Digital Marketing, Legal Marketing Resources

Choosing a Web Designer
By Postali

The majority of attorneys who call into our office start the conversation with questions regarding pricing. Generally, it’s some variation of “I need a new website. What do you charge?”

While price is a major factor in the decision-making process, starting a conversation with price based questions is a lot like going to a restaurant and asking for the check before you order. You may be really happy knowing your meal is only $2.99, but disappointed when the waiter brings out a glass of water and some toast.

To avoid this situation, and to make the most of your requests, start by asking these questions when looking to hire a web designer:

Do you have a portfolio of previous legal websites you have designed?

If you look carefully, this is a two-part question. Not only do you want to explore the work of your potential designer, but you also want to know if they have experience in the legal industry. Most web designers have a portfolio for you to browse, but you should request to see what they consider to be their top law firm websites.

Are your sites responsive to mobile, tablet and laptop devices?

With up to 70% of web traffic coming from mobile devices and the implementation of Google’s mobile-first indexing, it is imperative to have a responsive site. This means that no matter what type of device you are on, the content of the site is in frame and displays correctly. Today, most websites are built with a “mobile-first” design strategy.

Will my site be optimized for search engines?

Rather than just asking, “Do you do SEO?” have a few specific questions on the topic. Inquire about site speed, keyword use, and come prepared with the case volume and revenue targets you aim to achieve with your investment. Show that you understand what SEO is, and that a simple “Yes, we do SEO,” won’t be a satisfactory response.

What type of involvement is required on my part?

Building or updating a website is a two-way street. You understand your business and clients, while web designers understand how to visually convey your message in order to provide a good user experience for your clients. While it may be enticing to simply turn over the task, you should want a company who expects you to be part of the process. Find out what the company expects of you and your team prior to signing a contract.

Are your sites unique or do you use pre-made templates?

The last thing you want to do is to invest time, energy and money into a plug-and-play website. Your firm is unique and your website should reflect that. Ideally, you want to work with a company who is going to work with you to create a site that aligns with your goals as a business.

Describe the team who will be working on my site?

A website project can require a diverse range of skill sets. A typical crew usually consists of a web designer, web developer, SEO specialist, and content developer. Ask about these roles- are they in-house positions or will some of the work be outsourced? You have every right to know who has their hands in your site and what experience they carry.

How will the site help me generate leads?

If the company you are speaking with has worked with attorneys in the past, they should understand the importance of lead generation. This is an opportunity to ask about forms. How many forms will there be on the site? Which pages will have lead forms? Where will the submissions be routed to? Does the company suggest pop-up forms? Can they assist in setting up a live chat? In addition to your site being informative, responsive, and visually appealing, there must also be a way to convert leads.

Will I own the site or have the rights to it once complete?

This is a very important question to ask! You want to make sure that if you part ways with the company after the project is completed, you have the rights to use all of the site assets and its components. It’s important to know what CMS platform a company uses to build their sites. A proprietary tool won’t be able to be utilized by another business but an open source platform like WordPress can be accessed down the line. Read the fine print of your contract and ensure that usage rights are granted to you after you’ve fulfilled the agreement. A few of the top-priority components you want rights to include: the domain name, the content, the HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and any designs featured on your site.

What is the turnaround time?

This will of course be relative to the extent of the project. If you are requesting a refresh on a few pages, that will take less time than a new build. Ultimately, the timeline will be determined by the level of customization to the site with time accounted for not just the site itself but also the work needed to build a proper SEO foundation.

Will I be able to track the progress? And if so, how?

Some companies may include you in their project management software, some may send weekly emails, others may schedule video conferencing. Every agency operates differently, but, as a client, you are entitled to know where your project stands. Inquire about what this communication process looks like, and commit to being a part of the progression by providing feedback along the way.

What is the payment plan?

Rather than asking point-blank for a price, ask to understand the payment structure. It is very rare that any company will ask you to pay in-full upfront. Typically a deposit is made to start the work, and either the balance is due upon completion, or a payment structure is implemented. Ask for details on what the financial expectations are so you can budget appropriately.

Ask for a Scope of Work (SOW)

Included in a written contract agreement, should be a detailed scope of work containing reports, deliverables, expectations of both parties, a timeline, payment information and expected outcomes. This holds both sides accountable, and serves as a reference point as the project is executed.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when looking to update or launch a new law firm website. Knowing the right questions to ask will ensure you choose a company that is going to fulfill your needs. Map out your goals, budget and deadline prior to your call so you are prepared to answer questions from the web company in return.

Postali takes pride in creating custom legal websites that attract and convert clients. Contact us today to start your web design project!

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