This post features eleven topic suggestions for criminal defense website evergreen pages, along with 10 blog topics for criminal defense attorneys looking to add targeted content to their websites.
When adding content to your law firm website, remember to link to other relevant pages on your site using a deliberate internal linking structure.
Come back every Monday (or check the series schedule here) to see when we’ll be blogging about topics pertinent to your specific practice area(s).
Evergreen Criminal Defense Page Topics
If the information on a given topic is not likely to change in the short term or with any sort of frequency — including detailed information about most laws — consider adding the content to an evergreen page and linking to it directly within your site’s navigational structure rather than writing about it on your blog.
When adding evergreen content to your criminal defense law firm website, create at least one dedicated page for each of the charges your potential clients are likely to face and against which your firm is willing to defend.
Once you’ve added some general content for each type of case your firm is willing to take on, drill down into specific information for each section by focusing on long tail search phrases your potential clients are likely to enter into search engines about those charges or cases.
What follows is not intended as a complete list of topics that could be covered on a criminal defense law firm website, but these suggestions might prove helpful if you’re looking for content ideas that could benefit your site’s online visibility or organic rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries.
Potential Criminal Defense Evergreen Page Topics
1. Start by defining each charge on its own dedicated evergreen page — Tell your potential clients the definition of each charge using legal definitions. Provide code or statute numbers as they would appear on a citation or subpoena and break definitions down in layman’s terms and/or common slang terms so that the content is easy for your potential clients to thoroughly understand. Also, provide links to the official definitions of terms per the relevant authority whenever possible.
Get more granular — Give specific examples of each crime and discuss related offenses that might accompany — or be levied in place of — each charge you cover on your site. Make sure and provide internal links to other pages on your site that offer related or supplementary information about each charge, as well.
2. Potential Penalties — It can be scary for your potential clients if they do not know what potential consequences they could face as they await trial and/or sentencing. Break down the various penalties your clients might face, including probation, incarceration, community service, fines, and potential court-ordered classes like those for anger management or substance abuse.
Get more granular — Start by simply explaining and defining each potential sentence and the range of crimes that may apply to each, then go into more detail about procedures, available resources, and relevant locations (such as drug testing locations for those on probation, or where to sign up for and attend court ordered classes). Discuss factors that might influence sentencing and/or how multiple offenses could play a role in the sentencing phase of a case. You can also create dedicated “child pages” that are nested under the parent page of “Probation,” for example, explaining what happens when someone violates probation, as well as an additional “child page” discussing how a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate probation instead of incarceration as a sentence in some cases.
3. Evidence — Each charge your firm is willing to defend against comes with its own unique set of admissible types of evidence. From documents, to witness testimony, to video footage, to items used to actually commit a crime and/or biological indicators like DNA and fingerprints, go into detail about the evidence that might be gathered in each specific case and talk about the weight each type of evidence is likely to carry in a trial situation. This is a place to really demonstrate your expertise.
Get more granular — Once you’ve laid out the types of evidence that are admissible in a particular case, discuss ways of refuting each type of evidence, as well as ways in which such a piece of evidence might be deemed irrelevant, suspect, or otherwise inadmissible.
4. Defenses and Mitigating Factors — Sometimes a client’s life circumstances can affect the sentence imposed on them by a judge or negotiated for them by a prosecutor. Discuss possible defenses for each case your firm will accept, as well as relevant potential mitigating factors for each case on your website.
Get more granular — Start with a general list of possible defenses for each case, as well as mitigating factors that a judge or prosecutor might consider (a lack of a prior record, employment, etc.). Create a child page that goes into detail about each bulleted item and add links that point to those child pages by using the bullet points as anchor text.
5. Court Procedures and Other Relevant Court Info — Outline basic court procedures for your potential clients to minimize the stress and mystery surrounding their trial proceedings.
Get more granular — Start with general timelines for specific crimes (in the long term, as well as expected time spent in court for each hearing), then discuss which hearings your clients will need to be present for, what to wear to court, how to get there, where to park, etc. You can go even deeper on this topic over time by adding information about places to eat near the courthouse or covering other points of interest that might help your potential clients prepare for their court date(s).
6. Additional Professional Impacts of a Case — Your potential clients might realize that the charges against them could translate to fines or even time spent incarcerated, but they might be searching for information about the long-term implications to a conviction or guilty plea. Discuss the ways that a charge or conviction can affect your potential clients in their current or future jobs, as well as how it might affect their professional licenses, where applicable.
Get more granular — Go into detail about the effect a charge or conviction can have on each professional license your community members might hold, including commercial drivers’ licenses, pilots’ licenses, nursing licenses, fingerprint clearance cards, security clearances, etc. If your community has one or more prominent employers that require some kind of professional clearance to work for them, consider focusing your efforts on those licenses and even writing pages targeting employees of those prominent companies.
7. Additional Impacts of a Case for Students — Having a criminal record or facing a pending charge can have serious implications for college students. Target the students (and the parents of those students) of prominent academic institutions in your area and provide information about how a particular case could impact their educational opportunities.
Get more granular — Get specific about how convictions could impact admissions, scholarships, on-campus housing, future careers, as well as how international students might be affected by a conviction for each crime your potential clients might be accused of.
8. Other External Impacts of a Case — In addition to their professional and educational opportunities, having a conviction on your record can also affect your clients’ rights in other ways. Cover as many potentially unforeseen consequences of a conviction as you can on your law firm website.
Get more granular — Start by discussing legal penalties, including things like the potential loss of voting rights and/or the right to carry a weapon. Talk about how long particular convictions remain on one’s record, etc., then get more specific. Do the jails and prisons in your area charge inmates a fee to keep them there? How might a conviction or guilty plea affect your potential clients’ ability to find housing? How might a conviction or guilty plea affect their family members, custody, or visitation rights? Whatever you can offer potential clients with regard to setting up expectations for their cases will help your firm develop trust with those potential clients and potentially help encourage them to hire your firm for representation.
9. Pre- and Post-Conviction Alternatives — In some jurisdictions, your clients may have the option of pursuing alternative methods of dealing with certain cases, such as by electing to participate in a diversion program, or by requesting deferred adjudication (sometimes called “Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal,” “Probation Before Judgment,” or “Deferred Entry of Judgment”). Such options might help your clients avoid a conviction altogether, or could cause that conviction to remain sealed.
Get more granular — Start by simply explaining alternatives that are available to your potential clients, in which cases those alternatives are relevant, and what they will ultimately mean for someone who elects to pursue them. Then drill down to offer information about how and where to attend relevant classes, places where individuals can complete court-ordered community service if required, etc. As usual, the more relevant and helpful information you can offer your potential clients, the more likely they will be to develop trust in you as an attorney and, therefore, the more likely they will be to hire you for representation.
10. Repeat Offenders — As criminal defense attorneys know, having a record can affect a client’s experience in court, as well as the ultimate outcome of their case or cases.
Get more granular — Start by discussing how offenders might fare the first time they’ve been charged with a particular crime, then expand your website’s content to include an explanation of what to expect for each repeat offense, up to and including the maximum penalty.
11. Jail, Bail, and Bond Information — Provide information about jails in which individuals might be detained following an arrest, as well as information about how to see that their loved ones are released on bail or bond. Covering this information on your law firm website can help put your content in front of your potential clients’ families in the early stages of their legal battle.
Get more granular — Start by providing a list of local detention facilities where the accused are likely to be held once arrested along with contact information for those facilities, then expand to discuss when the accused are likely to be released (depending on the charge they are facing), the process of picking them up from jail, access to public transportation at each facility, etc. With respect to bail and bonds, break the topic down and discuss each type of bail/bond available to the accused as well as how bail is achieved, and consider providing links to the sites of bail bondsmen in your community that you trust personally or who are generally well-rated.
Potential Criminal Defense Blog Topics
1. Changes in enforcement priority — The election or appointment of new officials and the reprioritization of certain types of cases by authorities can have an effect on your clients’ cases. Cover changes and potential changes to enforcement priorities on your blog to make sure your potential clients stay informed about developments as they unfold.
2. Changes in the law — Though relatively infrequent, the passing of new legislation will affect how certain cases are handled in the geographic region where you practice. Make appropriate amendments to your detailed law pages when new laws are enacted, then blog about the process of those laws taking effect, as well as how they are likely to be enforced and/or prosecuted.
3. Stories of police abusing power or mishandling investigations — It’s important for your potential clients to know that you are on their side, and covering cases in which authorities handle cases incorrectly helps to illustrate that point. It can also demonstrate to potential clients that you are willing to look hard at cases to find evidence that is in favor of those clients.
4. Factors which might affect or influence court proceedings — The election of a new district attorney or a politician with the authority to appoint judges can have major impacts on how courts handle certain cases in your community. Are certain charges likely to be handled in group trial settings? Are courts looking to expedite certain types of proceedings? Almost any changes in the structure of court proceedings are likely to impact your potential clients and are therefore ripe for coverage on your blog.
5. Landmark cases and precedents which might affect your clients — New decisions by higher courts, as well as new interpretations of old cases and laws — even when they occur in other jurisdictions — can have implications for how similar cases are handled where you practice law. Not only can you cover such cases as they arise, but even anniversaries of such decisions present a unique opportunity for your law firm to add quality content to its blog.
6. High profile cases and arrests in the national news — If a criminal case is trending in the national news, there’s a good chance that at least a handful of potential clients in your community are looking online for information about that case. Just make sure to write about cases that occur outside of your geographic region of practice through the lens of how similar cases are likely to be handled in your community.
7. Noteworthy cases and arrests in your community — Though they may not be of interest to national newswires, your potential clients are likely to have an interest in local news stories surrounding noteworthy crimes and arrests. Watch the police beats and blotters in your town for circumstances that seem remarkable and discuss them on your blog with an eye trained on the legal specifics of those stories.
8. Seasonal topics — Certain holidays and seasons can mean changes in certain crime rates and can even present entirely novel legal situations. The beginning of a school year (as well as academic recesses) can present an opportunity to talk about potential criminal cases that could affect college students. Tourist seasons could provide an opportunity to blog about what to do if you’re arrested while traveling. Do some calendar research and plan well in advance to write seasonal, topical blogs that may be of interest to your potential clients.
9. Local crime statistics — Your potential clients — and even your local news outlets — might find interest in any information you can glean about crime statistics in the geographic region where you practice. How do the numbers stack up across different neighborhoods and population demographics? What can you report about historic arrest and conviction rates? Digging into crime statistics and dicing them up into digestible, insightful chunks can provide your law firm with an ever-growing source of inspiration for your blog. Can’t find enough information to write about in this regard? Even a lack of available data in your geographic region may be worth blogging about.
10. Lesser-known offenses — Laws can vary widely from state to state and from region to region. And sometimes certain laws are so unique or unknown that people might not know they are acting unlawfully when they break them. Human interest stories like these might not attract potential clients directly from search engines, but they can be highly shareable and can help your firm gain brand recognition in your community when executed well.
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Come back next Monday (September 24) for content ideas for Personal Injury Law Firm Websites, or check out the blog schedule to see when we’ll have content ideas for your specific practice area.