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Your law blog does not drive visitors to your website

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Over and over I hear the refrain that law firms should have a blog to drive traffic to their website.

A Hubspot study which found businesses that blog get 55 per cent more visitors to their website is regularly cited by marketing, business development, and website professionals to drive home the point.

But is your blog really driving visitors to your website? Is it possible that it’s your strong word of mouth reputation and the relationships you’ve built with clients, prospective clients and their influencers through blogging that’s driving traffic to your site from your blog? People wanting to learn more about you checking out your website?

What about the trust you’ve earned through blogging as someone who provides valuable insight and commentary, thought leadership status if you will? Same thing. Just as people will check you out on LinkedIn as a result of your blogging, people will want to learn more about you and may click on a link to your website on your blog to learn more about you.

I have stumbled across many a law blog where I wouldn’t think of clicking over to the bloggers website. The blogging was awful. I had seen enough.

I’ve also come across law blogs that were so bad that I couldn’t resist going to the firm’s website to learn more about who was embarrassing themselves.

Lawyers and law firms who buy the “do a blog to draw traffic to your website” end up measuring the success of a blog by exactly that. How much traffic is my blog getting? How much traffic is being driven from my blog to my firm’s website, practice group pages, and lawyer bios?

That’s sad. Success ought be measured by relationships, reputation, and revenue. None of these three are the result of traffic to your website. All can be achieved through effective blogging.

Lawyers networked to build relationships and enhance their word of mouth reputation long before law firm websites (think 15 years ago). Lawyers wrote articles, presented at conferences and spoke to the press to further enhance their reputations as “go to” lawyers in their field.

No one told lawyers then to do these things so people would ask for a copy of the law firm brochure or stop by the law office. I’m not sure anyone even told lawyers to do these things so that people would look them up in Martindale-Hubbell, then the bible of law firm and lawyer profiles.

I am not suggesting that you leave links to your firm website or lawyer website bios off of your law blog. By all means make it easy for users to click over if they wish.

At LexBlog, we’ll do everything we can in design and development to provide users a seamless experience if they wish to navigate to the law firm website. We’re known for leveraging the law firm’s brand, logo, and style guide in our designs.

Our goal is to leverage the reputation and brand of the law firm for bloggers. Blogging while a lawyer in a recognized law firm can provide a lawyer added credibility.

But at no time that I can recall have we told a lawyer or law firm to start a blog to drive visitors to their firm’s website.

It’s the strong word of mouth reputation and relationships you’ve built through blogging that is driving traffic to your website. Traffic from your blog, LinkedIn, Google+, email signature lines, and even business cards.

It’s not the blog that’s driving the traffic. It’s what you’ve earned through blogging that’s driving the traffic.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jim Culp

  • Jeff Gottlieb

    I agree with the substance of your post that reputation, trust and relationship-building are the primary reasons to blog and that blog posts should be written with that primary purpose in mind. That said, it is also true that blogging can make your site more search-friendly and directly drive new visitors to your website. Not only can it drive new visitors to your website generally, but it usually points them to a blog post you’ve written on the very topic that they’re searching for. That’s a good thing. After less than a year of blogging, I’m finding that more than half of all new visitors to my site are entering through blog posts. And if what you’ve written is high quality, you want people to read it. The more the better. Even if they don’t need your services at that time, maybe they’ll remember you when they’re talking to someone else that might need your services. Or maybe they’ll share your post.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com/ Kevin OKeefe

    Thanks for the comment Jeff. No question that people will be drawn to your site via search because of your blog if your blog is inside your website. Like you said, it’s the blog content they are after on search.

    I wouldn’t advise making the blog a part of the website though. Doing so limits what you can do as far as strategic engagement and relationship building. It also stifles reputation enhancement as you are not establishing yourself as the author/publisher of an independent publication. You’ll still generate all the search traffic to a blog apart from a website, and, in time more traffic to the blog as it becomes more influential.

    When a lawyer puts a blog in a website they are saying I am doing this to attract attention to myself, I am marketing myself, and I am looking for traffic. You can have all of that, and much more focusing on the reputation and relationships side focusing on other than traffic first. That’s the point I am trying to make.

  • http://www.seo-for-lawyers.com/ Luke Ciciliano

    I agree as to the point that a blog’s focus should be on providing the clients resources/establishing authority rather than simply driving traffic. Legal blogging is no different than any other type of blogging or business for that matter. Those who excel do so because they focus on a great product. The money will flow from that excellence (Steve Jobs and Apple was a great example of this). Those who focus on making money, and work backwards to the product, don’t do as well (just look at HP, Dell, etc. v. Apple).
    I do think that same goal can be reached through a blog on one’s website but a website blog should have a different focus than what most attorneys take. It should, in my opinion, focus on providing potential clients with in depth information that they can’t easily glean from other sources.

    • http://kevin.lexblog.com/ Kevin OKeefe

      If you are trying to grow relationships with key strategic people or corporations try getting them to be the feature of an interview or to do a gets best post on a blog that sits next to to your marketing info on your website. How about a reporter at the the WSJ or a key trade publication. You will build a relationship with them if they are cited in a key niche publication – your blog – not by citing them in your marketing – your blog in a website. Same content, totally different effect.

  • RBT

    The discussion of website traffic often seems focused on the wrong issue: quantity (sheer number) of visitors rather than quality of visitors. A 1000% increase in hits would be bad if you had the misfortune to share a name with somebody who was just indicted, for example. More to the point of the post, an increase in traffic would be worthless if people were clicking through to the website because they hated the blog and could not believe that it was the product of a real lawyer at a real law firm. However, even if the number of visitors to a site barely moved but more of the visitors were the type you wanted to attract, that would be a win. Numbers should not be the main measure for traffic.

  • http://www.seo-for-lawyers.com/ Luke Ciciliano

    I would say that traffic and quality traffic for law blogs, as long as we’re talking about what comes from organic search, go hand in hand RBT. As Google has gotten better at deciphering “quality” it has become more necessary to write something that is actually useful to people in order to rank.