If your website is set up like that of most law firms, you probably have an “article” template with which you can upload longer pieces connected to your specialty. However, an “article” on a law firm website is very different from an “article” in a newspaper or magazine, since it has a promotional as well as informational function. How do you strike the right balance in the articles for your website?
An Article Should Have Genuine Substance
When people see the word “article,” the two words they immediately think of are “news” and “information.” In the context of your law firm's website, an article should be:
- Instructive and informational. After a potential client reads your article, he should know something that he didn't know before. Don't be afraid of revealing your “secrets,” since it's unlikely that this reader will choose to defend himself in court or file his own lawsuit!
- Not overly promotional. It's true that every piece of content on your law firm's website serves, in the end, a promotional purpose. But you should keep the promotional content of your article at the very end, after, rather than before, the reader has learned something new.
- The longer, the better. You don't have to write War and Peace each time you open your blog, but you should be aiming for 2,000 words or better. Long articles will improve SEO, as well as the readers experience while on your website.
- Well written. For many lawyers, this is the hardest part of article writing. The algorithms used by Google for search rankings are especially sensitive to “quality” as opposed to “cookie-cutter” writing, and if you cut corners, your website may suffer.
How to Write Better Legal Articles
There are many good reasons to write long content for your website. The number one reason is articles that are 2,000 words or longer boost your SEO. In a recent study, content that is 2,000 words or longer are shared more often on social media, are read for longer, and they encourage users to browse more pages on your website. While there are many articles that you can write in less than 500 words, you should strive for articles that are as long as possible.
Writing longer articles may seem daunting. An article about texting and driving can be surmised in a sentence. "Texting and driving is illegal in most states and dangerous regardless, don't do it." That conveys the point in the shortest word count possible, and it is not engaging or beneficial. The easiest way to lengthen a short article is to tell a story. In the case of texting and driving, lawyers have a wellspring of data and information, not to mention the very personal and often traumatic stories from their clients. Create a narrative that is a blend of story, facts, and data that will keep readers on the page and scrolling through your articles.
"But I don't have time to write 2,000 words every day!"
You do not have to write every article posted on your website. If you are a solo attorney, you can hire freelancers to help you draft content. Look for candidates with examples of their work, SEO experience, and a good command of your target language. If you have a staff, ask your paralegal to write a blog post (or two) a week. More than likely they have the necessary knowledge to write interesting content.