Last updated October 9, 2017
Website maintenance is not generally an area of expertise at most law firms. However, outsourcing your web development work comes with high costs and the hassles of dealing with 3rd party IT companies and web design agencies. Even making minor changes to your site can end up taking a considerable amount of time and money. And that’s why the DIY model can be so appealing. This post lays out the best do-it-yourself websites for law firms to help you cut costs and save time while maintaining your image with a high quality website.
The Benefits of Maintaining Your Own Law Firm Website
There are some huge benefits to maintaining your own law firm website. Even if you’re not tech savvy at all, it’s pretty easy to build and maintain a website using modern technologies available online.
Here are two major reasons why you should consider building and maintaining your own law firm website, as opposed to outsourcing.
By far the biggest benefit of a DIY website is the cost savings.
Good law firm web design is a key factor for maintaining a professional image online. But, most local web development agencies will charge, at the very least, hundreds of dollars per month to maintain your site, on top of a few thousand dollars upfront to build the site.
For a solo or small firm, these costs can really eat into your profits. That’s why DIY websites, which are far cheaper, can be a great alternative.
Easier to Update
Maybe you got added to Super Lawyers and you need to update your attorney profile to reflect it. Maybe an attorney left the firm, and you need to remove her profile from the site. Maybe you want to add a custom landing page, or update the content on your homepage to drive more conversions.
Whatever the reason, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to update your site from time to time. But it’s a pain to have to contact your web development agency every time and then wait for the changes to be implemented (which usually includes a few rounds of revisions).
When you have a DIY site, you can update your website in a matter of minutes, and you can do it on your own without having to rely on outside support.
The Best DIY Website Options for Law Firms
So, how do you build a good law firm website by yourself? There are a ton of DIY website builders, but we’ve chosen a few of the best and most practical options for lawyers to use. Below are our reviews:
We’ve covered some of the benefits of WordPress before. It’s a really powerful content management system, and a great platform to build a law firm blog and/or website. There are thousands of themes to choose from to customize the look and feel to your needs.
It also has a virtually unlimited supply of plugins, which are little add-on pieces of functionality built by third party developers. Plugins allow you to add things like contact forms, social media sharing, analytics, payments, and anything else you can imagine to your WordPress site.
We even have our very own Lexicata WordPress plugin which can automatically submit new potential clients from your website into Lexicata for follow up and intake.
Check out the 8 best WordPress plugins for law firms for more info.
It’s slightly more complicated to set up than the others. It’s not a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) or “drag and drop” website editor.
Customizing your theme or plugins may require some basic coding skills, so if you’re not tech savvy at all, it can be a bit challenging to get used to. But luckily there are tons of video tutorials and good documentation to help you.
It’s completely free to use through wordpress.org – you just have to pay for your domain and web hosting, which you can buy from GoDaddy or other hosting companies for under $30 per year.
They also have paid plans through wordpress.com which offer some more features and services. But the free version is usually sufficient if you add a nice theme and install some plugins.
Squarespace is known for its ease of use and its beautiful, modern templates. It’s extremely easy to set up your site and it can literally be done in a matter of minutes. Also, you can play around with the editor and create your site before you have to pay, which is nice because you can get a feel for it before committing.
It’s a WYSIWYG editor, so you can update the text, change the design, or add content, images, or other features directly on the live website. They also have integrations with social media sites and Google Apps for business, so you can set up a Google email account that’s associated with your domain (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Due to the simplicity, Squarespace is not quite as flexible as WordPress and it can be difficult if you want to make major changes or customizations. It does not have as many optional features out of the box compared to WordPress with all of its plugins.
It’s very reasonable, starting at just $16/month, and it comes with a free domain when you sign up. Plans go up to $26/month for added features, including an integration with Xero accounting (which we’ve written about in the past here).
You also get a discount for paying annually, which adjusts the price range down to just $12-18 per month. But you do have to pay the full amount upfront to get the discount.
LawLytics offers a do-it-yourself website editor and other content publishing tools. It’s targeted specifically toward attorneys, so all the features are designed for a law firm’s needs, whereas WordPress and Squarespace are more general.
LawLytics also includes marketing services to help generate web traffic and bring in business for the firm. It’s a good option for a larger firm or a firm that is looking to grow quickly, but would still like to have the ability to maintain its own web presence.
They also offer good customer support to help you manage the site, and their staff is knowledgable and has experience working with attorneys. Best of all, LawLytics can be integrated with Lexicata so that new potential clients who contact you will automatically be tracked for follow up and intake.
It is only meant for law firms to use, so the feature set is a bit more limited and less flexible. You may not be able to have any feature or a super-custom design, like you could with WordPress. It’s also significantly more expensive than the other options, but that’s because it is tailored to a law firm’s needs.
They do not openly disclose the pricing on their website anymore, but last we checked prices started around $200 per month. Certainly a step up compared to the other options, but it comes with a number of additional benefits from a marketing and customer support standpoint, so it’s definitely worth considering.