You’ve reviewed your website, compared it to your competitors, and decided it’s time for an overhaul. However, you are not a website designer nor do you desire to be one. It's time for professional help. How do you select the best designer for you?
Set a Budget
Know what you’re comfortable spending and what you want to accomplish for that price. If your budget is small, pick a simple, well designed site that will professionally represent your firm. You should also establish an annual budget to maintain and update your website.
Define the Goals for Your Website
Are you trying to increase brand awareness or looking for new leads for your practice? If you’re a criminal defense attorney, your website should focus on conversion of site visitors and building a client base. However, if you have an insurance defense practice, you may focus on brand awareness rather than getting new leads. Know your goals before you begin the search process.
Talk to Your Peers
Some of your peers may have developed a website recently and will be happy to discuss how the process went and offer advice.
Check out the Competition
Visit the websites of competitors and leaders in your area of practice. Look at their features, navigation, and layout. Find some you like and look around the site to find the web designer. Go to the designer’s site and share some of their designs with members of your firm and support staff. Get their opinions on sites they find appealing and are easy to use.
Choose a Developer that Works with Lawyers
Lawyers sell a service, a solution to a legal problem. A design company that sells widgets will not understand the marketing of legal services. First of all, the services you’re marketing are “needs based.” The prospective client needs a lawyer to draft a will, handle a divorce, or register a patent. Second, your web designer should also be aware of the ethical rules that place constraints on how you can market your practice.
Your Designer Should Examine All of Your Marketing
Your website is only one part of your marketing plan. Your designer should examine all of your marketing, both digital and offline, to ensure the message is consistent, the brand holds constant, and that your marketing approach is paying off.
Your designer should explain the strengths and weaknesses of the strategies being suggested. If your designer is not listening to you or is not educating you on the process, it’s time to move on.
Finding the right web designer, like finding the right lawyer, will take time but will also pay off with more contacts, more business for your firm, and more peace of mind.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides legal content writing for lawyers. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers newsletter. Writing as Alexandra Hawthorne, she published a cozy mystery, Murder One in Midvale Corners.
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