Whether you are a solo attorney setting up a new practice or a large law firm looking to improve your online presence, a website is essential.
But given the large spectrum of law firm possibilities in terms of size and scope, it’s pretty quickly obvious that there is no one answer to the “How much does a law firm website cost?” question. That being said, we can help narrow down this answer by analyzing the requirements you have for your website and what you want it to do for your firm.
Let’s be clear – there are less expensive ways to get a website built these days if you aren’t concerned with visual appeal and performance. If you just want a website to exist, you can do one yourself or have a freelancer put together a site for you in a fairly cost-effective manner. Be warned, we run across attorneys every day who are stuck in the middle of a forever website build or have to start over from scratch because what they received from these cheaper options falls squarely into the “you get what you pay for” “bucket.
So if you are far enough along in the process to understand that your firm is worth having something quality built, you are on the right track. Most established firms would tell you that having a company that is familiar with law firm websites and SEO is worth the cost. Just look at the larger firms in your area – many are built by law firm-specific companies that have the experience to produce and maintain a quality website. This allows the attorneys to do what they do best and not have to worry about the management of a website and digital marketing strategy.
But even if you are paying a professional law firm website company, many items can still affect the price. Let’s take a look at some of those.
Law Firm Website Structure and Cost
The structure of the website makes a huge difference in what you are getting from an SEO and organic presence perspective. This includes the technical SEO and the visible elements like the image and actual content of the site. Let’s take a look at the different elements.
- Crafted Content: Develop unique and tailored content for every page, including the home page, practice pages, attorney pages, and about us pages. This personalized approach enhances the site’s personability, aligning with the law firm’s distinctive business propositions and offerings.
- Title Tag Optimization: Customize each Title Tag to reflect the firm’s business and geographical representation, acknowledging its significance as a crucial factor for search engine optimization.
- Meta Descriptions: Create distinctive meta descriptions for each page to enhance relevance with search engines. This allows control over displayed content in search results, making meta tags and descriptors essential across the entire site.
- Hierarchy with H Tags: While natural copy is paramount for SEO, employing appropriate H Tags aids search engines in comprehending page and site hierarchy. Utilize H1 for main headlines, H2 for sub-headings, and so forth, enhancing overall SEO effectiveness.
- Clean URLs: Optimize URLs by eliminating parameters, contributing to better search visibility and ensuring a seamless user experience on the site.
- ALT Tags for Images: Attach ALT tags to images not only for SEO purposes but also to address accessibility concerns. The absence of ALT tags can pose accessibility issues, emphasizing their importance, as exemplified by the Domino’s accessibility case.
- Schema Markup for Law Firms: Implement law firm schema markup on pages to gain a competitive edge. This facilitates better understanding and indexing of site pages by Google and other search engines.
- SSL Certificate for Security: Secure the site with an SSL certificate, addressing emerging online data security concerns. Beyond enhancing security, SSL-enabled sites receive a positive ranking factor, contributing to overall search engine optimization.
- Sitemap Submission: Ensure your site has a sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console. This practice aids in indexing, allowing Google to interpret and display your site as intended, minimizing the risk of indexation or technical errors.
- Typography and Visual Elements: Employ legible fonts to enhance user navigation, contributing positively to SEO. Utilize clear, compressed images that align with the content, and assign unique ALT text to each image for improved SEO performance.
- Content Organization: While unique content is crucial, its layout is equally significant. Google not only crawls the content but also perceives it much like a person. Structuring content with clear sections and ensuring it is user-friendly are essential SEO ranking factors.
- Navigation Design: Develop user-friendly menus and incorporate appropriate linking strategies across the site. Seamless navigation positively influences user experience, which Google detects. Actively gathering user data, Google rewards sites that establish natural connections and exhibit expected user behavior, leading to improved rankings.
Website Page Speed
- Image Optimization: Enhance page speed by utilizing compressed images and videos while maintaining high resolution. Optimizing images is a straightforward solution that can significantly improve your site’s performance without requiring complex deployment.
- Streamlined CSS: Address the technical aspect by ensuring critical elements load promptly, and the remaining components load in a timely manner. Consider implementing lazy-loading and optimizing load order as part of this process.
All of these elements are vital if you want your website to be successful on Google’s search results pages, which will ultimately drive interest, traffic, and leads to your site. With some of the more do-it-yourself website platform options, you are going to sacrifice results, as technical SEO, content optimization, page speed and more are not factored into the platform, hence the lower price.
Ongoing SEO Services and Law Firm Website Cost
Having a website is one thing, but the bonus of having a company that works with law firm websites and marketing is that you can often bundle in products that will help the firm be found in search.
If you want to increase rankings and become the authority over your practice area for your city or state, you are going to need to do consistent marketing deliverables. This includes content marketing, Google Business Profile management, and even paid advertising. From a website and SEO perspective, let’s take a look at some of the detailed elements.
Ongoing Site Monitoring and Updates
- Regular Site Inspection: Perform a weekly audit of your site, either through a connected service or a technical examination, to proactively identify and address potential SEO errors. Over time, various elements may deteriorate, such as broken links or missing meta and ALT text on new pages. Conducting regular audits ensures prompt fixes before any significant issues arise.
- Google Search Console Oversight: Leverage the free and invaluable Google Search Console to monitor the overall health of your site. From submitting sitemaps to tracking 404 errors, monitoring search performance, and assessing core web vitals related to SEO, this tool provides essential insights and functionalities.
- Google Analytics Surveillance: Regularly audit Google Analytics (GA) to detect any unusual traffic patterns. Monitoring for events like bot activity or disruptions in conversion tracking becomes straightforward by logging in regularly. Connecting GA with Google Data Studio enables the creation of custom dashboards for personalized monitoring, including setting up alerts for events like 404 errors through GA automation.
- Visual Quality Assurance: Conduct a visual quality assurance check on the site at least weekly. Despite relying on tools and alerts, a visual examination helps identify potential issues affecting user experience, such as misplaced design elements, which may not be promptly flagged by automated tools.
Law Firm Content Marketing
- Distinctive Content for Each Page: Ensure that every page on your website features unique, valuable content tailored to the user. For instance, detailed service area pages should provide information about your services, experience, expectations, a Q&A section, and common case incidents. By developing comprehensive pages for each service area, you guide potential customers in understanding their options and present compelling reasons to choose your services.
- Tailored Blog Content: Enhance your website with a blog to delve into specific aspects of your business and narrate its story. While detailed practice area pages cover essential information, the blog serves to explore niche topics relevant to a broader audience. Discuss specific areas of law with fewer search results, potentially boosting your site’s ranking for commonly searched keywords. Additionally, use the blog to highlight community involvement, awards, and more, seizing opportunities to connect with your audience and capitalize on keyword opportunities.
- Customized Pages: Create specialized landing pages for particular aspects of your business, especially those targeted through PPC campaigns. For example, if you focus on car accidents within personal injury law for a PPC campaign, a custom landing page optimized for lead generation would be highly effective. This approach allows you to streamline your messaging for immediate assistance while maintaining detailed information on your main website.
- Thorough Keyword Research: Fundamental to success is exhaustive keyword research. This applies not only during the site build but also for ongoing content creation. Effective keyword research helps identify terms for optimizing your site, blog entries, and landing pages. Conduct both national and local keyword research based on your business’s primary market and topics covered. Uncover high-opportunity long-tail keywords that have yet to be explored by others.
- Continuous Rank Monitoring: Keep track of your current keyword rankings and ensure they remain stable. Just as you strategize, be aware that competitors may attempt to surpass your positions. By monitoring competitors and identifying when and how they make moves, you can proactively optimize your pages, create supporting content, build links, and safeguard your top positioning.
Off-Site SEO for Law Firms
- Google My Business (GMB) Optimization: Set up, optimize, and regularly update your Google My Business listing, a crucial step for attracting more business. Your GMB listing serves as a miniature website, offering unparalleled exposure to visitors searching for your brand or relevant keywords associated with your practice areas. Optimizing this listing is essential to ensuring that it stands out when potential clients land on it.
- Business Listings Accuracy: Confirm the accuracy and existence of your law firm’s site listings to enhance off-site SEO. These listings play a relevant role for individuals seeking a law firm in their area, contributing to referral traffic and overall online visibility.
- Review Responses: While much of the review interaction occurs on your GMB listing, it’s crucial to address reviews on various platforms, including Facebook. Access and respond to reviews on free platforms where engagement is possible. Google recognizes businesses that respond to GMB reviews, rewarding them with higher rankings in the local pack. Responding, whether to positive or negative feedback, demonstrates active engagement with clients, presenting a positive image.
- Link Building Strategies: Secure links from authoritative sites, a proven method to elevate your search rankings. Compelling content creation is a natural approach to attract links, as sites prefer linking to those that tell the best stories on specific topics. Additionally, implement strategies like guest posting, local spotlights, and active monitoring of comments and reviews to enhance your link-building efforts.
Law Firm Website Cost Structure
One thing that often comes up in terms of law firm website cost is the actual cost structure in terms of how payments are made. There are two basic ways this happens.
- Upfront Fee: With an upfront one-time fee, you pay a large sum ahead of the site build, and the website maintenance and any ongoing strategy is up to yo. In this scenario, you are left to pay for the hosting, security, compliance, and most importantly (and costly) – any break/fix items that are needed on the website. It is quite common for a website to fall out of compliance or have something break, so this can be quite costly, which often wipes away the advantage of only paying once for the website.
- Recurring Fee: With a recurring model, you often pay a lower or no up-front cost to get the website built, and then pay a monthly subscription. This is an attractive model for many firms, as they don’t have to worry about anything associated with the website. Everything continues to run properly and any compliance or break/fix items are handled for you. In addition, the packages often come with SEO and content deliverables (if you have a quality partner) that are much more inexpensive than having them done one-off. Everything is in one bucket and being done by the same company to drive results forward.
At the end of the day, it is ultimately up to you what is best for your firm. The size of the firm and the goals you have for it are directly associated with the structure and ultimate cost of the website. It’s true you often get what you pay for in terms of a website, but it’s also important to know that you have the right website partner that is very clear about the deliverables and plan for your website presence.
If you currently have a website, there are many places to get a free website audit to start to understand what elements you may be missing, and if a change is necessary.