Expert Article Library

Do You Need an Expert Website?

Since most attorneys do their research on the web, should experts have their own websites so attorneys can find them? That’s not an easy question to answer. In the past dozen years, ExpertPages has seen too many expert websites come and go. If you are thinking about a website, here are some points for you to consider.

1. Web Design

Designing a good and useful website can be expensive. For example, one friend paid a professional designer $3,200 for a personal website. Since the cost of designing a website varies widely, it makes sense to talk with different designers, look at examples of their work, discuss what you would like to achieve and get a price estimate. This can not only save you money, but also give you a good idea of what to expect if you decide to build a website.

2. Web Content

Few things can bloat a web design quote as much as the lack of content. You have to give a designer materials to work with, something you should consider before contacting a web designer. The first thing a web designer will want to know is what materials you have for the website. Even after you hire and pay a designer, you still have to locate the materials you want on the site and be sure they are in digital format. If new copy is needed, you will need to write it or have it written for you. You will also need to provide the images. You should provide professionally taken photos of yourself and any other photos you want to use should be copyright free.

3. Other Considerations

People tend to forget some of the other costs involved with setting up a website and keeping it current. Your site will need a host, a place to live. This may cost no more than $10 a month, but this modest sum adds up quickly.

You will need to update your website regularly. A site with no fresh material soon looks stale, even if things rarely change in your line of work. At the very least, you should update your resume once a year, or more often if your phone, address, email or other information about you changes. Your web designer or another technically-proficient person can update your site for a minimal charge, but you should ask how much updates will cost before you start.

4. Promotion and SEO

Many professionals decide to build a website after a Google search in their field brings up a Who's Who in the business – but they don't see their own name in that list. Then, after building their expensive website, they find that Google doesn’t display their website.

To be shown in Google results, you will probably need another expert, one who specializes in SEO. SEO -- or "search engine optimization" -- is a different field from web design. SEO experts modify both visible and invisible parts of the website to gain better search engine exposure. They work with corporate and consumer websites and are used to corporate-size budgets, so they may ask for a sizeable monthly retainer.

Simply hiring an SEO expert does not guarantee visibility. It is difficult for an outsider to identify a reliable SEO expert because results do not show up immediately, if at all. SEO experts may also use extreme, or "black hat," techniques that may cause your website to be "penalized," and end up ranking lower instead of higher in search results. Yet another expert may be required to solve this problem.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that, while a company needs to have its own website, a single practitioner has other options. Getting your name out there on the internet and getting your profile to come up in search engine results does not require a website. Online directories and community websites enable you to gain significant web presence without the significant costs and without the need to deal with the significant problems associated with building your own website.