Filed under: Blogging | |
There are a lot of services marketing to lawyers that promise not only a web site and blog (blawg), but also an search engine optimized site with good search engine placement. You know their names. You may have even used them.
Let me tell you: you don’t need them. Turn around and run the other way!
I am not telling you this because these services don’t work (often they do). However, in my opinion they are a bad bargain for a solos lawyers and small law firms.
Do you want a cookie cutter site?
I have talked to many attorney and one service in particular has a nasty tendency of cranking out cookie cutter sites in their low and mid tier offerings. Note: these are still not cheap. It is not uncommon to find the same theme in red, and here’s one in blue, and one in green!
There is a place for cookie cutter sites: when they are free.
There is nothing wrong with starting with a default theme on a WordPress site. It costs you nothing. And even on WordPress, it is very easy to customize the default theme with plug-ins, widgets, and custom headers. And it takes even less effort to simply choose a different theme for your site so it does not look like every other starting site.
Do you get good value for the high monthly price?
One thing is certain, you will pay and pay and pay, each and every month!
While there is a lot you can do on your own when you start a website, I think it is perfectly reasonable to hire an expert to get your site off the ground. Pay a couple hundred or even a couple thousand dollars to get your site up, optimized and get some training. You cut a check for those services and you are done.
Monthly costs for a website should be no more than $25. Tops! Unless you are doing a super high end commercial site — and let’s face it, as a law firm, you are not doing that — there is no reason to pay more!
Many of these services want you to pay $200 to $400 a month! How do they justify these charges? Many services promise ongoing optimization of your site.
I don’t buy it!
I honestly do not believe you are getting ongoing personal customization of your site after the first 3 months of service. This is my opinion only, but I just don’t believe it. I think you are simply a cash cow at that point.
I do believe many of the services work on all of their sites in aggregate, and there is a benefit to your site from that. However, the high ongoing monthly price does not justify the service offered.
A number of these services also offer ongoing training. Some of this training is truly very good. Of course, like a gym membership, it does not do you any good if you don’t go.
That’s a nice search engine placement you got there, it’d be a shame if something happened to it…
One thing that these services will often do for you is getting a good search engine ranking.
So what’s wrong with that?
One of the big problems I have with this is that you do not know if you are doing well because of your content, or because of the behind the scene google-fu. Is the content driving readers to you, or is it the SEO.
I don’t care so long as I get hits.
It will matter to you when you want to leave the service. What is going to happen to your search engine ranking then?
- Will you lose your page 1 placement?
- Will you drop to page 13?
I am not saying, nor do I believe that these services harm your ranking if you cancel your contract. But, since you did not build your ranking on your own, you will have a lot of anxiety over what will happen if you go out on your own. Many attorneys I speak to, feel locked in and scared.
What’s the alternative?
While I believe that some of these services are better than others, several genuinely offer a good product. They will help you build a good site, drive traffic to it and help you be a better blogger. I just do not think that they are worth the money, and you will experience a lot of anxiety when you decide to jump ship.
You started your office on your own. It may have been on card tables, in a spare bedroom, or in an office no bigger than a closet, but you did it. You made a start and you built up from there. You can do the same in the web space. I recommend starting small with a self-hosted site. That is, you get your own domain, hosting company, and you put up your own site. Of course, you can get a designer and/or SEO expert to help you start off on the right foot.
In the next few weeks I will be cover how to do this on your own.