General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionSolo Newsletter
SPRING 1999 ISSUE
Web Pages for Solos
By Kenneth E. Johnson
If you are still thinking about putting up a Web site, now may be the time to act. Today, lawyers can select from an elaborate smorgasbord of affordable options to create the most appropriate online marketing tool for their practices.
Option 1--one of the fastest and cheapest options can be found at http://firms.findlaw.com where lawyers may chose from pre-designed templates and create, in about half an hour, an impressive looking series of Web pages that Findlaw.com hosts for free.
Option 2--Westlaw (www.westlaw.com) and Martindale Hubbell (www.lawyers.com/yourfirm) offer a range of web solutions with prices starting at around $200 per year.
Option 3--Yes, even a lawyer can design and host a Web site. If you have the time and the creative juices, this may be your best option, because it affords you the most flexibility and control, and can be economical. You will need to select a domain name, register it, and determine what computer will host your site--your own or a commercial web hosting outfit.
Next, design your site using either an HTML (HyperText Markup Language) editor, a graphic authoring program, or some other program (such as your word processor) containing HTML functionality.
HTML editors, such as HotDog and HoTMetaL Pro, require you to have a detailed knowledge of HTML, and to work directly with the HTML text file--which looks to the uninitiated like a jumble of letters and symbols. Tags (invisible signals picked up by Internet search engines) can be typed in manually, or selected from a menu.
Graphical Web authoring programs, on the other hand, such as Microsoft's FrontPage, allow you to create sophisticated looking pages using Windows, so you can see what your page will look like as you are editing it.
Finally, most word processing programs can now convert to HTML. The advantage here is that you can create Web pages in a familiar environment, leveraging your existing knowledge into a new area. The disadvantage is that not all HTML elements are supported, so the pages tend to be fairly basic.
For more details on how to author your own site, check out www.digital-lawyer.com/websites/new_page_4.htm.
Kenneth E. Johnson is Project Leader at Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago. He is author of The Lawyer’s Quick Guide to E-mail and The Lawyer’s Guide to Creating Web Pages, both published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section.