How much do you pay your most valuable employees?

Say you own a law firm, and your senior paralegal, who functions like the right-hand for a number of your qualified lawyers, is earning $80k a year. Chances are, you don’t think twice about paying her that because she has put in years of dedicated service, she is always on time, happy to work overtime and gets her job done perfectly day in and day out.

Now, imagine she’s been working for your company for five years. In that time you’ve paid her $400,000 plus super and a few bonuses here and there.

Keeping these figures, and how valuable this employee is to your business in mind, how much did you spend on your website?

So, you’ve spent $400,000 over five years on an employee – let’s refer to this as expense A. For the purpose of this example, let’s say you spent $8,000 on your website five years ago. You’ve probably also forked out some maintenance costs, and if you’re making the most of your website, you might have outlaid $50,000 on digital marketing (basic SEO, social media, content marketing) over a five year period. This website doesn’t function as well as it used to and is a little out-dated. You need to re-design it, but don’t really want to outlay the cash. From here on out, your website will be known as expense B.

But, which expense is more valuable to your business? Expense A or Expense B? To understand the exact value of these expenses, let’s look at the hours of work each expense completes, as well as their regular tasks.

Expense A – Weekly Activities

Works eight hours a day, minus a 30-minute lunch break, so 38-hours a week.

Her job role might encompass:

  • Performing legal and factual research to support arguments
  • Summarising legal documents
  • Organising and analysing information
  • Cross checking and validating information
  • Preparing written reports
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Preparing legal arguments, applications, motions and declarations
  • Preparing correspondence
  • Maintaining reference files
  • Organising and tracking case files
  • Reviewing and monitoring new and updated regulations

Your paralegal does a lot for your business and is essential for the day-today running of your law firm. But, what about Expense B? It’s just a website right?

Well, a website does a lot more than you might initially think.

Expense B – Weekly Activities

Works 24-hours a day seven days a week. That’s 168-hours a week of dedicated service.  Your website also doesn’t take sick or carers leave, and it never asks for time off over Christmas or to go on a four-week holiday to Europe.

Your website’s role might include:

  • Acts as the face of your business to potential customers, both in your local area and across the country
  • Has the potential to introduce a large number of people to your business each month, and keeps your existing customers engaged with your services
  • It’s functions include welcoming people, providing them with information and facilitating transactions

Taking your digital marketing expenses into consideration, your website will also:

  • Drive engagement across your social media accounts
  • Drive conversions both through social media and your website
  • It will help you get a top ranking on Google, so when people search for a law firm in Melbourne, your website will come up. If your website is designed well and is easy-to-use, it will act as a positive first impression that will attract new clients
  • Blogging helps your business establish its reputation as an industry authority, because the blogs are useful, engaging and well-informed, and will help your current and potential customers make informed legal decisions

Your website is pretty useful, especially if you want to keep revenue up by attracting new clients.

So, getting back to our original question, which expense is more valuable?

They’re both valuable. Without your senior paralegal, your business would struggle to function as normal. Without your website, the number of clients you attract will decrease substantially and you’ll lack the platform needed to build a successful reputation outside of word of mouth.

The main difference is the fact that over a five-year period your paralegal will give you 9,120 hours of service (once you take out her four weeks of leave entitlements). Your website, on the other hand, will give you 43,800-hours of service in that same time period.

While it would be unreasonable to expect your paralegal to work beyond her full-time hours, you can take comfort knowing your website will be there every hour of every day actively promoting your business and driving client engagement.

So, when it comes time to re-design your website or update your content management system, take into consideration how valuable your website is to your business, and how little it actually costs in the long-term to have a well-designed, easy-to-use website promoting your business.

Don’t make your website your highest performing, most underpaid employee. Spend the money now to get the design and functionality right, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank in the long-term.


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