Thursday, February 07, 2008

Law Office Blogs Should Be Part Of The Main Website

A post over at "The Greatest American Lawyer" describes how that firm, a pioneer in legal marketing through weblogs, is redesigning its primary site and integrating its weblogs into the redesign. I can't argue with the decision, as it's the approach I believe law firms should take.

When I wrote about this subject almost a year ago, it was within the context of a particular, popular employment law weblog, That's What She Said. That weblog relates HR law to what happens on a particular TV show, The Office. The website has expanded to include four different weblogs - from different law firms. That is, on top of not drawing traffic directly to the sponsoring law firm's site, the popularity of the original weblog is now being used to leverage traffic to the weblogs of other law firms and companies. Also, despite the new content, the overall popularity of the site has apparently plummeted. (A consequence of the writer's strike?)

A point where I disagree (in part) with TGAL is that I don't view weblogs as being "something special". They're an easy CMS (content management system) - a way to get content online quickly and easily and, via RSS ("Rich Site Summary" a/k/a "Really Simple Syndication"), to get it in front of people who are sufficiently interested in what you write to follow your every word. They can be a very good tool to bring attention, links and traffic - "it's all about the links". But at the end of the day you have to be careful to achieve balance - particular weblog entries fade quickly into oblivion, and often your blog-based search engine rankings depend upon the weblog as a whole as opposed to individual posts, no matter how carefully written. A good website strategy will encourage people to link to stable, authoritative evergreen content - or content you periodically review and update. To put it another way, don't just blog - post articles on your website. And use your weblog to promote your articles.

I put all of this more concisely almost two years ago:
In my humble opinion, a law firm will typically benefit from a weblog, but the weblog should be integrated into the firm's site. The firm should build a collection of articles on the firm website, and use the weblog to feature its new article content. By featuring an article on the weblog (e.g., by announcing its publication with a short excerpt and a link), the odds go up that external links (those on other sites) will be directed at the article as opposed to the weblog entry, which in turn should help that article in future search engine results.

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