DIY Website Builders claim it’s quick and easy to build a website. But if you want a professional and effective website for your legal practice, there are better options out there (i.e. WordPress).
- DIY Website builders are great for photographers, hobbyists and early startups.
- DIY builder templates still require a lot of manual customization to tailor them to your specific needs as a lawyer.
- All code for for DIY website builders is proprietary, so you don’t own your website and you’re limited in terms of integrations.
- Proper SEO tools are lacking in many DIY website builders.
DIY Websites Builders: The Good
Many new lawyers and startup legal practices have signed up with DIY website builders such as Squarespace and Wix. As the title implies, you’re able to create your own website with ease, from pre-built website templates.
Just sign up, pick a domain name, choose a template and start adding your pages, content to your website. The backend user-interfaces are relatively simple for non-developers. It’s a fairly cheap, quick and easy option if you’re looking to get a simple site up in a week or two. All thing considered, though, DIY website builders are not ideal for real businesses focused on growth.
DIY Websites Builders: The Bad
The DIY builders claim you can basically slap together a beautiful, effective website and put an “Open” sign in the window, but that’s not actually the case. Although they offer pre-built website templates, they don’t offer anything specifically built for the unique needs of solo attorneys and small law firms.
Are You a Web Developer? Or an Attorney?
DIY builders require you to customize and tailor your template for your business. That includes deceasing on your website’s page structure, designing page layouts, optimizing media, making sure everything renders properly on mobile devices and much more.
Creating a proper business website that converts is much more involved than Squarespace and Wix like to admit. The very calculated and data-backed web design process devolves to guesswork and patchwork, and leads to making an ineffective, amateurish first impression for the 64% of legal consumers looking online for a lawyer.
DIY Website Builders Are Proprietary
Squarespace and Wix are proprietary Content Management Systems (CMS). They do not offer the ability to download source, like WordPress does, so you can’t actually own your website. The lack of access also prevents contributors from developing integrations for the software, so using some third-party applications is not possible.
Unavoidable SEO Pitfalls
DIY builders come with some optimization restrictions that could hinder your ability to rank in search results. Some SEO limitations include adding/customizing page titles, meta descriptions and Alternative Text for images and more. Some of these limitation also pose issues for ADA compliance and web accessibility.
The DIY builder vs. a professional business website is another case of, “you get what you pay for.” Squarespace and Wix are fantastic pieces of technology, and they have their place in the market. They’re great for photographers, hobbyists and provide quick fixes for early startups, but they’re not a great long-term solution for serious businesses focused on professionalism and growth.
Our recommendation for your website platform is WordPress due to its open-source nature, endless customizability, plethora of integrations, ease-of-use and unparalleled SEO advantages. For more on WordPress, check out Why Your Law Firm Needs a WordPress Website.
Ryan Klein, How Do People Find Lawyers in 2019?, Market My Market, July 3, 2018
Kris Rivenburgh, The ADA Checklist: Website Compliance Guidelines for 2019 in Plain English, Medium, Nov 7, 2018