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Which blog software best for law firms?

April 20, 2005

Question was raised on a legal marketers listserv this morning about what software applications (web based or server side) law firms are using to set up blogs. The questioner wanted to know of any success or horror stories from Blogger, Live Journal, WordPress or Movable Type and the like?

Any of the solutions you mention will work, in theory. The issue becomes whether a law firm wants to use a solution whose primary purpose is for social journals. Blogger and Live Journal may be great for journaling your family life or sporting interests. But they are lacking features and the visual integrity law firms should be looking for. There is a big difference between a professional marketing blog for a law firm and a journal type blog.

Marketing blogs done by law firms are going to far surpass their law firm Web site in volume of unique visitors and page views per month. Accordingly, law firm marketers want to make certain their blogs have necessary features such as categories and subcategories, among others, not be linked in among a community of common interests ranging from sex sites to teenage diaries to Harry Potter and have a professional look to create a good first impression.

For that reason, I suggest firms use WordPress or Moveable Type. They are the leaders in the development community. They do require some tech support to set up and install and will require some design work to come up with a nice look. And there are updated releases plus bugs with each from time to time. But developers working with one or the other can deal with these ‘fairly easily.’

LexBlog uses Moveable Type, which we have modified to meet law firm needs, because of it’s mature development community for support and the business relationship we have established with Six Apart, the company which produces it.

Another reason to use WordPress or Moveable Type is we’re seeing innovative firms inexpensively stream content from their blogs to their Web sites via RSS. It’s being set up so content is displayed in the relevant practice or news area on the firm’s web site. Keeps the site fresh and works well for search engine optimization. Amateur systems set up for journals and the like are not going to allow for this type of work.

So for a law firm, it’s a decision whether to have an IT person in house they want to dedicate to launching and monitoring blogs or to have an outside party do it for you. Fortunately, contracting with outside people who know what they are doing is not expensive.

To me it’s like a law firm Web site. Firm’s are not going to go out and create a Web site for free or nominal cost in a AOL, Yahoo or Homestead community. Just because it’s a blog does not mean you should act like an amateur. And fortunately with the decreasing costs of technology, getting good stuff and having good folks do the work for you is more and more within your budget’s reach.

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