If you’re building your own law firm blog, WordPress can be a great platform, but beware of some issues if you’re running your own WordPress site:
- Keep it updated. WordPress is a complicated piece of software and when something is complicated, there’s always a chance of hacking vulnerabilities. Make sure that you keep your blog patched with the latest updates. With the WordPress blogs that we manage for our Waxwing clients, we literally have to update plugins daily as new releases are published.
- Don’t go crazy with plugins. As of March, 2014, there are 29,869 free WordPress plugins, and an unknown number of plugins you can purchase. But just because you can install 30,000+ plugins doesn’t mean that you should! In fact, some plugins are poorly programmed, and many of these won’t play together nicely on the same theme. So: be careful in your use of plugins and keep it limited to those that are secure and necessary for your site.
- Restrict comments. Make sure that you require a login and approval before someone can comment. Out-of-the-box, WordPress makes commenting easy, and that means that you’ll be overwhelmed with spam. We’ve seen unprotected WordPress installations with over 30,000 spam comments.
- Adjust your permalinks. Permalinks are the URLs of your pages. For instance, on this page, the URL is: http://www.waxwinglegal.com/legal-marketing-101/use-wordpress-legal-blog. The default URL that WordPress will provide is: http://www.waxwinglegal.com/?p=391. The first URL makes it easier for Google to index your site; the second URL tells Google absolutely nothing about your web page and makes Google work even harder to figure out what your page is about. You don’t want to make Google work harder; you want to make life easy for the friendly Google bot!
- Make sure to add a good SEO plugin. The default installation of WordPress does a pretty lousy job of SEO. In the default installation, you can’t adjust the meta description tags and you don’t have any fine control over site-wide SEO. For our client blogs, we like to use the WordPress SEO pluging by Yoast. It’s powerful and the basic version is free.
If you’re running a legal blog, someone needs to know what they’re doing with your WordPress install. Our service includes a fully-managed blog, so our clients never have to worry about the above issues. If you don’t have the time to learn all the steps in running a secure, optimized site, find someone to help you. Getting hacked or getting poor SEO results from your blog isn’t worth it.