Sort of the opposite that you may have heard from anyone involved in marketing, SEO, wed design or brand awareness consultants.
Why do I say the opposite to what everyone else is telling you?
The simple answer is that 99% of law firms who have a blog - do a 100% shoddy job of hosting decent up to date content on a regular basis.
If, and this is a BIG "if", you are capable of hosting good content and at least once per week, go ahead and host a blog - the rewards will come and you will get good traction, not only from online search engines, but also from people who will read your content and then approach you for related work.
So know I have scared you into not wanting to host a blog - so now what should you do?
Take the energy and effort you are itching to invest in your online identity and use it to add and update content to your existing website. Look at taking professional pictures of your partners, add picture of your senior paralegals and office admin people - often they bring business and add value. Update the biographies - rewrite the content so that it inspires people to do business with your partners. Make your contact details jump out at the readers - you want them to contact you don't you - make it super easy for them to take that step. Check your metadata on your site to ensure it supports your keywords you chose, ensure your H1 headings also support the keywords. Check your keyword density in your content. Update your social media links - again, if you are not active in the social network, don't use a link on your website - why would you attract people to a dormant account - that does more damage than good.
An external blog versus an internal blog?
There is no right and wrong approach here - there are aspects that support both viewpoints.
The External Blog
This is where your blog is hosted through a shared third party blog hosting service, like Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, Blog to give you a few ideas.
If the blog gets hacked - it is outside of your website domain and would not be affected - also vice versa, if your website gets hacked, the blog would survive.
It builds good SEO (search engine optimisation) for your website, as people reading the blog would click through to your website often for references you mention in your great content.
It is external to your website, and when people click on the blog link on your website, they are taken to a new site/domain - people are always suspicious when you automatically pop them out of the current website for something.
Will not look exactly like your website theme.
Management of the blog is limited to what the shared blog hosting site allows.
The Internal Blog
This is a plug-in or custom developed application that runs inside your website/domain.
The look and feel is customised so that this is a natural extension of your website theme.
You can control exactly the way this blog works - customisation is available - note I did not say easy ;-)
If updated regularly it will build a good reputation with the search engines and will rank well on the results.
Bundled with the website in a single domain, exposes it to the same threats as the website, and in fact makes it more vulnerable, as the added exposure in the search engines will increase traffic and therefore increase awareness to the hackers.
Unless your website is created on one of the blogging platforms like Wordpress, you may end up spending a few “Ronts” on the blog module that might have to be custom written.
My preference is the internal blog, the familiar feel to your content upload staff will grow them into being able to edit other parts of your website as well. Same look and feel as the website and you control it from beginning to end.
Something to close off with is that a blog in not intended to dish out free legal advice, it is used to educate your readers and make them aware of litigious issues where your law firm will be able to assist. They will remember your firm when seeking legal services related to your blog posts.
A blog is perfect for social media content.