Creating a Content Development Plan
A good website is like a good sandwich: it can look amazing from the outside, but if it doesn’t taste good then it’s a bad sandwich. The best way to make sure you have a good sandwich is to make sure you have the right ingredients and organize them in the right way.
In case my metaphor is too wandering, content is to a website as ingredients are to a sandwich. While you can accidentally throw together an amazing sandwich, your best bet is to plan ahead.
Auditing The Content You Have
Every law practice has a set of required pages for its site to be an adequate resource for potential clients. These include:
- A homepage
- A contact page
- An about page
- Individual practice area pages
- A resource page, whether it’s FAQ or a blog
Before you even consider adding extra content you need to audit your current pages. Are they optimized and well written? Do you have the basics? If you don’t, fill out your pages with the barebones.
On the other side of things, some websites have way too much content. You might need to prune some of it back. If there’s duplicate content or orphan pages your site could suffer. You don’t want a sandwich full of iceberg lettuce. No one likes that.
Adding The Content You Need
Once you have figured out what your site is missing, you can get to work adding it. This is a great opportunity to optimize your site! If your existing pages haven’t been updated since 2009, update them now! You’ll be amazed at all the plug-ins available (also, no one uses Flash anymore; get rid of any plug-ins that require Flash ASAP). You need to make sure you have the fillings of your sandwich before you even think about condiments.
Adding Extra Content
Extras normally include pages like regular blog postings, successful case results, and in-depth resources. To make sure your pages are getting you the traffic and clients you want, you need to ask yourself a few questions before beginning work:
- What types of cases do I want? You can control what type of audience visits your website through the content you produce. If you have resources in greater depth on a specific issue than any other website, people looking into that issue will find their way to your page. It might not get high traffic, but it will get the right traffic.
- What type of expertise are my clients looking for? You’re a lawyer, so you’re in competition with every lawyer in your practice in your area. You need to show that you can not only stand toe-to-toe with any of them, but you are also more knowledgeable than them. Write about the specifics of your practice areas, things that might not show up on the practice area page. Prove you’re an expert.
- What is my voice? Your voice is a vital part of your brand. Some firms put more personality in their blogs, some keep it strictly academic. You need to decide what voice you’re putting into the world and keep it consistent.
Once you have answered these questions about yourself, you’re ready to start writing.
SEO is often considered something that can be accounted for later but is really much easier to just account for now. There are ways to optimize a page that barely even impacts writing. Four things you can do to improve SEO without even trying are:
- Organizing H1s, H2s, and H3s. By setting up your headers that accurately summarize and organize your page you are letting search engines know the content and composition of the page.
- Adding bullet-pointed or numbered lists. Just like with headers, lists help search engines know how you’re organizing your page. A header with a well-designed list can even create a nice featured snippet if you’re lucky.
- Internal linking. Linking to other pages on your site not only improves the user experience by helping them visit the rest of your website but it also really helps with SEO.
- Add relevant images. Images help to make your page look nicer, and relevant images with accurate alt-text are particularly appreciated by search engines.
If you’ve noticed that pretty much all of that advice has been used in this post, good job! Sandwich for you!
Not every law firm has the time or writing expertise to do in-house content audits or plan development. This is understandable since the law is a complicated subject with a lot riding on it. You can’t be expected to spend all your time brainstorming your next FAQ.
Mockingbird is here to help. We are proud of content audits and development plans and will help with link building and PR campaigns to improve your website’s rankings and increase your organic traffic. If you feel like your website could be performing better, don’t hesitate to call us! Helping lawyers is what we do.