Blogging helps lawyers find new clients online. It increases your exposure to potential clients, it gives them more reasons to trust you and to see you as an authority in your practice area, it helps them make the decision to reach out to you, and for some lawyers, blogging can be a lot of fun.
Many lawyers know how important blogging is to the health of their law firm. Aside from wondering how often they should blog, here’s another question that comes up:
Should I have a blog that’s separate from my law firm website, or an integrated blog?
Integrated blogs make it easy for law firms to get new clients.
Having an integrated blog puts all of your content under a single domain, and that’s important to your potential clients. By housing everything in one place, potential clients can easily move back and forth between your law firm’s website and your blog. Your law firm’s website and blog should be providing potential clients with information that’s useful to them. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to digest that information and to engage your firm.
Having a separate blog and website means that they have to go to two separate places to find that information or to reach out to you — and that leaves room for them to get distracted by something else. Plus, it’s annoying for a web user to have to visit two separate sites. An integrated blog reduces distractions while giving visitors everything they need in one place.
Built-In blogs decrease confusion for law firm clients.
Not only does an integrated blog minimize distractions, it also minimizes confusion. It may not be obvious to a potential client who finds your blog that there’s an easy way to get to your law firm’s website. They may wonder if the blog and website they find belong to the same attorney, especially if the sites don’t have a similar theme. That can bring up questions about why the sites don’t look unified and why you have two separate sites. That detracts from your ability to showcase your thought-leadership through blogging, as well as detracting from your trust and authority. The landscape of how clients find attorneys has changed and thought-leadership, trust and authority are important to your online presence and growing your business.
Integrated blogs can give SEO benefits to law firm websites.
From a SEO perspective, having a separate blog and website is less beneficial than having an integrated blog. Claims that including links from your non-integrated blog will help with rankings are the product of old practices that Google has now clamped down on.
Before Google created algorithms to handle webmasters trying to cheat the system, it could be tempting to use a non-integrated blog or create several other websites, include links to your main site, and profit from inflated rankings.
However, Google is strongly against artificial link building and any practice that inflates a website’s rankings unfairly. Choosing to engage in a behavior like this now would put you at risk to have your website relegated. After all, Google’s goal is to provide the highest quality information to its users, and therefore inclusion in Google’s SERPs is not a given.
There are a lot of bad linking practices that can get you in trouble with Google. Do you know what they are? Learn more about Law Firm SEO Myths and Realities here.
By choosing an integrated blog, you give your potential clients a better chance to visit your law firm’s website — and that’s meaningful. The blog is the place they may land when they’re looking for information that helps them make a decision about their case or problem. Your website is the place they go to engage your firm. Separating them makes it more difficult for potential clients to do either. Putting them together increases the likelihood that they’ll easily find what they’re looking for and reach out to you without any hassle.
Google loves fresh, quality-content. The more new content it sees, the more likely its bots are to revisit your site and index it. If you’re providing quality content on a regular basis to your law firm’s blog, that’s great. But what about your law firm’s website? Maybe you’ve added content there before, but it’s primarily evergreen content — the sort of material that stays static. Your blog may be more likely to turn up in search results, and without integration, it’s not as easy for a potential client who finds it to also get to your law firm’s website. By putting the two together, you make it easy for clients and also reap the benefits of a site that gets indexed by Google more often (courtesy of the blog).
Built-in blogs can give lawyers better data about their website visitors.
If you spend your time looking at the analytics for your law firm’s website — and extra time looking at the analytics for your non-integrated blog, that’s a lot of wasted energy. No matter what client-tracking tools you’re using, there are major benefits to looking at a single report that tells you about both your website and your blog. You can look at all the data in one place, rather than having to reconcile data from two sites. From an analytics perspective, having your blog and website in one place can give you a better assessment of what pages are (or aren’t) driving your potential clients to contact you.
There’s no reason not to have a blog and a website that work together for the success of your law firm — but you have to make sure they are together, first.