Reality check: Will your legal blog provide you a pipeline of clients? If you understand how blogs work, and you post useful content consistently, your blog can be an incredibly powerful part of your content strategy! Lawyer blogs can be as effective (or more) as social media or video marketing to generate leads and brand awareness. As an SEO vehicle, legal blogs are more relevant than ever.
Unfortunately, many law firms who have legal blogs do not realize the full potential of their blogging efforts because they do not post on their attorney blog frequently enough, and they do not fully optimize their blog.
As a digital marketing agency for law firms, we have seen time and time again that our clients want to market in ways that are both cost-efficient and time-efficient. And although it may not seem like it initially, an SEO-optimized lawyer blog can be the most effective means of generating website traffic, leads, and more clients.
Organically generated law firm leads from legal blogging have a lower cost per acquisition (CPA), which means that lawyers with successful blogs can reduce investments in PPC campaigns and paid social media ads.
Why a Lawyer Blog Is Important
Lawyers new to law firm digital marketing sometimes ask, “Is blogging really necessary for lawyers?” If you have wondered if you really need a blog, you are not the only attorney to do so. Many lawyers are resistant to starting a blog and offer the following reasons (excuses):
- “I have no idea what to write about.”
- “It’s too much of a commitment.”
- “I’m too busy.”
- “I’m not good enough at writing.”
- “It will take forever to actually benefit my law firm.”
- “No one will read it.”
- “It will be a waste of time.”
Another major justification for not blogging is the availability of qualified leads elsewhere. If a law firm already puts significant investment into an SEO-optimized website that is generating leads, a blog (and a dedicated legal blogger writer) may feel like an unnecessary add-on, or even just something that a digital marketing agency is trying to sell.
But, as the saying goes, don’t knock it till you try it. Our law firm clients have witnessed firsthand the transformational power of law blogs. Below, we explain three reasons why blogging for lawyers is important.
#1: Blogs Attract New Clients
Thanks to the magic of SEO, every post that you publish on your lawyer blog is an opportunity for you to bring new traffic to your website. In fact, generating content is one of the main reasons lawyers choose to start blogging. A lawyer blog can attract potential new clients a few ways:
- Your blog can create a culture supporting your legal services: For example, if you are an estate planning attorney, your blog can offer information and resources for preparing for retirement and leaving a lasting attorney. If you are a dangerous products lawyer, you can create a culture of consumer advocacy.
- Your blog can tell a story: Although your lawyer blog is about selling your legal services, it should not seem this way from the visitor’s perspective. Instead, share narratives and tell true stories of the meaningful work you do. From settlements and trial victories to volunteering in the community, your blog can allow your prospective clients to really get to know you.
#2: Blogs Establish Thought Leadership
Thought leadership in content marketing is having something important to say about a particular topic - consistently. The best blog posts (and the blog posts that are most likely to get clicked on) cover useful subjects and offer some value to the reader. Even Facebook’s algorithm gives preference to content that is meaningful and informative.
Examples of blog post topics to establish thought leadership in the legal industry include:
- The Five Most Important Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer In Florida;
- Three Possible Defenses to Assault and Battery Charges in California;
- Everything You Need to Know About Recent Significant Changes to Divorce Law in New York;
- Three Critical Things To Do To Prepare For Your Bankruptcy Case.
The quantifying number (for example, the “Five Questions” mentioned in the title) creates a hook. In the first example above, someone might think they know what to ask in a consultation - but they still click the title because they are not sure that they know all five questions to ask. The post provides a checklist, which is a helpful tool for people to have on hand when they’re preparing for a consultation.
Your blog can be a vehicle to express ideas and demonstrate your knowledge in a particular field, such as environmental law, bankruptcy law, immigration law, or personal injury law. Thoughtfully and professionally written blog posts build trust with your blog readers, before they even meet you.
#3: Blogs Build a Trustworthy and Professional Image
If you post fresh content consistently, your legal blog will eventually be effective for independently generating leads through organic SEO or social media shares of your blog posts. Your website visitors who are going through your website will see that you’ve posted recently and are knowledgeable in your field.
It won’t happen overnight, but posting consistently on your blog will build brand awareness for your law firm. The cumulative effect of all of your legal blog posts will give you, your legal practice, and your law firm’s website a professional image.
How to Start a Lawyer Blog: Blogging Tips for Lawyers
Creating a legal blog may seem like an overwhelming undertaking - and some lawyers get caught in the “analysis paralysis” of analyzing or overthinking the project before they even begin. You do not need to be a website developer or an expert writer to be successful at blogging. In fact, many lawyers are successful because they write their blog posts in an informal, relaxed, and conversational style.
If you’re new to blogging for lawyers, you are not navigating uncharted waters. There are thousands of legal blogs - including 4,500 legal blogs in the ABA Law Journal Directory. Starting your legal blog is as simple as:
- Picking a descriptive name for your blog that makes sense to your audience
- Coming up with ideas for content
- Researching relevant keywords
- Writing your legal blog and sharing insight on legal concepts
- Determining an optimum publishing frequency and creating a calendar
- Selecting a blog publishing platform like Wordpress or Wix
- Publishing your content and promoting it
- Measuring and analyzing your blogging efforts - and adjusting as necessary.
Below we delve into 9 tips for getting started creating a successful blog:
Tip #1: Choose Your Niche
Your blog will likely center around the types of law you practice, or otherwise related to the types of cases that you handle. But you can, and should, make your blog even more specific - to a local area, or to a micro practice area. Make your blog a niche blog.
Some lawyers are hesitant to zero in on a niche area for their blog because they believe they will be limiting themselves to handle only certain types of cases. This is simply not true. Your blog is a marketing vehicle, and a niche specialty can provide leads, referrals, invitations for commentary on local news, and public speaking opportunities.
Examples of Niche Legal Blogs
Below are examples of niche blogs:
- A New York accident lawyer could have a “Staten Island Uber/Lyft Accident Blog”
- A Dallas Family Lawyer Could have a “Dallas Child Custody Dispute Law Blog.”
- A Chicago personal injury attorney could have a “Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer Blog.”
- A Tennessee family lawyer could have a “LGBT+ Divorce Blog.”
A legal blog focused on a niche area- with consistently posted supporting content - will instill confidence in the blog’s visitors that the lawyers behind the blog have knowledge, skills, and abilities in this specific area of law. You can, of course, still handle cases outside the niche of your blog.
By zeroing your blog on one specific area, or one area of a demographic area, you are establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in town. This has SEO benefits and conversion benefits for your website visitors. Every blog you publish will support your initiative and goals.
You may have a specific niche area in mind, or you may not. Your niche could be your favorite types of cases, an up-and-coming area of law, or an underserved area. If you don’t have a niche in mind, talk to your digital marketing agency about the best digital marketing strategy for a niche legal blog.
Tip #2: Communicate With Your Audience
Your blogs can communicate with your audience a few different ways:
- You can create content ideas based on what you know your clients (and potential clients) want to know: If your existing clients often ask you specific questions before they retain you or as their case progresses, odds are good that people are searching for information online as well. Your content is not limited to just articles. You can mix it up with infographics, videos, and eye-catching, colorful images.
- You can craft your blog content based on your blog’s analytics: If you are tracking which of your blog posts generate the most traffic, and which posts convert the most clients, you can create new posts that are similar in type or cover parallel legal issues.
- Comments on your blog can allow your own website visitors to have a dialogue: You can respond to blog comments (and offer an offline conversation/ case evaluation). Visitors to your website can also respond to other blog commenters. Comments on your blog become user-generated content and are essentially additional content on your website, in Google’s eyes.
Some law blogs do not allow blog comments because they end up spending time filtering a large volume of spammy and low-quality comments. Although many blog posts will go without comment, if a post happens to “go viral,” comments can be extremely valuable. If you do allow comments on your blog, we recommend a robust comment spam filter, like Akismet.
Tip #3: Cluster and Pillar Content Topics
Pillar content and cluster content categorization involves writing a main, comprehensive blog post around a subject area (pillar content), and then writing supporting smaller, supporting blog posts about related topics (clusters). This can be done for any area of law and any practice area. A huge benefit having a large volume of content about a specific practice area will establish your authority on the subject.
Example: Corporate Law Firm Legal Blog Covering Tech Startups
- Tech Startups: Everything to Know About Getting Your Tech Startup Going in Austin, Texas
- Raising Venture Capital: Should You Incorporate Your Texas Startup in Delaware?
- Resources to Know: The Best Service Providers for Startups in Austin
- Accelerators vs. Incubators: Which is a Better Fit For Your Austin Startup?
- Austin Startup Intellectual Property Ownership: Making Sure Your Interests Are Protected
- Avoiding Legal Issues With Founder Stock Agreements for Austin Startups
- What Austin Startup Founders Need to Know about 83(b) Elections
- Employers vs. Contractors: The Best Fit For Your Austin Startup
The above fictional example of topic ideas shows how legal blog topics can be related to (and link to) one main topic. The possibilities for cluster topics are endless, and you can add to your topics regularly.
Tips for Pillar and Cluster Blogging
- The best topics are what your clients are already asking. Ask your lawyer colleagues and your paralegals and legal assistants if they have been asked any unique questions - and then blog about them.
- It is better to have compelling, interesting subjects than repetitive blogs that read like mini practice area pages.
- If you’re covering a topic on legal services that many lawyers have blogged about (do your research before you write), put your own unique angle on the legal blog.
- Weaving in narratives of your clients’ stories and situations can make content less generic. This can be done with your clients permission if you need to give specifics. In many cases, elements of cases can be mentioned without providing identifying information.
Tip #4: Make a Posting Schedule
Frequency of blogging is an important factor in your success: If you are blogging twice a month and your competition is blogging twice a day, your legal blog will simply not have the readership and conversion opportunities as your law firm competitor. That said, focus on quality over quantity! If you write interesting and insightful posts, you are much more likely to have website visitors and colleagues bookmark your website and come back.
Most successful law firm blogs have a blog posting schedule, or a blog posting rotation, each month. This should be based on an optimum publishing frequency that you determine based on your SMART goals, time, and law firm marketing budget. If you are writing the blogs yourself, you will have to spend the time each week writing and editing. If you are hiring a ghostwriter, you will have to pay for writing and editing.
For example, a lawyer blog could publish one new post each day Monday through Friday. Or, if they want to blog just once a week, they could publish a new post every Wednesday. Although you can post any time of the day, mornings - specifically Monday mornings between 9–10am EST - are best for getting the most pageviews.
Google likes websites that are constantly adding new, unique, relevant content. You should also go back and update your old posts, as it is no secret that Google crawls websites looking for updated web pages. Even if you think no one is reading your 3-year-old posts, Google is still crawling them. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a one-man show. Your blog can have multiple authors, or you can have ghostwriters craft quality content for you.
Tip #5: Make a Readable Text
The longer a potential client stays on your website, the more likely they are to convert - and contact you! Readability of content is a key factor in user experience (UX)which contributes to many other SEO for lawyers key performance indicators (KPIs). If your website visitors find your website and decide it is difficult to leave, they will quickly lose interest and leave.
Part of your legal blog editing process should be checking and editing for readability. We are not just talking about spelling and grammar, or even reading level. Below are five tips to improve readability when blogging for law firms:
Blog Readability Tip #1: Optimize Keywords for SEO and User Experience (UX)
You can’t maximize your blog’s visibility without keyword research and integration. But, in order for your content to be read, shared, and ultimately provide a pipeline of clients, your blog content also MUST be clear and concise.
Fortunately, you don’t have to analyze your content yourself (time-consuming) or pay a contract editor to read each piece you write (expensive) for your legal practice. A digital marketing agency that provides SEO services for lawyers can help you plan your content and research which keywords you need to incorporate.
Blog Readability Tip #2: Use Structured Headings to Guide Your Blog Readers
Start your blog with an outline, based on your keyword research.
Use H2 headers like store signs to guide your readers through your content. For blog copy, your H2 headings should describe what the paragraph is about. Utilize H3 tags for more specific paragraph headers, such as frequently asked questions or case examples.
If you use Yoast SEO tool, the app will check the number of words following a subheading. A good rule of thumb is go limit paragraph text following a subheading to 250-350 words.
Blog Readability Tip #3: Share Clients’ Stories and Case Studies
You’re probably familiar with the Mark Twain quote “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The less-famous, second part of that quote is “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” Your clients' cases are of course interesting, and the outcomes are particularly interesting to people going through similar issues.
Important Note: Unless you have explicit permission, maintain client confidentiality and do not violate your attorney-client relationship (see ABA Formal Opinion 480).
You can weave your clients’ stories into your blog content - and in the process target long-tail SEO keywords. Here are a few examples:
- Personal injury lawyer: A case we handled a few years ago involved a head-on collision on a busy two-lane highway involving a commercial trucking company. This was a classic distracted driving case, and unfortunately, our client suffered a devastating spinal cord injury. We were able to secure the best outcome for the situation - a settlement in the amount of the trucking company’s insurance policy limits.
- Criminal defense attorney: We handled a felony perjury case where our client was accused of lying under oath in a deposition. The client was facing five years in prison. In a 3-day trial, we were able to demonstrate that there was not enough evidence to meet the standard proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the charges were dismissed.
As with all law firm content marketing, be sure to follow rules of professional conduct in your state. Just because other attorneys are marketing a certain way on their blogs, does not mean it is legal or ethical to do so.
Blog Readability Tip #4: Use Short and Informative Paragraphs
Walls of text are hard to read, and even harder for your readers to skim. SEO-friendly paragraphs should be rather short so they are easy to quickly skim. Stick to the meat and potatoes and avoid fluff.
Consider this statistic: Blog posts that have visuals get 94% more traffic. Your blog visitors are much more likely to stay and read your blog if you have visuals - images, videos, shareable infographics. And sometimes - an image is the most helpful content to explain legal concepts. Delivering a powerful first impression is important; your blog readers subconsciously make the split-second decision to stay read your content in the first few seconds after your page loads.
With easy-to-use web-based design platforms like Canva and Piktochart, you can create professional, branded visual content to add to any law firm blog post without expensive software like Adobe Photoshop.
Tip #6: Use Smart Editing and SEO Apps to Make Attorney Blog Production Easier
Below we have listed our favorite apps for writing, editing and optimizing legal blog content:
The Hemingway App is the best-kept content editing secret that’s not a secret. The web version of this app is absolutely free (there are no ads, and no login required), or a desktop version is available for $19.99 The Hemingway App allows you to copy and paste your content and quickly determine:
- Word count
- Readability level
- Number of adverbs (with a goal based on number of words).
- Instances of passive voice
- Hard to read sentences
- Very hard to read sentences
The editing tool is the brainchild of writer brothers Adam and Ben Long, who say the tool they created is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s short, declarative sentences.
If you want to get a target keyword on the first page of google, Surfer SEO is our go tool to plan your content - and optimize it. It provides recommendations for keywords to use (and how often), ideal word count, ideal paragraph count, and even the number of images to use. If you want to bridge the gap from a content idea to dominating search engine results pages (ahead of your stiff competition), don’t leave this off your list.
Another popular SEO tool, Ahrefs main strength is in analyzing backlinks, including other law firms who are your competition. Ahrefs it also is great for:
- Content topic research (a great place to start writing)
- Keyword research
- SEO auditing.
If you sign up for Ahrefs, maximize the benefit of the program by taking the Ahrefs certification class. It is about a day’s worth of material, but very helpful in understanding the many terms and metrics, like URL rating, domain rating, CTLDs distribution, keyword difficulty, and traffic potential.
Grammarly is a cloud-based typing assistant, which many writers use as an editing tool. It takes good content and makes it great - and checks your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It also has a plagiarism detector, which is excellent if you’re checking or editing another writer’s work.
It is so much more than spell check, as it uses artificial intelligence to suggest an appropriate replacement for errors, and allows you to customize your desired style, tone, and context. If you write in Google Docs, a browser extension is available.
Grammarly has a freemium model - there is a free version available, but most writers agree that the premium version is well worth the investment. Monthly, quarterly, and annual plans are available, with significant cost savings offered for the annual plan.
Google Analytics is an easily installable tool to measure information about your audience. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be found in three main sections:
- A - Acquisition - Data to understand where your audience is coming from.
- B - Behavior - Data to understand how your audience interacts with your blog, such as which pages they land on, and which pages they are on when they exit your website.
- C - Conversions - Data to understand how many of your website visitors are meeting your goals, such as filling out a case evaluation form.
In our opinion, and most digital marketers, using Google Analytics to measure and track your results is a must.
Tip #7: Cross Link Your Posts Internally and Externally
After you write your blog post, spend time adding links. Cross-linking is a key component of your blogging for lawyers content strategy. Aim for both external links and internal links.
Cross Linking With Internal Links
Internal links, sometimes called inbound links, are links to pages or posts inside your website, such as:
- Practice area pages
- Case results pages
- Client testimonials pages
- Contact us / Consultation request pages.
You want to keep your website visitors on your website as long as possible. Internal backlinks also help your website get crawled and indexed faster. Once your page is indexed, your target audience can find it within seconds of typing in a search term in Google.
Cross Linking With External Links
For example, if you are an Ohio personal injury lawyer, you might link to the Ohio Revised Code section about Ohio’s statute of limitations. A California criminal defense lawyer blog about burglary defenses may link to the California Penal Code. You should link to websites that rank high and are related to your content topics.
External links add to the value of your website. If Google sees that you're linking to other websites that rank high, it will look at your website more favorably. It should go without saying - do not link to other competitors’ websites.
Tip: Insert links as naturally as possible - don’t overwhelm your website visitors with links in every sentence. About 3-5 links per 1,000 words of content is a good aiming point.
Tip #8: Promote Your Content Far and Wide
The work isn’t done after your work is live on your legal blog. While you wait for your law firm’s website to get crawled and the new post indexed by Google, it’s time to promote it.
Share Your Blog on Social Media Platforms
We will start with the obvious - social media promotion. You’ve posted a blog - you share it on your law firm’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You post an image and link to the blog in your Instagram story. This should be a first step in your blog promotion checklist. But don’t stop there.
Boost Your Blog Posts: Run Paid Ads to Promote Your Content on Social Media
While TV advertising is slowing, paid promotion of content in social media is rapidly increasing. Social media advertising is the fastest growing channel in the advertising industry. Boosting your legal blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help your content in front of your target audience and more potential clients.
Share Your Blog in Social Media Groups
If your blog is valuable and offers helpful information, you shouldn’t be shy about sharing it as a standalone resource. For example, if you wrote a researched blog post about the 10 most dangerous intersections in Chicago, you could share this in a Nextdoor page, or in a local Facebook group.
When you share a link to your blog in a group or as a comment to another post on social media, don’t be spammy. Take the time to add an actual comment briefly explaining why it may be helpful (and is worth reading).
Always “read the room” when sharing a link, and share only what is helpful. If it’s not relevant, it’s probably of no value. In other words, if you are dropping link spam, you’re doing more harm than good.
Paid Vs. Free Blogging Platforms for Lawyers
You can post your blog on a free blogging platform, where you don’t have to buy and host a domain. The most popular free blogging publishing platforms are:
Some hosting platforms are free because they make money from their most popular writers from the ads on their website. Although this is split with the author, you don’t need the very small amount of revenue you might make from ads - and you also run the risk of other attorneys’ Google Ads being shown on your blog. Sites like Medium are happy to host your content because they want to convert visitors to buy their paid subscription offering.
Our recommendation - and most digital marketing experts agree - is to host and publish content on your law firm's website - this gives you the most control over your blog’s layout and search engine optimization. If search engines bring your potential clients to your blog - they are already on your law firm’s website, saving the extra step of getting them to click a link. If you are publishing helpful content, position it in the best place to bring more content.
Tip #9: Measure Your Success
Yes, we mentioned Google Analytics in Tip #6 related to improving your lawyer blog production process, but GA really is important when it comes to measuring your blog’s success. Like with other SEO tools, if you are new to using Google Analytics, take the time to learn all of the available features.
One thing that many lawyers neglect to do is go back and refresh, update, and improve their old blog posts. Many of your blog’s readers will discover your content long after it’s published. Google Analytics can help you see.
Blogs About Lawyers and for Lawyers
There are many excellent blogs about the practice of law for legal professionals. If you are a blogging lawyer, the following sites can serve as inspiration, muse, and motivation. We recommend bookmarking or subscribing to these blogs to stay up to date with the latest information and resources:
The ABA Journal is the flagship publication of the American Bar Association. It is published in print and an online magazine bi-monthly, but the content is added frequently to the ABA Journal website. The magazine has won numerous awards in journalism contests. The website is an excellent place to read legal commentary from lawyers on any current event.
Don’t miss the ABA Journal Blawg Directory - a directory of 4,500 legal blogs. This is a great resource for finding blog posts on niche topics like animal law, indigent defense, natural disaster law, franchise law, and gaming law. If you have an RSS feed and continually update your legal blog, submit it to ABA Journal for listing in their Law Firm Blawg Directory.
Above the Law
Known by its fans as ATL, this news website covers everything related to legal news, law schools, law practices, and legal professions. Founded in 2006, Above the Law has been listed in the ABA Journal’s "100 Best Web Sites by Lawyers, for Lawyers." ATL is considered a go-to for in-house counsel attorneys but is popular with attorneys in firms large and small.
ATL also publishes an annual law school ranking - which prioritizes outcomes, employment prospects for graduates, and overall ROI for law students’ education investment.
An international legal news magazine published by UK-based Universal Media offering commentary and insight on legal sectors and the legal system. This is a good website to bookmark to read the latest news and editorials by jurisdiction, sector, and practice areas.
Kevin O’Keefe’s LexBlog
Kevin O’Keefe, trial lawyer and the CEO and founder of LexBlog has a long-running blog called Real Lawyers Have Blogs. The blog for lawyers and legal professionals was founded in 2007 and is an excellent resource on blogging for attorneys.
In March of 2022,O’Keefe published a post addressing “How Legal Blogging Has Changed in the Last Fifteen Years.” His answer? “Not much.” O’Keefe, like us, is a big fan of niche legal blogging for lawyers and writing in a conversational tone.
Any “blogging for lawyers inspiration list” should include Legal Mosaic. It is philosophical, and purpose-built to provide a holistic perspective on the practice of law. And it’s no surprise that ABA Journal has chosen it in its “Top 100 Leading Legal Blogs in the World.” Founder Mark A. Cohen is a regular and writes on the global legal marketplace.
Law.com is an easy to scroll online legal newspaper. We like the trending legal stories section - a great starting point to review the latest legal developments in legal services, legal industry, and legal career development. The Law.com legal dictionary is also a great resource to explain legal concepts.
Maximize the Power of Blogging for Lawyers
Grow Law Firm can help you get your legal website in front of more prospective clients with an SEO-optimized legal blog. The blogs for attorneys that we create are search engine optimized for the best conversion rates, and they are easy to navigate for the best user experience.
If you are ready to see how a scalable, search-engine-friendly legal blog can get your law practice leads, contact us today.
As a full-service digital marketing agency for lawyers, we have years of experience in legal marketing for law firms and are ready to go to work for your law practice. Our internet marketing experts can design your blog, generate valuable content for your blog posts, and get the leads you need for your law firm.