So here’s the deal. If you are reading this, you are probably interested in starting a law firm – most likely as a solo. One of the very first things you will need is a web presence. Nine times out of ten, that means you need to start a law firm blog or website.
With the technology available today, it is fairly easy to set up your own website (and when I say website, I mean website and/or blog). And when I mean easy, I mean a monkey could do it in about 15-20 minutes.
Seriously – this is not difficult, and you do NOT need to hire some tech guy at ridiculous rates to get started. If you have been paying attention at all to this website, you know that I am a big fan of not spending a lot of money to get your law firm up and running. When you have lots of clients and revenue, you can invest in a web guy to redo your website – but right now, let’s keep it easy, ok?
First things first – regardless of where you are with your journey into solo practice – today is the day you must start a law firm website!
Building a website is how you build your unique “brand” as a lawyer. So even if you are still working at a firm, it is still smart to get the approval of the higher-ups and start a blog so that you can start writing about topics related to your practice area.
So do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes to follow the steps I outline below to get your legal blog up and running in no time…
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I have used all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust.
3 Steps to Start a Law Firm Blog in 20 minutes or less
There are three steps you need to follow to get your law firm website up and running:
- Register a Domain Name and host that domain
- Install WordPress
- Make your website look professional
Registering a domain name and hosting
This is the “fun” part. The first thing you need to do is figure out what your domain will be. I recommend a free tool like instantdomainsearch.com to help you quickly and easily determine whether a domain is available or not. This is one of the main reasons that I previously encouraged you to start your website now. Domains are getting snatched up daily, and a name that you like today might not be available tomorrow.
Once you have settled on a domain that is available (I recommend you start by looking for some variant of your name – my law firm domain is “jameshartlaw.com”), then you need to register that domain and host it. If you only want to register the domain (i.e. purchase it for use later), you can do that too and I recommend using GoDaddy.com to register your domain.
However, if you are ready to start blogging now, Then I suggest you head over to Bluehost to set up a hosting account. Bluehost has some great rates, and you will receive your domain name for free when you sign up to host with them.
So once you head over to Bluehost, you will want to click the “get started now” button. I recommend that you pick the “starter” plan, (unless you will be hosting multiple websites), and you will be brought to a page that allows you to pick your domain.
After you type in the domain you have chosen into the box on the left, you will be taken to a page that will ask you for your name and contact information, as well as your billing information. In addition, you will be asked to pick the services you want to include in your account.
Here is a screenshot of how I recommend you set this up:
A couple of things to note here. First, the 12 month price is more expensive than a 24 or 36 month price. I always like to lock in a new domain for 12 months. If I decide I will keep it, then I will host for longer when I renew.
Second, make sure you sign up for Domain Privacy Protection. The Domain Whois Privacy shields your personal address and phone number from being displayed to the public.
Ok, now the process gets really fun. Once you have completed the process of finding and registering your law firm domain name, and set up your hosting account, you will need to install WordPress.
I highly recommend you go with WordPress. There is really no good reason not to use it. It will make your website search engine friendly, it’s easy to install and use, it has a tremendous amount of functionality to it, and you will own your own website. Not to mention it is FREE.
So here is how you do it.
Login to your Bluehost account and you should be taken to the “home” page. Scroll down to where you see the “website” section and look for a button that says “install WordPress” (I know, this is hard – isn’t it?). Here’s the screenshot.
On the next page, click “install a brand new instance”.
Then you will need to pick the domain you want to install WordPress on, and click “check domain”.
Click on the advanced options check box and make the appropriate change to your “site title”. Also, make sure to make note of your admin username and password – you will need these to login to your site through WordPress.
Check the box next to “automatically create a new database for this installation” and acknowledge the terms and conditions, and click “install now”.
While you are waiting for WordPress to install (it should take less than a minute), they will try to up sell you on some premium “themes”. You can ignore these for now.
Once the install is complete, go back to the main install page where you can manage your WordPress installations. Click on the admin login button and make sure to bookmark this page for easy reference later.
Now enter your username and password and voila! You are logged into your website!
Make your law firm blog look professional
Congratulations – you now have your own law firm blog. Now you can start writing about anything and everything related to your niche practice area to share with the world!
But before you jump feet first into the blogosphere, you should take a couple of minutes to make your law firm website look good. WordPress has literally thousands of fantastic free themes to choose from – you can pick one here.
If, however, you would like to go with a premium theme, there are two that I currently recommend:
The Genesis Framework. This is the theme that I am currently using with both Legal Marketing Made Easy and my Law Firm Website. You may also want to check out some of the other available themes by StudioPress.
The Thesis Theme. This was another theme I used on Legal Marketing Made Easy. Lot’s of people love Thesis – you should give it some thought.
Optional – Avoid the mistakes that I made
If you are just starting your law practice and you want to avoid all the dumb mistakes that I have made in starting two law firms of my own, you will want to download my 14-point law firm checklist, which also comes with a 3-part video course on legal marketing and an e-mail course on how to avoid the 6 biggest legal marketing mistakes I made when I started my law practice.