As Connie mentioned, our firm launched a new website last week. In this post, I’ll share a few thoughts about the process of creating a new law firm website.
Lawyers tend to be a conservative lot, tend to set a low priority on things that don’t bring short term gain, and tend to want to be in control. That combination doesn’t lend itself well to creating a new website that may be somewhat different. It can lead to analysis paralysis, or a conservative approach that leads to either no new site at all, or one that tries to satisfy everyone.
So what is the best way to approach it? Some of this will sound like project management 101 – it is not unlike the process of building or buying a new home.
- Create a core team to run with the project that will include the CEO, the marketing/promotion manager, and others who believe in the project.
- Go to your internal influencers first at key stages to get early buy in.
- Celebrate the early adopters to get others on board. In our case showing some early examples was key for the candid lawyer photos.
- Seek input along the way – or at least keep the firm informed at key stages – but keep control in the core team.
- Decide who the audience is for the website, and what they would want to see. Depending on the nature of your firm, that could be existing clients, prospective clients, client influencers, or other lawyers.
- Look at different websites to see what you like and don’t like. Look beyond your own industry.
- Create a wish list of things you want to accomplish and what it might look like – knowing that some of those may have to be dropped or deferred for various reasons.
- Don’t forget the basics like your office location and directions.
- Hire well. Engage the right web developers and creative advisers. Check their references and body of work. Anyone can create their own site using online tools, and there are many web developers to choose from – but choosing one that understands web trends, doesn’t create sites that all look the same, and you are comfortable working with will get a better result.
- Listen to the web developer’s suggestions and advice, and have regular progress reviews and discussions about direction and costs.
- Stay out of the web developer’s way and let them do their work.
- Make sure the website is mobile and tablet friendly.
- Make sure the message and personality of the website matches your firm. It must be genuine.