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Many law firms are well-served with only one website. However, some small and medium-size firms may benefit from having multiple law firm websites. Why would your firm invest in more than one website? There are many good reasons to consider multiple websites for your firm, all of which are rooted in differences within the firm, its lawyers, and clients.
Different Practice Areas With Different Target Clients
If your firm has several different practice areas that target very different clients, then multiple law firm websites can be a smart choice.
For example, if your firm has a corporate mergers and acquisitions practice and a residential real estate practice, different websites could help you target and reach your potential clients. Your corporate clients may be interested in the prestige of your clientele and the dollar figure associated with your transactions. However, your residential real estate clients may be more interested in your geographic location, your knowledge of the local area, and the competitiveness of your fees.
In this example, you might benefit from a primary law firm website, such as AwesomeLawFirm.com, with two other websites targeted to your M&A and real estate clients: AwesomeM&A.com and AwesomeRealEstate.com, respectively. At each site, you can craft your marketing and content to more effectively target your ideal client.
Different Branding and Promotional Needs
Similar to different target clients in disparate practice areas, there may be practice groups, or even individual lawyers, within a firm that desire individualized branding or a unique platform to build their book of business.
A personal injury lawyer who prefers to be seen as a zealous “bulldog” advocate may run afoul of the compassionate estate planning lawyer who wants to be seen as sensitive to end-of-life decisions. Similarly, a lawyer looking to establish herself as a leader and expert in a particular niche practice area may desire a stand-alone blog for developing and distributing thought leadership content.
A desire for contrasting brands and promotional avenues between dissimilar lawyers and practice groups can be a good reason for a law firm to have more than one website.
When a law firm serves clients who speak more than one language, having multiple law firm websites, one in each language specific to your client population, can eliminate language barriers and reassure potential clients your firm is the right choice.
What About Microsites?
Should a law firm have multiple websites or would a microsite serve your needs better?
What Is a Microsite?
A microsite is a slimmed-down website, or even a single web page, specific to one practice area or brand of your law firm. They do not contain numerous pages like a primary law firm website. There may not be an “About Us” page and there certainly will not be any information about other practice areas or clients other than the target market. Rather, microsites are often informational sites that promote specific services to specific clients and have minimal interactivity beyond a “Contact Us” or other lead generation tool.
Microsites are hosted on a different domain than the primary law firm website, or sometimes on a subdomain.
For example, if your primary law firm website is AwesomeLawFirm.com, a microsite targeted to clients who need assistance with DWI cases might be at the domain DWILawyer.com. A microsite at a subdomain would include words in front of your primary website; for example, DWILawyer.AwesomeLawFirm.com.
Continuing with the DWILawyer.com example, the microsite might contain information about DWI cases and procedures, why a lawyer is needed, and contain a “call to action” for scheduling a call or meeting.
Benefits of a Subdomain for Microsites
Subdomains offer several benefits when using a microsite:
- Brand consistency. Subdomains limit confusion for your law firm website visitors because it is clear the subdomain sites are attached to the primary website domain. With the primary domain part of the microsite domain, your potential client knows the sites are related and part of the same law firm’s web presence.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. Search engines view subdomains as part of the primary domain, so a microsite on a subdomain receives all the SEO and search benefits of the primary law firm domain. This is important because your primary domain has likely had time to build up its search rankings.
Reasons To Have Only One Website
While there are many benefits to having multiple law firm websites and microsites, there can be downsides as well.
Multiple websites can lead to client confusion as users try to navigate between your various sites. This can become a problem when, for example, a potential client searches for one of your lawyers by name. The result will be multiple websites. Not only can this cause confusion for the potential client, but the benefit of separating your disparate practice areas to separate websites or microsites is negated.
This client confusion can also be misleading, giving an incomplete picture of your law firm and its focus. When the client learns that your firm has other practice groups, he may feel misled or misinformed. As a lawyer, the last thing you want to do is appear mistrustful.
Potential Clients Do Not Know All Your Services
Having more than one website also limits your clients’ knowledge of your services, which could lead to them going elsewhere for additional work that your firm is qualified to handle. In addition, the results of “local search” may be negatively affected. Local search results provide one website for a law firm and give its location and details. If you have more than one website or a microsite, the local search result may provide information about only one of your practice areas or languages.
Decreased Search Rankings
Without the correct management of multiple law firm websites and microsites, your search engine optimization and rankings can be negatively affected. However, this problem can be mitigated by using subdomains instead of separate domains so that your multiple websites clearly relate to each other and are viewed as one website by search engines such as Google.
Each website and microsite must be built, maintained, and updated, which could increase your costs. Any time updates to lawyer biographies or practice groups are needed, these changes will need to be made at every website and relevant microsite, which can increase the maintenance time significantly.
Organic Traffic Results
Organic traffic happens when a potential client uses a search engine, such as Google, to look for the legal services she needs. For example, a potential client may search for “car accident lawyer in ABC location.” If your website is optimized for this kind of search (called search engine optimization or SEO), then your law firm and its webpage specific to car accidents in ABC location will show up in the search results. Essentially, the search result provides a similar benefit as a microsite or separate website because the potential client is seeing only the content relevant to her needs.
Questions To Ask
Does your firm have disparate practice areas and clients?
If the answer is yes, then multiple law firm websites or microsites might make sense for you, especially if your practice groups are “at odds” with each other. For example, you offer personal injury plaintiff and defense services. If your practice areas are limited or aligned, then you likely do not need more than one website.
Does your firm need varied marketing and branding strategies?
If the marketing and branding strategies within your firm need to be practice- or individual-specific, then multiple law firm websites or microsites could be a good idea.
What is the size of your budget, or the amount of staff time available?
If you have a limited budget or have limited internal staff time for website creation and maintenance, then multiple websites or microsites may not be the best use of your resources. More sites equal more time and money.
Do you have sufficient unique content?
Search engines do not like duplicate content, so your websites will rank lower in search results if the content on multiple sites is too similar. If you have truly unique content for each of your websites or microsites, then it may work well to have more than one site. However, if you are changing only minor details in the information, then one site is likely sufficient for your law firm.
How Law Quill Can Help
Having multiple law firm websites and microsites can be a great way to market your firm and reach your target clients. However, without good management of these sites, the results can be counterproductive as search engine rankings can decrease and costs can increase. Alternatively, utilizing SEO optimization tools may be the best choice for your law firm, as opposed to multiple sites. Fortunately, LawQuill can help you answer the question: should a law firm have multiple websites? Whether your law firm needs one or multiple websites, we can create, manage, and optimize content for you so your firm reaps the benefits and avoids the pitfalls.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your website content! Schedule a free visit with us via a 30-minute phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at email@example.com.