I love WordPress. WordPress for attorneys is a fantastic tool for generating clients and more revenue. I have been creating my websites using WordPress since 2009. As of today I have created 11 WordPress websites. You can access them from the menu link at the top of this page. Of these 11 sites, I am the only person who adds content to 7 of them, two sites contain content created only by two other KEYTLaw attorneys and two sites contain content created by me and other KEYTLaw attorneys.
If your website is not a WordPress site, you are making a mistake unless you have the money to pay a consultant or web development company a ton of money for a super-duper site. My experience is always been that I can invest the time to learn a software program so I can use the program and its powerful features without being dependent on a high paid consultant who probably isn’t really that knowledgeable. See Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 1.
I started the original www.keytlaw.com website in the winter of 2001. At that time I was a partner at one of the largest law firms in Arizona. The firm’s board of directors told me I could not have a website and that a firm website was worthless for generating new clients. I knew that virtually all lawyer websites did not generate new business because they were nothing more than electronic firm brochures. I was convinced that I could create a website with original content that informed the public about legal issues and that it would generate business.
I was right. Since leaving big law in 2001 I have obtained over 6,000 new clients most of whom hired me and my firm because of my websites. A good informational website is a great way for a lawyer to obtain new clients. During 2011 the total combined traffic on my websites averaged 163,000 visitors/month. Per Avvo and www.alexa.com the KEYTLaw website is one of the 35 most visited law related websites in the United States.
When I took the plunge and created my first website in 2001 the two most popular HTML editors were Microsoft’s FrontPage and Adobe’s Dreamweaver. FrontPage was cheaper and sold to the public as more user friendly than Dreamweaver so I bought FrontPage.
For eight years I used FrontPage to create every page on the old www.keytlaw.com. Take a look at an old FrontPage created KEYLaw page. The old site look and feel worked well for me for many years despite it’s cludginess. I designed the look and feel of the site without any knowledge of what I was doing, which is why the site looks like it was made by somebody that didn’t know how to design a site. I knew I wanted a website and so I just loaded FrontPage and started creating web pages.
My original website and now the other ten WordPress sites generate a tremendous amount of web traffic because they contain content. See an old web log report for the month of December 2006 which shows www.keytlaw.com had 91,489 visitors that month, an average of 2,859/day. For the year 2006 my old site averaged 85,500 visitors a month and 2,850 visitors a day. Every year the number of visitors increases because we are constantly adding content to our sites. Web success is very very simple – the more good content you have on your site the more visitors it will have.
FrontPage was actually user friendly for its era, but the problem with HTML editors is that you start with a blank screen and you must build every page and every feature of your website from scratch. A simple website was easy to create in FrontPage, but to create any feature required a ton of time and html editing.
In 2009 I decided to create a law blog so I did a little research and concluded that WordPress was the way to go. The difference between WordPress and FrontPage is as great as the difference between night and day. FrontPage was a low tech do everything yourself program. WordPress is a high tech do everything for you program. WordPress combined with WordPress plugins is a winning combination that allows a novice to do anything with a website/blog with very little effort or knowledge needed by the WordPress user.
WordPress comes in two flavors, i.e., wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The .com version is hosted on WordPress’ website. The .org version is free downloadable software that you must install on a server (shared or dedicated) and that is accessed by people who go to the URL of your domain.
The .com version of WordPress is a website that as of today hosts 426,536 free WordPress blogs. To have a blog on wordpress.com all you need to do is sign up and two minutes later you are in business on the internet. Your site will be a subdomain of www.wordpress.com such as www.lawfirm.wordpress.com. WordPress hosts your site on its server. Although it is actually very easy to have a WordPress.org site on your own domain, the WordPress sites on wordpress.com are even easy to use. See a list of features offered for free by www.wordpress.com.
The downsides to the .com version are:
1. Your site is not on your domain.
2. You will not have access to the vast universe of plugins available when you have WordPress running on your domain.
3. You cannot have any ads.
4. Customization is limited.
5. Moving your site to a Wordpress.org site later is a big deal for the average WordPress user.
Reasons Why I love WordPress
1. WordPress is Very Easy to Install: With a good webhost like Bluehost anybody can create a WordPress law firm website or blog simply and easily. I’ve hosted my websites at Bluehost since I created my first blog in 2009. Bluehost hosts millions of WordPress sites and is adding 20,000 new sites a month. I cannot say enough about Bluehost. It’s cheap ($5 – $7) month. It’s got great tech support 24/7, which I have used from time to time. What I love best about Bluehost is that is uses something called Cpanel and Simple Scripts. What these two programs mean to the WordPress user (prospective or actual) is that you can create a new WordPress website/blog in less than ONE MINUTE. Yes! In a future video I’ll demo how to do it and how quickly I can create a new site.
To learn more about everything Bluehost gives you for $5/month go to its hosting features page.
2. WordPress is Very Easy to Learn: It takes me about 15 minutes to show a person everything he/she needs t know to add content to WordPress. Only one person in your firm needs to be the administrator of your WordPress site and know how to do things like add, configure and update plugins and do the admin stuff. There is a higher learning curve to be the administrator, but there is virtually no learning curve to be a WordPress content creator. Everybody only needs to know how to create a blog post or a web page, both of which are extremely simple.
3. WordPress Themes: A WordPress theme is software add on to WordPress that gives the entire site a certain look and feel and built in features. In my bad old days of using FrontPage, I had to create the look and feel (theme) of my website. It is not an easy task for a novice, which is why my theme was not too spiffy for eight years. WordPress, however, for some reason I do not understand offers 1,549 free themes that you can download and install in a matter of seconds. Yes. That’s right SECONDS! See the free WordPress themes yourself. If you see one you like all you have to do is click on the “install” button then 5 seconds later click on the “activate” button and your WordPress site has a new look and feel. I use a very popular theme on all of my sites called “Atahualpa,” which had been downloaded 941,182 time as of the date of this article. There are also thousands of themes that you can purchase if you can’t find a free theme you like. Update: I now use the Avada theme on most of my websites. I love this theme. It is state of the art including being “responsive” out of the box. A responsive site is a site that looks great on smartphones, iPads and tablets.
4. WordPress Has Plugins: The thing I like best about WordPress is that there are thousands of plugins (19,330 free ones as of the date of this article) that I can quickly download and install on my WordPress site. Most plugins are free, but some require that you purchase the plugin before downloading. A plugin is essentially software code that you can add to your WordPress site literally by making two clicks with your mouse. Unlike the FrontPage days when the website developer had to create all the code to do anything on a website, there are probably several free WordPress plugins that will do anything you could imagine doing with a website or a blog. See WordPress’ plugins page where you can find all the free plugins. Here are the four most downloaded plugins (I use all of them on all of my sites) with a description of what the plugin does:
- Akismet – downloaded 9,949,581 times. This plugin detects comment spam and deletes it. Yes Comment spam is common whenever you have a website/blog that allows visitors to leave comments.
- Contact Form 7 – downloaded 6,732,250 times. Allows the administrator to create a contact form to collect information when people want to contact the website creator or somebody in the company that owns the site. See one of my contact forms I created with this plugin.
- All in One SEO Pack – downloaded 10,606,267 times. This plugin has fields into which I enter the title of a page or a post, the keywords therein and a description of the page or post that is not more than 160 characters in length. When a page or post is saved this information is included in the meta data for the page or post and used by the search engines. This information is important for good search engine optimazation.
- Google XML Sitemaps – downloaded 7,368,379 times. Every night this plugin creates a sitemap of my WordPress site and sends it to Google and the major search engines to assist them when their bots crawl my site.
How to Learn How to Use WordPress
There are many ways you could learn how to use WordPress, but here are my recommendations:
1. Teacher-Student Method: If you know somebody who is a serious user of WordPress, ask him or her to give you a lesson and if you can call from time to time with questions.
2. Watch Lynda.com Training Videos: Whenever I want to learn how to use software I go to Lynda and watch one or more training videos. When I wanted to learn how to make Adobe Acrobat pdf fillable forms I watched a 20 hour training video on Lynda. Today Lynda has a 6.5 hour course on the self-hosted version of WordPress and a 5 hour course on the WordPress.org hosted version. Both of these courses are about version 3.3 of WordPress, the current version.
You can pay to watch individual videos, but for years I have paid Lynda $25/month for unlimited access to all of its training videos.
3. Watch My Demo Videos: You can’t watch them today, because I haven’t created them yet. In the very near future I will have demo videos that show lawyers interested in learning WordPress everything they need to know to install a WordPress site on Bluehost , configure it with a theme and plugins and how to add content. Check back in the near future or enter your email address in the field in the top of the left column of this page if you want to get an update when I add new content.
Your thoughts? Do you or your law firm use WordPress and have any gripes? Do you use something else that you like? Leave a comment.