Is your web site design or SEO company ripping you off? There is an epidemic in the legal industry. Law firms are trusting their Web presences to companies who are not delivering on their promises. Some web design firms that specialize in working with law firms create sites that are attractive but very poorly optimized. Some marketing companies promise to get a firm’s site on the first page of Google, but the site languishes on page three or lower. Law firms need to learn how to evaluate prospective consultants in such a way to see through the garbage.
Here is a list of things you need to evaluate in order to decide if a company you are considering hiring has your best interests in mind:
1. How many competing firms does the company represent? There is at least one very large company in this industry that PROMISES every single one of its clients that they will rank on the first page of Google, while taking on dozens of firms in the SAME market for the SAME practice areas. They must know about some kind of mystical math that the rest of don’t understand. I just don’t know how you squeeze thirty web sites into ten slots. If you are considering hiring such a company, ask yourself: Do they really have your best interest in mind? Are you going to be one of the sites that makes it to the first page, or will you be stuck on page three or four?
2. Does the company understand search engine optimization? Can it give you specific examples of sites it has developed that rank highly? You need to look at examples of the company’s client sites, and examine them not only from an aesthetic perspective, but from an SEO perspective. Do the web sites have specific keywords in the page titles? Do the sites use a lot of text, or are they are heavy in graphics and Flash? Text is what will get you search engine rankings.
3. Are the company’s requirements unreasonable? Companies in this industry are notorious for requiring their clients to sign expensive, unwieldy contracts that are very difficult to exit. Don’t assume that you only have one or two options. Look around. I will caution that you not reflexively hire whoever is cheapest. It may very well be that the best company to hire is also the most expensive. But if you are considering hiring the kind of company that is also going to be promoting 28 of your direct competitors, are you really getting your money’s worth?
4. Can the company provide any examples of specific results achieved for clients or customer referrals? If you feel very comfortable with the company based on the above three questions, then you can just follow your gut. However, if the company can back up its claims with actual proof, then that is one additional marker that will improve your chances of hiring the right people.
Don’t get ripped off. Do your homework and hire a company that knows what it is doing, is fair, will not represent other firms that compete directly against you, and that can provide some proof. Then you will see results.