5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy a FindLaw Website
FindLaw started as a website that offers resources for individuals looking to learn about law. While most of these resources are targeted toward people who are not lawyers, in an effort to monetize this platform, the company also started offering services and resources for those who are lawyers. Some of these services include marketing strategies and built-for-you websites.
When you’re just beginning to establish your online presence as a law firm, the task of creating a website may be daunting. You may not have the time or the skills to build one yourself, so you will need to find someone who does. Therefore, FindLaw offers these services using their own marketing strategies to draw you in.
However, this company may not be exactly what they seem in terms of skills and ability to keep their promises to you. While there are plenty of law firms who have taken the leap in trusting the company with their marketing, there are also plenty of law firms (as well as former FindLaw employees) who have turned against the company and begun to spread the word about their low-quality services.
Let’s take a look at why you should stay away from buying a FindLaw website in order to protect yourself and your business.
FindLaw Websites (according to FindLaw)
On the FindLaw website, you’ll find all the details needed to make you want to jump on their website-design services. Included with your FindLaw website, you’ll get a mobile-friendly version, a custom fit for your law firm, designs by award-winning members of their staff, expert copywriting, and SEO. However, the biggest selling point is that your FindLaw website will be listed in their directory that has over 8 million monthly visitors.
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Their websites are usually designed, using a mix of various media (text, photos, videos, etc.) as well as other features, such as live chat, contact forms, and more. They also offer additional services such as content marketing, social media marketing, web chat services, and other marketing solutions.
Browsing their website, and seeing all of these great features and details, you’re bound to want to sign up right away and get your website taken off your shoulders. However, let’s take a look at the reality of having a FindLaw website.
The Truth About Buying a FindLaw Website
Before we get into the specific downfalls of a FindLaw website, let’s just look at a few things that former FindLaw employees have to say about the company and their products and services:
- “Over 50% of my sales resulted in unhappy customers.”
- “More angry clients than happy ones… Products don’t work well overall… Issues with fulfillment (building sites, social media, blogs)…”
- “Findlaw has an awful reputation among quite a few of its clients, many of whom are overpaying for a poor overall service and looking to cancel.”
Now, here are a few reviews from customers:
- “Service is terrible and don’t expect them to do anything with your account once set up.”
- “Worst and most dishonest scam artists I’ve ever dealt with.”
- “After a year of ‘optimization’, I got NOT ONE inquiry.”
After reading through some of these reviews, you may begin to second guess FindLaw as a good choice. However, let’s take a deeper look at some of the specific reasons why a FindLaw website might not be the best choice for your law firm.
FindLaw websites don’t really belong to you.
FindLaw has been criticized for its unclear ownership rights. Let’s break it down for you. If you read through FindLaw’s ownership clause in the website contract, you’ll find that your decision to move your website away from FindLaw would result in loss of third-party data or property, such as stock images, call-tracking numbers, and live chat features, as well as source code and files, and any FindLaw technology or data.
You’ll also find that the company will typically lock you into a 3 year contract. Many customers have found themselves attempting to get out of their contract early and having to pay the remaining months in order to do so.
With that being said, you have to be committed to using the platform long-term. If you don’t, you may end up paying a steep price to get out of the contract as well as build a whole new website.
They cost more than they are worth.
Considering you are locked into a contract with FindLaw and receiving subpar services, the cost of their websites is too high. Depending on which products and services you add on, you can find yourself paying anywhere from $250 to thousands per month.
While this price isn’t terrible compared to other companies and marketing services, you should also compare what you are getting for that price. Most other companies and marketing experts will be able to build you a custom-made, long-lasting strategy for your law firm. For example, a law firm SEO expert would find multiple ways to help your website rank on the search engines, while FindLaw uses primarily one technique to help you rank.
You should also consider the fact that you would be putting all of your money toward a website that may disappear if you decide that you want to use a different platform.
You may be harassed into buying more add-ons.
On top of the basic website-building service, FindLaw offers many other products and services that can include content production and marketing, operating your blog, managing your social media, creating videos, monitoring the live chat, or running PPC ads for your law firm. While these products and services may sound like they would be a benefit to your business, they are also expensive.
However, you may not necessarily have that much of a choice when it comes to choosing your add-ons. Some FindLaw customers have reported being bullied into purchasing more from the company with the threat that their competitors will be sold the services or content instead.
The combination of bullying and constant harassment can lead many law firms to make poor decisions regarding which services and products to buy from the company.
FindLaw doesn’t offer the best website designs.
One of the worst parts about a FindLaw website is that you may find your website looking very similar to the website of your competitors. While you have the option to pay about 10x more for a custom website, there are many law firms that choose to go the less expensive route and buying a pre-built one. The downfall to this is that their websites may lack meaning and personalization relating to your law firm.
Regarding the actual designs, many of their designs have flaws including headers that are too large, home pages that are too long, keyword stuffing through excess content, and outdated design elements. On top of that, your website is being built on an outdated platform, so getting help with changes will only cost you more.
Their SEO strategy is not built to last.
When working with FindLaw, you may find that your website easily reaches the top of the search engines. However, this is only done through a primary link-building strategy. FindLaw will list your website numerous times on their website to rank yours higher. While this may sound like a great strategy, it won’t last if you decide to take your website somewhere else. FindLaw has also been penalized by Google in the past for their shady link-building strategies.
While FindLaw has since tried to improve their SEO tactics, they don’t seem to be up to the standards of other marketers. Content and blog posts seem to lack structure and meaning (probably only being used to add more pages to a website). It also doesn’t seem like the company spends any significant amount of time on conducting keyword research. When creating content, they also seem to take advantage of backlinks by linking to their site and other properties more than other high-quality, reputable sources.
In Conclusion: If You Are Looking For A Long-Term Strategy That Will Stand The Test Of Time, Don’t Purchase a FindLaw Website
While it may seem that FindLaw has the best solution for your website needs, they are severely lacking the motivation to help you as a business. Their main concern is making money off of their services without putting true effort into making it worth it for their customers.
Creating a new law firm website seems overwhelming, but there are plenty of other options that will get you a website that is your property, less expensive, well-designed, personalized, and marketed using ethical and effective law firm SEO strategies.
If you’d like help getting started, schedule a free SEO strategy session and website audit with one of our senior law firm marketing specialists. We would love to help you get the answers you need to make an informed decision about your law firm marketing strategy for 2020.