We had an interesting conversation today with a lawyer who was unhappy with his current legal website and was looking for some help. This individual had blown his marketing budget on a “custom” website that a local firm had built for him, at a cost of about $3,000.
We did a thorough analysis of the website, and we found that the “webmaster” had used a simple $30 WordPress theme with hardly any customization. The site didn’t look professional, and it certainly wasn’t worth $3,000!
While the design was lackluster, the bigger problem was that absolutely zero work had been done on optimization or content. We found that:
- The site home page had the domain name as the Title tag. This is a basic SEO 101 blunder. Title tags are how you tell Google and your site visitors what your business is and where you’re located. Without that information, you’re making it tough for Google to index your site…which makes it difficult for clients to find you.
- The secondary Title tags were a simple word or two about the page: “Testimonials.” “Divorce.” “Custody & Child Support.” Again, there was no city name included or the word “lawyer” or “attorney.” Google isn’t psychic; you have to specifically tell it what your site is about.
- There was virtually no content on the site. Each page had maybe a paragraph or two, but there was no mention of the city name, the lawyer’s name, or anything that would help a client make the decision to call for an appointment. Content is one of the most important, basic things you need on your legal site.
- The firm’s name, address, and phone (the critical NAP data), was found only on the “Contact Us” page, and it wasn’t properly configured. NAP data is a signal that Google uses for local search to determine where your firm is and how to index you. You need to make sure that data is on every single page.
- There was no Google+ page for the practice. Google+ pages are free. There is no reason not to have one for your practice (unless you don’t want to be found by potential clients). They take about 15 minutes to setup and it’s a critical first step in getting good search placement.
It was clear from this case that the attorney knew he needed a website and he found a company that promised to build him one. They did build a site, but they completely neglected all of the important, basic things that make a site useful or successful.
Unfortunately, in this case the attorney had spent his entire marketing budget and fell into the sunk cost fallacy — “I’ve paid so much money for my site, I can’t abandon it and get one that works.” Basically, he just threw away $3,000 and untold future business with this one mistake.
Is There a Good Reason for a Custom Website?
Of course. If you have a large, unique firm that requires an intricate design for your different practice areas, a custom design might be the best approach. But for 95% of law firms, you’re wasting your money with a custom design, especially if you end up with one like this lawyer did that actually hurts your business.
Our Waxwing Legal sites offer our clients a nice, middle ground: you get an attractive, customizable site that looks good to your clients, but also has all the basic SEO tools and optimizations built-in so that your site can be found in Google…plus it costs a fraction of what a custom site would cost.
That frees up your marketing budget to work on what will actually help you be successful online: content marketing, link building, and social media exposure.
If you’re ready to improve your legal website, let us see if we can help. Give us a call or contact us here for a free analysis of your current site. You can also sign up for our complimentary, no-obligation marketing analysis for a more in-depth review of your current marketing.