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Every lawyer should have a website by now. That is not news, just a fact. Lawyers who don’t have some kind of online calling card, whether a blog, Facebook or MySpace page, or website, are missing out on clients. Period.
There are two kinds of websites. First, there is what I call the “calling card” website. Basically a static page with information about the firm, including where to find the office and probably some biographical information about the firm and attorneys. This is absolutely required, even if the website is a one-page site with only the firm name and contact information.
Second is a more dynamic site, updated at least once a month, but preferably more. This site is not just a calling card, but a source of information for clients, peers, and the general public. One of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating a blog or even some Drupal tools.
The “calling card” does not generate business, but it does provide an online location for potential clients to visit before they pick up the phone or compose an e-mail. The dynamic site draws potential clients through search engines and references from other websites, including (hopefully) media sites. The dynamic website does bring in new clients.
When you set out to create a web presence, decide what you want. A static, calling-card website is a one-shot deal. Put it up and leave it. Update only when the information is outdated, which will not be often. Pay for a well-designed site. Most cookie-cutter sites are as bad as having no website at all.
A dynamic site should be just that: dynamic. It should be updated frequently, or at least regularly, and provide information about the firm, practice areas, etc. This should have a well-designed framework and ideally, should be set up for employees to update easily and frequently.