spent does not go to waste. Large, custom-coded websites can cost up to $100K and take 3-6 months to reach launch. As you can see, there are some positives and negatives to having a custom-coded website, but for most firms, this type of website is simply not necessary.

The 4th Type

There is also a 4th type of website that we want to mention but would never advise any firm to pursue. This is a website built using proprietary software or CRM through a company like Scorpion or FindLaw. These large companies have developed their own CRM’s, allowing them to scale massively and offer their services at very low prices. You are likely reading this saying great, where do I sign up for that? Well, in our opinion, you shouldn’t, and below are the reasons why.

What most firms overlook or fail to understand when they enter an agreement with one of these companies (and these are not the only 2 companies using this business model) is that if your law firm is ever unhappy with the marketing services provided and desires to leave, your entire website will need to be rebuilt from the ground up as the current platform the site is built upon is proprietary and cannot be ported to a new service provider like a WordPress or custom coded website could be.

To be frank, we view this business structure as a trap, designed to lock customers in by making the hurdles to leave both time-consuming and expensive. Do not fall into this trap! As noted above, your website should be viewed as a long-term marketing investment, and for that to be true you must be able to make changes to improve its performance as you see fit. While rebuilding your website may be something you WANT to do when you leave a marketing firm, it should not be something you MUST do.

Should I Hire a Web Design Company?

As an attorney, you understand the importance of specialization. While all attorneys have passed the bar and are knowledgeable of the laws and how to practice law, no lawyer will accept just any case regardless of practice area. To be a truly great attorney, you need to pick an area of practice, be it personal injury, criminal defense, family law, civil rights, etc., and hone your skills and knowledge of that topic every single day.

The same is true for marketing. While many digital marketing firms CAN build a functional website for your law firm, only the firms that focus on it will create stunning websites that grow their legal clients’ businesses. We make this analogy to show why YES, you should always hire a web design company that specializes in legal marketing if you want to get the best results from your investment.

At EverConvert, we build exceptional websites that convert. Our years of experience have taught us what it takes to get results through website design, and we are eager to put that knowledge to use for the benefit of clients. Check out some of our work, here, here, here, and here.

Why Should I Choose EverConvert for My Law Firm’s Website?

Sticking to the analogy above, let’s discuss what you should expect from EverConvert if you choose to hire us. First, we believe that honesty and transparency should be at the heart of any business relationship and we guarantee that to all of our clients. We view you as our partner, not just a paycheck, and we know that as you grow, so do we. We put everything on the table in front of you from day one and work with you hand in hand to help you grow.

In the same way, a skilled attorney will guide their client through their entire case, with every decision based on what serves the client best, you should expect the same thing from your web design company. Additionally, you should expect monthly reporting, regular updates, and a dedicated account manager for easy, open communication. Finally, you should expect results, after all, that is why you hired a digital marketing firm, right? Results are what we do best, because after all:

Sales Cures All!