The quickest way to create a new website

I’m working with an attorney who is setting up his first website. One of the things I told him to do was to find websites he likes and study them, so he can use them as models for creating his own. They don’t have to be attorneys’ sites but they should probably be professionals or other service providers.

The idea is to use the structure of another site for ideas for laying out yours. Actually, you might combine elements from several sites. Perhaps you like the column layout from one, the color palate from another, and the page order from a third.

Yes, Jack, you can set up your own site. Get hosting, install WordPress (one button click), and you have a site. With WordPress, you can set up your site with a blog or as a static websiste. You can start with a single page if you want.

Then, change the theme. Many themes are free or low cost. Install some plug-ins to make managing the site easier, and you’re ready to add content. You can see some of my recommended resources for all of this on this page.

Once the basic site is set up, use other sites for content ideas. Find several “About” pages, for example, and look at them side by side. What do they have in common? How long are they? Where is the head shot? What do they link to? How much personal information is included?

Instead of starting with a blank page, you have a framework into which to pour your words.

Do the same thing for other pages that describe services, hours, directions, parking, fee and payment guidelines.

Don’t worry about making everything perfect, just get something on the page. You can update and revise it later. If you don’t want anyone to see your work in process, download a plug-in that allows you to put the site in “maintenance mode” so that if anyone visits, they will only see an “under construction” or “coming soon” page. “WP Maintenance Mode” is one I’ve used.

For more on how to create a new website, get this

Do lawyers need a blog?

The Attorney Marketing Center web site launched in 1998 and transitioned to a blog in 2007. At that time, I wrote an article detailing the change, David’s Website Diary, and promised updates. To be honest, I forgot about the article and didn’t update it until today.

Sorry, but you didn’t miss much.

From a technological standpoint, not much has changed since I switched to the blog format. I’ve changed the color and layout and added some new plug-ins, mostly having to do with social media integration, but not much else.

My site has grown because I focused on creating content, not on the latest bells and whistles. Content creates value for visitors, allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and brings traffic from search engines and from word of mouth. And so the number of subscribers to my newsletter has grown and the number of blog subscribers has grown and I have continued to sell products and services.

Do you need a blog? If you want to get more clients online I think you do.

A blog has several advantages over a static web site. As you update your content, search engines are notified and they bring visitors. As those visitors see the solutions you provide, they may (a) take the next step toward hiring you, (b) connect with you by subscribing to your newsletter or your blog feed or commenting on your posts, or (c) tell others about you via social media.

Your blog allows prospects and referral sources to see you “in action”. Your content is not just puffery about how great you are it is an exemplar of your abilities. As visitors become familiar with your style and hear your “voice,” as they get to know and trust you, your preeminence grows, your traffic grows, and your client base grows.

You can set up a blog yourself  in about an hour. WordPress makes is easy. There are many free and inexpensive “getting stated” videos available and you can hire people inexpensively to do it for you. Contact me if you would like some referrals.

Once you have your own blog, you control it; you don’t have to wait for tech support to do updates for you, you can do them yourself. It’s as quick and simple as using a web browser. And, other than paying for hosting (under $10/month), it’s free.

What about content–do you have enough to say? Trust me, you have enough. There is an endless amount of material you can supply. Everything from posts about the law and procedure in your practice areas, success stories you helped created, general business (or consumer) advice, guest posts from experts (referral sources) in allied fields, and much more. A post can be as short as a few paragraphs and as simple as you commenting on something you found on another web site or blog or in the news. And you can outsource content creation, too.

A blog may seem to be a big commitment but think of it as the front door to your online office. You won’t be there 24/7 but your presence will be. If you write an offline newsletter, publish articles, or do any public speaking or networking, you are already doing the things that are done online through a blog.

If you have a web site, you have something you can point to and that’s good. But you have to do the pointing. If you want free traffic, you need a blog.

Lawyers: Now you can get legal marketing videos on youtube

legal marketing videosOkay, this first video isn’t specifically about legal marketing, but I’ve got a youtube channel now and will be posting videos you can watch while sorting email or having your morning coffee.

Actually, I’ve got some good things planned and when you subscribe to my channel you’ll be notified when there’s a new video posted. I also added social media badges to the blog for youtube and linkedin.

What’s this first video about? Well, social media. I wanted to have a simple page where people can find the links (badges) to all my social media accounts so they can friend/follow/like me. Since I have another business and blog, this was even more important. I was getting to the point where even I couldn’t remember how to find me. Anyway, this short video explains what I did in case you want to do the same.

Please leave your comments (or questions) below. Since this is my first video (imagine that), I’ve probably left out something important and I’m sure you’ll want to mention it (as my wife just did when she poked her head in the door to tell me about how I messed up “attorney marketing”.)

Oh, please also use the share button or tweet button to tell people about this post. They might want to show their spouse that they aren’t the only ones who can’t speak proper English.

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhZEpFTg8XI” type=”youtube”]How to create a personal social media hub page[/mc]