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Let me start right off by saying that an average website for a 5 to 15 user law firm should be around $2,000 to $3,000. If you want to get fancy it may be up to $5,000.  Only pay this if you need animation and updated content on your website. Most 5 to 10 person law firm sites have attorney bios, info on the firm, practices as well as contact info. Often when we speak to new clients, we are asked about website maintenance services. While we currently do not offer such services, in talking, we often learn of the all too typical problems that law firms have with their web people. Today I’m going help you stock up on B.S. repelant and give your some tips on picking a web company as well as qualities to look for.

Some of these web people have a lot of nerve going into business. They’re either terrible business people, unorganized messes, or artists whose work should not be altered. The mistakes I have seen can be pretty bad. Interestingly enough, the biggest issues I have faced are the exact things that Rekall does well, and this is not by accident.

The number one problem with web people is responsiveness. When you call, you want someone to answer the phone. If not, at least get a call back within a reasonable amount of time. I have seen cases where attorneys leave firms and demand their bio information be taken down from the previous firms site immediately. Unfortunately the web person does not answer the phone and all calls go straight to voicemail. In this situation, the attorney’s bio information was on the site for over 2 weeks before it was taken down. This delay caused headaches for both parties. If you’re interested in working with a particular web person or company, see how long it takes for them to get back to you. It’s a good test that means a lot.

The number two problem with web people is reliability and the ability to work within a time frame. You email your web person a list of things that need to get done such as adding new content to your site. Obviously if there are any questions they should be asked before the list due date. The most common problem I have seen is questions on the due date, and only a portion of the list being finalized. Another annoying thing is the web person needing more time and asking for it on the due date. If you find a web guy worth $2, because most of them are only worth $1, test them with simple tasks on your website. Make sure tasks are completed within an agreed upon time frame. If they cannot meet due dates, run away. Let’s pause for a sec, I know what your thinking, don’t sit there and say to yourself, “I don’t work with my web guy too much, if he’s late, he’s late.” Think about a worst case scenario where you need website changes to occur immediately, an address change, Verizon gives your phone number away (this does happen), can you depend on your current web person to get this done in a timely manner? Think about it, it’s not bad to have high standards when it comes to your vendors, these people are working for YOU.

Another major issue with web people is that everyone knows one and they’re all terrible. It’s tough to pick out the web businesses from the web guys. Ask to see previous work, and most importantly, ask to speak to previous clients. Clients are usually honest. For some reason firms that are unhappy with their web people stay and continue to work with them. I think this is out of desperation, or maybe they feel like it’s a necessary evil that they only have to deal with until the website is finished. In other words, terrible web people’s clients will be honest and let you know what you’re getting into. If your firm is issuing publications, chances are you’re going to be working very closely with your web person. Also, something good to keep in mind is that when you finally find a decent web person, don’t get scared off by higher prices than you expected. There is a certain amount of price inflation with web design, don’t get me wrong, but a good web person will be more expensive than the average priced people you’ll find. If you’re looking for a $500 website, chances are that a skilled web guy will not be interested in your project. Skilled web people today are not only interested in your website but are also interested in any content that you may create and search engine optimization.

Websites are only half the battle if you’re interested in moving forward with internet marketing, SEO & content fabrication. I’m not gonna lie, most firms do not do this. The ones who want to use the internet as an avenue to market their law firms will take total advantage of this option. A website is not only an internet home base for your law firm, that’s the old way of thinking.  It can be a fountain of knowledge, an oasis of experience and skill that is open to your niched market to come and lean about your law firm and it’s practices. A website used to be a landmark on a map, today it can be more like a stage if your interested in making that transformation.

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