Your Website – Three Things You Absolutely Must Control

I continue to run into attorneys who don’t really have control over their website – due to vendors who have set up certain systems, but retained high-level log in credentials (and failed to supply their clients with similar credentials.)  In common English please – Lawyers should have exclusive control and access at the highest administrative level to log ins for their Domain, their Host and this Analytics account.  In priority (and technical complexity) order:


As I’ve written before, if you don’t own your domain, you are essentially leasing someone else’s website.  As a most insidious practice, some legally focused online marketers are getting their clients to pay for search consulting services and eventually upping the price or reselling the domain to the competitor across the street.  This is the real estate equivalent of a landlord forcing a tenant to paying for upgrades to an apartment and then turning around and charging extra for the upgraded space.  Not sure if you “own” your domain?  Find out at Who Is.


You need high level access to your websites hosting provider in order to do a variety of back end things – like changing an email provider, moving hosting solutions and exporting your site’s content database.  While you may want technical assistance in performing these tasks, you must have access in order to do so.  Calling up your old SEO begging for passwords can be a drawn out, frustrating process.

Analytics Log In

For the most part, when I say “Analytics” I mean Google Analytics. Your Google password can then be used across the entire Google ecosystem –Analtyics, Adwords, Email, Webmaster Tools etc.  Having admin level access here enables you to invite others to view (or work on) any of these accounts. Thoughtlessly gifting this level of access to a vendor enables them to read your mail or create new accounts to access your performance after you fire them (recent occurrence with a client and vendor both of whom will remain unnamed).  You should have exclusive high level access.  Note that Google Analytics has recently changed their interface (confusing every non-regular user).  Carefully select access for your vendors among the following options (and never include “add users”):



Entrust your vendors with the performance of your website, but never abdicate control of it to them.


UPDATE:  Check out Steve’s comment below for an approach your agency should be using.


  1. says

    I’m amazed at attorneys who lack control of their website. I get called constantly by Yodle (and others), and I still can’t believe anyone would fall for their service. They own the website and phone number. You pay them to generate traffic to that domain and number and build up its rankings. When you stop paying them, they call your competitors and sell them the exact same number and same domain and same content that you paid for. I know that we are busy as attorneys, but in exchange for not having to do anything to create the website, you have really just paid to build an asset for someone else to use. That’s just plain crazy.

  2. Steve M. says

    Great advice, Conrad. It’s important for firms to put all accounts under their name, control & billing. .. One additional technique we use is to get the firm to create a ‘’ email, and then register a dedicated Google account for web services. Permissions and sharing can then get added from this account — to both vendors & key firm personnel — and it serves as an ‘evergreen’ account to aggregate all user passcodes in one place. It also shields personal email accounts away from the vendor; and isn’t effected when a firm member leaves.

    This can be done with permissions, as you suggest; but this might be another alternative to consider — layering in email as a utility to share the permissions, auto-forwarding notices to both firm & vendor, etc.

    Once again, great post! Drives me crazy when firms try to give you too much access. If I wouldn’t do it for my own company… 🙂

  3. Alan Bleiweiss says

    Put Findlaw at the top of the list of crap bullshit ripoff companies that burn law firms with this kind of behavior.

    It’s not just law firms though – this happens to many countless other site owners who just don’t know better.

    I’ve got a major real estate client finally dumping their “real estate web services” provider after three years of hell – and after they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for a crappy ancient template driven site on a walled platform.

    Any industry where some asshat agency gets their foot in the door building sites using crappy proprietary templated systems or where they get some legs from selling services is filled with similar nightmare stories.

    Site owners get sold a shiny object by manipulative sales people who say “we already have X companies in your industry – so trust us…”