What’s more approporiate for a lawyer or law firm today, a blog or a website? Does it have to be an either or?
The Internet has changed an awful lot since the first law firm websites of twenty years ago. Social networks enable people to enagage each other like never before. Through publishing content, commenting on it and sharing it people are not only consuming information in a whole different way, they are learning who they like and trust like never before. People expect business leaders to be real and authentic in their online presence.
I ran across a good piece by Namibia’s Martha Mukaiwa on AllAfrica on whether a business ought to go website or a blog.
A website had been the way to go in building one’s business identity, per Mukawai.
Traditionally viewed as more professional and an indication of some level of success, websites are slowly beginning to lose traction as the popularity of blogs such as TMZ and The Huffington Post illustrate how dynamic and popular a blog can grow to be.
Now it depends what you want to achieve.
If your interest is engaging a communicative audience with fresh and regularly updated content, you should probably begin cultivating your online presence through a weblog aka blog.
Usually associated with a more conversational or original tone, blogs are inherently friendlier than websites and, in a world ruled by social media, the continuation of an affable tone makes the leap from cruising one’s Facebook to reading a blog less jarring.
And for businesses such as law firms?
If you are in the very serious business of finance, law or news, blogs can represent a more consumer-friendly aspect of your business that strives to make your trade more digestible while engaging your targets in layman’s terms.
As a blogger, you are your own publisher and once you become more familiar with your preferred host, you will soon become adept at quickly incorporating text, audio, video and images into your posts. This is in direct contrast to the stagnant nature of websites which, if you are unfamiliar with editing html sites, can be time-consuming and costly to update.
And when to use a website?
When compared to blogs, websites are essentially their static older brothers.
Traditionally more formal and professional in tone and not overly-encouraging of comment or communication, websites work well if your business is transactional or wants to present rarely changing information about your products and services.
Should your business be one of displaying and trying to sell products, a website may be more suited to your needs in the guise of a virtual store. Here a consumer can find a wealth of information about what you have on offer including descriptions of your products, pictures of promotional items as well as information about campaigns.
As a lawyer you ought to use the Internet to engage your audience, build trust and demonstrate your accessibility. In which case a blog has it all over a website.
In the case of most firms a website is still appropriate to display static directory like information on the firm and its lawyers. Blogs on niche subjects will live on complementary sites as stand alone publications.
In the case of solo or small law firms a blog or two with pages added to give background on the firm and its lawyers is probably more effective than a website.
I am with Mukawai that a blog puts a friendlier face on your core business and promotes engagement and loyalty.
Image courtesy of Flickr by F.D. Richards