How to Create a Great Law Firm Website for Under $300

by C. Small on October 24, 2012

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I’ve recently undergone some renovations of my websites. You can see my DUI blog here, my DUI website here, and I’m in the process of finishing up my traffic lawyer website, which I’ll post here for your viewing pleasure as soon as it’s done.

Because this site is all about starting a successful law firm and then marketing a successful law firm I thought I’d talk about what I’ve learned so far when it comes to building a great law firm website.

Now, notice I italicized “building.” That’s because this post is going to have a very narrow focus – the act of creating a website and putting it out there.

Step 1: Secure a Domain Name

I use www.GoDaddy.com for this step. It’s really easy.

Now, when you’re getting a domain name there are some things you want to think about, although Google has made the decision much easier lately.

First, there is no doubt you want to get the domain name of your firm. For example, I have cmslawfirm.com. You may also want to get something more SEO friendly, though with Google’s recent updates, it’s not supposed to matter as much. I also have the domain name seattleduiguy.com and seattleticketkings.com, in addition to some others.

It’s up to you on how you want to structure your site.

Step 2: Secure Web Hosting

Under my plan, you are not using a free website service. You are not paying someone to set up everything for you (although you won’t have to do much work). Because of that, you’ve got to get web hosting.

I use hostgator.com to host my websites. They have a plan that’s pretty cheap (under $10 a month) and I’ve never had any problems with my site going down.

Sidenote: the recommendations I’m making here are just that. There are other companies out there that do this stuff. These are the ones I use and trust, that’s why I’m recommending them.

Step 3: Point the Domain Names to Your Host

I’ve already talked about this in an old blog post, so I’m just going to send you there (click here and go to part 3).

BREAK TIME

just wanted to break this up a bit to talk about how much money we’ve spent so far. If you bought your domain name for a couple of years you spent $20. Web hosting is $8.

So far we’ve spent $28.

Step 4: Install WordPress on Your Site

If you go check out the last post I linked to (here it is again just in case) I’ve run down step by step how to do that.

Again, this is free – just takes a little elbow grease by you.

Step 5: Installing a Premium WordPress Theme on Your Site

This step is optional, but it will make things a lot easier down the road.

Within wordpress there are literally thousands of themes. Some are free, some you have to pay for. If you want to see what’s available for free, in your sites dashboard, just click appearance/themes/install themes and search for whatever you think you might like.

For our purposes, I recommend getting a theme you have to pay for. When you pay for a theme, it’s typically more robust (i.e. won’t crap out on you), it’s typically better optimized for the search engines, and you can be confident the person you hire to create your site knows how to work on it.

The Theme I Use for All of My Websites (except this one – not yet at least)

The theme I install on all of my “real” websites is the Thesis Theme. The Thesis Theme for WordPress is great for all of those reasons I just mentioned. Developers love it, it’s robust, and it’s well built.

The down side to a premium theme is that you have to buy it. You can get a basic package for $87. And it’s well worth it. Click here if you want to see some pricing options.

BREAK TIME

My quick addition puts the total spent so far at $105. That’s perfect!

Step 6: Website Design

This is where the fun starts. All you have to do is dream up what your site should look like and then someone will make it for you!

Elance.com is a website that provides a forum for people that can build websites (as well as many other things) to get in touch with people that need websites built. All you have to do is go to the website, submit a job, and then pick out a development team that looks good to you.

I’ve had my DUI blog rebuilt (see it here, and my DUI website rebuilt (see it here) and they were both built for $190!

When I picked my development team I looked for people that had good reviews, that were in my price range, and that were responsive. One other suggestion I have is to email them first. You get an opportunity to see how responsive they are and to check out their English skills (many of these developers are from overseas).

Oh, yeah, that’s another great thing about elance – they act as an escrow service for your money. You don’t pay until the work is complete!

Voila, You’re New Website is Built!

For under $300 you have just built yourself one hell of a website! Congratulations!

Questions, Comments, I Want to Hear from You!

I’d love to hear what you think of this. Have you had as good an experience as I have? Do you have other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen October 25, 2012 at 1:54 am

I would definitely change the font style on your DUI blog. It is hard on the eyes. Other than that, perhaps you could give us the username of the individual that assisted on your websites from Elance. Thanks for sharing. Take care Chris.

Reply

C. Small October 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

Sure. The company I’ve been using is Cellenze. They are based in India (I believe). They’ve done great work for me.

As for the font on the DUI blog, thanks for the input. I’ll see what I can do about that.

Are you signed up for my newsletter? If not, why not? Have some great information in there!

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Mark Kane October 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

Chris,

Another great post. My own on-line presence uses much of the same resources. Some time ago you were offering to review start-up law firms web presences, with the result being the content of a post on your blog. You still up for that…?

I picked-up that you legal blog has a call to action and contact details at the end of the post. Mine to-date have missed that, so thanks!

Mark Kane
http://www.constructionandlegal.com

Reply

C. Small October 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

Mark:

Thanks for reading! It’s amazing what fantastic resources, and at what fantastic rates, are out there.

As for the website review, I’m not really doing that any more. The problem is, if I do it for you, then I have to do it for everyone. BUT, I’ve got some things in the works that will hopefully make something like that possible in the future.

Yes! Call to action is critical. If you don’t tell people what to do, they won’t do it. And, in my opinion, you want to have the call to action at a couple of different points on your site: at the beginning; in the middle; and at the end. The idea is that you want to make your firm available the moment someone decides they’d like to take the next step.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you’ve got any other questions or comments.

Chris

Reply

J. Albrecht November 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Thanks. I’m thinking of starting my own law practice and the prices I’ve been quoted for websites are insane. I am def. using this!

Reply

C. Small November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

Great. I think you’ll be surprised at the quality of work you can get for the price. I’m using these guys on all my projects!

Reply

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