The price question comes up frequently when I’m discussing potential website design projects, particularly with smaller firms.
The fact is whether you are a boutique litigation firm or a massive, multinational AmLaw 50 firm, your website is your primary branding, marketing, communications, sales, and recruitment tool.
And because we understand the important role your firm’s website plays in your firm’s success, we have developed a process that is designed to deliver deep and lasting results. The process is deliberate, it takes time, and, as a result, it costs more. Templates that can be easily populated may be tempting and more affordable, they still require a lot of work to become something truly great.
The most effective law firm website is custom designed to reflect your firm’s culture, demonstrate your expertise, and serve your clients and prospects as well as your internal users. Building an effective site requires a strategic partner with a history of working with law firms who understands the intricacies of these organizations and the vital role their website plays.
Let’s look at what goes into the price of that expertise to see how that investment should pay off—with a final product that provides your firm with a deep and lasting change.
Pricing for Website Design & Development Can Be Confusing
Pricing is rarely transparent, and if you aren’t in the industry, it can be downright befuddling.
When it comes to reviewing bids from various design agencies, you might think it’s a matter of comparing apples to apples. But that’s often not the case.
Every design firm has its own approach and, by extension, pricing structure. Some may present an all-inclusive project fee based on your website design RFP, while others might have a menu of a la carte design options and prices depending on the level of customization you require.
These variables can make it harder to meaningfully differentiate between quotes—and even the total anticipated cost of your project. Having a solid, detailed RFP can ensure price quotes that are as accurate as possible.
The price of law firm websites is due in part to the distinctly tall order they need to fill:
- deliver an immediate and recognizable brand identity
- provide compelling and engaging thought leadership
- showcase the most important credentials, matters, and individual wins
- attract and recruit the best new talent
- serve as an internal resource for sales and marketing
There aren’t any off-the-shelf, plug-and-play websites that can do all that.
Law Firms Aren’t Like Other Businesses. Neither Are Their Websites.
You know the quirks and peculiarities of law firms compared to traditional corporations.
With multiple partners or owners, the leadership structure is very flat. Each partner/owner has a vested interest in the firm’s performance. And each of them has strong opinions about, well, almost everything, particularly when it comes to something as visible as the website.
Some partners obsess over the features of their competitors’ websites. Others might fret about the length and content of the team’s bios. Still others might not appreciate or understand the value a quality website can provide in the first place.
While law firms have much in common, each has its own goals and aspirations. They can serve widely varied industries. And they can be extraordinary at one thing or competent in a multitude.
We have worked with law firms of all stripes and sizes.
In doing so, we have developed a proven process for wrangling those varying viewpoints into alignment and delivering a strategic final product that reflects the careful thought that went into it. That prescribed approach commands a premium price—but also one that pays dividends.
Successfully identifying those dynamics and navigating those challenges is fraught. This is not work to be entrusted to first-timers. It’s also not for established design firms who lack experience in the legal market.
For Law Firm Website Work, Our Process Is the Product
Designing and developing a law firm website goes well beyond pretty colors, flashy photos, or fancy features.
It’s not a readily scalable or repeatable process like building widgets, laying bricks, or even cranking out a line of automobiles. Because every law firm website project is different and demands a distinct approach, the cost is inherently higher than sites with fewer custom needs or complex purposes and audiences to serve.
So let’s break down some of these steps along the way to give you a better window into how Decker Design works and what goes into the final price tag.
Getting the most out of your website or redesign project means taking a prescriptive approach and following a deliberate path. Here are the steps we follow with all of our law firm clients, no matter how large or small.
You don’t know what you don’t know. What problems are you solving? What do your end users need or expect? How should your website reflect your firm’s culture and brand archetype?
The discovery process kicks things off with deep discussions and exercises that generate consensus and provide direction.
The result is a roadmap that will guide the project throughout the process. When everyone has the same map, it’s easier to get to the finish line where nobody is surprised and your website delivers on the original premise.
In the strategy phase, we are engaging in some crucial pre-design work.
We take a close look at your existing website content and design and explore whether it’s contributing to or detracting from your brand promise. We explore how that content should inform some of the design directions we could take. We consider different visual approaches and how they affect the overall tone and manner.
That input gives us a framework for doing the actual design work.
By the time we start designing, we already have a good idea of what the actual web pages will look like based on the direction we determined in the first two steps.
We begin to see how a carousel of images works. We start to style each section, making sure that they are consistent across the site while also distinct in their own way. While diversity and inclusion may have a different look and feel from pro bono, we make sure both remain on brand.
As all of these areas come into focus, we are getting closer to fully getting it up and running.
With the design work done, we move into pressure testing and troubleshooting. We make sure the images are right, the fonts and graphics are rendering properly, and everything is functioning as it should.
Finally, our developer trains your team on how to use your new tool and keep it current and operational. Having this additional level of training support empowers your team to hit the ground running, eliminating hours spent searching in your CMS.
Investing in Your Small Law Firm’s Website Is a Big Deal
The cost of website work for a law firm has no relation to the size of your firm. It’s also not based on usage, like an advertisement you purchase or a campaign you buy to collect clicks or impressions.
A quality site with an effective design is the result of a thorough and thoughtful discovery and research process led by an experienced partner. This is from-scratch work that is a matter of time and expertise. But a well-designed website acts as a powerful marketing multiplier, which means it’s well worth the price of doing it right.
If you’d like to discuss your law firm’s next website project, we’d love to hear from you.