I can’t help but feel that lawyers and law firms are being duped by folks advising that blogs be put inside of websites. From Algeri and Labret today:
One opinion is that blogs that exist outside of the firm’s website compromise user experience, reduce levels of engagement and make user tracking very difficult. Another argument is that a partner’s brand is better served by having the blog separate. This is a hotly contested issue, and we encourage you to read both sides.
Break down what’s being said here.
- Blogs outside a website compromise a user’s experience? It’s just the opposite. Blogs are publications and have a user interface built as such. I see countless law firm websites in which the blog presentation inside the site is nothing short of a travesty. The sad thing is that the firm and their website developer doesn’t know any better. The result is that users, especially the influencers (reporters, bloggers and online leaders) are not going to subscribe and follow. Others, including more innovative and tech savvy professionals who know a good user experience for publishing may question the good judgment of the firm. Publishing software is also upgraded and features enhanced multiple times a year, features and upgrades that often improve the user experience. How many law firms upgrade their website publishing software regularly?
- Reduced levels of engagement. The traffic to Fox Rothchild’s external blogs dwarfs the traffic that firms get to the content on their websites. Engagement, especially where people are consuming content today, socially, is going to be higher with established publications off a website.
- User tracking is more difficult. User tracking is usually done via third party software deployed by a website developer. Such software could be deployed with a tracking code on any blogs and the numbers incorporated into global information for a law firm.
- Partner’s brand better served by having a separate blog. I am note sure, but that appears to insinuate that independent blogs distract from the firm brand and make a partner more likely to leave. The fact is that blogs independent of a site help everyone’s brand, including the brand of a law firm. Niche publications are a sound strategy that establishes a firm’s deep expertise in growth areas.
I am not sure what drives this whole debate. It’s common sense that a blog is an independent publication.
Over the last decade, countless lawyers have used blogging to build reputations and relationships. Things that were simply not happening with a website. Lawyers and law firms have benefited not only in branding, but in substantial revenue.
I welcome continuing this discussion with Bob and Jabez, both talented and good guys whom I consider friends. In addition to all of us blogging it, we can discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn and maybe live on the net when our paths cross.
If you’re looking for more information on the subject, print out 20 Reasons Law Blogs Belong Outside a Website.