Law Blog promo pagesAmir Helzer, a blogger and webmaster who runs ICanLocalize, a technology-based translation service, guest posts this morning at Problogger offering some ideas on how a website could be run on blog software.

Helzir reviews the specific ‘static pages’ necessary for a business services’ website that would need to be set up with the blog software.

I’ll take it a step further – every law blog being used to enhance your reputation as an authority and grow your business needs to have such static pages.

The essential pages per Helzir with a little commentary from me:

  • Information about what you’re offering. Describe your practice and clientele. Often they are broader than the niche practice area or industry focus of your blog.
  • Benefits – how what you’re offering serves to make someone’s life better. Features lead to benefits, but the benefits are what really matters.
  • Examples, testimonials and case studies.
  • Support information – let people see answers to common questions. This may be included in blog posts as well.
  • Contact information, preferably with a brief intake form.

Such blog pages are needed for two reasons.

  1. The obvious. Potential clients need to know what you do and who you do it for. They need to know how to contact you and feel very comfortable doing so.
  2. For the amplifiers. More important than prospective clients are the people who amplify your content to the world. The ones who do your PR and marketing work for free. Bloggers, reporters and the connoisseurs of social media (Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Facebook et al) need to be able to identify you as an authority with street creds in a nano-second. Otherwise your content is not going to get cited in a blog. You’re not going to get a call from the reporter who finds your blog. And your content is not going to be spread via other social media.

Customary in blog user interface design is the use of ‘About,’ ‘Services,’ and ‘Contact’ pages. In addition, you may wish to have a page listing ‘My Books,’ ‘My Litigation Philosophy,’ ‘Speaking Engagements,’ or ‘Blog Purpose.’ Those additional pages add credibility and a personal feel.

Do keep these pages down to 4, 5 maximum, in total. Less is more here.

Though those pages may be described as ‘Static’ or ‘Promo’ pages, there is nothing static about them. You should be regularly editing those pages to reflect changes in what you are doing, your successes, and the like.

You’ve thought about it, and may have even seen other bloggers do it, but using images in blog posts can be daunting…particularly if you don’t know the rules. 

right v. wrong graphic

Unlike reading a newspaper or book, reading things off of a computer screen is different, and eyes tire quickly. By adding a relevant image to a post, you’re doing more than just beautifying your post. You’re breaking content up and giving your readers’ eyes a subconscious break. This is one of many ways to make your content user friendly. And ultimately, making your content as user friendly as possible is good because the easier a post is on the eye, the more likely it will be read.

No one likes to stare at walls and walls of text.

Here’s a run down of the dos and don’ts of using images in blog posts:

  • DO: choose an image that’s relevant to your subject.
  • DO: if you’re referencing an organization, you can use their logo (for more on this, see "Questions about Trademark").
  • DO: use images you’ve taken yourself. Not an option? Search public domain sites. Wikimedia Commons is a good place to start.
  • DO: read Kevin’s post on using Flickr and other creative commons sites.
  • DO: tweak your images. Adjust the image properties (border, alignment, dimensions) to ensure the image looks as it should, without appearing arbitrarily placed.
  • DO: re-size the image if it’s too big (as a rule of thumb, re-size anything over 600 x 400 px). You can either use software already on your computer, or use Picnik, an easy site to use that allows you to perform basic photo edits for free (you can get a membership for more advanced edits).
  • DO: see our FAQ about How to properly credit a photo source.

     

  • DON’T: use Google Image Search. As tempting as it is, most of the images you will find are copyrighted images that aren’t fair use.
  • DON’T: ignore copyright law. Just because you find an image that you like online doesn’t mean you can use it on your blog. After all, images are subject to the same copyright and fair use laws as written materials.
  • DON’T: sweat the small stuff. If all you want is one go-to website that has great photography — and you don’t mind paying for it — then iStockphoto is one of our client favorites.
  • DON’T: use poor quality images. Always make sure images have proportional aspect ratios (width and height).
  • DON’T: be afraid to use more than one image. Pro Blogger uses a photo for each point in a bulleted list.
  • DON’T: put the image at the bottom, keep it toward the top to lure in readers.The exception here is if you’re using multiple pictures in a post.
  • DON’T: link the image back to the site where you found it. This is hotlinking, which is generally frowned upon.

Using imagery can be very effective in enriching your posts, and it isn’t difficult to do. Give it a whirl and see for yourself. Feel free to contact me with any questions on the issue, or if you simply need help uploading an image.

Further reading: