If you have a FindLaw site that isn’t performing as well as promised and you are up for renewal, you likely are wondering if it’s worth the high monthly cost to stay with FindLaw. You may have questions about how much traffic you are getting from FindLaw or how much traffic you stand to lose by transferring your site away from FindLaw.
I have been helping people re-build their FindLaw websites since 2008. While there are a few things that need to be taken care of to ensure that the transfer goes well, there is no reason for you to continue paying FindLaw thousands of dollars a year to simply host your website.
There are really just five things you need to maintain the presence that you have established with FindLaw. Obviously depending on your marketing goals, the fifth element can be very complex, or as simple as having someone be able to remove an attorney or make basic updates to the site every six or twelve months.
1. Control of Your Domain Name
The domain name is how Google identifies your site, and how your potential clients find your site. If FindLaw originally registered your domain name, you can get them to transfer the domain to you. Typically, the person who builds your website would be well equipped to handle the transfer for you. The important part is that the domain name (after the transfer) is in the firm’s name. You do not want any other company (or worse yet, an individual that you could fall out of contact with) having control of your domain name.
2. A Place to Host Your Website
Your website is actually just a series of text, image and html files, and for people to be able to access your website, you need to put those files somewhere. This is called a hosting plan. If FIndLaw built your website, they are currently hosting it. GoDaddy and Bluehost are two very common and reliable web hosts. Owning your domain name and hosting package is what makes you able to keep your website up and running for about $100 a year.
3. Someone To Rebuild Your Site
If you are leaving FindLaw, they will offer you “the files” that you need to host your website elsewhere. However, these files are typically stripped of their SEO coding and are typically not formatted in way where you can simply upload them. You will likely need to hire someone to re-build the website for you. When I work with law firms to rebuild their FindLaw sites, I build a new design, both to ensure that FindLaw doesn't have any claim to the design, but also just to improve the look and feel of the site. Even if you like the general layout and color scheme of your current site, I will rebuild it as I have found the coding that FindLaw websites are is unnecessarily complex and difficult to manage. I rebuild FindLaw websites starting as low as $2,500. For more information see my page on pricing or contact me for a quote.
4. Control of Your Google Map Listing / Understand where your traffic is coming from
It’s important that your website is set up to continue performing at the same (or higher) level as it was when you were with FindLaw. A big part of making that happen is understanding where your traffic is coming from, and ensuring those traffic sources will continue to work. With the exception of the FindLaw directory products (which you can actually keep in the rare case they are worth it) you can keep all of the relevant sources providing traffic to your website in place. In my opinion, the most important one is the Google map listing. If FindLaw set this up for you, it’s important to have them transfer access of that account, and then also make sure that it’s using your current phone number (not any tracking numbers they may have set up for you).
5. Assistance With the Updating and Continued Promotion of the Site
Once you have the site up and running on a hosting platform that you own, you really won’t need to do much. I have worked with dozens of law firms who have made one or two changes in the span of several years. I also work with other law firms on a much closer and more frequent basis adding content and working to improve the overall results they see from the site. What’s critical is that you have some means to update your website should the need arise.
If you have questions about transferring your FindLaw website away from them and setting it up so you have full ownership, I can help. My starting point for template websites is typically $2,500; even FindLaw’s highest end sites I can typically rebuild for $5,000 or $6,000. Most of my clients save thousands of dollars by taking ownership of their website in the first year alone.
As far as on-going help goes, I have clients that pay me monthly based on a plan we put together and have other clients that just pay an hourly rate when they need assistance.
My goal is to keep your website working at a high level, eliminate the empty monthly invoices, and make it easy for you. I have worked with over a hundred law firms on getting control of their websites after working with FindLaw, and I’d love to help your law firm as well.