A question that we often receive from attorneys is when (or if) it makes sense to have more than one law firm website.
There are both good reasons and bad reasons to have more than one law firm website, and the answer as to whether it makes sense for your firm depends on a number of factors. Here are some of the things that it can depend on.
When does it make sense for a law firm to have more than one law firm website?
There are several good reasons to have more than one law firm website. Here are just a few:
You practice in separate locations or you have incompatible practice types
The last thing a potential client wants when they visit your law firm’s website is to be confused. And, if you practice in several, separate locations or you have incompatible practice types, trying to keep everything on one law firm website might be confusing.
For example, if you practice in several different states, it can be an intelligent strategy to have a website for each state that you practice in. Trying to describe the same law, penalties, and processes for several different states on one website can be off-putting for potential clients.
Similarly, if you have “conflicting” practice areas, you may want to have more than one website. For example, if you practice personal injury and medical malpractice, or DUI defense and criminal defense, these kinds of practice areas are generally easy to keep on a single site.
However, if you practice criminal defense and family law, for example, you may confuse your potential clients or give them the wrong impression by keeping those two seemingly conflicting practice areas on the same website.
You want to focus on becoming a market leader/thought leader in a specific area
Another good reason to consider having more than one law firm website is when you want to focus on becoming a market leader and/or thought leader in a specific practice area.
Even if you handle other cases or matters, having an extra website in this instance can be a viable strategy because you can create a highly focused website on the topic in which you want to become a leader. Meanwhile, you can continue to use your first website to keep business related to other cases or matters coming in, without confusion on the part of your potential clients.
You want to target a specific, time-sensitive type of case
What about when you’re focused on a specific type of case that’s time sensitive? Again, here’s another reason that you may want to have more than one website.
Mass torts marketing could be an example of something like this. Let’s say there is a dangerous drug or device that gets recalled resulting in multidistrict litigation. You may want to have a dedicated website to drive potential plaintiffs to. The benefit of this strategy is that, by having a dedicated website, you’ll be sure those potential plaintiffs are focused and not distracted by anything else, including your other practice areas.
When does it not make sense for a law firm to have more than one website?
Just because you can have more than one law firm website doesn’t mean you should. In fact, in many cases, having more than one law firm website can do more harm than good. Here are a few bad reasons for having more than one law firm website.
You don’t have a defined objective for having more than one law firm website
When it comes to your law firm’s online marketing, the last thing that you want to do is spread your efforts too thin, or take up a new marketing project without a good reason for doing so. And, if you don’t know why you should have a second website, there’s a good chance you should stick to just one website.
If you decide to have a second website just to have it, you’ll likely find that it fails to produce the kind of business you want, and you may end up wasting a lot of time and money on it.
Your competition has a lot of law firm websites
What about a situation in which your competition has a lot of websites? Does that mean you should have more than one website, too?
Again, what is your objective in wanting to have more than one website? If the only reason is that your competition does, then try to come up with a better reason. Just because your competition has more than one website doesn’t mean that it’s a strategy that necessarily works for them — or maybe it did in the past, but doesn’t any longer. And, if it is working for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work for your firm.
What other things should you consider before you have more than one law firm website?
Once you’ve got a compelling reason for having more than one law firm website, you’ll want to look at the situation closely and ask yourself several follow-up questions, which include questions such as:
Do I have the time to do it right?
It takes time and energy to do one law firm website the right way. Now imagine having more than one. If you don’t have the time to do more than one website the right way — that is, strategically building a large body of content for your potential clients — then you’ll likely need to set aside the funds to hire ghostwriters to assist you. (Understanding the nuts and bolts of choosing a good ghostwriter is important, especially for attorneys. Listen to our podcast “Hiring a Ghostwriter For Your Law Firm’s Website & Blog” to learn more.)
Depending on where an attorney is in the business life cycle of his or her firm, attorneys generally either have more time or more money on their hands — and either one can be valuable in developing your law firm’s web presence. To see how to use your time and money effectively when it comes to your online marketing, see “Online Law Firm Marketing, Your Money, and the Value of Time.”
Is there enough substance for me to provide?
When it comes to creating high-quality website content, be sure that you’re adding something new to the conversation. Google has an interest in making sure that the best content is returned for potential clients’ queries. As a result, it will benefit you to make sure that your content is detailed, educational, and engaging. If you don’t have enough substance to provide on a second website or if you can only say what’s already out there on the internet, stick to one law firm website, instead.
Am I patient enough? Will I follow Google’s Guidelines?
Successful content marketing isn’t an overnight process. As a result, some attorneys get impatient and fear that their content marketing strategy isn’t working. Lawyers, of course, think about legal ethics and the rules surrounding their profession, but there’s also Google’s guidelines to consider. Attorneys who don’t play by Google’s rules and engage in bad practices like buying links are likely to lose the value of their site at some point in the future. And, once you have multiple sites and you engage in those practices, the risks can increase greatly.
However, if you have a good reason to create more than one law firm website and the time, substance, and patience to do it the right way, creating another site can be a strategic advantage for your law firm.
Learn more about when to have more than one law firm website
If you’re going to have more than one law firm website, the decision to do so shouldn’t be made based on emotion. To learn more about having more than one law firm website — and how to do so strategically — see our webinar “Effective Deployment of Multiple Law Firm Websites.”