Last night, Kevin O’keefe tweeted a link to my “classic” post on law blogging, “Get Your Law Blog Off Your Law Firm Website“. My favorite part about that post was how few of the commenters showed an ability to consider the Internet from any viewpoint but SEO.
One commenter in particular (an appellate lawyer, natch) kept stubbornly insisting that it made sense to have his blog on his law firm website because he ranked #1 on Google for his target search terms. (If I had a dollar … )
First, ranking #1 on Google for some keywords is not the same thing as getting clients to pay you for legal advice. This (very common) way of looking at SEO overlooks the fact that, at some point, actual human beings will be looking at your website. It’s great if you can generate a lot of search traffic, but to what?
You are focused on SEO. I am talking about user experience. Your SEO-optimized blog-on-your-law-firm-website is a sucky experience for people who want to read your blog. Building readership and ranking well in search results are different and not-always-compatible goals. Then again, if SEO is your all-consuming goal, just never mind.
Second, even if SEO is your all-consuming goal and you feel like you are providing a good user experience as well, that is not a good reason to put your blog on your law firm website. A separate blog can send just as much great SEO juice to your law firm website as an embedded blog can generate. Possibly more.
(Also, if you are an appellate lawyer and SEO is your all-consuming goal, what are you on about? Do you expect quality clients to Google for an appellate lawyer? You need good referral sources, not Google juice. Your blog might play a role in that, even if it is on your law firm website, but you should not be focusing on SEO beyond your name.)
Third, what the hell good is a law blog nobody wants to read? At best, a law blog on a law firm website is like a great magazine in a proctologist’s waiting room; you aren’t going to read it unless you are already planning to be there for what you assume will be an unpleasant experience. How often are you going to go back to read more from that magazine?
Fourth, and finally, if you just can’t get your head around setting up two websites, Greg and I agree that you should just start a blog, and put your law firm website on it. It may seem like the same thing, but it’s not. Blogging builds your reputation. It can help you earn media. It expands your network. All your law firm website really needs to have is your picture, a contact form, and your phone number. You can put those things on a page on your law blog. If you are going to start a blog, consider just not having a law firm website altogether.