Choosing a content management system (CMS) for your law firm is a tricky business. A CMS is, to put it simply, the software you use to build a website. One of the most popular, which you have probably heard of, is WordPress. We use WordPress here at Insivia for both our own site and our clients’ sites, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right CMS for your law firm. Here are some things to consider when choosing a CMS for your law firm:
Ease of Use
In order to get the most out of the CMS you choose, it’s important to make sure you have (or have access to someone who has) the appropriate level of web development expertise required to use it. Where some CMS softwares don’t require any knowledge of HTML or coding experience, like Wix, others can only be built through HTML coding, like MODX. If the CMS has a demo available to try, take advantage of that so you can know if your capabilities match what’s required before you commit. Also keep in mind that even if a software doesn’t initially seem to require coding experience, many CMS systems can be vastly improved and customized with HTML.
Although you may think you will be able to figure out how to design your website on your own, you would be surprised at how helpful a community of other users can be. If, for instance, you’re trying to format the heading of your website and it’s not working how you think it should, it might be nice to have the help of others at your disposal. WordPress has the largest community of all the CMS softwares, and, chances are, any question you have has already been asked and answered in their forums. A larger community also means more website templates and plug-ins that could be applied to your site. If you choose a CMS that doesn’t have a large community, you might end up both pigeonholed into a limited number of add-ons, and with a lack of troubleshooting support.
Not all CMS software was developed with the same purpose in mind. Some are better suited for businesses, and some were developed for blogging. Joomla, a CMS that requires intermediate website development skills, is used by businesses like Barnes & Noble and Heathrow Airport. It most likely wouldn’t be an appropriate platform for someone looking to start a simple blog. In the same way, it wouldn’t be appropriate for your law firm to build a website with Blogger. However, WordPress was originally created for blogging, but in the past few years has really shown itself to be a nice platform for businesses and corporate entities. If you want your law firm’s site to look professional, make sure to choose a CMS that supports that goal, and not one that only offers blogging templates.
Many CMS softwares are free at first, but with limitations. If you want full control over your website, you need to be prepared to pay up. Many of the best website templates will cost you, and unless you want a .wordpress.com, or something similar, after your law firm’s name in your URL, you will have to buy your domain name (usually a yearly subscription). You also have to consider the price of hiring someone to design your website and graphics for you if you aren’t comfortable doing it in-house. If you aren’t careful, creating a website for your law firm could cost you thousands of dollars. Make sure you are working within your price range to avoid a half-finished website that also blew your budget.
There is truly no CMS that will work for every person, or every law firm. Although WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are three of the most popular, take the time to explore all of the best CMS options out there to determine what your best option is.