10 Big Reasons Why Your Law Firm Website Should Use WordPress

You have many choices for almost every aspect of your law firm website. But there is one major decision that should be easy: which platform to use to build your website.

While there are other options, there are reasons why WordPress is the most popular platform and is said to power 28% of the Internet!

Over 15 million websites use the platform and it has around 50-60 percent of the total Content Management System (CMS) market.

So, clearly, it’s not just lawyers making WordPress their platform of choice.

While it may have started out for solo users and small businesses, it now powers huge websites like USA Today, TED, NBC, CNN, and Time.com.

usa-today-wordpressWordPress not only gives you an eye-catching website that provides an excellent user experience; it also helps you make your website more visible, with in-built SEO that can generate leads for your business.

So let’s first look at why WordPress has become so popular. Then we’ll get into the ten big reasons why you should be using it….

WordPress: 2003-2017

WordPress is a very different beast to when it started out in 2003. Back then, it was designed to aid blogging, making it quick and easy to publish content.

In 2003, building a website usually required considerable expertise. WordPress helped change all that with a platform that had one thing at its heart: ease of use.

It is open source software that is written in the PHP coding language. But you don’t need to know the technical stuff – in fact, that’s the whole point of WordPress! You DON’T need a PhD in computer science to be able to use it.

WordPress in 2017 is used for blogs and websites in 120 different languages, offering a wide array of themes and templates that are highly customizable. You can personalize the look and feel of your website from start to finish…

wordpress-customizationTIP: Themeforest can help you select the WordPress theme that best suits your needs. You can read reviews and see which themes sell the most before purchasing your theme.

There are free versions and paid business versions of WordPress that provide more functionality.

All versions of WordPress allow users to create their own unique feel to their website from simple interfaces and use of plug ins. All the technical stuff is looked after ‘invisibly’ in the background.

wordpress-pricing

To lawyers and other professionals, who usually have limited technical knowledge, this was – and is – a godsend.

There are other options, of course. Of those, Drupla and Joomal are two of the most popular but they are still dwarfed by WordPress usage:

According to 2014 data, WordPress is preferred by 50% of users in the US, with Drupal three times fewer at 17% and Joomla at a mere 6.44%. 

Law firm websites generally don’t require the type of ecommerce functionality that is enjoyed by Joomla users, or the complex, content driven-websites offered by Drupla.

Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace are other options but these are more suitable for attorneys looking for very simple ‘calling card’ websites. WordPress allows much more functionality, a better user experience, and a more professional feel that is well-suited to law firms.

Now you know a little of the WordPress background, here are ten big reasons why you should be using it for your law firm website…

1.) It’s off-the-shelf but highly customizable

With WordPress you get the best of both worlds.

Its large collection of themes makes it an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution that helps you get a website up and running quickly, easily, and affordably. But its huge array of plugins (more about these in point 6 below) also make it highly customizable.

A whole industry has sprung up around WordPress themes…

premium-wordpress-themes-lawyersThe key is in hiring a web developer who can build your website, code it, configure it, install it, and provide ongoing management as required.

Your website should never be a ‘set and forget’ deal and, while WordPress is simple enough that you can do some of the ongoing work yourself (see the next point), you will probably need a technical hand too.

As a busy lawyer, how much time will you realistically have for website matters?

2.) More control and easy to update

Little more than ten years ago, whenever you needed a change to your website – even correcting a spelling mistake in the copy – you had to contact your web developer.

Or you at least needed to understand HTML code

And CSS code

WordPress makes it easy with its content management system (CMS). You can update your site, keep information accurate and current, publish new content, and also correct any errors you notice.

You can enter changes in the rich text visual editor rather than having to use an HTML editor to code changes. It’s basically WYSIWYG – ‘what you see is what you get’. This simplifies writing and editing content to the same level as writing an email.

wordpress-interfaceThough you’ll still need the services of a professional web developer, you can do much more on your own with a WordPress website.

3.) Mobile-friendly

The latest worldwide Internet usage data shows:

  • Mobile 52.64%
  • Desktop 42.75%
  • Tablet 4.62%

Every year, smartphone usage worldwide is increasing. Unless you make your law firm website mobile-friendly then you are missing out on the most popular medium for viewing websites.

You may even be penalized by Google if your site is not mobile-friendly.

wordpress-customizationFortunately, WordPress makes this easy with its predominantly mobile-friendly themes. You can rest assured that your site will appear clear and readable on all mobile devices, call to action buttons will be easy to activate, and forms easy to fill in.

This means there is one less thing for you to think about when designing your website. It’s already done for you!

Another benefit of using WordPress is that you can even upload and edit content from mobile devices, as WordPress has an app that can be downloaded to smartphones and tablets.

4.) It’s constantly improving

With WordPress being the most popular platform in the world, it also means that there are plenty of people focused on updating and improving the product.

There have been 32 major versions of WordPress released since it was first released in 2003

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WordPress )

That’s over two major versions released per year. While many of the older versions are still supported, website owners often choose to run the latest version. This is currently Version 4.9.

Millions of people around the world aid in the development of WordPress because it is open source. That’s part of the reason why there are so few employees at WordPress compared to other major online players:

Monthly Uniques (US) Employees
Google.com 241M 72,053
Facebook.com 203M 18,770
Yahoo.com 192M 8,500
WordPress.com 184M 607
Amazon.com 181M 341,400
Twitter.com 97M 3,583
eBay.com 93M 12,600

Despite the low number of employees, you’re well-covered by large numbers of people constantly improving the platform. Website technology changes quickly. By using WordPress, you can be sure that you have the latest website innovations at your disposal.

5.) Excellent security

Security is, of course, a major concern for law firm websites. Visitors want to know that their privacy is assured and their data is private.

WordPress, because of its frequent release of new versions, is one step ahead of hackers. Any potential security breaches are quickly identified and patched in software updates, which can be set to automatically install.

WordPress-SecurityWordPress incorporates many plugins for enhancing its features (see below). As a law firm, you may want to utilize plugins that can help you beef up the security on your site so that users feel more at ease.

Plugins to increase the security on your site include those that:

Limit incorrect login attempts

wordpress-failed-login-attempts

Hide a login URL

wordpress-hide-login

Create two-factor authentication for admin

wordpress-two-factor-authentication

Track your WordPress dashboard activity

Wordpress-Activity-Log

Add SSL to your site

wordpress-sslOf course, you can also maintain security by ensuring that you create strong admin passwords – at least eight characters long and combining letters, numerals, and symbols – and keep all themes and plugins up to date.

6.) Easy to improve the user experience

We just mentioned plugins above. However, it’s not just your security you can beef up using plugins.

Virtually every aspect of a law firm website can be customized using the huge array of plugins available.

WordPress provides access to 52,000 free plugins.

Need to add an email contact form?

Need to add ratings?

You can make your website much more interactive, functional, and striking using these plugins – enhancing the user experience and making it more likely to turn visitors into leads.

You can also add plugins for the ‘back end’ to make maintaining your site easier – such as spam filters to manage unwanted messages.

SEO plug ins like Yoast are also extremely popular (more about this below):

7.) The search engines love it

The advanced SEO tools provided by WordPress don’t guarantee that your website will rank well in Google – but they certainly make it easier.

In fact, the search engines love WordPress-based websites. Their crawlers can easily find what they ‘need’ there because of the high-quality coding, logical site architectures, sitemap features, and easily index-able pages.

It’s also easy to optimize your pages so that they load quickly – another SEO ranking factor. And if they’re still slower than you would like, you can use a plug in to speed them up:

The SEO plugins already mentioned also help to simplify the technical side of SEO: for instance, with titles and descriptions, readability of on-page text, image optimization, and optimal keyword usage:

yoast-seo-wordpressWordPress may not entirely negate the need for a professional SEO but it means that you can do more on your own without it impacting your time too much.

If Google’s Matt Cutts uses WordPress for his own personal blog, as is reported, it’s a good indication of the SEO value in using the platform.

8.) Easy to add content

You should know the importance of regular, high-quality content for your law firm’s website.

This has become critical both for SEO purposes and for improving the user experience.

As a website in a legal niche, potential clients will come to you with a wide array of questions in their heads. Law is complex and your website is an ideal place to answer some of the main queries, concerns, and problems that people have.

WordPress makes it easy to add not just FAQ pages but articles, videos, infographics, and other forms of content.

A WordPress blog is easy to add for free – remember, the WordPress platform started out to help bloggers. So it’s very user-friendly for adding articles.

In its own words:

“Students, parents. Poets, photographers. Scientists, activists. Millions of bloggers tell their stories on WordPress.com.”

In fact, the number of WordPress blogs is now close to 100 million. The ease of use of WordPress makes it ideal for law firm websites. Here’s what the ‘Add New Post’ page looks like on WordPress:

For administration, a single login to your website and blog also makes it easy to manage and organize all your content.

You can schedule posts to be published in the future and add categories and tags to posts, helping you keep a logical structure for your content – thereby aiding the user experience too.

9.) It’s highly scalable

Is your law firm growing? WordPress can grow with you.

As mentioned, some of the largest sites on the Web use WordPress; but they also look after the small guys.

WordPress is highly scalable, supporting a few pages or hundreds of pages without affecting performance.

It’s possible for a solo attorney to create a huge site full of interesting content, which is more effective than a large law firm with a simple ‘calling card’ website that offers little interactivity.

wordpress-highly-scalable

Most law firms will require between 10 and 50 pages – but you get to decide! And, if you grow as a firm, you control who gets access to what by assigning different access levels and editing rights.

10.) A supportive community

If you’re having a technical problem with your site while using WordPress, chances are that someone in the multi-millions of users out there will be having the same problem – making it easy to find solutions.

This creates a vibrant support community of fellow WordPressers. Because it is open source, there is really a community feel around the platform that is not present with commercial players.

Many sites have sprung up to help beginners and experts alike – so there are always solutions to problems available at the fingertips…

It also means that you have a LOT of WordPress experts to choose from when you need to hire one to build your site.

Final thoughts

Unless you have personally fallen out with one of the WordPress creators, it’s hard to see why you would not be using the platform!

Opponents of WordPress might point to an over-reliance on third-party plugins, which can mean you get caught out if a company suddenly disappears; but there are usually many alternatives available from the 50,000 available plugins.

Some people also mention that WordPress is open to hacking – but if you maintain your site with updated plugins and install the regular software updates, there should be no problems.

Others point to so-called ‘professionals’ passing themselves off as expert web developers when, in fact, they’ve only built a WordPress site for their dad. Just be careful to screen whoever you hire and you’ll be fine.

WordPress quite simply knocks most of the competition for dead.

It offers the ease of use, customization, agility, user experience, SEO, support, and scalability that lawyers (and many other professionals) need.

Add to that the cost-effectiveness of using WordPress (it can even be FREE to set up) and the large pool of WordPress-proficient web developers to help you set up and maintain your site, and it’s even more appealing.

All in all, it’s an open and shut case: WordPress is a simple choice of platform for law firm websites.

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