Although I've done a comprehensive post on blogging for lawyers, I thought I'd run through the essential parts to consider when you're starting a law firm blog from scratch.
I'm not going to assume any knowledge, so feel free to skip bits that you already know.
I'm going to make a few assumptions if you're starting a law firm blog.
First – you're a lawyer, right?
Next, I'm guessing that you probably want things to look fairly professional and not like a hack job.
Last, I assume you've got some kind of content strategy in place (or will do) that you're using the blog to put into action.
Starting a law firm blog is really a foundational part of your overall marketing strategy.
Starting a Law Firm Blog Begins with Your Clients
Web marketing isn't really a scattergun approach. There's no point in putting a single word out there unless you know precisely who it's for.
So although I know you're wanting to get into all the tech stuff, step one in creating a blog is actually figuring out who your prospective clients are and what they care about.
If you don't know that, your content is going to fall on deaf ears.
Selecting a Content Management System
Although it's true that you could happily start your law firm's blog by writing on LinkedIn or Medium, and that would be free, it's also a pretty bad idea.
Why? Because if the owners of those sites go away, or simply decide to delete your stuff, they can and there's nothing you can do about it.
Don't build your house on rented land.
Get your own domain name, proper website hosting and use WordPress for your content management (wordpress.org, not wordpress.com – the latter won't give you the flexibility you need over the long run).
This way you own your content.
Pick a WordPress Theme
For law firm websites I normally I recommend that you put strategy before design – because that's the right order of things. But here I'm going to assume that you mostly want a blogging style platform and site design (since that's what this post is about).
Trying to find a WordPress theme is like jumping into a hundred haystacks that have all been mixed together, in which a single pin has been placed for you to find.
Take a look at the Genesis Framework and the themes by StudioPress.
SEOThemes also makes some nice options that work with the Genesis Framework too.
Lastly, GeneratePress is a good and inexpensive option if you want to tinker with stuff but feel icky about coding.
Write your Essential Pages
If you're starting a law firm blog then you're going to need some fundamental pages:
- A home page – how this looks will largely be dependant on what theme you pick, but you need to decide what content to put on it
- An about page – this is to help people know that they're in the right place and to tell them a little bit about you in the process
- A contact page – um… to contact you;
- (Optional) – A services page – who you help and what you do
Everything else is optional. Perhaps staff, bios, testimonials, awards and more. But start with these and move on for now.
Write your Cornerstone Content
There are going to be some articles which broadly deal with a larger topic that's relevant to your practice.
While a normal blog post might be a deep coverage of a discrete issue, cornerstone content is broad by shallow.
- Email Marketing for Lawyers is cornerstone content;
- How Law Firms Can Use Email Autoresponders Effectively would be a blog post.
There are a few good reasons to start with cornerstone content:
- It will help position your main categories of blog posts and give you ideas to expand on as you go;
- It's good content to have which you can share with people who have broad questions;
- You'll link back to it regularly, which will help your search engine optimisation efforts.
Spiral Out from There
Once you have your main pages and your cornerstone content you're ready to go.
You might have already started sharing your content with your connections, but if not then now's the time to do it.
Your future blog posts should, ideally, cycle around your cornerstone topics.
When you write them, link back to the relevant cornerstone articles to create a good site structure and offer people ways to traverse your articles easily.
The Essential Elements of a Law Firm Blog Post
You'll develop your own workflow over time, but for now use this checklist:
- Topic selection – is your topic useful to your desired audience, and narrow enough to deal with in comprehensive detail?
- Headline – would you click on your headline?
- First paragraph – the purpose of the opening paragraph is to get people to keep reading. Does it do that?
- Headings and visual interest – don't forget nice quotes, headings and other things to make the post visually appealling and break up your text.
- Depth – does your article fully and helpfully answer the question or issue posed by the headline?
- Image – have you selected an appropriate image and applied it in the necessary places?
- SEO – have you followed the basic SEO best practices?
That should keep you occupied enough when you're just getting started in blogging.
Surely Starting a Law Firm Blog Can't Be That Easy?
Actually, it is. We make these things way harder than they have to be.
There are plenty of ways that you can improve your blogging as you go. If you're keen to learn more then try these more advanced issues:
- Develop a content marketing strategy;
- Use your staff to better effect;
- Create more content, faster;
- Video Marketing for lawyers
Let me know how you go!