In a digital age, and in a field that’s as hypercompetitive as the legal world is, carving a presence for your firm on the internet can seem like a simple yet daunting task. You know you need a website, but you might have questions about the essentials for making a space for yourself.
You know you need an informative site describing your services and practice areas, but is that something you should turn over to professionals, or something you can do yourself? There are certainly some services that allow you to create your law firm’s website, but how do they compare to an agency whose purpose is to craft a singular site for you?
Should you try to build a site on your own or hire professionals?
As you’re considering creating your website, you might be investigating services that let you to build a website, like Wix or Squarespace. Many of these DIY services offer free tools or template designs that promise a simple user experience and a functioning website.
Although these services promise customization, but some features don’t deliver the expectations they promise without more work than expected.
Each project will have its own scope, and there are advantages to using a website builder instead of turning to an agency to build your site.
When you’re handling the work yourself, you can expect a quicker turnaround. Afterall, you’re managing the theming, utilizing templates, and establishing the layout. You can design the unique pages you want on your site without waiting on an agency to follow its structured development.
If you’re creating a website to generate a web presence solely for the purpose of having a web presence, using a DIY website-building service could be sufficient. It might fit your budget, and you may not be worried about growing your business beyond word-of-mouth or physical advertising. In these instances, DIY works.
However, going all in on a site builder might limit your firm’s future growth.
Although free or small subscription website services might benefit your budget, it may hinder your growth in the long run.
Regarding DIY websites, Postali Web Designer, Hanna Pittman, said that while using a service’s website themes is convenient, it’s almost like trying to fit a “square peg through a round hole.”
“It can be counterproductive to design anything before starting with the site building service, as you are stuck within the limitations of that building program and may not be able to build to your dream design. You can follow their layouts, but you can’t create a refined design and you may have to pay more for simple features,” she says. “It isn’t an organic feel. If your goal is to make a stand-out site that generates cases, it will take coding know-how and design practices to achieve that.”
A lack of background or experience in site design can also complicate matters. At best, your site will look like a professional template in a sea of templated websites. At worst, your site will look terrible. Creating a theme that meets accessibility standards might take extra work that a pre-designed template can’t accomplish. Meeting legally required accessibility standards also requires ongoing maintenance that you may not be aware of, like adding alternate text to images uploaded to your site..
Elizabeth Paparone, a Front-End Developer with Postali, added that using some DIY services could even hinder the website’s growth beyond your immediate needs.
“While the templates and designs are great, when you look at the site’s coding, it can become very layered. When building a site, you want its code to be as simple as possible. As you drag and drop elements around the design, you can add layers, sometimes more than necessary,” she says. “If you have an issue with anything on the page, you’ll be dependent on the service’s support team.”
Plus, if you’d like to migrate content or elements that exist on your self-designed site, that could also be complicated. You’ll have much less control when it comes to what can be moved from hosting platform to hosting platform.
“It isn’t so much an issue if you’re building a small site. But once you have multiple pages, then it becomes an issue. The more you must worry about, the more difficult it is to maintain on your own,” Elizabeth says.
Website complexity also impacts how potential clients interact and find your website.
SEO tactics are critical to building a user base and being visible to search engines According to Dakota Williams, a Postali SEO Specialist, generating leads and getting noticed by web engine crawlers, SEO’s core, is often an issue when using a DIY site-building service.
“The performance of self-built sites, depending on the service you’re using, can be affected. Clunky code and slow-to-respond pages can negatively affect searchability, and although some services have improved over the years, their SEO is still considered weak,” he says.
Dakota added that page builder sites have their use, but their limitations become readily apparent when you try to push them beyond the bare minimum.
If you’re looking to compete in the legal field, having a functioning website with sleek features, you’ll have to push beyond the functions a free service can offer.
Although some of the constraints of DIY sites from page-building sites can be fixed with coding, taking the time and effort to learn, practice, and properly execute coding might be more than you’d like to invest.
“There are advantages to using a page-building site and trying to code the nuances yourself but turning to an agency who can manifest your vision, to achieve a higher level of customization, is much easier and reliable,” Elizabeth says.
When you want a website that stands out from the crowded legal market, you must decide what’s in your budget and what you are willing to invest.
If you’re looking for the prerequisite web presence, doing the bare minimum to direct people to hire you, you could get lost in the sea of other firms. You might not feel you have the budget to afford a professional agency. But instead of starting from scratch, you could turn to a team that can cater to your vision.
Postali utilizes its staff’s experience and eagerness to create unique websites for our clients. We start from the ground up, creating a design from your guidance, ensuring the code is working and the features are both accessible and attractive. Finally, our specialists will work to confirm your new website will perform as intended and allows your law firm to flourish.
When Postali builds a site, they’ll have the tools necessary to correctly implement your concept with a level of customization and creativity that can give you a competitive edge. We’ll be on hand to troubleshoot, identify, and fix your site more quickly than you could on your own.
We’ve helped lawyers attract new cases for over a decade, and we’ve produced award-winning websites in nearly every area of practice.
Contact Postali so we can help you.