Forming a legal blog is one of the best things you can do to establish an online name for your legal business. You can build blogs to attract more clients to a law firm, generate ad revenue, or spread the word about legal issues that are important to your readers. There’s a solid process in place that most successful legal blogs use to get started, and it’s straight-orward enough that you won’t need any real technical skills to do it yourself. Follow these steps to start your own legal blog and gain readership and the potential for revenue today.
Finding a Home for your Legal Blog
The first step in establishing an online home for your legal blog is to determine its address. In this case, an address refers to a domain name. If you’re already running a website then you blog can be hosted at your current domain.
If this blog will be on new ground then you’ll want to choose a domain name that reflects the spirit, brand, or purpose of your blog. Consider adding words or phrases that are relevant to law, code, attorneys, or other legal terms to help with your Search Engine Optimization and marketing.
After choosing a domain name, you’ll need to find hosting for your legal blog. The best way to start is to determine what kind of software you’ll be using to build the blog and how much traffic you expect to receive. This information can seem hard to determine when you first start a blog, but if you’re in doubt then you can always go with the most popular Content Management System: WordPress. This free CMS serves as a digital foundation for over 30 percent of websites online today.
Concerning traffic, if your blog is a new, stand-alone business and you aren’t going to pour hundreds of dollars into marketing right away then you should fine with a low-priced hosting package. Consider budgeting for $5 to $25 per month for WordPress hosting for your legal blog, or a little upwards of $30 per month if you’d like to host it on a VPS architecture for added control.
If you’re having a hard time gauging how much traffic or storage space your blog will need, then you can find an unmetered or unlimited plan that won’t restrict your data storage or bandwidth.
After choosing a web host, you’ll need to collect your administrator credentials including username and password, and any information regarding your site’s server or nameserver addresses. Enter the nameservers in the DNS options at your registrar if using a separate company to purchase your domain name to point the domain to your new web hosting server.
Installing the Software to Run Your Own Blog
After choosing your domain name and Content Management System, and finding a web host with a plan that fits your budget and goals, you can begin installing your site’s CMS or foundational software.
Most legal blogs do well on WordPress because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require you to have any previous experience building websites. Joomla and Drupal are also great options, and some hosts even have a point-and-click site builder for those who don’t want to use a CMS.
To start a legal blog quickly, access your new web hosting account with the administrator credentials you were issues upon purchasing the hosting package and locate the CMS installation option. If you’re using a host with one-click installation, this will require a simple click or two to choose and install your favorite CMS. If you’re using a VPS or host that doesn’t provide a one-click installer option, then simply download the core installation file for your chosen CMS.
You can upload the installation file to the root directory, designated with a forward slash in your host’s file manager application, and decompress it to get started. Run the executable or installation file to unpack the contents of your CMS and visit your domain name in a new browser tab. You will see a prompt for you to begin setting up your professional legal blog by entering the blog’s name and some other basic details of your choosing.
Themes and Templates for Legal Blogs
Whether you’ve installed your CMS manually, or were able to find a WordPress-optimized host that offers one-click installations, you’re need to begin selecting a theme for your site. If you’re using Joomla then theme files will be labeled “Templates” but serve the same purpose. Find a theme that makes the front end of your website look professional and legal-focused to enhance the overall display of your blog articles and content.
Free themes and templates can be found on theofficial WordPress and Joomla repositories, or you can find premium themes through third parties like ThemeForest and TemplateMonster. Premium themes generally run between $40 and $120 for commercial use.
Install your theme using the administrator panel of your Content Management System. In WordPress, this can be performed by logging in as an administrator at your current domain name and locating the Themes option on the left-hand vertical menu. Joomla users will find an analogous option in the Templates sub-menu in the Joomla administrator panel. Upload or select the existing theme you want to install on your website and click the Install button.
Adding Content to Your Legal Blog
With your CMS and theme in place, it’s time to add content to your legal blog. You’ll want to amass a decent collection of stock photos or videos to accompany each article you publish on your blog. You can upload these in advance by going to the Media Library option in WordPress or Joomla, or as you publish each article by using the “Upload Media” option when writing your blog posts.
Begin new posts in the WordPress CMS by selecting the “Posts” option from your main administrator menu. Next, click the “Add New Post” button to begin typing a new blog post. Add your media from the Media Library or your local device and save your article regularly as you’re working on it. In Joomla, you can add new blog posts to your legal blog using the Articles button from the upper main menu in your administrator panel.
Add tags to categorize your posts if desired, and click the Publish button to add each blog post to your site. After you have a dozen or so blog posts, the tags will become incredibly useful for yourself and visitors to organize your content.
It’s both fun and rewarding to start a blog with WordPress or Joomla, and doesn’t require many tech skills or any website-building experience. Running a legal blog allows you to publish invaluable information for the public or your clients, and even insert product placement or ads to generate revenue. Build a strong readership by keeping your articles high in quality and frequently publishing to keep readers returning for more information.