Law Firm Website Redesign: Move Your Standalone Blog to Your Website

Judging from lunch and happy hour conversations at the LMA 2012 annual conference, we’re in for a wave of law firm website refreshes and redesigns. There was a lot of discussion about incorporating features to increase website traffic and visitor engagement, but no one was talking about the single most effective way to do that: moving their standalone blog to their website.

Maintaining a blog separately from your website just doesn’t make business or practical sense.

  • Websites that incorporate a blog component typically perform better and require less time and expense than maintaining two or more content management systems.
  • Your blog allows you to easily publish new content your site on a regular basis, it is built to be search engine friendly, and it is simply easier (and cheaper) to manage one site instead of two!buy
  • It is much easier and less confusing for your prospects and leads to find and engage with you when you are directing them to just one site.
  • You typically don’t change most content on your main website pages, like your attorney bio and practice description pages. By keeping your blog as part of your main website, the static pages of your site benefit from the optimization and fresh content published on your blog.

Don’t Believe Your Website Developer. It Absolutely Can Be Done.

On the Inkling Media blog, Ken Mueller noted:

” Businesses get a website, and then they get a blog….Usually this is done because they don’t know how to add a blog to their site, or their web CMS isn’t blog friendly. If that’s the case, you might want to think about a complete redesign of your site to something that includes a blog, and again, I’ll put in a big plug for self-hosted WordPress sites.

“So why is it a problem if your blog doesn’t reside on your domain? Because you’re sending all the traffic to another domain: your blog. A blog will get heavier traffic than your site, and it’s more likely to have regularly changing content and important keywords, as well as attract inbound links. If that happens on your blog, your website is getting none of the credit.

“And don’t think that URL masking, redirecting, or even pulling the blog in via frames will help. The SEO credit will still go to the blog domain, not your website domain. The goal is to drive traffic to your site and get the SEO credit for it. This is a bit harder to remedy than the first three, but a quick chat with your web designer will let you know what your blogging options are for your site. And don’t take “No” for an answer. I’ve spoken to several businesses whose web team told them it couldn’t be done. If that’s the case, and SEO is important to you, it might be time for a new site (and a new web designer).”

Get Off on the Right Foot

Don’t forget, you don’t even need a “website.” A blog IS a website — a dynamic website. You can have pages on a blog and, with some of the great WordPress themes on the StudioPress Genesis Framework, you can create an attractive, high-impact website with full blog integration.

 

 

Rethinking the Attorney Bio, Part 1: Song of Myself

The pivotal role of attorney bios on law firm websites is well-established and much-discussed. It seems, though, that bios are still mired in a “bolt on” strategy — keeping the basic narrative framework and visual presentation the same, just adding features like videos.

To fully unlock the persuasive power of attorney bios, it’s necessary to craft them like a modern storyteller or bard would. That’s why I was captivated by Kate Battle’s recent post “Creating a One-Sheet for Your Law Firm.” Battle writes:

“In the music industry (as well as other industries), there is something called a one-sheet that bands use for marketing. Back in my college days, I spent a lot of time creating these for record labels and bands. As the name implies, a one-sheet is a one-page document that quickly gives people an introduction to the band, what it sounds like and how to contact the right people for shows, interviews or albums.”

“A few weeks ago, a musician friend of mine asked me if I could send him my one-sheet so he can share it with other musicians who might be interested in my legal services. That made me think: Just because I can’t carry a tune doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a quick and simple way to share information about my business.”

Exactly.


Rather than asking people to effectively read your resume, the “one-sheet” approach gives busy people with a lot of options enough information to develop an active interest and contact you directly.

Battle provides a format to create a simple and effective one-sheet for a law firm, but the same principles and techniques will work for attorney bios:

  • Start with a simple header, listing the name of your law firm, attorneys, practice areas, pricing system and contact info.
  • In paragraph one, give basic information about your firm history and list a few things that make it unique. In other words, what makes your law firm different from others?
  • In paragraph two, expand on your firm’s bio by including more information about your attorneys, recent accomplishments and past successes.
  • As with a band’s one-page, use the next paragraph to share a bit of buzz about your firm. Was your firm recently covered in a news story? Are clients saying great things about your firm? Use this part of your one-page to share a few news bites and testimonials.
  • Close out with information on where consumers can find out more about your firm, such as links to articles, a list of your recent publications, and information on upcoming speaking engagements or law firm events.
  • Finally, hit save and print a few copies. Anytime you discover a new referral source, be sure to send a copy so they can easily tell others why your firm is the right firm for their referrals.
How do you tell your own story in your website bio?

 

 

The Best Things in Social Media Are Free

Earlier this week a prominent legal marketer’s LinkedIn post announcing a webinar entitled “What GCs Look For On Your Website When They Want to Hire a Lawyer” caught my attention. The $300 price tag lost it.

Why?

  1. A simple Google search would turn up the same information and more FOR FREE.
  2. The presenter for the scant 75-minute session was — you guessed it — a law firm website developer. So basically, participants paid $300 each for a sales pitch they could have gotten from the same person a) 1-on-1 b) in a customized version c) FOR FREE.

Don’t get me wrong, webinars can provide very useful education and training. As long as they have a clear ROI potential (i.e. proprietary, well-curated or difficult-to-find information), webinars are usually worth the cost of logging on. A little research up front will help you determine how much of your time and money a webinar’s worth. If it’s a well-trodden topic, my usual threshold is a little time and no money.

And fortunately, lots of top-tier bloggers and subject matter experts regularly offer webinars FOR FREE.

Applying the insights and specific action items you found FOR FREE during your Google search, you could instead invest that $300 in useful activities more likely to directly result in new business, like:

  1. Website redesign
  2. Updating and refreshing content
  3. Video (yes, it can be done that cheaply)
  4. Developing speakers bureau content like MCLE presentations
  5. Registration for an all-day conference where you’ll be able to interact and network with multiple speakers and participants (as opposed to remotely watching a 75-minute sales pitch in listen-only mode).

 What’s the most you’ve ever spent to attend a webinar? Was it worth it?

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