Want a great blog on Lawyerist's network of blogs? Get a great one for just $99/month from Lawyerist Sites.
Show me a lawyer with a new website, and I’ll show you a lawyer with a blog. It seems like every new law firm website has a blog tab leading to FAQ posts and award announcements that probably hasn’t been updated in months. If the lawyer is especially determined, it will be up-to-date, and may even have a few posts that the firm’s potential clients might find interesting, if they happen to be looking for a lawyer.
The idea, I understand, is to pump the site full of keywords to boost its search profile. Because there’s next to no chance that anyone is going to sit and read that kind of pulp—and definitely no chance they will come back for more.
There’s been some confusion, I think, about the different purposes of a website and a blog.
Law firm websites
A law firm website is a marketing tool that serves one purpose: getting visitors who are potential clients to contact the firm. It is usually fairly static, and should contain information about the firm and its attorneys and practice areas, and make it easy for potential clients to contact the firm and find the office. Most people will visit the firm website once or twice, and on the basis of those visits decide whether to contact the firm or not.
There are lots of good secondary purposes for a law firm website. Some firms include client portals, resources for clients, and more. But if a firm’s website doesn’t turn non-clients into clients, it’s failing at its primary function.
A blog is not a direct marketing tool; it serves a very different purpose. Blogs are meant to be read. By people, that is, not search engines. They can (and should) include FAQ posts and award announcements, but those posts won’t keep readers coming back. Blog posts are not ad copy (nor are they legal briefs). Blogging is often a unique combination of journalism, commentary, and (sometimes) inciting a riot.
If the main purpose of your blog is to attract search traffic, you are doing it wrong.
Law firm websites and blogs have completely different purposes, content, and audiences. They don’t even belong on the same domain.
Blogs don’t belong on law firm websites
Every law firm website ought to have a firm news section where you post updates about your big wins (if your client consents), awards, services, etc. Keep it to news about you and your firm. This is not a blog. It is self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with that—on a law firm website.
If you want to pump your site full of keywords, write a FAQ page, and keep it updated. But don’t try to put a blog on your law firm website. Nobody wants to hang out at a law firm. Similarly, nobody wants to spend time on your law firm website. People visit your law firm’s website for one reason: to figure out whether they want to hire you.
If you want to write a blog, on the other hand, write a blog.
How to build a blog
Blogging—done properly—is a lot of work. If you enjoy writing and are willing to invest at least 1–2 hours per day in your blog, go for it! Build a successful blog, and 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”). Write at least weekly, if not daily.
Build an audience by writing about a subject related to what you do, not by writing only about what you do. For example, if you handle bankruptcy or represent consumers dealing with debt collection, like I do, write about consumer news and personal finance. If you do family law, write about children, marriage, and divorce. In other words, write a blog your potential clients might want to read when they aren’t looking for a lawyer.
If you aren’t willing to invest that time, advertising is probably more cost-effective, and a better use of your time.
As for that “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).