How to Evaluate Web Developers

Selecting a website developer can be a daunting task. Numerous factors play into the decision, often resulting in long delays in the process. When selecting a Web development company, firms should determine the presence of the following factors:

  • Experience in building legal Web sites,
  • Understanding of the law firm's target and existing customers,
  • Ability to drive traffic to the firm's site,
  • Ability to make recommendations as to features and site organization, and security.

 

Every firm will no doubt have unique needs and preferences when it comes to choosing a website developer. But to help firms get started in making this important decision, below is a Website Developer Evaluation Sheet, which highlights some important factors to take into consideration.

Website Developer Evaluation Sheet

A. Developer experience building legal websites:

B. Years in business and number of employees:

C. Sample of work and/or other law firm clients:

D. Project Team:

  1. Who will be developing the site?
  2. Do the individuals who make up the development team have experience building websites for professional service firms?

E. Understanding of legal marketing:

  1. Can the developer make recommendations as to best practices used by other top firms?
  2. Can the developer make recommendations for site content and organization?
  3. Can the developer make suggestions as to how to use the site to attract and retain clients?
  4. Does the developer use legal disclaimers?
  5. Does the developer understand how to tailor sections of the firm's site for practice areas, industries, and recruiting candidates?
  6. Can the developer suggest industry and practice area organization?

F. Understanding of business or consumer target audience (Example, a firm with a strong employment law practice may want to target employers and not employees):

  1. Does the developer understand what potential clients are looking for when they visit a site?

G. Interactive features:

  1. What type of interactive features does the developer suggest?
  2. Are the suggested features appropriate for the firm's target audience?
  3. How will these features impact the firm's business?

H. Traffic:

  1. Can the developer provide me with extensive traffic reports?
  2. Can the developer explain how to use the reports to refine site content?
  3. Will the developer optimize the site so that it is likely to appear on the first page of search results?
    • How often will the developer re-optimize the site?
    • Is the developer familiar with the legal industry and be able to identify likely searches used by my potential clients?
  4. What can the developer do to drive traffic to my site?

I. Technical issues:

  1. Site security
  2. Hosting
  3. Site maintenance
    • How much will it cost to make changes to the site?
    • Can the firm make changes or do they need to go through the Web Developer?