Choosing a web developer to overhaul your online presence can be confusing, especially with so many local web developers, DIY website builders and marketing agencies out there vying for your business. How do you tell the good ones from the bad ones?

Since both lawyers and title agents compete with other local businesses – often across the street or around the corner, having a website that accurately reflects your title company or law firm’s expertise and experience is critical to competing for business online.

Once you’ve got a list of website designers to choose from, you can easily narrow down your choices with a handful of simple questions.

Here are the 10 uncommon questions you should ask before hiring someone to build your website or handle your marketing.

1. Have you worked with other Attorneys or Title Agents before?

No matter how beautiful a developer’s portfolio may be, it might not be a great decision to be their first law firm guinea pig. You want to know that designing your website isn’t your developer’s first rodeo. More importantly, the answer to this question proves the company knows at least a little bit about your industry and the language associated with it.

For example, TitleTap only works with attorneys and title agents. That’s why when we say we get your business, we mean it!

2. Where do most of your websites rank on Google?

Many companies might not be able to disclose specifics, due to their clients’ non-disclosure agreements. But they should be able to give you a general answer and be able to provide some sort of proof.

If they can show you that a few law firms they’ve worked with are on the first or second page of Google results, you can trust that they probably know what they’re doing.

Warning: Often times IT companies have a tough time with this question. The reason is that just because they have the technical knowledge to build a website, doesn’t mean that they understand how to market your business or help with SEO in order to get your business on the first page of Google.

We’ve discovered that 91% of TitleTap websites rank on the first page of Google for at least one of their desired keywords related to the areas they service – but often more than one!

3. Do you offer any marketing services in addition to website design?

Many firms consider a web design project complete once the website goes live. However, website launch is when the real work begins!

We all know the line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” But competing for business on the Internet isn’t as easy as baseball it is for Kevin Costner.

When it comes to web success, you get out what you put in. Even if you have a stellar, beautiful website, it won’t do you any good if it’s not attracting any customers.

This is why it is always important to work with a web agency that also offers marketing services. If you build it, they will NOT come!

But be sure that they know about the regulations related to title like TRID and marketing rules of the Bar Association.

We believe your website should be less like a digital business card and more like a magnet for your ideal customers. That’s why we offer plans that include law and title specific blog posts and video content related to your services and practice areas. This content answers your prospects’ questions, and makes it easier for them to find you Online.

4. Will the website work on mobile phones and tablets?

Every website we build is designed for mobile, tablets, and desktops, so that search engines like Google will give it priority in search rankings.

In 2019, you’d think this would be common protocol, but some web development companies are still using the outdated “desktop first” mentality.

What you’re looking for in the answer to this question comes in two parts:

First, you want to know that your developer understands the importance of Google’s mobile-first indexing. Since Americans live on their cell phones nowadays, Google will look at your site’s mobile capabilities first when it’s deciding where to rank you. Mobile-friendly websites get a bump in the rankings.

Secondarily, the company should earn bonus points by mentioning advanced mobile optimization strategies like image compression, file minification, or Accelerated Mobile Performance (AMP).  Simply put, these items make your website load faster for mobile devices and give you another SEO boost.

TitleTap offers all of these mobile-friendly features out-of-the-box for no additional charge. Every web provider should include these things but sadly they often don’t.

5. What compliance protocols does your company adopt?

This is another case where you don’t need to be able to write a dissertation on the topic, you just need to make sure your chosen web development team is using the right keywords.

PCI compliance are the most common protocols you’ll hear, but these are usually designed for e-commerce sites and credit card processing, not for lawyers or title insurance agents.

If your web developer tells you they adopt PCI compliance, you can interpret that as, “I’m familiar with what most website should have.”

However, if they also issue SSL (secure socket layer) for your web site and host at an SSAE Soc 2 Type II compliant data center then you can rest assured that your website is in extremely good hands.

TitleTap includes an SSL certificate and industry compliant hosting with every plan. Your security and compliance is important to us.

6. Will the website be accessible to those with disabilities?

Did you know that up to 25% of web users have some sort of disability? That’s up to 25% of your prospective online customers!

While, at the time of this writing, there does not yet appear to be a definitive regulation governing website accessibility, many recommend that businesses should consider making their websites more accessible, for both legal compliance and as a prudent way of expanding the reach of their businesses.

TitleTap customers can add their own compatible accessibility tool such as the third party widget for no additional charge, in order to improve accessibility for visitors with disabilities such as blindness. As a web developer, we cannot render legal advice or guarantee accessibility compliance, but we work with all our customer requests to customize your website to improve accessibility, as you deem appropriate for your business.

This is one of the reasons we give all of our customers the option of adding an accessibility widget such as for no additional charge, in order to improve accessibility for visitors disabilities such as blindness.

7. What security procedures do you have in place to block attempted hackers and deter cyber fraud?

If your web developer doesn’t at least mention SSL here as a minimum, don’t walk away – run!!

Once upon a time, SSL was only used to secure credit card transactions. However, it’s now strongly recommended that all websites secure the transmission of data – and now it even helps your website’s search engine ranking!

While Cyber Fraud continues to plague the industry, according to the FBI, it is important that your website comes with other protections to help deter criminals.

We believe your clients’ data should be protected from the first moment they contact you.

This is why every website we build not only includes SSL. We have built in spam filters to help deter cyber fraud attempts from slipping in on your website forms, and a security firewall that blocks over 500,000 hack attempts each month across our network of sites! Most other website providers don’t include a firewall or spam prevention.

8. Does the website get backed up, and if so, how frequently?

Although your website probably won’t store much of critical business information, it can become more than a headache if your website ever does get hacked – especially if the hackers upload something offensive or illegal to your website.

With all the new vulnerabilities that are discovered every day, hacking attempts are becoming more creative and more devastating for websites that aren’t properly protected and backed up.

This is exactly why you need someone available to fix your problem in the case of an emergency. We automatically backup your website multiple ways and at different intervals.

With us, if your website is ever compromised, you’ve got the best protections in place to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.

9. How much will changes and updates cost?

Many business owners make the incorrect assumption that the web development process ends when the website is launched.

From the other side of the table, this couldn’t be further from the truth: a website launch is where the real work begins.

Between staff updates, security patches, plug-in updates, and server optimization, a ton of work goes into maintaining a web server and the websites it hosts.

No matter what website development agency you choose, you should find a company like TitleTap that maintains and supports your website on their platform AFTER it goes live, and that doesn’t charge extra for small updates.

10. Will you give me a discount when I want to redesign my website?

It might feel like jumping the gun, but this is a great question to ask up front. Depending on your business, it can take a long time to recoup the costs of a typical website redesign project.

Just like a car, a website that is a couple of years old never looks as pretty or runs as smoothly as the day you were handed the keys.

This is one of the reasons TitleTap is one of the only companies to offer a free website redesign or refresh every three years! We know the importance of staying competitive in your market, and always want you to display the best version of your brand.

Want more from your website?

For attorneys and title agents alike, a polished, engaging website along with marketing tools can lead to a stunning increase in client attraction and retention! See our web design examples or request a demo to see for yourself how TitleTap is more than a website.

Remember, there is more to a website than just a great design.