Should an Attorney or Law Firm Blog?
Should you start a blog? Yes, that’s a great idea, but it does take thought and commitment. When used correctly, a blog can be a great differentiator for your firm. It can show you and your firm as actively engaged in not simply practicing law, but in making the law relevant to the everyday lives of individuals, families and businesses.
A blog is an online journal that offers attorneys the chance to write on current events, changes in the law, specific cases, politics and just about anything else that is relevant to themselves and their clients. Before you post a blog, however, give it one more read to determine if what you wrote can stand the scrutiny of anyone in the world who might read it.
Which blog platform should I use?
When selecting which blog platform to use, there are four main considerations: ease of use, cost, search engine optimization and branding. For a new blogger, I recommend starting with one of the free blogs such as Blogger or WordPress.
While WordPress offers some SEO (search engine optimization) benefits, I find that, for most of my clients, a Blogger blog is elegantly simple to use. Most of my clients are posting within 15 minutes of starting a Blogger blog. Another advantage of Blogger is that, since it’s owned and operated by Google, you can be confident that your posts will be indexed by the world’s largest search engine. And since it is by far the world’s most popular blogging platform, there is no shortage of blogging tips and technical support online.
One drawback to the free blogging platform options (WordPress and Blogger) is that you are limited in terms of design. You will be forced to select from one of their rather staid template designs. For branding purposes, it might be important for your blog to have the same look and feel as your main website. Most of the major legal marketing firms all build custom designed blogs, but I usually recommend Lexblog. Lexblog focuses solely on legal blogs and therefore has developed substantial expertise in the area. They also offer fantastic customer support along with a national attorney blog network.
What Should I Say?
A huge challenge for any blogger is finding the time to write consistently. Until you prove to yourself that you are serious about blogging, it is far better to learn the ropes on something that doesn’t cost you anything.
The best tip for attorney blogging I ever heard came from the late Joseph McDaniel, an accomplished bankruptcy attorney in Arizona. Until his untimely death in 2011, Joe maintained an extraordinarily helpful and entertaining bankruptcy blog. Joe was a blogging juggernaut, regularly producing around 50 informative blog posts each month.
When I asked him how he does it, he said, “Every client question I have ever gotten is a blog post.” Great idea! When you blog with this principle in mind, your blog becomes an amazing communication tool. You already know that this is a blog potential clients will be interested in, and, instead of responding to a prospective client’s inquiry on your rates, for example, you can simply point them to your blog post on the subject. That has the added value of a prospect looking through your other posts.
Another approach is to use your blog to respond to current events and changes to the law. This approach is common among personal injury lawyers, who often use news stories and other sources to educate the public on how to avoid an accident and what to do if they are in an accident.
BLOG Writing Services
For some busy professionals –, keeping a BLOG updated is an impossible task. This is why many companies offer a BLOG writing service in which they have ghost writers BLOG on your behalf. Like any marketing endeavor, be very careful and do your due diligence. Review examples of BLOG posts and call the attorney to see if they are happy with the work of their ghost writers. Recently I found out that a BLOG service company was taking credit for a highly ranked BLOG that they didn’t even write! Finally, make sure that the ghost writers understand the ethical standards for advertising in your State.
Blogs and the Search Engines
The search engines really like blogs for two reasons: they offer a diverse search experience, and they offer a great source of fresh custom content. This is why, if you do have a blog, it’s important that you post regularly and often. The search engine spiders will start to realize that your blog is a source of new custom content, and they will get into a habit of indexing your blog often. If you post quite regularly, your posts will eventually begin to rank.
Posting 3-5 times a week is ideal, but once a week is effective, too. Like a snowball rolling downhill, the more you post, the more keywords will be indexed and ranked by the search engines.
Should my BLOG be on my website OR should it be on a Separate URL?
It depends. If you practice in a very narrow niche, say insurance bad faith is all you do, then I would recommend a separate BLOG url. This is because a focused BLOG on a narrow subject will create a great search experience and thus would likely rank very well in search engines. If, however, you practice in multiple practice areas I would recommend having the BLOG on your site. Besides allowing you the flexibility to write about various practice areas, it also ensures that all of the BLOG traffic comes to your website – which should convert much better than a BLOG.
Twitter and Micro Blogging
By now you have probably heard about the Twitter phenomenon. Twitter, in a nutshell, is a form of micro blogging. Limited to just 140 characters, Twitter was developed to answer the basic question, “What are you doing now?” To me this concept seemed horribly self-indulgent and boring — particularly for lawyers. “Hey, I am working on a brief!” However, when used in concert with an actual blog — Twitter does have some utility for attorneys.
Twitter can be a great way to promote new and substantive blog content by letting Twitter followers know when a new blog post is available. In addition, following a Twitter feed can be a source of great blog material. For example, a personal injury attorney may want to follow the Twitter account from one of our local news stations. Doing so would allow them access to accident information as it happens.