John Kormanik, a founding partner of Boise’s Kormanik Hallam & Sneed and former Idaho Deputy Attorney General posed the following question in LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group’s discussion forum: ‘I am considering starting a blog concerning my law firm, practice and assorted topics. Which platform is best suited for this type of blog, Google Blogger or WordPress?’

A lengthy discussion ensued among members of the group. I thought I’d share my response to John’s question.

I have a dog in this hunt so take this as you may. But I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. The goal here is not to save money by blogging, but to enhance one’s reputation as an authority and to grow business by networking through the net.

Your blog is your home base in that networking. The result is a heck of a word of mouth reputation that keeps on giving throughout your professional life.

Blogger is a non-starter as far as a professional and safe environment for lawyers. That’s true for a number of reasons discussed on my blog and elsewhere.

WordPress and Typepad, though better, are lacking unless a lawyer really knows what they are doing with blogging, social media, and networking through the net. You also have design issues.

I practiced law for 17 years. I helped build a firm with 2 partners and a couple staff to 15 lawyers and 30 or 40 employees. I then started my own firm doing plaintiff’s trial law work.

As far as how my competition, my clients, prospective clients, referral sources, media, judges, and jury members perceived me and my firm, I did not want to take a back seat to anyone. That meant both doing a good job and making certain everyone in my firm carried themselves in a professional fashion. There were necessary costs to that – but that was okay as we were doing good work for good clients as a result.

It all depends where your goals lie, how much time you want to dedicate to learning how to network through the net via effective blogging (not just getting a blog up), and the risk you want to take with your image as to how you wish to start blogging.

Lower long term goals, lots of time, and a willingness to risk your reputation? Go it alone on one of the free/low cost platforms. Otherwise you may want to get a professional team to help you.

As you tell your clients, there is a benefit to hiring a lawyer in getting legal matters handled correctly. You can do your own legal work. However, there’s a benefit to having a lawyer so you accomplish what you want and avoid long term problems. It’s the same for blogs and networking through the net.

The true advantage you have today is that the cost to do great things in marketing, networking, and client development through the Internet is so low. Blogs have become a great equalizer for smaller firms with lower marketing budgets. In addition the cost of professional help in blogging is peanuts compared to ad and marketing buys we used to make in the yellow pages, print, and the like.

Sure, there are exceptions to the above. There always are. I know some excellent law bloggers using Blogger, WordPress, and TypePad (many whose arrows I’ll feel in my back after they read this post). I’m just talking about the safe and prudent route for most lawyers and law firms new to blogging.