How to Stay in Control of Your Law Firm’s Website When You’re Using a Ghostwriter

by Nov 5, 2019

Content is the most important ingredient in creating a highly visible law firm website. For attorneys who don’t have the time or inclination to write law firm website content, hiring a ghostwriter can help you develop a visible and authoritative site that drives new business to your law firm.

If you hire a ghostwriter, you’ll want to be sure that you stay in control of your website (and what gets published on your behalf) throughout the entire process.

When you hire a ghostwriter, staying in control of your website comes down to three key concepts: delegating to your ghostwriter wisely, empowering a ghostwriter who is going to abide by the necessary rules, and maintaining editorial control so that you have final say over what does — or doesn’t — appear on your website.

Here’s what you need to know about executing each of these concepts the right way.

How to delegate to your law firm’s ghostwriter wisely

Delegating wisely to a law firm website ghostwriter requires choosing someone who understands your work as an attorney. It also requires giving the ghostwriter the appropriate access to the tools that they need.

It’s not a good idea to delegate content to a ghostwriter who doesn’t understand what you do as an attorney or what your potential clients need from your law firm’s website. If you do, you’re likely to end up with content that isn’t legally accurate or that fails to resonate with your potential clients.

Any ghostwriter you choose should be able to clearly articulate the mindset of your potential clients — not only for your practice area but in your particular geographic area. A good law firm ghostwriter should be able to explain how your potential clients search, what kind of words and phrases they’re using, and so on.

Even if you feel comfortable with a ghostwriter, avoid handing over your website login credentials to him or her. It might seem more manageable than having to add content to your site yourself, but it can create a host of security issues and editorial control issues. 

The best way to handle this problem is to use software that allows you to create multiple new users who each receive their own login credentials. That way, you never have to provide your personal login information to anyone. LawLytics makes it easy to create multiple new users, as well as controlling the level of access that they have to certain parts of your site. (More on that below.)

How to choose a law firm ghostwriter who will follow the necessary rules

Be sure that the ghostwriter you choose is able and willing to abide by the necessary rules. If the ghostwriter you’ve chosen doesn’t understand or will not follow Google’s guidelines as well as the legal ethics that you’re bound to as an attorney, it can create a lot of headaches for you and your firm.

Why does my ghostwriter need to understand Google’s guidelines?

Following Google’s guidelines is a must for attorneys who want to have a successful law firm website that attracts traffic and converts it into leads for your law firm.

Google places particular emphasis on high-quality content for law firm websites because Google considers them to be “Your Money or Your Life” pages. That means that what a person finds on a law firm website could affect their happiness, health, finances, or well being. As a result, Google likes to make sure that, if it’s going to offer up pages like this to users, the information there is accurate, comprehensive, and educational.

If you’d like to learn more about Google’s guidelines and your law firm’s website, we recommend the following resources:

Why does my ghostwriter need to understand legal ethics?

Before you hire a ghostwriter, figure out whether that ghostwriter has a legal background.

No matter who creates the content on your law firm’s website, you’re still responsible for what gets published there from an ethics perspective. That’s is why it’s crucial to hire a ghostwriter who understands legal ethics (especially Rules 7.1 through 7.4, or their applicable equivalents).

When attorneys hire ghostwriters who don’t understand legal ethics, they find themselves in situations where their website content is inaccurate because a ghostwriter doesn’t understand that swapping in a synonym for a particular word changes its legal meaning, for example.

A ghostwriter without a legal background may not know which words can or can’t be used. They may not realize, for example, that using synonyms for a particular word may change its legal meaning. That can cause serious problems for you.

We’ve seen situations in which a ghostwriter refers to an attorney an “expert” in a particular type of law or “the best” attorney, which ends up violating the rules in that attorney’s state.

How to keep editorial control over the content published to your law firm’s website

As noted above, we never recommend handing over your login credentials to a ghostwriter. Instead, you’ll want to use tools that give multiple users the appropriate level of access and make it easy for you to control what happens on your law firm’s website — something that LawLytics helps attorneys do every day.

As it relates to editorial control, put yourself in a situation where you can have final say over what does — or doesn’t — get published to your law firm’s website. You should be able to say, “As the attorney who is responsible for this content, I know what’s been published.” 

If you’re not using LawLytics, you may want to set up a system with your ghostwriter that requires the writer to submit pieces to you and allows you to review and edit them before they’re published to your site. 

With LawLytics, this task becomes particularly easy, because it’s baked right into the platform: You create individual user logins, which is excellent for not only ghostwriters but other attorneys or staff at your firm. You can also decide who a proxy writer ghostwrites for, and how much access they have to the modules of your website. 

For example, by giving a ghostwriter “Contributor” level access to blog posts and social media, this ghostwriter would have access to the areas of your website that are most likely to pertain to them.

With LawLytics, you can select the appropriate permissions level for each user.

When you choose who the ghostwriter will be writing for, you also have the option to select “Requires approval before publishing.” This feature requires the ghostwriter to submit their work to you before it goes live on the web, meaning that you’ll have the final say before any content is published to your website.

Learn more about how LawLytics helps attorneys stay in control of their websites

At LawLytics, we love helping attorneys take control of their marketing. To learn more about using ghostwriters effectively, we recommend the following resources:

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