How a Self-Hosted WordPress Website Can Be the Best Marketing Investment You’ll Ever Make
Most lawyers currently setting up a small firm or solo practice are too young to remember from firsthand experience, but one of the biggest cultural memes of the 1970’s and ‘80s derived from a long-running series of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials. In these TV spots, a person eating peanut butter collides with another eating chocolate. One exclaims, “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” to which the other responds “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” They simultaneously sample the mashup, displaying facial expressions of enjoyment and approval as the voiceover declares, “Two great tastes that taste great together.”
Well, that’s the case with law firm websites and blogs. For reasons technical, strategic, functional and financial, combining website and blog features in a single platform is far and away the most effective way to launch and build an online presence. And because the content requirements of solo and small firms are typically much simpler than those of large, multi-practice firms, an inexpensive WordPress-based content management system can actually be a significant competitive equalizer.
- A blog IS a website. The only differences are in the way content is formatted and managed (e.g. static content vs. dynamic content).
- Genesis, a low-cost turnkey WordPress website framework, offers a library of design themes like “Corporate” and “Associate” that are indistinguishable from conventional custom law firm websites and seamlessly integrate blog functionality (Note: Prominent vendors of standalone law firm blogs, like LexBlog, develop their sites on WordPress).
- A blog-style site enables you to add, delete and update blog pages by entering text into forms on the fly. Conventional website pages need to be programmed and tested before being published.
- It’s much easier and less confusing for your prospects and leads to find your content through online search when you’re directing them to just one site.
- Dynamic content like blog narratives and comments give visitors a reason to participate in, follow and revisit a site.
- On average, websites that incorporate a blog generate 400 percent more indexed pages (opportunities to be found through SEO) and 55 percent more traffic than those without an integrated blog.
- Search engines index blog content more quickly than other types of website content.
- Google ranks websites based on the frequency and quality of new content. You typically don’t change most content on your main website pages, like attorney bio and practice description pages. But by keeping your blog as part of your main website, the static pages of your site benefit from the optimization and fresh content published on your blog.
- Turnkey website packages like Genesis are purpose-built for SEO. Unlimited updates and unlimited support are included in the one-time purchase price.
- You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to set up a website and/or a blog. Once you cut through the website designer/blog vendor FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) marketing tactics, you can find amazing, cost-effective resources to set up a fully featured site. For less than $90, if you haven’t already registered your URL and don’t want to migrate content from an existing site, lawyerpreneur Jay Fleischman will:
- Install and configure the latest version of WordPress software on your Web hosting account (i.e. build a site framework for you),
- Upload a theme (design) of your choice,
- Install popular productivity and SEO plugins, and
- Provide you with an instructional video on how to put up posts and pages on your shiny, brand-new website.
- With only one site to host and manage instead of two, an integrated website/blog approach substantially reduces your online content management expenses.
I’ve taken this approach for my own websites, and it has been transformational for my business. Have you thought about/tried it?