Legal Marketing For Law Firms & Barristers Chambers

Beware of the ‘proprietary platform’ lawyer website design

Written by Rachel Tombs

25th April, 2022

If you commission a new website, you may be offered either an ‘open source’ or a ‘proprietary’ website content management system or CMS. We take a look at both options and points to be wary of when choosing the right CMS for your website.

What are open source and proprietary platforms?

Open-source platforms

If the content management system and code that you use on your website are openly shared with everyone, the software will generally be available for free. This means that it will be easy to deal with issues such as modifying the site or transferring it to a different host.

Proprietary platforms

If you use proprietary software, also referred to as closed source software, the software is licensed and tightly controlled so that you only have limited rights to use it. Extensive restrictions will apply that are likely to prevent you moving to a different host, modifying the code or sharing it. Fewer additions such as plug-ins will be available.

Drawbacks of proprietary platforms

Because you cannot move your website elsewhere, you will be forced to remain with the software creator. If you do not want to continue with them, your only option will be to build a new website from scratch and delete the original one.

A licence fee will also normally be charged by the software creator allowing you to use the software, generally for one year, after which you will need to renew it, paying the fee again.

You may also find that a smaller business cannot keep up with developments in software design or that there are difficulties if a key team member leaves. With an open-source platform, there is usually a sizeable team involved in staying up to date and ensuring there are no hiccups in using the platform.

Advantages of open-source platforms

Because the code is accessible to everyone, a large range of plug-ins are developed for open-source websites, meaning it is generally possible to create a truly bespoke website with all the functionality your legal business needs.

The only possible drawback in respect of an open-source platform is that it may be less secure, as the code is freely available to all. Whichever platform you have, you are always advised to install updates as soon as they are provided and ensure you have sound cyber security measures in place and that everyone implements good security practices.

Your legal business website

Your website is the place most clients will find you and as such, it is vital to get the appearance, tone, functionality and speed right. It needs to be clean and clear and easy for clients to navigate. Our team build websites that have all these attributes and that reflect the strengths of the lawyers, barristers, mediators and other legal professionals that they represent. All of our websites are built on open-source platforms to give you the ease of access that you need.

Contact our law firm marketing experts

At Orion Legal Marketing, we offer website design and creation, law firm PPC, help with social media and legal content and copywriting for websites and newsletters.

If you would like to talk to us about a website for your legal business, ring us on 0118 380 5980, email us at or fill in our CONTACT FORM. We’ll be happy to offer you an initial free consultation to discuss your needs.

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