Choosing the Best CMS for Your Law Firm
Managing your website is a crucial part of your business because it helps potential clients find you. One of the most important elements of building a great website is which content management system (CMS) to use.
A CMS is a software application that allows you to create, publish, and manage the information on your site.
WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Joomla are four of the most popular content management systems, but which is the best CMS for your law firm? After all, choosing the wrong CMS could cost you irretrievable time, money, and effort.
Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of the most popular content management systems, then call EverSpark for assistance in choosing the right one for your business.
What Exactly Is a CMS?
A CMS can help you build and manage your website without having to write the code from scratch. That’s a huge benefit. You also won’t have to create your own infrastructure for building web pages and storing images and videos – the CMS does that for you.
Without a CMS or coding knowledge, building a website is extremely difficult. CMS software makes it easy to create, publish, and edit content, but you should still consider hiring a developer if you want to make big changes on your site.
If you are comfortable, you can make basic changes yourself, but you’ll have the best shot at higher rankings and a better-looking page if a developer helps you.
In addition to the CMS, another important aspect of website operation is hosting. Hosting services (think GoDaddy and BlueHost) own computer servers that store the content your website displays. We won’t go into granular detail about hosting, but it’s important to be aware.
Unless your hobby is learning markup languages and developing, your best bet is to choose a CMS. You can hire a website developer to quickly build the site, then they’ll show you how to upload and manage your content going forward.
Benefits of a CMS
Carefully choosing the best CMS for law firms in particular is key. However, you can’t do that until you know what a CMS should be doing for you. Here are some of the most attractive benefits of a CMS.
You’ll Save Time
The most obvious benefit of using a CMS is the amount of time you’ll spend on it. For lawyers, this should be as little time as possible without compromising quality.
You’ll Save Money
A CMS will streamline your firm’s writing, editing, and publishing process. Because you can update website copy and blog posts yourself on a CMS, you’ll spend much less time and money on marketing.
You’ll Be in Control
Even if a developer or internet marketing firm helps you with your website, you’ll have the ultimate say in what gets written and published. Content management systems put the power in your hands. You don’t have to know code, and you don’t have to hire an in-house marketing team.
You’ll Rank Higher
Google prefers regularly-updated websites. A CMS makes it easier for you to keep your content fresh and relevant, increasing shareability (who shares articles from 2010?) and the opportunity for inbound links.
Now that you know what a CMS is and why you should have one, it’s time for the fun part: features.
You can align CMS features with your law firm’s goals. For example, if you want your firm to rank higher in Google results and beat a competitor, you can install built-in SEO tools to help you create optimized content that Google will love.
Remember, just because a feature looks snazzy doesn’t mean it would be beneficial to your firm. Make sure you have a full understanding of each feature and how much work you’ll have to put in to make it worth your while.
If you’re having trouble deciding which features would be most helpful, contact an internet marketing agency for help.
There’s no point getting a CMS if the dashboard (the first page you see when you log in) is too complicated to navigate. Your CMS should allow you to manage all content tasks – scheduling, installing plugins, reviewing analytics, and tracking user activity – from the dashboard.
The best CMS for your law firm should include powerful publishing tools. These will help you create and publish all kinds of content on your website, from custom blogs and landing pages to images, videos, contact forms, and more.
Social Media Integration
Sure, organic traffic is great, but it’s not the only source of traffic to your site. You can choose a CMS with social media integration to drive referrals to your website from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform.
With social media integration on a CMS, you can schedule and publish posts, add buttons to your pages, and evaluate how your posts are doing with analytics.
If your content isn’t optimized for search engines, search engines won’t find it and rank it higher than your competitors. Built-in SEO tools are helpful because they provide recommendations for optimizing content that can help you rank.
For example, you can update title tags and meta descriptions on your pages with the help of a built-in SEO tool.
The Best CMS For Law Firms
WordPress: Pros and Cons
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS software, powering more than 35% of all websites. There’s a reason why most people choose this CMS over others – it’s extremely customizable, and you don’t have to know any code to use its basic features.
Other pros of WordPress include:
- Thousands of available themes and plugins
- Well-designed for SEO
- Allows you to download all your content into an XML format, making it easier to move to a different system in the future
- Easy to improve page speed
But if there are pros, there must also be cons. Such is life.
- You’ll need to set up your hosting and domain name yourself
- You’ll be responsible for updating plugins and managing security and backups
- Your website may be more vulnerable to security issues due to plugins
Squarespace: Pros and Cons
Squarespace positions itself as the website builder for online stores, portfolios, and blogs.
This CMS could be a good option if your firm is not doing SEO or does not have plans to in the near future. Some Squarespace pros include:
- Automatically updated plugins
- Mobile-friendly templates
- Squarespace can host your website
- Outstanding support
There are two sides to every coin. Cons of Squarespace include:
- Concerningly slow page speeds on mobile mean that the site may look good, but it may take longer to load
- Does not cater to large websites with a deep menu hierarchy, making it extremely difficult to build multilingual sites
- No backup or restore options besides exporting product and blog data
Wix: Pros and Cons
Wix may be a viable option as a CMS if your firm is brand-new or if you’re building a website for the first time.
This CMS has become a household name thanks to advertising, but it does have limitations. Let’s start with some pros:
- Easy for beginners to create websites that look just the way they want
- Plenty of fully-responsive templates to choose from that are mobile and desktop-friendly
- Plenty of apps in the Wix App Market that function similar to WordPress’s plugins
- Like Squarespace, Wix cannot be hacked as easily as WordPress
And now for the cons:
- Once you’ve chosen a template, you can’t change it
- A free plan means you’ll have Wix-branded ads and a Wix domain name on your site
- You can’t easily download and export data
Joomla: Pros and Cons
Joomla is probably the least known platform on this list, at least for non-developers. Like WordPress, this CMS offers plenty of features and additions, but it may not be the best choice for a beginner.
Here are some pros:
- Plenty of options and flexibility in design
- You technically don’t need to know code to edit content in Joomla
- Many web hosts offer one-click installation of Joomla
And the cons are:
- You’ll probably need a developer if you want to use Joomla, as it is more complex
- Unlike WordPress, there aren’t many options for additional extensions
The Bottom Line
Whether your firm has a website or not, take a moment to evaluate what you want out of it. A lot of law firm goals depend on which content management system (CMS) your website is built on. Some firms have well-designed sites but don’t maintain them. Others may not understand how to use all the features available to them.
If your firm is small and you have little to no experience building a website, you may find that Squarespace or Wix would be the best option. If you have a larger firm or more experience with online platforms, WordPress or Joomla may be the best CMS for your law firm.
Of course, plenty of beginners successfully utilize WordPress. At EverSpark, we recommend that clients use WordPress even if they’re total newcomers to the internet. This CMS makes editing simple and comes with as many plugins and features as you can imagine.
Although you don’t have to hire a website developer, the best websites are almost always built by an experienced professional. No matter the size of your firm or the goals you have for the future, call an internet marketing company who can help you decide which CMS would be best for your purposes.