Here are some simple tips for building a professional law firm website that will get found online.
The first step is choosing a domain for your law firm website. Your first instinct in choosing a domain might be to choose a branded domain based on the name of your firm. While branding your domain may be a good idea for law firms, there are many situations where this may be a mistake.
My advice is to take out two domains, your branded domain (i.e. www.yourlawfirmname.com) and a keyword targeted domain. For your keyword targeted, choose one of moderate search volume and competition that is highly relevant to your practice. I like using the geographic, practice specific, legal term guideline (i.e. chicago-injury-law-firm.com).
To check the availability of your desired domain, head over to Domize. Make sure to try different keyphrase combinations and hyphen positions.
Once you have chosen your domain, it's time to get it registered and set up a hosting account. While you've probably heard of godaddy.com, we recommend trying hostgator.com. Whichever hosting option you choose, make sure that your account includes the ability to use Fantastico to install WordPress.
Once you have chosen your host and installed WordPress, it's time to select a theme. Your theme will provide the overall look and design of your site. There are many themes from which to choose, both free, and commercial. We like Studiopress, Woo Themes, and DIY Themes.
After choosing your WordPress theme, it's time to start adding content. It's helpful to plan out the structure of your law firm website/blog prior to adding pages and posts. You should consider whether you want your articles on your homepage, or a separate static homepage. We have seen both methods work effectively. You may also want to include an attorney profile page, practice areas section, blog page, and of course, a contact page.
Once you have set up these basic pages, you are going to want to consider whether to install plugins. Don't go plugin crazy. While there are some plugins that can really help your efforts, there are some that are many that can have a negative impact on your site. Here are a couple that we recommend:
1. Ultimate Google Analytics
2. Google XML Sitemaps
3. SEO Smart Links
That's it. Now you've got a fully-functional law firm website and blog that is search engine friendly. The next steps are to add new articles, pages, and posts as frequently as possible.