John Damron 2013-06-12 00:46:27
How to Decide When to Write Your Own Law Firm’s Content A polished website with up-to-date information can make a distinctive first impression of your law firm. An attorney who can present their own story is the best advocate for their law firm. A legal blog allows you to establish your expertise in a reassuring, personal voice, ultimately reaching prospective clients seeking professional services online. Still, launching a website or legal blog shouldn’t be undertaken without careful planning. Researching and writing substantive Web pages rich in keywords and blog posts that perform well in Google searches requires thought and attention. Six Considerations for Would-be Attorney Bloggers Here are six things to think about if you are an attorney considering starting a blog or writi ng your own website content: Frequency Blogging is like exercise. You need to do it regularly! Don’t be a content couch potato! The highest-ranking legal blogs are updated weekly, if not more frequently. Blogs updated often with fresh content convey more authority. They receive more repeat visits from readers as well as search engines. Make a clear-eyed assessment of your ability to invest the hours necessary every week to research and write one or more blog posts. Your top priority as an attorney is representing your clients and litigating cases to a successful conclusion. When you’re preparing a big case, other responsibilities such as writing your own blog or pages of Web content may take a backseat for weeks or even months at a time. The problem with not updating your blog or adding pages of fresh content to your website is that a lack of regular activity on your website lowers your reputation with search engines on the Web. It may even affect the page rankings of your website. Before committing to write a legal blog, consider how much priority a blog will receive in your busy, daily schedule. Creative Balance Websites must strike a balance between maximizing searchable keywords, holding a prospective client’s attention and presenting a professional image. The most effective websites have lively, authoritative content crafted on top of a foundation of detailed SEO research. The right keywords and phrases help prospective clients find your website, but strong supportive content is what keeps them reading and compels them to call. Many attorneys who write their own Web content quote the precise language of statutes on their Web pages and blogs. While citing statutory language may strengthen your legal brief, it works against you on the Web. Your Web pages may not be listed in search engines if Google finds that your blog contains unoriginal content that is found elsewhere. Instead, it’s best to paraphrase legal statutes in reader-friendly language. Few readers will spend the time trying to decipher the meaning of a statute. They’ll just keep surfing the Web until they find another lawyer who has explained the law in terms that they understand. Content is King Web pages and Web content should be engaging, timely, informative and written in clear English for an audience of potential clients searching for legal services. If your content is not lively and crisply written, visitors won’t take the time to read it. Google places a high priority on the quality and volume of content in determining search rankings of law firm websites. If your Web pages are riddled with typos, it will reflect poorly on the professional image you wish to convey. It’s important to monitor multiple sources of legal information to find interesting, timely topics for posts specific to your areas of law to keep your content relevant. Keywords A legal blog can be informative without being effective. Keep in mind that the point of legal blogs for for-profit law firms is to help you reach prospective clients. Using search engine optimization tools, you can identify words and phrases that Internet users type in when seeking an attorney to help with a specific legal issue. Th en, these terms should be incorporated into your Web pages and blog posts to help prospective clients find your website. It’s particularly important to use keywords in headline tags and anchor texts of links. Understanding how to maximize keywords in your Web content is important so that your content can be found in search engines. Domain Dilemma Your law firm has an established website and now you wish to start a blog. You’ll need to consider whether your new blog will share the same domain name as your website or have its own identity. Th ere are valid reasons for going either direction. If your website has its own domain name, you’ll be starting over and the new site will not benefit from the flagship website’s existing presence. But if you want the blog to focus on a specific area of practice, you may want the blog’s domain name to reflect that. Just like all your marketing efforts, consider how your blog will coordinate with your website. Enthusiasm Many blogs start out strong but eventually decline in quality and frequency because attorneys have too much on their plates and lose interest in the research and writing required. When the American Bar Association Journal published its 2012 list of 100 best legal blogs, one thing the successful blogs had in common were writers who are passionate about their topic. Passionate bloggers are more likely to produce blogs that people return to read. Do you really enjoy writing, and can you convey your enthusiasm to readers? If you answered no, you may want to outsource your content writing to maintain a high level of production without exhausting the enthusiasm you have. When you hire a high-quality legal marketing company to produce your legal blog, you still have the option to contribute a blog post yourself whenever you wish and your schedule permits, but you’re not bound by daily or weekly deadlines. High-quality Web content is an integral part of an overall marketing strategy. As you plan your firm’s content strategy, remember to consider frequency, creative balance, content’s importance, keyword usage, the proper domain, and how to stay consistent in your enthusiasm for blogging. With these considerations, you can ensure that your content reflects the high professional standards you set for yourself and your law firm. John Damron works closely with our law firm clients to develop the best Internet marketing strategies possible for their firm. He listens to clients’ needs and ensures that they are effectively communicated to the rest of our team, including our support staff technicians. John spent several years in sales prior to joining Consultwebs.com. He took part in a panel discussion on legal online marketing at the M&L Seminar in Vancouver, British Columbia.“Consultwebs.com has the most comprehensive Web marketing options for any law firm, large or small,” he says. “Our team is better organized and works more efficiently than the rest,” he added. John is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. He graduated with honors from Berea College, where he majored in psychology with a minor in business administration. John can be reached at email@example.com.
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