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Designating an In-house “Webmaster” for Your Firm’s Website

When firms see our Site Manager they are often blown away; it’s easy to use and packed with marketing tools in a single interface. To familiarize our clients with our unique content management system, we schedule a one on one orientation during the development phase to give them a comprehensive lesson on making changes to their websites and utilizing the integrated features such as our Seminar Management tool and E-newsletter feature. Often the entire office, including attorneys and support staff, join in to learn the tool. And while it’s a great idea to get everyone onboard and familiar with the technology employed, it’s important that you designate one person on your team to be the office “webmaster.”

When most think of a webmaster, they think of a middle aged man sitting in his dark office working feverishly on HTML code. With the advent of user-friendly content management systems, law firms no longer need this type of support and a paralegal or attorney can easily take on the part-time role. By having just one point of contact for all website changes, you can ensure that team members are not overriding each other’s efforts and most importantly, that someone in your office takes ownership over the project. Now we’re not saying that this person should necessarily be responsible for writing all new copy for the website, simply that they be in charge of making any changes to the site.

The Selection Process
In selecting your pseudo webmaster, make sure the individual you choose is a staple in the firm and isn’t going to leave anytime soon. A big mistake that many firms make is having the receptionist or legal assistant take on the role (since they are lowest on the seniority totem pole) but these positions tend to have a high turn-over rate and far too often the firms are left without a clue on how to proceed after the individual leaves. This forces the firm to start from square one and can leave the website unattended for months as a new employee steps into the role.

Your webmaster does not have to be a tech genius but they should have a basic comfort level with the internet and have a grasp on what your firm’s marketing goals are. They also need to be organized, ensuring that weekly updates are made and sending out reminders to the office when new copy is needed.

Updating Your Site
Once you select your webmaster, make sure he or she can designate one hour each week for making any changes. To make updating the site more efficient, be sure you have a clear plan of action when it comes to new content and who is responsible for writing it. At the start of each month, have a staff meeting where you can create an editorial calendar and assign due dates for each addition, whether it be a new blog post or details for an upcoming seminar. Treat these due dates as you would court deadlines; they’re not flexible.

With a defined course of action and a dedicated webmaster, you can be sure that you won’t have too many cooks in the kitchen and a shared team vision for website success.