Law offices tend to be fairly conservative when it comes to technology. I know some who haven’t changed their content management system for years. “If it works, don’t fix it” is a great philosophy, but wrestling with ancient content management systems is a frustrating and unrewarding task — it certainly doens’t encourage busy lawyers to keep their sites’ fresh with new content.
Many lawyers see the advantage of writing a legal blog. It’s a powerful way to demonstrate expertise and understanding of client issues, as well as build a loyal audience, particularly among potential clients with interests that correspond to a lawyer’s area of specialization. Legal blogs are also, of course, an excellent way to capture search traffic — those who don’t blog are putting themselves at a disadvantage and failing to exploit the full potential of their website.
WordPress is without a doubt the most popular content management system. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that WordPress is the right solution for lawyers. In this article, I’d like to explain why I advise lawyers who seek my advice to use self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress For Lawyers
Lawyers are busy folks. Ideally, they simply want to be able to write posts, add an image, and hit publish. Some enjoy tinkering with their CMS, but for the most part blogging for lawyers should involve a simple write and publish workflow.
Once installed and setup, WordPress is straightforward to run. Decent web hosting companies offer one-click installations of WordPress, so minimal technical knowledge is required.
Getting WordPress into a useable shape does take a little time. The first step is to install an appropriate theme, which will determine how the site looks. Installing themes is easy and there are literally thousands to choose from. If you choose a free theme from the WordPress theme repository, you can do everything from within the WordPress dashboard. If you choose a premium theme, you’ll probably have to upload the theme files into your installation’s theme directory and activate it from within the dashboard.
There are many premium theme marketplaces, but to get a taster of what’s available, take a look at the blog category on ThemeForest. If you have any questions about a theme you like, you shouldn’t hesitate to send its developer a message — they’re usually more than happy to answer pre-sales questions.
The next step is to install plugins. Once again, there are thousands of plugins available, each of which will add functionality to your site. For a simple blog, you don’t have to go crazy with plugins, but there are a few that will make life easier. I’d suggest for a start you take a look at:
- WordPress SEO from Yoast – Will help your site gain visibility in search engines. You should also take a look at Yoast’s WordPress SEO guide.
- WordPress Editorial Calendar – Makes planning blog posts and managing content a breeze.
- Akismet – Stops comment spammers from littering your posts with nonsense.
- Jetpack – Jetpack adds a host of features, including infinite scrolling, improved comments, spelling and grammar checking, and social media sharing.
You can search for these within the WordPress dashboard’s plugin page.
That might seem like a lot of work, but it generally only takes an hour or so to go from installation to ready-to-publish.
WordPress is a powerful content management system and blogging platform. Its reliability, ease-of-use, and customizability make it the perfect platform for legal bloggers.