The benefits of a law firm blog

Image by airpix, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Legal blogging has come a long way since I began scrawling my thoughts here in 2006. Back then it was a novelty, thought by many to be little more than a fad. But it became a lot more than that, primarily because many lawyers could see its value to their work and their business.

Nowadays many law firms have a blog attached to their website (although often not described as such - the most common alternative simply calling it 'News'). But if you don't have a blog on your website, should you?

And if you should, or if you already have one, what should the blog contain? After all, there is no point going to the trouble and expense of have a firm's blog unless it is worth reading.

As someone who has written literally thousands of blog posts, both for myself and others, including a number of law firms, I think I am reasonably well placed to provide an answer to these questions, so here goes.

Firstly, the benefits of a law firm blog:

1. Google ranking, otherwise known as 'Search Engine Optimisation', or 'SEO'. For many firms, the primary reason for having a blog.

It is now well beyond doubt that a blog can improve the SEO of any website. And sometimes it can vastly improve it. But note the word 'can'. Good SEO is not a given, just because you have a blog. There is more to SEO than simply having a blog, such as the use of keywords, links, etc. That discussion is beyond the scope of this post, although some of the things I say below regarding what makes a good blog will also help SEO.

2. Attracting clients - This of course follows from 1 above, but it also follows from what follows, if you follow my meaning (clients are attracted by interesting, informative blogs). Whatever, attracting clients is the name of the game isn't it? After all, isn't that the primary raison d'ĂȘtre for your firm's entire website?

3. Informing clients, including existing clients - Clients, and potential clients, especially those involved in family proceedings, want information, often well beyond what you would normally provide in the course of acting for them. a good blog can therefore effectively be an addition to the service that the firm provides.

4. Demonstrating expertise - A blog can be a window on the expertise of the firm, or the writer of the post. The blog can contain detailed explanations of the law, or opinions on various subjects. Even if the blog contains nothing more than updates on the latest family law news, then that can be an indication of expertise, indicating that the firm is keeping up with the latest developments.

5. Keeps site fresh - Lastly, a blog can keep a website fresh, by providing it with regular new content. All too often law firm websites are left to stagnate, without regular updates. This is not just boring, it can also reflect poorly on the firm.

What makes a good blog?

Obviously, it is not enough just to put a blog on your firm's website. A blog will not differentiate you from competitors per se: it needs to be a good blog. But what does that mean? Here are some ideas:

1. The blog should contain interesting, informative, and original content. In a bit more detail:

Interesting: Obviously, readers will not return to a blog that contains nothing of interest to them.

Informative: ...and they will also want to be informed when they go to the trouble of reading it.

Original: It is no good simply copying and pasting entire posts from elsewhere, as I'm afraid I've seen happen all too often over the years, including the wholesale copying of many of my posts. Posts must be original, not just for interest, but also because those clever Google algorithms will soon spot copied content, with a resulting hit to SEO.

2. Regular updates - as indicated above, the blog should be regularly updated. If it is not, readers will soon lose interest, as will Google. How often? Well, obviously, the more posts the better, but many firms will be limited by time constraints (blogging can be very time-consuming) and/or budget - I would say that at least once a week is the minimum.

3. Useful as a resource: A blog can, once it has a reasonable amount of content, become a useful resource for clients and potential clients, containing much general information on family law topics and news. It is helpful if the blog posts are labelled under subject-matter, and the blog is searchable.

Oh, and if you think I have given you all of this free information out of the kindness of my heart, that is not entirely true. I do also have an ulterior motive. If you would like content for your blog, I can provide it, for a very modest fee. For details, see here.

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