Get Your Law Blog Off Your Law Firm Website

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Get Your Law Blog Off Your Law Firm Website

Show me a lawyer with a new website, and I’ll show you a lawyer with a blog. It seems like most law firm websites have a blog tab leading to a few boring, useless posts that stopped shortly after they started. If the lawyer is especially determined, the blog will be recently updated, and may even have a few posts that might be interesting to someone looking for a lawyer in the firm’s practice area(s).

Related“Why Your Blog Sucks (and What To Do About It)”

It used to be the reason for doing this was to pump the site full of keywords to boost its search profile (SEO). The idea was that if you had a ton of pages with keywords that matched up to what your potential clients were searching for, your site would be more likely to pop up at the top of search results. This was always a stupid idea if done poorly, because potential clients aren’t going to be impressed by dozens of hundreds of barely-readable crap.

Now, the idea is similar but the emphasis (finally) is on quality content. Instead of SEO, the buzzword du jour is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is an old concept, and the idea is simple: give people quality, actually-valuable stuff and they will be more likely to pay you for something. It’s hard to argue with that.

If your marketing strategy sounds like SEO or inbound marketing and you are getting advice from someone competent, then by all means stop reading. This article is not about SEO or inbound marketing. It is about blogging, a form of self-publishing1 that is best done completely separately from your law firm website.

Context

You probably would not decorate your law office like a sports bar, because you want your clients to take you seriously and you want them to know that you take their legal matters seriously. This is why meeting in a coffee shop is problematic (along with the problems that come with discussing sensitive legal matters in a public place). The context in which you meet with clients matters — it creates an atmosphere and sets expectations.

Websites are no different, and a law firm website creates a very different context than a publication built to be a place for reading interesting or useful things.

Law Firm Websites

A law firm website is, well, a law firm website. Most people come to a law firm website because they are thinking about hiring a lawyer. Very few people visit a law firm website more than once or twice, or however many times it takes them to decide whether to contact the firm.

Whether or not the website is covered in pictures of gavels, scales, and columns, a law firm website is a lot like a law office, about which I once wrote:

Most normal people are as interested in visiting a lawyer as they are in getting a colonoscopy — and for similar reasons. A blog on a law firm website is, at best, like a great magazine in a proctologist’s waiting room.

People don’t want to hang around on law firm websites any more than they want to hang around in law offices. If your blogging strategy is just about getting people to visit your website once, then maybe that is okay. But that is a pretty shortsighted blogging strategy. You might be missing the forest for the trees.

Law Blogs

A blog is not a direct marketing tool; it serves a very different purpose. Blogs are publications,2 which means they are meant to be read by an audience of people who return at least occasionally to read more.

This is important because the kind of writing that attracts an audience of repeat visitors is rarely the same kind of writing that attracts search engines and inbound marketing prospects. And the context is important. If you took the most popular articles from the New York Times and put them on a law firm website, nobody would read them. Or at least, if someone happened to find one of them, it is pretty unlikely that they would come back for more.

Blogging is long-game marketing. When you have a well-read blog, you earn your own media every time you post something. You don’t need to wait around for the local news to call you for your analysis of the latest celebrity divorce or corporate bankruptcy (although if you have a good blog, they probably will); you can just publish it yourself.

But in order to build that audience, your blog is better off on its own website, with its own look and feel. Your blog should appear to be (and actually be) a publication, not a law firm’s marketing website.

Separating Your Blog

Blogging done well is a lot of work. But if you build a successful blog, you will probably have a reliable source of referrals, as well.

When you start your blog, give it its own identity and domain (and don’t name it something bland and law-y like “State Personal Injury Law Blog”). Give it a real name and identity, like Duets Blog or Caveat Emptor.

Build an audience by writing about a subject related to what you do, not by writing only about your area of practice. For example, if you handle bankruptcy or represent consumers dealing with debt collection, write about personal finance or consumer news. If you do family law, write about children, marriage, and divorce. If you do estate planning, write about celebrities’ wills. And do it well. Bring your insight to the subject, or dig up information nobody else has taken the time to find. In other words, write a blog your potential clients might want to read when they aren’t looking for a lawyer.

Then, update it frequently. Write at least weekly, if not daily. If you aren’t willing to invest that time, just pay for advertising. But if you want to build something longer-lasting, put in the time to write a good blog.

As for that pretty-much-dead “blog” taking up space on your law firm website? Move it off, give it up, or convince yourself that your law firm website is a unique situation (hint: it probably isn’t).

This was originally published on November 3, 2011 (hence all the older comments). It was rewritten and republished on July 22, 2014.

Featured image: “Business person standing against the blackboard” from Shutterstock.


  1. In the comments, Mark Merenda wrote:

    People love to pontificate on what a blog is or is not. A blog is for readers, not for marketing. A blog is different than a Web site because it…blah blah blah. Folks, a blog is what you make it.

    It’s a good point. Bloggers (including me) can get overly preoccupied with the Form of blog. But if a blog is what you make it, I guess I’m arguing for my vision of what you ought to make of it. 

  2. Again, many things called blogs, but I am presenting my argument for how blogging ought to be done — by lawyers, at least. 

Legal Marketing

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  • Graham Martin

    I currently have a blog tab on my page, but it opens a new window with my non-law-firm-branded blog. I have it connected to my website still so people can see that I know what I’m talking about, but it’s not a law firm blog and doesn’t reside one my firm’s site per se. I think this is a good compromise and a decent way to connect my firm with my blog, without it becoming obnoxious.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yeah, linking to your blog from your firm website isn’t remotely the same thing as integrating it into your firm’s website.

  • Frank Pipitone

    For a Bankruptcy, Personal Injury or Family Lawyer who relies almost exclusively on SEO rankings, is an extensive FAQ page really enough to stay ahead in your market? An FAQ page is finite while a blog is infinite. I completely agree that the blog does not belong on the website, but won’t SEO rankings suffer in a market where other attorneys are blogging on their web pages?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      So create a blog separate from your firm website, and include a link to your firm website at the bottom of every post.

      • Joseph Dang

        I disagree. Keep the blog on the website. Create a new blog outside of the website if you wish.

        Google is trending towards frequent, updated, fresh content on your website. They figure this into their rankings. The more you update it, the better. Videos, library articles, blog posts, They all factor.

        So I will have to disagree with this whole post and premise.

        For my website, articles that are more evergreen (informative articles) go into the library, not the blog. The blog is about my opinion if I have one, and current events that I like to comment on. I don’t farm updates to all accidents. I read about each accident, if there is something for me to say, I say it. If not, I don’t post about it.

        Articles are about information. Blog posts are about opinions. That’s how I have it set up.

        If you’re only going to have one blog post, I’m going to have to say, put it on your website. Some law blogs are different than other blogs including this one. For personal injury blogs, repeat visits aren’t really going to happen. The name of the game is Google and SEO. For that, you need fresh content. If you only have one blog, keep it on the website.

        • http://www.smartmarketingnow.com Mark Merenda

          Joe is completely right. When your blog is integrated into your website, every time you post on the blog Google (and the other search engines) read that as you having added valuable new content to your site. The search engines are prejudiced in favor of fresh content. (If you search for “treatments for diabetes” Google wants you to find the latest, best information. Not information from five years ago.) The one — and I would argue only — obligation of a blog is to be interesting. (My own credentials: I started blogging in June 2004. My blog has over 7,000 email subscribers and many thousands more by RSS feed. I started out on the Typepad platform, and then switched, integrating it into my website.) I advise all my clients to have their blogs as part of their websites.

          • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

            This post isn’t about SEO. But for some marketing consultants, I suppose it’s impossible to see beyond SEO.

            People don’t read blogs like search engines do. Have you noticed that most of the most popular blogs on the web basically ignore SEO completely, and just focus on writing great content that people link to? That’s because it works.

            Blogs and websites should be designed for readers, not search engines.

            • http://www.smartmarketingnow.com Mark Merenda

              People love to pontificate on what a blog is or is not. A blog is for readers, not for marketing. A blog is different than a Web site because it…blah blah blah. Folks, a blog is what you make it. The only truly definable difference from a “Web site” is that a blog traditionally features frequent posts in reverse chronological order. Apart from that, a blog IS a Web site, and it can serve any purpose you want for it.

  • http://williampfeifer.com William Pfeifer

    I completely disagree. I receive a substantial amount of new business directly as a result of the articles I post on my blog, which is fully integrated into my law practice website. The problem is not that blogs are part of lawyer websites, the problem is that most lawyers are bad bloggers. If a lawyer is not a good writer or can’t commit to updating a blog at least once or twice a month, then he should probably stay away from adding a blog to the website. But if the lawyer is willing to put a few hours a month into his or her blog, it can be a very valuable part of a law firm website and a great marketing tool.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes, your blog looks exactly like what I mentioned in my post: interesting to potential clients mainly when they happen to be searching for an attorney. Blogs have readers. What percentage of your visitors regularly come back?

      I’m not saying it can’t be done; I’m saying that most law blogs don’t belong on law firm websites.

      • http://williampfeifer.com William Pfeifer

        Thanks in large part to my blogging strategy, my law firm website is ranked #1 on Google for my target search terms. I then use the blog to zero in even more specifically on particular legal issues that arise fairly commonly, and those posts tend to rise to the top of Google for their search topics too. I get calls and emails every day from potential clients who found me because of blog posts, which is kind of the point of having a law firm blog isn’t it?

        I think the problem in this discussion may be in how the concept of a blog is being defined. I believe you and I see the definition and purpose of a blog a bit differently. If I want to write about legal news or some media issue that is not directly related to my law practice, I typically do that on some other websites where I also do some writing. But I see nothing wrong at all with blogging about issues that arise in my practice of law on my law firm website. This strategy of integrating my blog into my website is a large factor in my SEO success.

        Remember that one of the factors Google considers in ranking a website is whether the site is updated periodically. It doesn’t have to change every day, but it does need to grow a few times every month. Putting the blog into the website is a way to make sure search engines recognize the site as an active, growing site rather than a static site that may be outdated.

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          Do you think your blog would not be ranked #1 on Google for your target search terms if you separated it from your website? Quite to the contrary, I’m guessing it would continue to be ranked #1, but would get more readers, some (perhaps many) of whom would be potential clients. Or media. Or other bloggers.

          • http://williampfeifer.com William Pfeifer

            Why should I send people away from my website when they are already on it? My blog posts often link to information on my site, and vice versa. Why make people go to a separate website to read it?

            There are things that I write and publish online that do not go up on my law firm website, because they are not written for my law practice’s target market. If you were saying that topics unrelated to my law practice should be published on a separate blog than the firm site, then I would agree with you. But a blanket statement that blogs should not be merged with websites is too much of a generalization. For lawyers who are not good bloggers it may be good advice, but they shouldn’t be blogging in the first place. But if I want to post blog posts about the same issues as are covered in my law practice, it is smart from a marketing perspective to put that material into the law practice site. Just a few hours ago I was called by an attorney about referring an appeal to me because she was looking for information on a legal topic, found my website where I had blogged about the subject, liked my writing style, and wanted to bring me in on the case. That’s new business I wouldn’t have if I had not been blogging about the issues I handle in my law practice.

            Obviously this is a topic where we will simply have to disagree. I usually like the articles you publish on Lawyerist, but we’ll just have to disagree on this one. Maybe I’ll be able to endorse your next blog post. :)

            • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

              Why should I send people away from my website when they are already on it? My blog posts often link to information on my site, and vice versa. Why make people go to a separate website to read it?

              I could be wrong about my basic premise, but I do know that an independent blog draws more traffic than one buried in a law firm website. If you separate your blog, you draw more traffic you can direct to your website. If you include it on your website, you may keep visitors captive, but you will have fewer visitors, and those who do visit aren’t as likely to return.

              • http://doddslawoffice.com/ Jeanette Otis

                This seems it would only be true if your blawg was a part of a platform such as blogger or wordpress.com. Otherwise, there really is no difference between purchasing a separate domain name for setting up a blog platform and including a blog on your site.

                • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

                  I don’t understand what you mean.

                  It doesn’t matter whether you host your blog on WordPress.com, on your own site, on Blogger, or anywhere else. The important thing is to give it its own identity. For example, you could have your Interstellar Law blog at interstellarlaw.com, and your firm website at spacelawyer.com. The platform is irrelevant.

                  What is important is having your law firm website (marketing tool/portfolio/whatever) separate from your blog (a publication).

        • Sean

          William, I agree with you that integrating your blog on your main website is good for SEO. You are building links to your blog which in turn pumps up the authority of your entire domain. As a side note, your homepage is keyword stuffed and in the future you could be subject to an over optimization penalty or reduced page score by Google.

          • http://williampfeifer.com William Pfeifer

            Google ranks me #1 for my targeted keywords, so apparently they don’t have a problem with my home page. I think I’ve put enough content up on the site (not just through the blog) to establish it as an authority site to avoid any problems like that.

  • https://twitter.com/FredCarle Frederick Carle

    I fully agree with this post. Blogs and lawfirm websites should be different. I actually bought 2 different domain names for that reason. My lawfirm website will be targetting other professionals for referrals, and the blog will be more general for criminal law general informations, news, and debates.

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

    If it wasn’t clear from my post, the fact that you get clients through a blog that sits on your law firm website is not the point. The point is that blogs are more than just marketing tools. Writing a blog makes you an author and a publisher, not just a marketer. Blogs are media.

    Putting a law blog on your law firm website is like trying to distribute news articles in your marketing pamphlet. That’s just not how you publish the news.

    Neither should you publish a law blog on a law firm website. It degrades the blog and discourages readers from coming back.

    • http://www.attorneysync.com Gyi Tsakalakis

      I picking up what you’re putting down, but I think it depends on the website and the blog.

    • Joseph Dang

      I think your point isn’t as valid anymore. websites are no longer just marketing tools. I’ve seen some sites where there are hundreds of articles, not on the blog. Law articles, that provide free, useful information to its visitors searching for useful information.

      Here is my site map.

      http://www.yoursandiegoinjuryattorney.com/sitemap/

      Here is Ben Glass’

      http://www.vamedmal.com/sitemap.cfm

      He has 1700 pages (including his blog posts). Your point should be clarified to limit it to websites that are just business card websites. Home page, practice areas, contact us. Now some of us are using it as a Free Law Library for consumers. And Google loves it.

      My goal is to publish one article a day. A blog post I never force. When I have something to say, I say it.

  • http://defendingtheconstitution.wordpress.com Court Koehler

    Amen, Sam! Respect the blog – it should have value independent of marketing juice. I have become so sick of seeing blogs on attorney’s firm websites that I don’t bother to read them anymore. If I come across a new blog I will not read it if it is embedded in a firm website simply because they are always so boring. Plus, it gives me a bad impression of the attorney. If there’s very many other people out there like me, that alone would seem like reason enough to have a separate blog.

  • Paul

    Interesting. I have found in my case that my blog (not really kept up too well honstly) now outranks my home page escpecially after the latest Google search engine changes. So in essence my blog is pushing my own website down the google rankings, kind of weird. So my concern is that my blog is written to be informative and while it contains links to my main page, it is not written really to try to draw people to the site. In a perverse way the blog could be hurting my main site’s SEO rankings and ability to “convert” potential clients.

  • http://www.maxelliottlaw.com Max Elliott

    I disagree. A blog can have more than one function and mine has 2: education and marketing. As part of my marketing campaign, I update it weekly and the update is sent out across all of my social media platforms. As a result, my stats indicate that my blog is the most heavily read portion of my site. Clients and potential clients often mention it when speaking to me. As an educational tool, it leads people to ask questions about the material posted, which leads to asking questions about my practice, and leads to referrals. People leave my blog and THEN visit other parts of my web site. SEO is not at the top of my list right now and in a previous life, I was a web designer, blogger, etc. So I’m not ignorant regarding SEO’s benefits for selling widgets and basic services. My blog is cross-functional and that works for my practice.

    With respect to news, my news page serves a broader purpose and because of that, it has the same effect that my blog does. As legal service marketing folks will tell you, a lawyer’s web site is not supposed to be about “me, me, me” the lawyer but how the lawyer can be of benefit to “you, you, you” the client. As a wills, trusts, and estate planner, developing a relationship with potential clients and their families is much more important to me than SEO and my web site is a component of that relationship. I update the news, when it is relevant to my clients, not just as a boast. The information I provide through my blog, news page, newsletter and other social media outlets, the testimonials that I am starting to receive (practice just launched), and the seminars I give, all sufficiently define my experience, knowledge, and skills and are inclusive, creating an entire package. Setting my blog apart from my web site would be discordant.

  • http://doddslawoffice.com/ Jeanette Otis

    Like others, I disagree with this post. You define most law firm blogs as glorified news clips but then lasso in blogs that contain content and analysis, and call them the same. Herein, I address blogs that are not of the news ticker variety. “A blog makes you an author and a publisher,” you spout, and therefore claim it belongs elsewhere because news articles don’t belong in marketing pamphlets.

    Really? Smart job applicants bring their portfolios to an interview, not just their resumes. (In fact, that’s the main reason why my attorney hired me.)

    Comparing a website to a marketing pamphlet is a very narrow view indeed of a law firm website. One should think of them more as marketing portfolios. Remove all technological advances of the 21st century, and think of a law firm manning a booth at a convention. Sure, they have brochures, but they’d touch more people with something more substantial: published articles written by the firm attorneys, testimonials from happy clients, etc. Why limit our technology to the dark ages? Does your blog leave the firm site? Do your potential clients get sidetracked on another blog, and another, and forget about that nice site they briefly spent time on?

    Further, what better way to get a feel for an attorney than to see how and what they write? A random viewer doesn’t know if the site was written by someone in the firm: for all they know (and possibly assume), some third party wrote and developed it, and the firm paid a fee to make them look good. But a blog, now, that is written by the guy (or gal) you might retain for your legal matter. And therein lies a website’s advantage over marketing pamphlets – it allows a much broader scope, interactivity, and a portal for dialogue. By sending people away to read your blog, are you communicating that your firm is standoff-ish with people, or do you invite them into your office, allow them to peruse your books and magazines, and chat with your receptionist?

    Lastly, keeping a blog on your website provides for better tracking of statistics. For instance, of the Top 10 pages visited on our site, four are from the blog. On every single one of them, more people entered on that page and went elsewhere on the site than left from that page.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Those are very good reasons why lawyers should write a blog. They are not very good reasons why a law blog should be incorporated into a law firm website, because it’s easy to accomplish those goals with a separate blog, and there are benefits besides.

  • http://www.attorneysync.com Gyi Tsakalakis

    I’m taking the cop-out here and going with “it depends on a lot of factors.”

    I think we also need to clarify what we mean here. Are we talking about visibility of blog content on a firm’s website? Do we only mean separating website and blog domains? Who is the blog’s audience? Who are the authors? Is it a group blog? What is the purpose of the blog?

    My two cents: Give your best content the best visibility.

    Does that mean separating blog content from website content? Maybe.

    Here are some arguments and considerations:

    http://kevin.lexblog.com/search.html?site=kevin-lexblog-com&q=blog+on+separate+domain

    Check out what @kevinokeefe, @stevematthews, and @paperstreet‘s Pete Boyd have to say on the subject.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      These two paragraphs of Kevin’s are really confusing:

      I spent a good deal of time further researching the issue last weekend and exchanging notes with authorities in the SEO field. Nothing swayed me that lawyers and law firms would be better off putting their blogs inside their website architecture.

      I’m in agreement with Matthews that for law firms trying to achieve true client development benefits from blogging, that their law firm blogs belong outside the website.

      Did he just say one thing, then disagree with himself in the next paragraph? Edit: Or is the second sentence in the first paragraph just awkwardly constructed?

      • http://www.stemlegal.com Steve Matthews

        FWIW, I subscribe to the ‘it depends’ approach also. The more areas of practice a firm serves, the more I am inclined to place the blog outside the firm website. Smaller firms and boutique practices, on the other hand, can find good value keeping the blog on-site.

        Here’s my original piece on larger firms that K’OK is quoting from:
        http://www.stemlegal.com/strategyblog/2010/law-firm-blog-location-and-seo/

      • http://smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

        I think the second sentence in the first paragraph is just a little awkwardly constructed. I believe what Kevin meant to say was that he was NOT persuaded that blogs should be inside a law firm website. He continues to believe that blogs should be separate from a firm website (your position).

  • http://www.bitterlawyer.com/ Gregory Luce

    I’m waiting for the day when there won’t be a distinction between a blog and a law firm website. On that day, law firm websites will be updated regularly with engaging content and won’t have long lists of resumes, FAQs, and awards, unless you dig for them. I think part of the problem is how we conceptualize a law firm website and how we think about blogs. A website, at least for solo and small firm lawyers, need only tell the reader who you are, what you do, where you work, and how you can solve a potential client’s problem. That’s about it, unless you have a virtual practice that will involve some secure client portal or downloadable forms (and even that’s not terribly complicated).

    I don’t see a problem with starting with a website, calling it the law firm website, and building into the front page a stream of substantive posts. Not posts about how you were just awarded pencil-neck of the year (put those items in a sidebar or in an internal category of “firm news”), but posts that are engaging and continue to tell the reader who you are and that you are a pretty interesting person. That’s what law firm websites should strive to do. So, I disagree a bit with Sam. I think it’s doable, maybe preferable.

    Plus, it’s freaking hard to maintain two separate sites while trying to operate and grow an active full-time practice. Not insurmountable, not impossible, but time-consuming, split-focused, and double the potential upkeep and troubleshooting.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Along these lines, and because I’m actually a bit of a hypocrite, here is my tech startup website, StartupLawyer.MN, which is like the hybrid you are describing. It’s more a blog with information about my services than strictly a blog or firm website. However, I don’t update it regularly, and include plenty of newsy posts about myself and the firm.

      I’m not sure I’ve got a clear vision for what that site is suppose to be or do, but even so, it’s doing a decent job attracting potential client inquiries. Call it an experiment in progress.

      • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

        Although I guess my website may not really be a blog after all, as infrequently as it is updated.

  • http://www.meehle.com Suzanne Meehle

    I have to (somewhat) disagree. A lawyer’s website may also be there to act as an interface between the lawyer and existing clients (not just potentials). In that case, regular blog posts with information, opinion and how-to may be a good fit for the website without regard to whether or not it improves SEO. I have a blawg over at Solo Practice University where I talk about the law, lawyering and running a firm (which does not belong on my web site for all the reasons you mention). ! also have a blog on my web site where I primarily communicate with an audience of existing clients and referral sources about topics of interest to small business owners (which my clients like and would be unhappy if I moved it).

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I was inclined to agree with you until I remembered Duets Blog, a trademark & marketing blog written by Winthrop & Weinstine, a large Minneapolis law firm. It’s a very successful blog targeted at clients, potential clients, peers, and the marketing world, in general. The fact that it is not integrated into the firm website means it is more friendly and accessible, and because it appears to be an external publication, not an internal one, I think it probably lends the writers (who are mostly attorneys at the firm) extra authority with the readers.

      I think it probably depends on just how you are trying to write for your clients, but I still think there are compelling reasons to build the blog on a separate site, rather than integrating it into the firm website.

      • http://lawyerist.com Gregory Luce

        I thought of Duets Blog as well, but as an example of an exception to my general thought that law firm websites can be blogs, and vice versa. That idea works for solo and small firm folks but breaks down the bigger the firm gets. If you have a firm of 50 or 100 attorneys with practices in 20 different areas of law, it doesn’t make sense to have a “blog” as a website if that “blog” is about the exciting area of ERISA law. You’ll piss off the admiralty attorneys in the firm, to name one, and confuse consumers who came to the firm to learn about barratry.

        Seriously, my preference for law firm websites also operating as blogs really only works for solo and very small firms. But that’s about 50 to 60 percent of the market.

        • http://williampfeifer.com William Pfeifer

          This is a good point. I think having my blog as part of my website is an effective communication tool and I don’t see any reason to split it off from my law firm website. However, if I was in a firm of 50 lawyers, I would take a different approach to how things were structured.

  • http://www.directlaw.com/ Richard Granat

    I disagree with this post. We subscribe to and use http://www.hubspot.com as a marketing platform that focuses on inbound marketing as a strategy. They have close to 25,000 clients.
    Their advice, after extensive research, is to always make the blog part of your web site architecture. Otherwise you are maintaining two domains rather than one, and you don’t get the benefit of adding fresh content to your web site frequently. Often it is through the blog that fresh content is added to your web site, as the rest of the web site remains static. Their materials on how to use a blog to promote your marketing objectives is not only the best that I have read, I can testify to the fact that it works. Their White Papers on the subject are free and can be downloaded from their web site st http://www.hubspot.com.

    • http://gyitsakalakis.com Gyi Tsakalakis

      Richard,

      As a former Hubspot customer, I second your endorsement. And from a search perspective, there are certainly advantages to concentrating your efforts on one domain (I would recommend domain.com/blog as opposed to blog.domain.com).

      However, I still stand by the position that there are some situations where maintaining separate sites/blogs on separate domains makes the most sense.

      • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

        For example, when you are trying to build an audience of repeat visitors, rather than just search engine results.

        • http://gyitsakalakis.com Gyi Tsakalakis

          No, I think you can build an audience of repeat visitors with a blog “on” your website.

          • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

            Of course you can. I think it’s a lot easier if people don’t feel like they are visiting a law office whenever they see your blog, though.

  • http://smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

    I agree with Sam. Perhaps it would be easier if everyone thought about this in terms of a new lawyer who wants to start a new law firm website and a new blog. Sam’s point (correct me if I’m wrong) is that you can get MORE readers (who may turn into more potential clients, or better yet, paying clients) if you create a blog with its own identity than you would if you immediately created a new blog imbedded in a law firm website. The reason for this is readers are more likely to become repeat visitors if they find themselves reading a news source than a promotional vehicle. An independent blog is more likely to be perceived as a news source than it is going to be perceived as a self-promotional vehicle (like a law firm website). So readers are more likely to come back later if your content is posted on an independent blog.

    Another way to think about this is you are sitting down on your couch at home after a long day. On your coffee table is a new issue of your favorite magazine (think Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, People, whatever) and a brochure from a law firm. Which one do you want to pick up? After you’ve read it, which one would you want to pick up a second time? The brochure may have good content, but it is perceived as a promotional vehicle, which tends to turn people off.

    In this vision, the firm website is really the much smaller, less trafficked site between the two. I believe Kevin O’Keefe has even said if you have to choose between the two, he would recommend setting up a separate independent blog and no firm website.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      You’ve said it quite well. I’d also argue that trying to answer this question by thinking primarily of SEO is completely off the point. If the only point of your blog is SEO, then do whatever the SEO consultants tell you to do. They are concerned only with a tiny handful of readers—Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Those readers may be influential, but pleasing them may exclude the hundreds or thousands of other readers you hope to attract to your blog.

  • http://www.cluttoncox.co.uk Paul Hajek

    All very interesting: here are my views fron England and how I view my website and inclusive blog.

    I dissent with Sam but I also agree. It depends on what and to whom you are appealing.

    There are only I would surmise a very few law blogs in The UK which attract a loyal readership. Exceptional indeed.

    My blogs attract a readership on the one off occasions clients and potential clients are looking for conveyancing wills or probate. Potential clients are lured by my regular blog content via Google.

    I am also a hubspot disciple and would not want to separate my blog from my website.

    But, I agree with Kevin O’ Keefe, If I was starting now I would start a WordPress blog and not bother with a formal website

  • http://www.sjfpc.com Steven J Fromm

    This is such a great debate as I have been considering adding a blog to my website. Currently, I have a separate blog at frommtaxes.wordpress.com and my website. But my current emphasis is drafting insightful and timely tax and estate articles at my website and then alerting clients, contacts, LinkedIn groups, etc. as to the articles. They are drawing traffic to my website. I am thinking that if they were posted as a blog at my website I would get the same traffic but more comments and more followers thus increasing the visibility and SEO of my site. As a sole practitioner, I was leaning on doing that but now I am not so sure. But I will tell you it is near impossible to keep up with a website and my blog. These comments are all helpful if not confusing.

  • http://p3nlhclust404.shr.prod.phx3.secureserver.net/SharedContent/redirect_0.html Chris

    I have a self-designed wordpress website that also hosts a blog, I really haven’t decided if it’s better to continue the blog and move my services/company to its own site separate from the blog.

    I enjoy the blogging and don’t want it to distract a consumer from the sole purpose of the website… Business… Would you agree that the website needs to be purely customer orientated with an RSS feed from the blog showing up somewhere on the company site?

  • http://www.sikorskilaw.com/ Dan

    Blogging is an important part of SEO, without it, providing enough new content to get crawled will be very hard. Blogs and article postings are the main way to build up page ranking in the post penguin world of SEO. Keep blogging, provide quality readable content when you can and keep the blog on your site. Your usual customer will not be a regular reader, so SEO usually becomes the primary purpose of any business blog.

  • Sheamus Warior
  • Sheamus Warior

    I found this blog post interesting and I like the daughter’s picture while eating cone.Legal Advice Firm

  • Build Ur Brand

    I completely disagree with most of this! A good search marketing person
    wants to help their customers grow their business via personal connection and building customers but in the same turn they understand that search engines also want to please customers by offering up the best websites with the best products or content based on the search query.

    You also contradict yourself. You say “Because there’s next to no
    chance that anyone is going to sit and read that kind of pulp” then you
    turn around and say a blog is meant to be read by people not search
    engines.”

    So if I follow your line of thinking that no one is going to sit down and read that kind of pulp, why is it then meant to be read by people? I am a bit confused is “anyone” and “people” 2 different concepts?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Your commenting handle speaks volumes.

      • Build Ur Brand

        Thank you, whimsical isn’t it and slightly ironic, who doesn’t know about “Frosted Flakes”.

      • Build Ur Brand

        and be nice or i will go change my profile name on Twitter … gotta love Social Marketing hey? :o)

  • Build Ur Brand

    I am sorry but I know that both Google & Bing bots look at “People” or “Anyone” trends because People are THEIR customers so every single website MUST target the customer they desire and when they do this well they will position well because the bots will see what they have to share is valuable!

  • Build Ur Brand

    That makes no sense …Please explain what you mean on this theory? .

  • Sheamus Warior

    Nice answers in replace of the question with real point of view and explaining about that.http://lawyerherndonva.com/family-law/child-support/

  • http://thedroidlawyer.com/ Jeffrey Taylor

    Here’s the simple answer: Google’s Panda update changed the way people have to think about blogs.

    IMO, blogs needs to be a part of the law website to prevent Google punishment. Plus, since 99.9% of websites will never get updated on a regular basis, a blog will show Google that “this site has fresh stuff.”

  • The Law Blogger

    I disagree with the premise of this re-tread. Sure, I get the notion that a blog should exist for the content, not for it’s SEO potential. I am a law blogger and maintain our law firm’s 4 [count em, four] blogs. Recently, we took three of our content-related blogs that were on Google’s Blogger platform and ran them “in house” within our law firm’s web site.

    We were tired of enticing readers, and client prospects, to our site, only to have them click on our Blogger link, be carried away from our site, some [perhaps many] never to return. And that includes the folks that were genuinely interested in our blog posts.

  • Daniel

    Is blogging on your website no longer useful for SEO? I don’t have a blog but was considering adding one for SEO.

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      If SEO is the only reason you are considering blogging, I wouldn’t bother. See this post.

  • R Mansour

    This conversation seems to revolve around the definition of a blog and its purpose. I think the assertion that a “blog” is not really a “blog” unless it has recurring readers is perhaps a very limiting definition. It reminds me of how some classical musicians don’t consider rock music as legitimate “music.”
    Frankly, I don’t care what it’s called. Blog, Blug, Blag…doesn’t matter. I don’t blog to have recurring readers. If anyone reads my blog routinely, I’d frankly be concerned about that person’s mental health!
    All I can do is continue doing what’s working for me. I have my “blog” (or whatever you want to call it) as part of my website. I post helpful articles, FAQs, post videos, etc. Here’s why: At the end of the day, I believe that most clients turn to the internet when they want ANSWERS to their questions – not just a business card in the form of a website. My pretty face on my website isn’t going to be enough. Now I’m not against a separate site for the blog, but clients are busy. They want information quickly. They don’t want to be referred to a secondary website. They barely have time to pick up their kids and shop for groceries. If you go to an “Information Desk” somewhere, do you really want to be referred elsewhere?
    Almost all my clients call BECAUSE of the content on the website. They will actually tell me about the blog entry/article/video they saw on the website that addressed their particular concern. When most other attorneys have static business card websites, or sites with stale information, the clients seem to appreciate the content. It sets me apart at the very least. As such, clients who come through the internet compliment me on the helpful information, content, articles, etc. They view me as “helpful” so they end up calling for that reason alone. They want to hire someone who is going to be “helpful.” I hope blogging helps my SEO, but that’s a secondary reason of keeping the blog on the site.
    Now, if my blog isn’t cultivating recurring readers, then perhaps it isn’t really a “blog.” That’s ok with me. My musings on the law or anything else aren’t that important to my audience. I don’t want recurring readers. I’m running a law practice. I want clients. In conclusion, if my blog isn’t really a blog, and my website simply secures new clients for me on a regular basis, then I’m very much ok with that.

  • Mike

    I disagree. Having my blog (www.pospislaw.com/blog) on my website makes it easier for prospective clients to learn more about me and my firm. Fewer clicks, consolidation, simplification, etc.