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When it comes to Internet marketing, the most important piece of the puzzle is, of course, the website. This is your business card, your public face, and your brand. If you run a virtual law office, it is also how clients will reach and conduct business with you. Though we often talk about law blogs and social media savvy, all the tweets in the world won't help if your website is nonexistent or looks like a 90s era Geocities page.
With that in mind, these are a few things to consider when setting up your firm's website. Be forewarned, however: creating and maintaining a website is a time-consuming endeavor. It might be worth the time saved to hire someone (like us) to do it for you.
When it comes to choosing a domain name, there are a couple of different theories on the best route to take. You can choose a short and easy to remember name, like the firm's initials followed by the word law (UPlaw.com, CKlaw.com, etc.). Or, you can choose a longer, yet memorable name, like BayAreaSTDLawyer.com.
One thing to avoid is excessive symbols, such as the underscore (_), as UP_law.com is going to be harder to type and remember for clients.
You'll also want to ask your most twisted friend to take a look at the name and ensure that it doesn't accidently spell anything obscene. The most famous example of this type of mistake is Who Represents?, a site that lists the representation for everyone in Hollywood. For someone unfamiliar with the site, it can appear as WhoRepresents.com or as WhorePresents.com. Really not good.
You have a few options when it comes to server space. You can go with a free server, such as 000webhost.com, but those servers tend to be slower, less reliable, and will sometimes delete your site if it hasn't been updated in a while.
There are also paid shared hosts, where you pay a nominal monthly fee for space on a server that is shared with other sites. This is the most popular and economic choice, as it covers the needs of nearly everyone for the lowest cost.
The final option is to set up your own server, but almost no one should consider this option. Not only is the server expensive, but your monthly Internet service provider fees will probably go up and maintaining the server requires a money and time, two things lawyers have in short supply.
The Site Itself
This is the most time-consuming part. You have to choose between using a site builder, which typically create boring, cookie-cutter sites, and really digging in and building your own site via Dreamweaver (very hard) or WordPress (moderate difficulty). Site builders are easier and quicker. The alternatives are time-consuming yet create a more impressive end product.