Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common
For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.
Running a solo practice means you have to run a business and practice law, which requires a constant juggling of tasks.
The toughest challenge is marketing your solo firm—and ensuring that potential clients are consistently finding and hiring you.
One very effective way to market yourself and your firm is having a blog. A blog should not be your only marketing plan, but it should be part of it.
Clients are increasingly likely to research attorneys online
Depending on what type of law you practice, the power of the interwebs and a blog will vary. For instance, if you practice some fancy-schmancy corporate jibber jabber law, I suspect client relationships are frequently established through referrals or your firm’s reputation. If you do something else, like represent consumers against abusive debt collectors, your clients are probably more likely to find you online.
Don’t get me wrong, referrals from other attorneys are a big part of my practice. But I also know that some clients find me through my internet presence—blog posts on my firm’s website.
To be clear: my practice cannot sustain itself on those clients alone. But I also know that referral clients also frequently review my website (and posts) before deciding to call me.
Whether you should have a blog on your firm’s website or create a separate blog is an issue worth considering. I only practice a niche of consumer rights law, so my posts are directly on my site. So for my practice, I don’t particularly think it makes a difference. For larger firms or firms with a diverse client base, I can see merit in having a blog on an entirely different site. For my firm, it works just fine to have my blog on my firm’s site.
Good blog posts establish your knowledge (or expertise)
Again, exactly what you post on a blog will vary depending on your practice area. A large portion of my client base are individuals who think they cannot afford an attorney or only pay a rather small amount. Many of them have previously been jacked around or ripped off by some debt settlement company, or another attorney.
Occasionally I will post something about a recent outcome in a case. But I’m usually restricted by some form of confidentiality in a settlement agreement. And based on what I hear from clients (and potential clients) they are more interested and impressed by substantive posts—how debt collection lawsuits work, can debt collectors call them at work, etc.
In other words: they are looking for a demonstration of knowledge, not a list of recent victories.
Substantive posts on a blog should be better for driving traffic to your website. I know just enough about SEO to make me dangerous, and not enough to put too much emphasis on it. But writing posts about the law(s) you work with should result in more search engine traffic.
Here’s another hidden gem: when you force yourself to write about what you know (in non-legalese), it will help you learn the law even better. And it will allow you to condense the topics into plain English, which will help you develop rapports with clients and potential clients.
Posting regularly is critical
One post is not a blog. One introductory post of “welcome to my blog, I’m very excited about this, please check back frequently for new posts” is worthless.
Put yourself in potential client’s shoes—it’s now 2013 and this attorney has posted once since 2011. Either they are too busy (which is a bad marketing approach) or too lazy (which is just bad).
I work my butt off running my own practice, teaching two classes at the U of MN law school, and writing for Lawyerist every week. I also have two little kids at home and frequently present CLEs. But I always make time to add a new post to my firm’s site once a month (or so).
I don’t ever want a client to poke around my site and realize nothing new has been posted on months. And if you want better search engine traffic, you need to regularly post new content (again: I am not a SEO expert).
The bottom line is that you do not need to write something every day, or every week. But posting once a year is not helpful. Make a regular commitment to your blog, and it will pay dividends. And sometimes it’s even fun. Imagine that.