More and more lawyers are coming to understand just how critical it is to have an online presence and a professional website. When it comes time to build their website, whether for a law firm just starting up or an established firm redesign their site, many are typically price-conscious and it comes down to how much it’s going to cost.
How much should a law firm website cost? It depends on a number of factors, but typically a solo or small law firm, professionally designed website costs between $1,500 to $4,000. Mid-sized firms are typically looking at $5,000 to upwards of $20,000.
Websites can be built for much less and many don’t see why they should pay more or even what they’re paying for. So in the rest of the article, we’re going to break down how much it will cost depending on if you hire a professional, contract it to a freelancer or go the DIY route.
The Cost of Designing & Building your Law Firm’s Website
We’ll assume for this that we’re talking about a solo small practice – up to about 5 lawyers. For one matter, it’s more pertinent to this group of readers. Mid-sized firms and larger are typically going to always hire professional and are prepared to budget considerable for their website’s design, development, hosting, security and ongoing maintenance.
DIY – Less than $400
There’s nothing wrong going the DIY route if you’re on a tight budget, you feel the urgency to establish a web presence (starting yesterday) and you’re pretty comfortable with technology and learning new software on the go. Taking this approach will require a thorough understanding of everything you’ll need, so we’re going to give you a list of everything required to build and launch your law firm’s website yourself.
What you need:
- Domain name (i.e. abclawfirm.com) – $10 per year
- Hosting (Linux w/ MySQL and phpMyAdmin) – $120 per year
- Backup solution – $50 (Optional, but strongly recommended)
- SSL certificate – included w/ some providers free, others ~$65/year
- CMS (WordPress, Drupal) or Website Builder (Wix, SquareSpace, etc.)
- Premium WordPress theme – $50-75 (optional, but recommended)
If you use an all-in-one website builder and hosting platform (e.g. WordPress.com, SquareSpace, Wix, etc), you’ll have to refer to their plans and pricing. You may pay a bit of a premium, but you get the hosting, SSL and domain included in the plans. These all-in-one builders will take care of the technical stuff, letting you design your website without worrying about the technical details or hosting. We listed as $400 because depending on if you wanted to purchase stock photos or purchase graphics and icons for your site, there’s a fair amount of margin built-in.
Going the DIY route is best if you’re just starting out. Many solo practitioners just hanging up their shingle now have the luxury of hours to spend building their website themselves.
Freelancer – $750 to $1,500
Hiring a freelancer is a good option for solos and small practices that are budget conscious, but don’t want to deal with the time and headaches in designing and developing their website, builder or not. Using a site like Freelancer.com or Upwork can be a great way to find talented web developers that you can hire for a project like this. You can probably find local, solo web designers that do good work at this price point. To get the most out of your freelancer job, you’ll want to get precise when discussing with the freelancer regarding what you’re looking for, the number of pages, defining the project scope and responsibilities.
Once you post a job, freelancers will bid on your web design contract. Check out their work portfolios to see which contractors match your aesthetic style and which have designed websites for lawyers or professional service businesses in the past. Give them more direction by providing links to other websites in your industry that inspire you and you’d like to model.
Professional – $1,500 to $4,500
This is the best option if your law firm is established, you’re too busy to do it yourself, and you want it done right (the first time). The best web design and development company you can get should have a thorough understanding of your industry, your firm and the type of marketing objectives lawyers have for their website. In fact, there are agencies like Zahavian, that focus specifically on online law firm marketing. The better your agency understands what you really want from your website (i.e. more clients) and how to make your site reach that objective (marketing, ads), they’ll be able to build you something purpose-built to achieve, or at least, support the overall goals.
This requires more than just a web page with words and a nice design, you need a robust system that includes:
- Website analytics and visitor tracking
- Properly coded HTML
- Consideration for adding more content in the future
- Search engine optimization
- Conversion tracking
The list goes on, but that’s where the old saying comes from:
“You don’t pay the plumber for banging on the pipe. You pay him for knowing where to bang.”
In some cases, you may just be paying more to hire a “professional” and not every big agency is a good agency, but choosing the right website development partners can make a significant and lasting impact. So there’s a big difference between a do-it-yourself, freelancer and professionally-built website. However, you should have a better idea of what level of attention your website requires.
Typically, there’s a good value you can get out at any size and budget, but here is how we would best summarize how much you should spend on a website for your law firm:
Do it yourself if you’re in the very early stages – when you have more time than appointments and casework to do. You’re probably just starting your firm and you have a total marketing budget below $5,000. We compiled a list of the best law firm website templates. Some are free, but there are some really nice WordPress themes for less than $75.
Hire a Freelancer if you have some time to commit to the project, but don’t want to build it yourself, then contracting the job out may be right for you. Look for someone who can build you a WordPress site. Hiring a seasoned web design freelancer will help you get an even better value.
You could probably even do it for around $500 if you purchased a premium theme, gave it to a freelancer with the content and images you want to be presented on the site. You can get them to publish it all, perform the setup of everything as well as customize the theme to match your law firm’s brand and specifications.
Hiring an Agency for a professionally-built website is your best option if you can afford it and want to leave it to the experts. If you’re looking for your website to be a serious marketing asset that generates leads and is very well-equipped, then invest it a top-tier site. If you want one that is totally customized to your specifications, then it will be closer to the 5k mark.
With that said, the right website can have a massive impact on driving more conversions and new appointments for your practice. They won’t just design you a website, a good online marketing agency will help you connect it with software and tools that are built to add massive amounts of value to your business and marketing activities.
In fact, if you’re looking for something professionally built to support all of your marketing needs, our law firm website pricing starts at $3,495. Included in that is most of what we’d mentioned above that you can expect from a professional agency, including:
- A website designed to drive more phone calls and clients
- An analytics backend to
- track leads
- phone calls
- new business inquiries
- Web analytics that gives you marketing results & performance data in real-time
There you have it, a brief but good look at the varying budgets of what you can spend and what you should expect when designing and launching your practice’s website. There’s typically a budget for everyone to achieve this and if you’re just hanging up your shingle, you should consider the DIY or freelancer options. Established practices that are serious about growth and invest a significant amount in marketing should invest in a professionally developed site.