Having an effective legal blog requires both a custom design layout and unique informative content. Attorneys often ask us, “What will I blog about?” Like anything else, blogging takes a little practice. We have found that after a few months the attorneys begin to find their voice.
Blog Design for Attorneys
Social media is great. But spend the vast majority of your time writing legal blog articles. Then your blog post can quickly (and even automatically) be sent to your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In less than an hour a week you can maintain an effective blog that shows up well in the search engines for the narrow niche areas that are most important to your practice.
Writing content for a blog often revolves around the same conversations you have with other attorneys in the hallways of the courthouse, over lunch, or at legal seminars. Writing a blog article just means putting some of those observations into a short article. Some of the best blog posts are just a few paragraphs. Over time, attorneys quickly find a lot to talk about.
Our Blog Design, Development and Writing Services
- Building Custom Blog Layouts for Attorneys
- Blogging is Easier Than You Might Think
- What is a Blog or “bLAWg”?
- What to Talk About on Your Blog
- Encourage Others to Create Content for You
- Why Should an Attorney Blog?
- The Best Blogging Options
- On-Site Legal Blogs
- Writing Content for an Attorney’s Blawg
- Integrating Social Media
- Do More with Less Time
- Ghost Writing for Attorneys
- Blogging Resources and Popular Legal Blogs
Other than the content on the attorney’s main website, nothing is more important than regular blog entries on topics that are interesting to your ideal clients and other attorneys fighting similar battles. Our boutique internet marketing company provides lots of support to the attorney blogger to help get things started. No other form of internet marketing provides a better return on investment because for particular niche areas, blog articles show up instantly in the search engines.
Think of us as your blogging coach. We show you the basics and keep you on task. We edit your blogs in the beginning and help you come up with ideas for the long term. We show you quick ways to automatically feed the blog articles into your social media profiles when it’s appropriate.
At Internet Lava we help attorneys quickly realize just how easy blogging has become. Not only does it allow you to share your personal style with your potential clients, but it also allows you to network with other attorneys interested in similar legal issues. We help you use your time most effective. Contact Internet Lava if you are interested in any of the following issues:
- I am completely new to blogging – what can you do to get me started?
- I have a legal blog that is finally starting to gain some traction – what can I do to improve the design and layout of the blog so that it looks more appealing?
- I am looking for a ghost writer. I have a lot of very specific ideas for the legal articles, but not a lot of time to polish them the way I want.
Having a professional blog enables you to project your voice and opinions worldwide, connecting your services to your ideal clients by making your website’s network more robust, integrating with social media networks, and reinforcing your reputation within your favorite practice area.
A blog-which is an abbreviated portmanteau of “web log”- is any website that presents regular, periodic content published by one or more authors. Think of it as a newspaper or magazine editorial. As a blogger in the “blogosphere”, you would simply think of a topic that inspires you and run with it. Legal professionals often spell it “blawg” or “blawging” to designate blogs about legal topics. Get it – b-LAW-g?
Attorneys have legal blogs about every topic you could imagine. The best blawgs tend to focus on fairly narrow niche topics. Rather than trying to market the legal practice to clients, the best blogs focus on issues that are interesting to other attorneys in that practice area. You can find legal blogs on the most popular topics such as personal injury, medical malpractice, criminal defense, DUI defense, immigration law, family and divorce law, entertainment law and business law.
Besides the traditional blogs, you can also find “gossip” blogs about life at the big law firms, law school student blogs, unemployed lawyer blogs, depressing blogs about being a temporary contract attorney, or inspiring blogs about starting a solo practice. You can also find blogs about fairly narrow topics such as animal rights law, fashion law, and even something as obscure as furniture law.
Where blogging differs from traditional editorial content is in the underlying community-driven premise of blogs and the Internet in general. Readers can give direct feedback on your content and spark thought-provoking discussions, bring new perspective to a given argument, or just let you know how they think you’re doing as a blogger. A professional attorney blog will often attract other attorneys and those knowledgeable about the law to comment and promote discussion on topics that interest or concern you-and your clients.
If you’ve asked yourself this question, you may have been missing out on some important opportunities to connect with your ideal clients. Like social media, a blog is a powerful communication tool that can save you time and money in effectively reaching your target market. There are many advantages to having a well maintained blog, including:
- Better search engine optimization (SEO) – Having a blog link back to your main website increases its network of links and makes it look better to search engines like Google. The blog also allows you to link to many of your other on-line profiles which adds a boast to your entire on-line presense. Also, search engines give preferential treatment to websites that are updated regularly, and the periodic nature of a blog lends well to this factor. Often, the blog article will show up instantly in the search engines while pages added to your website tend to take longer to be indexed in the search engines.
- Improved reputation within the industry – A well maintained blog filled with informative posts about relevant issues can cement your reputation as a titan of the industry. Think of it from the client’s perspective-if you regularly have something to say, doesn’t it seem that you’re truly passionate about what you do? Fellow lawyers in your community tend to read legal blogs, as well, so presenting your knowledge and opinions on your blog will show your peers that you mean business. We all know that networking with other attorneys is a great way to learn more about the law and gain referral business.
- Increased trust from clients – The informal nature of blogging and the ability for your readers to directly converse with you will eliminate some of the potential barriers of intimidation a client may feel before contacting you. If a client feels that you make a regular effort to personally connect with them, they will be more inclined to choose you over a comparable attorney, since they will feel more comfortable discussing their case with you. Creating a professional blog leads to a direct increase in business.
- Ability to synchronize various media – A blog doesn’t have to simply be text; you could publish an article about a recent legal event in your county, post a video relating to it, show photos or graphics detailing the legal implications or statistics of the event, link to external resources that help the casual reader understand, and integrate your own social media and Internet presence. A media-rich blog doesn’t require much technical expertise with many of the blogging systems available to you, and it will help to keep your readers on your site and engaged with you.
- Instant syndication – By utilizing RSS-“Really Simple Syndication,” which is a technology that allows people to subscribe to any online periodic content using an RSS-capable application like Google Reader, Mozilla Thunderbird, or Microsoft Outlook-and social media, you can immediately let everyone know you’ve posted a new blog entry. Utilizing these techniques will keep readers up-to-date with you, regardless of your post frequency.
At Internet Lava, we understand the tremendous benefits to blogging. Our internet marketing company will help you or others in your law firm get started with your business blog that will not only drive clients to your site, but help establish a foundation for a loyal customer relationship.
Okay, so you understand the importance of blogging; what do you do now? There are a number of options when it comes to starting and maintaining a blog, and knowing the characteristics of each type of blog will help you make the decision that will benefit your business the most.
The two main blogging services are WordPress.com and Google’s Blogger service called Blogspot.com. Both Blogger and WordPress have their own set of benefits and limitations. Both are serious contenders in the search for an easily maintained, in-depth blog management system. This is technically a type of off-site blog, but the presence of an established major service makes it very different in practice.
|There are many sites and services that provide blog access, but two of the most prominent on the web are WordPress and Blogger. These services are free and provide intuitive interfaces and powerful extensions that can serve to distinguish your blog from others.|
A blog hosted by Blogger or WordPress.com would be examplelaw.blogspot.com or examplelaw.wordpress.com, respectively. These blogs can be powerful tools in optimizing your main site so it performs better on the major search engines. Some of the beneficial characteristics of these blogs include:
- Established reputation of the major services promotes your blog on the search engine, since bloggers are in a user agreement with the service provider that prevents misuse or abuse of the system.
- Extensive and intuitive administrator panels and management systems within the services allow for streamlined updating of the blog, integration of media, inclusion of “widgets”-plug-in applications that extend the functionality of your blog-and visual design of the pages within the blog.
- Worry-free hosting on these services means that you don’t ever have to deal with hosting fees, data backup, or site maintenance other than creating your content. However, this means that you have to comply with their user agreement and generally have less control over the elements of your blog than if you had hosted it yourself.
- Inbound links to your site from your own blog count for SEO purposes, and even the links from your old archived posts will continue to contribute to your search engine ranking over time
This type of blog can be a significant enhancement of your web arsenal. Before you go sign up for one of these services, however, consider a different type of blog.
An on-site blog is one that is hosted on the same domain or a subdomain of your main practice’s website. An example of this would be something like www.examplelaw.com/blog/ or blog.examplelaw.com. Choosing an on-site blog as your blogging option brings with it a number of advantages. Consider the following characteristics:
- Full control over your blog’s content, design, and direction allows you to be more involved in the process than you would be when using a blogging service. The freedom from the constraints of a user agreement presents new options to you, including advertisement, if you anticipate the need to monetize your blog in the future.
- Increased size of your main site from the numerous pages created by the blog allows for your page to be considered more important by search engines. Since a blog dynamically generates a new page for every one of your posts, categories, archives, and comments, your total website index can reach thousands of pages naturally, and this is a good thing for SEO purposes.
- Comparable management systems to those of the major services exist for self-hosted blogs, like the blog management system offered by WordPress. These services offer the same intuitive and extensive user interfaces offered by the major providers with the same low-cost implementation and, as mentioned, more control.
Creating an on-site blog is a good alternative to a blog hosted on a major service, but each has its own benefits. If you’re looking to create a blog and need help deciding which option is the best for your firm, call us at 1-800-292-Lava, and we will gladly work with you to come up with the solution that fits your needs.
Creating the blog is only the first step in the process. Without proper care, a legal blog’s benefits cannot be fully realized. The true SEO value of blogs comes from frequency and quality of posts, so simply creating a blog and leaving it to rot will do very little for you. We have a few guidelines for posting on your blog that will help to ensure you truly maximize your blog’s potential.
The Attorneys in the Firm Must Get Involved and Stay Involved
An attorney blog without an attorney is meaningless fluff. The key to your blog’s success is, without a doubt, you. We will support you in the creation and maintenance of your blog. We do offer some “ghost writing” services for attorneys, but we don’t possess your legal expertise. A number of other web design companies market total blog upkeep to their clients, but we don’t believe that works. What usually ends up happening with those types of generic blogs is that the content is used over and over again. Most of that content pertains more to local news or the legal follies of celebrities than legitimate legal discourse.
You’re a knowledgeable, experienced member of your field. You have the power to enlighten your readers and provide a service to them that few are willing to provide. Exercise that power properly, and you will immediately stand out, both to your clients and to search engines looking at your posts.
When you post something new on your blog, make sure people know about it. Don’t subscribe to the “if you write it, they will come” philosophy. Utilizing social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog posts and encouraging your readers to subscribe to your RSS feeds will help to ensure you always have an audience for your articles. If your blog is properly set up for automatic syndication, it could be immediately posted on the following external locations:
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Your Avvo profile
- Your Justia “Blogs” tab
- Subscribers’ RSS feeds
- MerchantCircle supports its own platform for blog posting, as well.
Setting up your blog’s automatic syndication with all of your social media and directory profiles is very easy to do. With the Internet LAVA solution, your automatic syndication will be taken care of as we create all of your profiles.
Once you have readers, you want to make sure they stay there long enough to know what you have to stay. What you have to say may be very important, but readers will often pass it by unless you do something outstanding to set it apart. Do this by incorporating a variety of communication techniques to keep your message fresh and accessible to a variety of readers.
If you’re discussing a recent news broadcast, include a YouTube video of it. When you want to talk statistics, give your readers a graph or chart to help them visualize the information. If possible, include some sort of interactivity-like an interactive map widget or something similar-that will give your user a memorable experience. Providing a media-rich blog post will help communicate your message more effectively to a wider variety of people and keep them interested in what you have to say for even longer.
We understand that running a successful practice takes a significant commitment of time and effort, and that dedicating time to organizing your thoughts into a form that can be published isn’t something you can always afford. With our attorney ghost writing service, we take raw ideas and concepts you give us and flesh those out into complete, published blog posts.
The ideas are yours, but we do the “leg-work” of writing all the details and diction. Our research backs up the information you give us, and we make sure to explain concepts that may lose the less legally inclined so you can focus primarily on the core ideas at work.
Once again, however, YOU are the key component to your blog. We can’t effectively contribute to your blog without the unique legal expertise you possess. You don’t want people assuming that you pass off general information as your own expertise, so we don’t do that. Instead, we work with you to polish your ideas to make them more search engine friendly. We add photographs to the blogs, add internal links to other articles you have written, improve the title, and find ways to make the article show up better in the search engines.
Blawg Directory – ABA Journal – To have your blog listed on the American Bar Association Blawg Directory, simply fill out the on-line form so that the ABA can review your submission and post it on-line. The Blawg Directory will only list a continuously updated legal blog with an RSS feed. Static law firm websites are not listed in the Blawg directory.
Blog Link Application to Add Your Blog to Your LinkedIn Profile – Find out more about how to use your LinkedIn relationships to send traffic to your blog articles. Everytime you post a blog you can manually or automatically add a link to the article on your profile or your newsfeed.
Add Google +1 Button on Attorney’s Blogger Blog – Since Google created this feature, attorneys and blawgers have been asking us how to add the +1 button to their sites. For Blooger, you can add the the +1 button to your blawg. From your Blogger dashboard go to Design > Page Elements, look in the Blog posts area and click on Edit. Then click on “Show Share Buttons” which now automatically adds the +1 button.
The 2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100 – List of the best legal blogs as selected by the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal’s editors. In these award winning blawgs you will not find any generic templates. On the other hand, many of the best blogs have a simple design and layout focused on providing the best content on a very narrow niche legal topics. Find interesting blogs written by attorneys that range from being funny to scholarly to soapbox rants.
Prawfs Blawg – a collection of blog articles written by law school professors and educators across the country on topics that focus on the philosophy of punishment, criminal law and policy.
The Manpower Employment Blawg – Provides information on employment law issues important to business owners and other attorneys in the labor and employment field.
Animal Blawg – Great example of a blog written on the WordPress platform. The blog discusses animal laws, ethical issues and policy considerations.
Internet Lava’s Solutions for Designing Attorney Blogs
At Internet Lava, we know that a professional, custom layout and designed blog can make all the difference when it comes to establishing Internet presence, blogging reputation, and readability. From its inception, we will work to make your blog one that will attract readers and project your firm’s image effectively. We’re experienced in creating eye-catching legal blogs that you can easily manage, whether you decide to create a blog on your own site or on one of the major service providers.
We know that you’re ready to have your voice be heard by your clients and the industry at large. The benefits of using all the Internet has to offer in order to communicate your ideas are numerous, and we’re here to help you realize those. Let us assist you in creating your full-fledged web marketing solution that goes well beyond blogging to give you dominance of your target market online. Contact us today for more information at 1-800-292-Lava.