Guest post by: Fred J. Cohen
We’ve all heard the saying, “time is money” and for busy professionals like attorneys and accountants, juggling overloaded schedules filled with client meetings, court dates and administrative tasks, this is an undeniable reality. Many professionals, struggle to find the perfect balance between billable work and non-billable tasks like marketing which can require a great deal of time and resources.
To help reduce the amount of time needed for a successful marketing campaign, it’s important that firms work with marketing experts who understand their specific industries. This is especially important when it comes to selecting a website development team as the site should serve as the cornerstone of the firm’s online marketing campaign and must be continuously updated as the practice grows and evolves.
There are a lot of options when it comes to site developers; they include quick do-it-yourself companies, local freelance designers and large corporations which seem to have designed half of the cookie-cutter professional sites you’ve come across in your search. With so many vendors vying for your business it’s important that you consider the following factors to save you time and money when selecting a website developer:
- Specialized Experience: Marketing legal and financial services is truly a specialized niche. There are ethical standards that professionals must uphold in advertising and key elements of the website, including imagery and content, which must be carefully considered. A local website developer who designs sites for restaurants and small businesses will not have insight into your industry and you will most likely spend hours trying to educate your hired help on all of these crucial considerations.
- Content Management System: In order for your website to rank well with the search engines and resonate with visitors, it must be dynamic which means you’ll need to update it frequently. It’s important that you select a website developer that has a comprehensive, yet easy to use, content management system so you can make changes to your website in a matter of minutes. If you don’t have access to a content management system, you’re likely to spend a great deal of time and money working with a professional to update the site down the road.
- Integrated Tools: Having a basic website with a few pages of content isn’t enough to get your firm business and it certainly isn’t enough to keep people coming back to your website. It’s important that you engage online visitors with interactive tools such as a blog, seminar registration system and e-newsletter service. When thinking about the tools you’d like to use, be sure to select a website developer who has these tools built right into the content management system. This will save you time and money since you won’t have to master multiple programs and pay monthly fees to each service provider.
- Ongoing Support: One of the greatest time drains (and certainly one of the most frustrating) is sitting on hold waiting for help or an answer to a simple question. When it comes to your firm’s website, you want to make certain that you will have access to a knowledgeable support team that won’t keep you on hold for hours or take days to respond to your email requests. You also should select a provider who won’t charge you astronomical fees for ongoing support or changes to the site after it’s launched. Many developers charge a high hourly fee and making even a minor change can end up costing your firm big bucks down the line. When selecting your site provider, try to select a service that provides a monthly support option so both your time and budget do not take a hit when you need assistance.
By taking these factors into account when selecting a website development team, you can be confident that you will have the tools in place to effectively market your practice and more time to devote to the billable work.
Fred J. Cohen, JD, is the founder and President of Amicus Creative Media, an attorney web design and marketing company that has taken over 500 law firms to new heights.