It’s Halloween so, a perfect time for a scary post about a ghoul in our midst….
So yesterday, we got the same call – another law firm abandoned by FindLaw, leaving their site naked in the breeze. This time, we turned around a new site same day. Now that’s not easy – it involved pulling our fire alarm – getting all hands on deck and working with our Echo WordPress template to push something live really quickly. And we didn’t engage in rounds and rounds of creative revisions or discussion on the shade of blue in the background. BUT…. within 8 hours of getting his inquiry – the new site is up and running and 100% technically sound. Designed from our Echo template, it includes:
- attorney bio pages complete with attorney specific testimonials
- removed FindLaw’s toll-free “tracking” numbers.
- contact forms
- legacy GA code
- on-site search
- social media integration
- contact us page complete with Google maps integration
- mobile responsive design with sticky phone number header.
Oh – and while I’m ranting about FindLaw…. unfortunately the firm had been paying FindLaw to write blog posts for them – except the devious, self-serving, underhanded, fine print in their agreement meant that FindLaw retained ownership of that content. So while Echo can handle blog functionality, unfortunately the firm’s new site will be blog naked (for now.) Imagine that – here’s a law firm paying FindLaw to develop content for them – that they, in fact do not own. Kind of like buying a house only to find out your mortgage is actually a lease.
And if you are a complete blockhead and still considering buying/renting your website from FindLaw – perhaps you should peruse my 9 Questions Your Website Developer Doesn’t Want you to Ask post.
Technical Roadmap for Leaving FindLaw
And for law firms, or other agencies facing a similar FindLaw induced marketing disaster, here’s a roadmap of the technical issues to handle:
Here is a summary of everything we did – taken from our instructions to our client, Justin:
- Updated all the phone numbers in content/meta descriptions/header/footers to your direct line and removed toll free “Findlaw” numbers.
- Copied the Google Analytics code as it was on your previous site. We highly recommend verifying you have ownership over this Analytics account. If not, try to obtain.
- Kept the Google Search Console verification tag. We highly recommend verifying you have ownership over this Search Console account. If not, try to obtain.
- Created a Bing Webmaster Tools account and gave you ownership.
- Updated ALL the internal links. Since your site is now on WordPress, all the URLs end with a slash (/) instead of a combination of slashes and “.shtml”. Since we were manually migrated the content we could get our hands on, it was easier to update these on the go.
- Migrated all the page Titles and Descriptions. Again, easier to do on the fly.
- Created 301 redirects for:
- all URLs ending in .shtml to point them to the new URLs with “/”.
- Duplicate legacy contact form we found during migration
- Attorneys URL to force lower case “A”.
- Blog roll and blog. Note: This redirect will need to be revised if you choose to utilize the blog feature on your new site.
- Setup and configured Yoast SEO
- Updated Robots.txt and included your XML sitemap location
- Configured contact form with a ‘thank you’ destination page and Google Event Tracking. Tested and confirmed working.
- Crawled post-launch site
- No internal 404 errors (this means all the links on the new site work!)
- No internal 301 redirects on pages (this means that all the links go to the final destination, which is how it should be!)
- I’ve also added 3 more “properties” to your search console account. The one you want to use is XXXXXXX. We can cover this during the demo.
- I was also afraid that FindLaw would see my updates so I have added us as owners to these tools and removed permissions for the email you provided to manage users. I would recommend giving us a gmail account (or you can register your current email, which is through Office 360, to be used with google products) so that we can add that as owner for everything. This prevents FindLaw from taking access away.
- Finally, I submitted the new site to be indexed by Google through Search Console. This should help get those blog posts you don’t own out of the search results. It will also help Google understand what in the world just happened.
- Allowed site to be indexed by google
- Added you as a user to the new site – you should have received an email with a PW
- Added you as a user to your new host (WP Engine) – you should receive an invitation email to create a PW
- Added your website back to your Google My Business listing and it was immediately published