What does it cost to create a great attorney website?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. Many factors go into designing an attorney website, from known costs like website hosting to hidden costs like the time it takes to learn how to create and build your website and ensure it is secure.
The fact is, a new website can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Most solo practices are operating with limited marketing budgets, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build a great site. In fact, spending more money on your website, often doesn’t mean that it is better!
In this post, we’ll cover typical price ranges as well as the critical site elements all solo law firms need.
What elements should a good law firm website have?
The more appealing and accessible your site is, the more likely you’ll be able to convert a visitor into a client.
Here are 5 of the most important website elements to keep in mind to improve user experience and help you convert visitors to clients:
- Navigation – Your website should be clear and intuitive to use. Visitors shouldn’t have to scroll endlessly, navigate cluttered pages, or go on a scavenger hunt to find what they are looking for.
- Visual design – Your website should be clean, easy to read, and aesthetically pleasing.
- Mobile-friendly – There is a good chance that over 50% of your site traffic will be viewing your website on a smartphone. If the design looks weird or it is hard to navigate, people will bounce straight to another site.
- Branding – What makes your firm unique? Why do your clients choose you? Branding is your secret sauce to stand out in an increasingly crowded industry.
- Messaging – The copy on your website should be clear, compelling, and easy-to-understand.
Anyone creating your website should keep these elements in mind and optimize for the smoothest user experience possible.
What are the different price ranges for a website?
The price of building a website varies greatly depending on if you try to DIY it, get someone on your existing team to build it, hire a freelancer, or work with an agency. These costs can range from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars.
For example, many attorneys may be tempted to DIY it, but then they forget to factor in the amount of time it takes them to learn how to build their website. That’s time that they can’t bill their clients.
Not to mention, going the DIY route can also mean your site isn’t properly optimized to generate search traffic. It can even appear unprofessional and outdated. By trying to save a couple of bucks now, you could potentially be setting yourself up for an expensive redesign by a professional in the future.
Now that you have a range of what to expect, here are three routes you can take when looking for someone to build your law firm’s website.
DIY option. Average Cost: $10 to $500
- Inexpensive – Creating and maintaining a website is less expensive than hiring it out.
- Can be Fast to Set Up – There is a big caveat here. If you are doing it yourself and have created a website before, you can have a basic site up and running in a day. But most law firms don’t have the expertise here.
- Lack of expertise – Many underestimate the learning curve for building websites.
- Poor site performance – Your website can be slower, dated, not rank well on search engines, and/or not actually bring your any business.
- Time-consuming – If you are just learning to build a website, this is time you aren’t spending on billable client work.
In short, this option is good if you just need a web presence for people to look you up, and don’t expect to get clients from your website.
Freelancer. Average Cost: $500 to $5,000
- Expertise – Freelancers that specialize in web design have been honing their craft and can create beautiful websites.
- Cost – While hiring a freelancer will be more expensive than DIY. It can still be cost-effective. A freelancer working on their own will almost certainly be cheaper than hiring an agency.
- Range of Options – You can work with beginner freelancers for an added cost savings or a seasoned freelancer at a higher price but with more experience.
- Management time – When you work with a freelancer, you still have to manage the project from start to finish. A great freelancer will be communicative and set project milestones along the way, so that you always know what to expect. However, if you get a newer freelancer or one with poor communication skills, you could spend a lot of time being a project manager.
- Limited Expertise in your field – A freelancer that has honed their craft may be able to create a great website for you, but they may only have specific areas of expertise. For example, they might be great at design but unable to provide content for your blog or any copy on the website. This will vary by freelancer. Some have multiple areas of expertise, and others are specialized.
- Post-Launch Changes and Maintenance – Since freelancers typically only get paid when they do project work, you are often on your own for changes (i.e. staff changes) and updates (i.e. security patches). In fact, many times customers come to us because they can no longer get in contact with the freelancer or IT person who built their website.
This can be a great option if you don’t have the time or expertise to build a website yourself.
Industry-Specialized Website Company. Average Cost: $1,000 to $5,000
- Industry Experience – Companies of this type typically have built hundreds or thousands of websites for companies just like yours. As such, they know what is effective and what isn’t.
- Benefits of a Freelancer – The greatest benefit with working with a freelancer over DIY is that the web designer will build the site for you. The same is often true here.
- Benefits of a Marketing Agency – The largest benefit of a marketing agency is that their results are measurable and typically effective. With an industry specialized web design firm you should have similar benefits.
- Lower cost – Unlike a marketing agency, this option will typically be more cost effective since they only work in your industry.
- Not 100% Unique or Customizable – If there is a con for this option it would be that oftentimes the web designs are not 100% unique. Meaning that other firms around the country might have a similar layout to you. That said, people typically become customers because of your unique value proposition, not your web design.
For most law firms, this is where you can really get the best value of both time and money, plus have some industry experience that you’d typically have to pay a lot more for with a full service marketing agency.
General Marketing Agency. Average Cost: $5,000 to $100,000
- Expertise – Assuming you are working with a credible agency, they have probably built dozens – if not hundreds of – websites.
- Endless customization – An agency will have multiple team members on your account and will be able to develop a website with all the bells and whistles. Agencies often have teams with different areas of expertise, such as SEO, content marketing, and coding. This means they can produce websites unique to your brand.
- Exceptional Client Experience – Many agencies will assign an account manager to manage your project, ensuring that you have always have a proactive advocate and know where the project stands at any given time.
- Expensive – Hiring an agency to develop your website is typically the most expensive option. Agencies are paying overhead for an entire team. Though they can produce quality results, it often comes at an extremely high cost.
If you have the money to spend, this can be a good option. You’ll have whiteglove service and a blank slate. However, that service does often come with a 5 or 6 figure price tag.
Should you manage your website yourself or use managed hosting?
Before you move forward with your website, you’ll need to determine where it will be hosted. Web hosting is simply where all of the files of your website exist.
You can host and manage the website yourself, or you can outsource it with managed hosting. Often, depending on who you select above, you may or may not have an option.
Since most solo law firms won’t have a tech or marketing team on staff, a managed hosting route is often the best option to save time and money.
Here are the pros and cons of each one.
With a self-hosted and maintained site, the web developer uses the software of their choice and hires a hosting company for storage. This can mean full flexibility in creating a custom site and the ability to move the site to a different host at any time.
Oftentimes freelancers or full service marketing agencies might give you the option to host wherever you want.
- Ability to switch hosts
- Fewer restrictions
- Requires expertise to manage
- Can be complex
Managed hosting website
Hosted platforms are an all-in-one solution. In this case, hosted platforms provide the software updates for minimal maintenance for the user. However, they tend to restrict customization.
Do-it-yourself and industry-specialized web designers might not give you a choice where to host. There is often a good reason for this such as compliance, or consistency across all of their customers may be one way they lower the cost of a website for you.
- Low maintenance
- Easy to use
- All-in-one solution
- If through your agency, you have access to support if you want to make updates or if something breaks on your site
- Difficult to migrate to another host
5 biggest mistakes that solo law firms make with their websites
Whichever direction you go with creating your attorney website, you’ll want to look out for the following pitfalls. These apply no matter where you host your site and no matter who creates it for you.
A website with too much going on is confusing and unpleasant for visitors. Keep the site simple and clean to ensure users have a pleasant experience with your site.
On the other hand, if you make the site too minimal, you could leave out important information that your client needs. Make sure relevant content is still on the website.
No clear call-to-action
Prospects should know the next step to take as soon as they visit your website or blog. Have a call-to-action (CTA) that tells them what to do next. For example, read the next post or call for a consultation.
Hard to navigate
Your prospects need to find the information they’re seeking and fast. Navigation issues like a hidden menu will cause visitors to leave instantly.
Missing contact information
Prospects need to be able to reach you to take the next step. For example, if someone is looking to book a consultation with your law firm, they won’t be able to if they don’t know how to reach you.
Whichever direction you go with your site, it’s important to assess your options first. Shop around for the right hosting options and professionals to work with. Every law firm is different, so it’s important to take the time to find web solutions that meet your needs.
If you want a website partner that understands the needs of solo law firms, and makes the process of building, updating and maintaining an website easy, schedule a call with TitleTap today.