I’ve had some criticisms of FindLaw in the past. And there are certainly some lawyers who vouch for their results. However, a recent thread from Reddit seems worthy of some attention.
I was sent here from /lawyers who suggested this subreddit might have more answers for me.
I am a partner in a law firm in Orlando. About 7 months ago we decided to go with findlaw to create and manage our website and SEO. We were promised the world and to be honest, its been a horrible experience. The first two website designs were horrible and the SEO has been even worse. While I can’t make a decent website, I do have the tools to monitor one and I’ve found a ton of issues. The response time to my inquiries has been ridiculously slow too. I’m spending more time monitoring them than they are spending on my website.
I’m spending $5k a month for practically nothing at this point (this does not include PPC). Has anyone experienced the same with Findlaw and/or can anyone recommend a competent company to handle our web presence?
I plan on firing Findlaw as soon as we develop our own website. I like our current site, marklawfirm.com, but its not worth this headache. After everyone’s advice in /lawyers, I’m going to hire another designer and focus on AdWords while I figure out a solution for SEO.
I have no idea whether what FindLaw was doing was “worth it” for this firm. Obviously, at least one lawyer at this firm didn’t think so. But I’d like to address some of the issues raised there and in the comments.
It’s important to note that I don’t know specifics about this particular firm’s site and engagement with FindLaw. For example, I don’t know for sure whether the firm is still with FindLaw or not. I don’t know whether the site that is currently live is the site that this lawyer was describing.
Nonetheless, here are some things to think about.
Law firm web design can be a particularly tricky thing to evaluate. We don’t know specifically:
- How much budget was allocated to design.
- What features were promised.
- How many design iterations were included.
- What feedback was provided by the client.
In my humble opinion, I’ve seen much better and much worse designs that what currently exists at the firm’s web address.
The good: The site renders properly on my smartphone. It has prominent calls to action. It clearly segments practice areas on the home page.
The bad: Well, it’s pretty clearly a template site. I find sliders rather useless. It appears to be full of stock imagery.
Again, it’s difficult to provide an objective evaluation of the design aspects without more information.
My take? Personally, I’d give the design a grade of C.
First, it’s always useful to note the timing related to a web marketing transition. In the example case, this post appears to be have been made after 7 months with FindLaw.
So, for this discussion, let’s fix FindLaw’s takeover of this firm’s site in September 2014 (7 months before the post date March 26, 2015).
That’s a fairly significant amount of time to get some serious work done.
As you probably know by now, links pointing to your pages from other relevant and authoritative pages are like votes for your pages in the eyes of search engines. But it’s an unequal democracy.
So, one of the things that most search agencies should be focusing on is earning a quantity of quality links. One tool you can use to track links is Ahrefs.com. In the example case we see:
Let’s call it a net of plus twelve linking root domains during the time period at issue.
In short, that’s not very many.
Of course, not all links and domains are equal. For example, supposing that those twelve new domains were among the most authoritative on the web and the links were followed, that could be an awesome result.
On the other hand, if those linking domains are nofollow social media profiles, that’s not very good. Heck, most folks could knock out around fifty new linking root domains in a few hours if one were to count those types of links.
Ultimately, linking root domains are only a secondary metric to traffic, inquiries and, of course, new clients.
$5K Per month?
If you read the thread on reddit, you’ll notice that several commenters were outraged by the five-thousand dollar per month price tag.
Unfortunately, without more context and information, it’s really impossible to say whether this fee is reasonable.
Now before you go all internet-cray-cray on me, please don’t misunderstand me.
$60,000.00 per year is a lot of money.
However, like all marketing and advertising, the costs have to be viewed in the context of their performance.
If $60,00.00 per year generated $600,000.00 per year in fees, most people would view this as a good investment.
Sure, there are law firm SEO services that are much, much cheaper. Most of them are also crap.
The only way to understand whether a marketing or advertising cost is “worth it” is to define specific goals and assess whether time and money are being well-spent to achieve those goals.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this site in the future.