Stay in Control: 10 Reasons an Agency Puts Your Website at Risk

by Nov 20, 2023

It has been said over and over again how important a website is to the success of a business. This reality applies to a hair salon as much as it does to a law firm. For small law firms specifically, a website allows you to show off your legal credentials, target potential clients, build your brand, grow your law practice, and grab a larger share of the market. 

With so much at stake, it is hard to believe that so many solo attorneys and small law firms relinquish control of their websites to an agency. By doing so, certain updates and changes may not be timely and duly made, creating potentially serious repercussions. 

Here, we describe the top reasons why you – as a solo attorney or small law firm – should never relinquish control of your website to an agency. And if you have, we tell you how to regain control in the most judicious way possible.

Why Maintaining Control of Your Website Matters 

If you want your law firm website to do for you what it is intended to do, you don’t build the website and then leave it as it is for perpetuity. It must be managed, consistently updated, and developed. 

Because attorneys are so busy, they often leave the building, managing, updating, and developing to an agency. As a result, the agency maintains primary, if not complete, control of the website and access to it. 

But recall that these agencies have many customers who may or may not be related to the legal industry. Even when law firms are the agency’s primary focus, these agencies may not know much about ethics and the law. 

Consequently, the agency may not properly or effectively determine:

  1. What technical aspects are necessary for law firm websites;
  2. What content can and/or should be on the website to avoid legal consequences and attract new clients; 
  3. When something on the website must be updated or changed; and, more importantly, 
  4. When the latter must be done with urgency or else risk legal, financial, or reputational implications for the law firm.

As a client of an agency, your law firm is one of many other clients. Your priorities may not be aligned with the agency’s priorities. In fact, your priorities might even be in competition with the priorities of other clients of the same agency. 

Now, you may not be able to think of a situation when you might require immediate access to your website. Or you might think that the situation will never apply to your unique circumstances. 

But the reasons we list below are quite common, and if not proactively considered, they have the potential to materialize into significant problems. 

Bottom line, you should always be able to access the backend of your website at any time of the day or night, on any day of the year, and from anywhere in the world.Plus, with direct access comes direct benefits.

Ten Reasons You Need 24/7 Access to Your Law Firm Website 

Immediate access to their law firm website empowers lawyers to respond effectively to a wide range of scenarios, from client management to crisis communication, security, compliance, and more. It ensures that the online presence of the law firm is adaptable, secure, and up-to-date, ultimately supporting the firm’s success and reputation. 

Here are the top ten reasons why you need 24/7 access to your law firm website, and the benefits that correspond with each.

#1 A crisis can ruin the reputation of a law firm.

Crises must be managed in real-time. Emergencies happen in real life and virtual life, and when they do, immediate and appropriate action must be taken. Crises can often be effectively handled through immediate access to your website, especially when the crisis involves any of the following:

  • Security breaches
  • Defacement or hacking
  • Outages and downtime
  • Legal compliance issues
  • False information or defamatory content
  • Copyright infringement claims
  • Negative publicity
  • Phishing and scams
  • Accessibility issues (e.g., ADA-related complaints) 
  • Malware or malicious code
  • Natural disasters or technical failures

In these situations, you must have direct access to your website to post notifications, provide guidance, or reassure clients. Failure to do so puts you at risk of losing potential clients or damaging your reputation. 

Ultimately, immediate access allows you to address emergencies swiftly to protect your law practice and to maintain client trust and confidence.

Tip: At LawLytics, as a website platform created by and only for lawyers and small law firms, we understand how essential direct access to your website is. That is why you always have access to the backend regardless of where you are or what time it is. But don’t trust us, trust our members who testify to the same.

#2 Failure to make important updates online can result in missed opportunities. 

Updates do not always require immediate attention, but some do. Either way, updates benefit the law firm best when they are promptly addressed. 

One specific area that typically requires immediate attention is staff or attorney changes. When you hire a new attorney with certain credentials, you might want to make that public knowledge as soon as possible to target a specific demographic. On the other hand, when a staff member or attorney is terminated or departs, you need to update public profiles in real time, especially if that former staff member could negatively impact the law firm.

Some other important updates could include information related to:

  • Client data
  • Law firm announcements
  • Legal developments
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Technical issues

Simply put, you want to inform your clients and prospects promptly of any updates. Whether it’s a change in the law, an important court decision, or an urgent message about your firm’s operations, being able to make immediate updates to your website allows you to keep your audience well-informed in real time. Waiting for an agency to make these changes could mean missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your clients.

Updates in real time allow you to control your brand and improve client communication, which can lead to long-term relationships and referrals.

#3 You could face legal, financial, or other problems when you fail to comply with certain policies, regulations, or legal ethics.

Lawyers must comply with policies, regulations, and legal ethics. All of the latter can change periodically, and all can directly or indirectly affect or be affected by a website. Below are examples of laws or issues that may lead to legal problems via a law firm’s website:

  • False advertising
  • Unauthorized practice of law
  • Data privacy violations
  • Accessibility violations
  • Copyright infringement
  • Defamation
  • Trademark infringement
  • FTC compliance
  • Ethical violations
  • Phishing or fraud
  • Child online protection
  • Consumer protection laws
  • Securities laws
  • Unfair competition
  • Jurisdictional issues
  • Third-party liability

Prompt updates to the website allow you to remain compliant and avoid potential legal issues. This reason alone should also prompt small law firms and solo attorneys to require direct access to their websites. 

#4 Poor content can cost you new clients.

New, fresh content is great because it gives a boost to SEO and keeps current and prospective clients informed and engaged. Some content is time-sensitive, like a blog on a Supreme Court decision. Being among the first to deliver an insightful blog on the topic benefits you as much as it does your audience. On the other hand, if you wait because the agency is doing it for you, it can get lost among all the others that have accumulated on the internet from the time the decision was made to the time your agency finally published it.

Rather than relying on an agency – which has multiple clients with the same or competing priorities – to consistently update and add content, you can ensure consistency by partaking in the effort yourself. 

Keep in mind that when your website is regularly updated and reflects your latest services, knowledge, achievements, and insights, it instills confidence. It also shines a light on your commitment to provide up-to-date information and solutions to potential clients’ legal concerns. They will be more likely to trust your expertise and choose your law firm over others. Additionally, Google and other search engines recognize this trust and credibility, which are significant factors in page ranking.

Along the same lines of consistent and timely publication is timely content removal. In certain cases, legal firms may need to remove content that is misleading, no longer accurate, or no longer relevant due to legal requirements, changes in the law, or other reasons. Removal of this content is time-sensitive and critical.

Tip: At LawLytics, we know content. We know how important quality content is to the success of your website. We also know how time consuming it is to produce. It’s why we offer a built-in content generator that allows you to quickly and smartly add quality, optimized, and customizable content – already reviewed by an attorney – to your website. 

#5 No one can distinguish your law firm from another one.  

All the McDonald’s and Pepsi Colas of the world are not the only ones who have a brand to curate, develop, and protect – your law firm does, too. Your website is often the first point of contact for potential clients. Being able to make immediate changes means that you have full control over your brand’s representation. You can ensure that your messaging, visuals, and content are consistently aligned with your firm’s values and goals.

In the event you already have a well-developed brand, you still need full access to your website. Things like negative reviews, bad feedback, or PR crises like a negative news story, a lawsuit, or a client issue, can detrimentally harm your brand. This harm, however, can be avoided or minimized if immediately addressed.

#6 Important data points may go undetected, resulting in poor decision making. 

If your website is not bringing in the leads that you had hoped for your law practice, you need to know why. The agency managing your website may have gotten sidetracked by other matters or clients, or it may simply not have the resources, knowledge, and tools to determine the reason for the website’s poor performance. 

However, when you have direct website access, you can implement data-tracking tools to measure the performance and marketing efforts yourself. From that data, you can make informed decisions.

Tip: Google Analytics provides powerful insights into a website’s performance. At LawLytics, these reports are easily accessible on your dashboard. Plus, because you have complete access to your website, you also have access to these reports at any time of day and any day of the year, meaning no delays when you want to maximize marketing strategies. 

#7 You might fail to be responsive to market trends, resulting in missed opportunities.

The legal landscape is constantly evolving. Staying relevant and adaptable is crucial for solo attorneys and small law firms. You may need to pivot your marketing strategy or update your website to align with current market trends. An agency is often not paid to watch these market trends on your behalf. Likewise, it is not guaranteed an agency will suggest or make the necessary changes to help you stay relevant and in tune with the legal industry’s dynamics.

Tip: With the LawLytics built-in content generator, you can easily add or update a practice area that aligns with the trends in the legal market and where you want to take your law practice. 

#8 Your law firm and your clients can suffer from outdated or insufficient security. 

To implement security measures and protect the website against potential threats, lawyers may need to take immediate action. This could involve changing login credentials, addressing vulnerabilities, or tightening access controls. 

An agency may not have the same urgency to secure your data or your client’s data. In fact, many agencies may not have this capability, but you might assume they do. Either way, if you don’t have immediate access to your website, you cannot promptly safeguard your website and the data it contains.

#9 An agency can cost you more than a monthly fee. 

Hiring an agency to build your website and maintain it can be expensive. It can take them months on end just to get the website built. Maintaining, refreshing, updating, and securing the website is another matter entirely. Further, when the agency fails to perform as expected, the costs can materialize in unexpected ways, such as:

  • Lost clients 
  • Lost opportunities
  • Reputation damage
  • Data breaches
  • SEO penalties
  • Wasted investment

By having the capability to manage and make changes yourself, you can save on costs and allocate resources more efficiently to other areas of your law practice.

#10 Contrary to popular belief, your law firm website still won’t produce the desired results.

Handing over control of your website to an agency will not get you ranked on search engine results automatically. In fact, you may never get ranked. And there is nothing worse than paying good money for a website that fails to move the needle. 

We know you practice law and not web design or marketing, and that’s why you pay someone else for it. However, most agencies simply cannot deliver on their promises, and so attorneys switch from one to another in their continued search for a successful law firm website. 

Agencies fail in part because they deliver on one thing but not the other (e.g., written SEO but not technical SEO, good website design but poor content, etc.). If you want to ensure your law firm website’s success, you often need to take matters into your own hands. It does not mean you have to reallocate time from practicing law to time managing your website, but it does mean you have to find the smarter solution.

Tip: You can stop the search for the elusive perfect agency and contact LawLytics today. LawLytics offers optimal value for your money: optimized content to build out or grow practice areas, a full spectrum of SEO tools, smart integrations, and a beautiful website designed specifically for the legal industry. Find out what your new law firm website could look like by using our preview feature available here

How to Get Complete Control of Your Law Firm Website Today

As a solo attorney or small law firm, you have the power to make your website a dynamic, client-focused asset that propels your business forward. Don’t wait – embrace the capability to make immediate changes, and watch your law firm’s online presence flourish in an ever-competitive legal landscape. You can do this as a LawLytics member.

LawLytics is not an agency but a solution for your law firm website needs. How it works is easy, simply contact us to schedule a 20-minute interactive demo with a product expert. For current members who want to maximize the benefits available to them through LawLytics, reach out to support to learn more. 

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