Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a “Legal Geeks” meeting hosted by our local Bar Association, and our topic was blogging. While we drank beer and talked technology, I was surprised at how few attorneys are blogging. Many folks were not sure where to start and I wanted to provide a quick guideline.
After personally setting up a blog, as well as helping clients with their efforts, I would recommend the book Blogging in One Hour for Lawyers by Ernie Svenson for anyone that wants to know more (available through the ABA and iTunes). Ernie makes the process very straightforward and is a great reference when setting up a blog. Unlike Ernie’s example, which uses TypePad.com, I used WordPress.com for my blog as well as the blogs of my clients. It is the most popular platform for blogs and for one main reason – WordPress is easy.
The blog setup is similar to the WordPress.com content management systems (CMS) that many websites use. Those of you who have a little experience modifying websites will be comfortable with the setup. Those of you who are new to WordPress.com, I have provided a few steps below to get you started in the right direction:
- Register your domain name. This is the name of your blog – www.nameofyourbloghere.com. You can set up a new domain name for your blog through WordPress.com or if you are already familiar with another registrar (like GoDaddy or Network Solutions), register your new domain there. Here are a couple of hints regarding your new blog:
- Separate your blog from your website. You can link to it, but it should be separate from your law firm website.
- Use a name that is relevant to your practice or catchy. You can also back into a name by using Google’s keyword search tool and see what related words and phrases rank well in Google.
- Use domain forwarding within WordPress.com to forward your domain from WordPress.com to your existing domain if you register your domain at your existing registrar.
- Pick a Theme – The themes allow you to select the structure for your blog page.
- Choose a theme that can be customized to use your own colors, logo and pictures.
- Pick a theme in which you like the location of pictures and text of the blog because they (typically) cannot be changed.
- Purchase a theme or use a free theme on WordPress.com. If none of the existing themes work, run a Google search for WordPress themes and you will have many options to choose.
- Change themes if you do not like it. Themes can be changed easily and applied to your existing text and pictures.
- Start Writing – or Posting (as WordPress calls it)
- Use a great title for the blog – Many readers will decide to read your posting based on the title and the title is what shows up in RSS Feeds.
- Write on topics interesting to you – If they were interesting to you, they will be interesting to others as well.
- Write often – WordPress.com allows readers to subscribe to your blog. Give them something to read at least once a week – more if you can.
- Promote your Blog
- Link it to your social media sites either automatically (through WordPress.com) or manually. WordPress.com has links to automatically promote your blog through LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.
- Read other people’s blogs – Twitter is a great source for blog ideas and other experts in your practice area.
Blogs are a great tool to show your expertise in an area, keep in touch with existing clients, and market to future clients. It will help you distinguish yourself from your competitors, and increase your visibility online through quality social media content and improved Google rankings. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives here, so take the time, set up a blog and write, write, write.