FindLaw has been a popular law firm marketing resource, claiming to be “the world’s leading producer of SEO for law firms.” Unfortunately, there seem to be a number of downsides that may indicate that it is time for your law firm to think about making a switch or avoid the service if your firm is thinking about adding internet marketing to your business development mix.
1. High Cost
FindLaw’s contracts seem to be notoriously lengthy and somewhat obtuse, locking you into a deal that could end up being long-term and expensive. This makes the high costs difficult to justify, without transparency regarding what you are specifically paying for, and what the time frame of the service will be. These costs can include a charge for website creation, another charge for “renting” flash, a fee to market the site, and several other services not included in the package. All this, and the prices only include 1 to 2 site “refreshes” per year, and were created in a proprietary system that may not translate upon removal from the service (That is, if you can remove it, see below). Another fact to consider is that Thompson, the company that owns Findlaw, employs sales representatives in every major city across the United States. That is an awful lot of overhead that they have to cover through their fees. Don’t believe us? Google “Legal Marketing [insert your city]” and see who comes up, it very well might be a Findlaw sales representative.
2. Reused Content
Often times, what you are paying for is reused across several client sites in the network. FindLaw uses templates to build your site, and reuses content in very similar fashion between multiple sites in their client portfolio. Thus, artwork and other content appears on multiple sites, quite possibly in the same metropolitan area. The end result is a link pyramid in which many sites are competing against each other for the same web traffic, all while looking somewhat similar.
3. Issues With Content Ownership
There are also several horror stories about people trying to get out of their Findlaw contracts and wanting to take their websites with them. When it comes down to it, FindLaw owns your firm’s website while under contract. The content is impermanent. This means that once you stop paying for service, your content and links in high domain authority properties are removed. This has resulted in many lawyers having a significant amount of trouble transferring site content once a contract is up. In fact, there are businesses whose sole focus is rectifying such problems (http://www.rashmun.com). Thus, many consider the FindLaw network a “Hotel California”, meaning “…you can never leave.” Inversely, owning your own website is essentially permanent and relatively inexpensive these days, with no need to tie yourself into a payment plan for the foreseeable future of your business, and any gains in ranking and web visits won’t vanish as soon as you stop paying high priced service fees.
If your law firm or your practice is thinking about switching from Findlaw for your legal internet marketing needs, contact us before you do so. We can back up your website and recreate it on another website development platform to ensure that there is no loss of data. We can also take a snapshot of your online profile (footprint) and make sure that no inbound links and search engine ranking is lost.