A lot of attorneys don’t have the time to learn about the nuances of SEO, website management, and online advertising. Instead of handling their marketing plans and strategies themselves, most law firms hire an outside company to handle their Website development, SEO, advertising schemes. They throw money at the problem, without knowing how well it’s working. In our “Law Firm Marketing Tips” Series, we are going to cover what you should know about your firm’s marketing plan, even if you use an outside company to do everything for you.
Rule #1: Own Your Law Firm’s Website
Odds are that you aren’t proficient in web design, and that’s okay. When you hire someone to do your design for you, it’s imperative that you understand the contract between your firm and the web design company. One of the points in the contract should be whether you own your site and its domain name, or the design company does.
Obviously you’d prefer that your firm owns its site, but does it really make a difference?
The Roach Motel Problem
Some companies are very easy to deal start working with, until you want to leave them.
If an outside company owns the rights to your website, they can take away all of the content if and when you have to part your separate ways. You are left with nothing to show for the thousands of dollars that you poured into their services.
Your law firm’s website is a labor of love. It builds upon itself with new content every time you update it, making it more valuable both to your customers and to your organic search in Google.
If your marketing company owns your firm’s domain name (the www.lawfirmname.com address), it owns all of the time and effort that you/they spent on it to get it to rise in the Google rankings. If you have to start over with a new website, you will start over in your Google rankings.
Benefits of Owning Your Firm’s Website
It’s hard to know if you’re going to the right digital marketing company. Maybe you saw a company on a list of top digital marketing companies. The problem is that there are a lot of those lists out there. You don’t know who created the list and how they ranked the companies.
Most digital marketing companies (for law firms and others) have good looking websites, so maybe you give one a shot because you saw them on a list somewhere and you liked their website. You don’t know anything about digital marketing, so it’s hard to tell if you’ve chosen wisely.
Even if you pick a company that’s not great, if you own your site, you’ll be able to more easily switch to a different company without them taking your site hostage, and you’ll be able to give the new company all of the content and design from your old company. The new company might change it and add to it, but you won’t have to start from scratch.
If you own your site, picking the wrong digital marketing firm won’t be the end of the world. You can afford to make mistakes. When someone else owns your site, you might be setting back your firm the amount of time and money you spent with the company.
Even if you don’t understand anything about operating WordPress or running a website, your site should be the property of your firm and not the marketing company’s. You want to be able to build on your mistakes and not have to start over.
Do you own your firm’s website? Have you had any experiences with a digital marketing company holding your website hostage? Do you have any other essential tips when it comes to operating your law firm’s website? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.