When you’re building a website, there are a lot of decisions you’ll have to make. What sort of theme do you want to use, which pages do you need, and what landing pages should you include? One question that may not cross your mind is what platform you should host your site on.
Web hosting is a vital part of building a strong law firm site, and picking the right hosting service could make or break your search engine rankings. Read on to learn more about web hosting and discover some of our favorite hosts for law firm websites.
What Is Web Hosting?
Before we dive into the five best hosts for law firm websites, let’s talk about what web hosting is.
Websites are stored on servers, computers that connect different users to that site. Most website owners don’t find it practical to buy, set up, and maintain their own servers. Instead, they rent space for their website on another company’s servers.
The companies that rent this server space are website hosts. They maintain servers all over the world and offer a variety of hosting services that cover the needs of different-sized companies.
Why Web Hosting is Important
So what makes one web hosting company different from another, and why is it so important to your law firm?
One of the biggest factors differentiating web hosts is what sort of site speed they offer. About half of users will abandon a web page that takes more than two seconds to load.
Your site speed depends on the server capabilities your web hosting service provides. Everything from server locations to the quality of the equipment they use can speed up or slow down your site. And if you’re working with an inferior host, you’re losing business.
SEO and Website Hosting
But site speed isn’t only important for user experience – it’s also critical for search engine optimization.
Google and other search engines want to provide the best experience for their users, just like you. So they’re going to favor sites that, in turn, provide the best and most valuable experience to visitors.
If your site takes longer than two or three seconds to load, it’s much less likely to rank highly in search engine results. Google also takes into account the amount of time a site spends down, or not working. If your site host has a lot of downtimes, your search engine rankings will suffer.
The Best Hosts for Legal Websites
So when you go looking for a quality legal site host, what should you be looking for?
It will come as no surprise that one of the first things you should focus on is a fast connection time. You also want to find a host that guarantees at least 99 percent uptime, if not more.
No matter how good a site host is, things are going to go wrong, and when they do, you need a host with strong customer support. They should also help you with any needed updates and maintain their servers to keep them running in top condition.
And always look out for hidden fees – things like SSL certificates shouldn’t cost you extra money.
1. WP Engine
WP Engine is one of our favorite hosting platforms for legal websites, hands down. This platform is run by WordPress, our favorite choice for building legal sites. Not only is WordPress easy to work with and powerful enough to meet a variety of needs, but search engines love it and rank WordPress pages highly!
WP Engine naturally works well with WordPress sites and does a good job of keeping their platform up to date. They have strong support and some of the best servers on the market.
Their hosting plans may be a little more expensive than some of their competitors, but we think they’re worth every penny.
Although FlyWheel is not managed by the owners of WordPress, it is another WordPress-focused hosting platform. In fact, the platform only works with sites built through WordPress.
Like WPEngine, FlyWheel offers strong support and excellent maintenance. They have a fantastic uptime record, and their dashboard is simple to navigate. Their site security and backup are fantastic, too, so you can rest easy knowing your website is in safe hands.
If you want email services through your legal website host, BlueHost may be a good option for you. This platform allows you to set up emails with your law firm domain name and manage those through their platform. They also work with sites not built through WordPress if you need that option.
BlueHost is relatively affordable, especially compared to the other platforms we’ve discussed so far. The problem is that you get what you pay for.
BlueHost tends to have more downtime than either FlyWheel or WPEngine, which can hurt your search engine rankings.
SiteGround is a great option for beginners working with websites built on any platform.
They have fantastic integration with WordPress, and, like BlueHost, you can set up email through them. Their dashboard is a little more refined than BlueHost’s, and their support structure is reliable when you need it to be.
SiteGround is a little more expensive than BlueHost, and you can see that reflected in the quality.
That being said, it has higher renewal costs than some of its competitors, which can drive your expenses up. And it doesn’t really offer the same kind of comprehensive power and reliability you see with WPEngine.
GoDaddy has been a popular site host for years, and with good reason. They shine in the customer service arena, offering email, phone, and chat support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They’re also based in the United States – a fact that many lawyers value.
The main problem with GoDaddy is that, if you’re not careful, you may find yourself in over your head on budget.
The service seems affordable at a glance, but there are a lot of add-on fees that can pile up in a hurry. If you’re not certain about what you need, you might find yourself paying a small fortune for services you may not use.
What To Do If It’s Time for a Change
You know you want to switch web hosting services, but how do you go about starting that process?
The first thing to do is figure out your pain points with your current provider. As you start looking for a new hosting service, you want to make sure that they’ll be able to meet those needs.
Once you’ve picked a new provider, you may find yourself stuck trying to pick the ideal time to migrate your site. The unfortunate truth is that there is no perfect time – you just have to pick a time and make a move. Your site will experience some downtime, and migration is no joke, but once it’s over, your site will be in a better place to start gaining ground in the search engine rankings.
Build a Better Site with LawRank
Picking a site host may seem like an unimportant task, but the truth is that it can have a massive impact on your site’s performance. You want to ensure your host keeps their servers up to date, maintains plenty of uptime, and, above all, offers fast load times. WPEngine is one of our favorite hosting platforms, but FlyWheel, BlueHost, SiteGround, and GoDaddy are all solid options, too.
If you’re having trouble getting your legal site to rank, LawRank is here to help. We provide a from-the-ground-up approach to SEO that has helped countless law firms rank on the first page of local search results. We also offer award-winning web design intended to drive traffic to your site and leads to your doors.
Set up an introductory call with us today and start making a wise investment in your legal marketing.