The unfortunate reality that most lawyers fall victim to is that they don’t own their websites, data or information.
Years ago, they had some marketing agency (we won’t name names) build them a brand new website.
Some marketing agencies require that lawyers MUST have a new website built by them in order to be able to move forward with marketing services such as Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
While this sounds great in theory, it can create problems down the road if you choose to terminate your relationship with that marketing agency.
Sure, you’re able to stop further marketing actions, but if you leave their agency you’re most likely going to have to buy your website back from them. (Don’t worry, if your law firm’s website was built by us, you know that we offer 100% full and transparent ownership to your website, assets, data and content).
Does this sound like you?
It’s probably why you’re reading this blog post today.
If you’re unsure if you own your law firm’s website or not, keep reading to uncover 5 questions to ask to know who own’s your law firm’s website.
QUESTION #1: Can you log into the back-end of your law firm’s website?
Most websites (including lawyer websites) are built on WordPress. Afterall, over 172,000,000 websites are built and hosted on WordPress (source) each year.
Do you know the Log In information to the back-end of your website.
For most WordPress website, you can Log In here: www.wordpress.com/wp-admin. From there, you’ll be able to input your Login credentials, and access the back-end of your website.
If you aren’t sure of your Login credentials, or don’t have access to the backend of your website, you may not actually own your website.
We recommend checking with the company (or person) who built your law firm’s website to ask them for this access information.
QUESTION #2: Do you own your law firm’s URL / Domain?
Your law firm’s URL is what you type into the search engine to get to your website.
For example, our company’s URL is: www.smbteam.com. Yours may be smithlawgroup(.com) or minnesotainjurylawyers(.com).
The question becomes, do you own your URL / Domain? If you don’t have direct access to a GoDaddy account or another URL provider, you’ll be able to track this down via your bank statements.
Most times, URL renewals happen yearly so you’ll be able to gauge when your website was built and check your bank statement for a charge from a URL provider.
QUESTION #3: Do you own your law firm’s content and photos?
While you may own your actual website, you may not own the content and photos that were written and posted by a marketing agency, or a freelancer.
This may be outlined in the contract that you signed – look for a clause relating to the copyright and ownership of your content and photos on the pages.
Secondarily, you’ll want to ensure that you own the rights to the pages themselves.
Not owning the content on your website may mean that you have to start all over – recreating that content, or purchasing it from your former marketing agency.
QUESTION #4: Do you own your law firm’s website hosting?
Every website (lawyer related or not) must be hosted on the internet.
A hosting service provider takes your website, and allows it to be viewed on the internet by hosting it on special computers called servers.
You can purchase hosting through WordPress themselves, or third party sources such as: GoDaddy, Hostgator, Pantheon + more.
So, do you own your law firm’s website hosting? If you have the Login credentials, and know which server you’re hosting on, then the answer is most likely yes.
QUESTION #5: Are you POSITIVE about not renting your law firm’s website from a marketing company?
The only way to truly know if you are renting your law firm’s website from your former (or current) marketing agency is to read the fine print of your contract, or ask them directly.
If you’re still unsure of who own’s your website after reading through your contract, then your best bet is to ask them directly.