As we publish this series of posts on starting on blog, this may seem like the most self-serving. I want to talk about choosing a platform for your blog, but of course I am writing this on behalf of a company that is in the business of hosting blogs.

Don’t worry, this is not a sales pitch. It is my honest assessment of which blogging platform is the right choice for a legal professional launching a blog.

In A Word: WordPress

I can cut to the chase and sum up my recommendation in one word: WordPress. WordPress is the most popular blogging software in the world. In fact, it is the software that underlies roughly a third of websites – not just blogs, but entire websites.

Its popularity is well deserved. WordPress is free and open-source software that is easy for anyone to use, even if you are not a techie. Thousands of themes are available that let you create a design for your blog with just a few clicks. In addition, nearly 60,000 plugins enable you to expand the features and functionality of your blog.

Hosting the WordPress Software

While the WordPress software is free, you still need to host it somewhere, and that will generally require you to pay a hosting fee. Although not required, you will also want to purchase a unique domain name for your blog.

There are thousands of web hosting companies that are capable of hosting the WordPress software. WordPress itself recommends several. Most of these companies provide the WordPress software pre-installed, so you need only do some basic setup, such as choosing a name for the blog and a design theme, and you are ready to go.

WordPress v. WordPress

A source of confusion among newcomers who are considering WordPress is that there is both a and a is the home of the open-source software. You can download the software from there and find themes and plugins. is a commercial blog-hosting service started by the cofounder of the WordPress software, Matt Mullenweg. It provides a range of paid hosting plans for blogs, as well as a very basic free plan.

For a law firm or any other business, is not recommended. It limits your design options, blocks many plugins, and limits use of tracking analytics.

Now the Self-Serving Part

Similar in concept to are companies that offer fully managed blog hosting. While there are several companies that offer this generically, LexBlog was the first to offer hosting specifically tailored to legal professionals.

LexBlog’s blogging platform is built on the WordPress platform. But the company has modified the platform to create a highly stable and secure publishing platform suitable for legal professionals.

By hosting your blog with LexBlog, you get an array of features that you would otherwise have to cobble together and manage yourself. This includes a professional design, coaching, mobile optimization, social media optimization, an analytics dashboard, SEO, and email subscriptions.

Plus your blog is included in, the world’s largest community of legal bloggers, where your blog, your blog’s authors, and your firm will all be profiled.

I said this would not be a sales pitch. Honestly, I would tell you the same thing about LexBlog even if I didn’t work with the company. It is where I host my LawSites blog.

If you are a hard-core do-it-yourselfer, you should be aware that LexBlog limits your ability to use some third-party plugins and also limits your ability to fully customize your blog on your own. But these limits exist for a reason, which is to protect the stability, security and reliability of the platform, and the platform has evolved over the years to give firms the design elements and functionality they would want.

I can also tell you from my own experience that if there is a plugin you want, LexBlog’s support staff will work with you to enable it, or program the functionality in another way.

Another Option

Another company I would recommend that offers fully managed blog hosting specifically for law firms and legal professionals is Justia. In fact, Justia hosted my blog for many years before I moved it to LexBlog.

Like LexBlog, Justia offers professional and mobile-friendly designs, a stable and secure WordPress-based platform, SEO, and more.

Started by the original founders of Findlaw, before its acquisition by Thomson Reuters, Justia is a longstanding company with a solid reputation for building great websites and blogs at fair prices.

What About Medium?

Another option for blogging is the publishing platform Medium. While Medium is elegant in design and devoted to publishing, it is not, in my opinion, a good option for legal professionals who are blogging to help grow their practices and reputations.

Medium is a highly controlled publishing platform with few options for customization and branding. You cannot create a unique design and you cannot use your own domain name.

Perhaps most worrisome, your readers are not actually your readers – they are Medium’s readers. Free reader access to Medium is limited, and full access is available only to those who pay a monthly fee of $5.

Also of concern is that you do not own your website with Medium. The company could decide at any point to shut down, or charge higher subscription fees, or even to shut you down because they don’t like your content, and you would be without recourse.

The Bottom Line

The truth is that you have many options available to you for the platform on which you blog. But it is universally agreed that the best blogging software is WordPress. That leaves only the question of where to host your WordPress blog.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer and a bit of a techie, you may prefer to host your blog with a generic web-hosting company. This will give you the widest array of options for customizing your blog and using plugins.

But doing it yourself also comes with headaches, not to mention the time it takes. When your blog starts acting glitchy, will you be prepared to take an afternoon away from your law practice to try and diagnose the problem? When plugins conflict – as they are wont to do – do you really want to spend your time rooting around for the cause?

As a legal professional who blogs, your focus should be on creating engaging and informative articles. Leave the design, maintenance and support of your blog to those who make that their profession.

And if you’re looking for such a company, I might just know of one.

The first step in starting a blog is choosing a topic to blog about. Unfortunately, for some aspiring bloggers, it is a step they never move beyond.

“But someone else already has a blog on what I want to write about,” they protest. “I’m too late to the game.”

It is the excuse I hear most often for why not to start a blog. But – as you might expect I’d say – it’s bunk.

It would be like a newspaper columnist saying, “Someone else is already writing about politics, so why should I?” Or like a poet saying, “Other poets have already written about nature, so there’s nothing left to say.”

In blogging as in elsewhere, we each have something to bring to the table, and the cream will always rise to the top.

You may not be the first lawyer to blog about family law or employment law or whatever, but if your writing is done well and provides value, you will find an audience. We each have unique perspectives and insights to share, even on topics where others are already writing.

The key is not in choosing a topic no one else covers. The key is in choosing a topic that matters to you and about which you have something of value to share.

With that as your goal, let me offer a few suggestions about choosing a topic.

Go with what you know. For legal professionals thinking about blogging, this is probably stating the obvious, as you are most likely already thinking about blogging in your area of practice. But if you have a particular specialty within that practice area, then all the better – focus on that.

Go with what you care about. There is not always alignment between the work you do every day and the work you wish you were doing. Maybe you are a corporate associate who dreams of starting your own practice to advise nonprofits. “Passion” is a word I use a lot with reference to blogging, because if your heart is not in it, you won’t keep at it. Given the choice between what you now do and what you hope to do, go with the hope. Your blog could well help you get there.

Research other blogs. No doubt, you want your blog to stand out from the field. But you’ll never do that if you don’t first know what makes up the field. Spend some time exploring other blogs related to your area of interest. Pay attention to the topics they cover and how they cover them. Think about what you like or do not like about them.

Look for a unique angle or niche. Having thought about the topic you want to cover, and having surveyed other blogs related to that topic, think about whether there is a unique angle you can provide or niche you can fill. It could be as simple as giving your blog a specific geographic or industry focus. It could be, as noted above, your particular specialty within a broader practice area.

Identify your audience. Identifying your audience is part and parcel of the last point about identifying your niche. If your goal in blogging is to help bring in more business to your practice, then you need to think through the potential sources  of new business and orient your blog to the audience that best fits that profile. If you are a family lawyer, then you probably want to target people in your hometown. If you are a business lawyer, you may wish to target specific types of companies or industries. Maybe your target audience is other lawyers who can become sources of referrals.

Know your audience. It is one thing to identify your audience, it is another to know them. Once you identify who you want to reach with your blog, think about what matters to them. What are the problems they have that need answers or solutions? That will help you think about how to focus the theme of your blog, and it will also guide you later in writing posts.

Spell out your goals. In planning a blog, the most important step is to identify your goals for the blog – why are you starting a blog and what do you hope to achieve through blogging. For many legal professionals, a primary goal will be marketing. If so, then you want to choose a topic that speaks to the audience of your potential clients. But there are other reasons to blog, as I discussed in a prior post. The reasons that inspire you should also help you define your topic.

Your topic is not a cage. Understand that the topic you choose at the outset is a guide, not a restriction. Blogs can be fluid and evolve over time or in response to circumstances. It is OK to let your humanity show through in your blog and occasionally write about topics outside your primary focus. It is also OK to pivot in response to external changes, as many legal blogs have done recently in response to the pandemic.

If I had to sum up in a nutshell my advice for choosing a topic, it would be this: Choose a topic you know and love and for which there is an audience that you can enlighten, inform or entertain. In your gut, you probably already know what that is.

Marketing has given blogging a bad name.

I say that not to offend the legal marketers of the world or the lawyers who blog to market their practices.

But I fear that, at least in the legal profession, blogging has become so tightly equated with marketing that its inherent value as a medium of expression has been obscured.

Wanting to market yourself and your practice is a perfectly sound reason to start a blog. In fact, it is a compelling reason to start a blog.

My belief, based on years of experience and observation, is that there is no more powerful way for a lawyer to build up a practice than through blogging.

I have seen the success stories play out so many times. Stories like Tom Goldstein, who as an aspiring Supreme Court litigator started SCOTUSblog and today leads one of the nation’s preeminent Supreme Court law practices. Stories like Dennis Crouch, who as a young associate just a year out of law school started Patently-O and achieved prominence that fast-tracked him into a law school professorship.

But for these lawyers, I believe they’d tell you that blogging was never just about marketing. They wrote because they had strong interests in the topics they covered, and out of that interest and writing, they honed their expertise. Their blogs were powerful as marketing vehicles not because they were designed to be such, but because readers saw the value in what they wrote, and soon more readers came, and then more still.

The curse of marketing is that many legal professionals have come to view blogs as something they should do or need to do. They blog not out of interest, but out of obligation. Perhaps their marketing department is pushing them or management is pressuring them to bring in more business. Their heart isn’t in it.

The curse of marketing has had an even darker impact on legal blogging. It has spawned a whole industry of spam blogs – of blogs written purely for search optimization, blogs littered with clickbait language, blogs written not even by the lawyers whose bylines they bear, but by outsourced content factories that may have little actual knowledge of the legal topics they cover.

Yes, marketing is an important and valid part of blogging. But if that is the only motivation driving you to blog, then I’d say don’t bother, because it will soon become a slog, and your readers will know it.

Beyond Marketing

Let me tell you what I see as some of the value of blogging that has nothing to do with marketing.

Blogging is a creative outlet. I’m not going to pretend that, as legal bloggers, we’re writing the great American novel. I get that. But blogging done right is a form of creative expression. It is a way for you, the blogger, to share with others your passion for a topic, and maybe help them see why it should matter to them too. The best bloggers, I’ve long believed, let something of themselves show through in their writing. That is sometimes hard for lawyers to do, because they’ve been taught to write dispassionately and objectively. The longer you blog, the easier it gets, and the more your personality and passion show through.

Blogging makes you smarter. I can’t cite any scientific evidence to back this up, but I’ve heard any number of bloggers say the same thing. The discipline of blogging forces you to keep up with your subject area (or practice area) in ways you might otherwise not do. You find yourself spending more time reading other blogs by lawyers in your field. You follow news developments more closely. When that new case comes down, you read it right away rather than filing it away for later. You engage more often with others in your field. No, blogging won’t change your IQ. But it will expand your mind.

Blogging opens doors. Out of blogging come opportunities. If you have knowledge and expertise to share, others will see that through your blog and they will come knocking. Reporters will call for comment on breaking news. Conference organizers will call for you to speak. Publishers will query you about a book. Potential employers will seek you out.

Blogging builds relationships. I started blogging in 2002. As I write this 18 years later, I have a network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances that is literally worldwide. It is safe to say that the majority of those people have become part of my network as a direct or indirect result of my blogging. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t reach out to me over a post I wrote, and I connect with others in the same way. Many of my closest friendships came about through my blogging. There is a power and immediacy in sharing your words and thoughts with others that brings you together like nothing else does.

Blogging improves your writing. The more you write, the better the writer you become. That is true in general and it is true of blogging. But blogging, I believe, improves your writing in ways other than by dint of frequency. Let’s face it, law school stifles creativity in writing. We are taught to be formal, rigid and objective. The last thing we want in a brief is for our personality to show through (or at least that’s what we’re told). Blogging is a completely different medium. It can free you from learned constraints and enable you to experiment and even play a bit with your writing.

Blogging also loosens your writing by teaching you that the perfect is the enemy of the good-enough. Because you can’t spend forever on a post, because you are sometimes under deadline with a post, you learn to let go and hit the “publish” button even when you’d rather let it marinate for another day. As a former journalist, that is easier for me. But for many lawyers, it is a lesson that is hard to learn.

Blogging is a service. When you blog, you help others. By openly sharing your knowledge and expertise, you are enabling others to better understand the law. Maybe your blog is directed at an audience of clients or potential clients. Maybe it is directed at readers who are other lawyers in your field. Either way, you are providing a service by providing information and insights that they can use to better understand their own situations. Ultimately, that is why people will read your blog, because it is helpful and meaningful to them.

So by all means, go ahead and start that blog in order to market your practice. But don’t let that be your only motivation. Blogging takes effort and commitment. If your heart is not in it, it will soon become a slog. And if you focus too tightly on marketing, you may miss all the other opportunities blogging offers you.

As I said earlier this week when we kicked off this blog, our goal is to publish a series of posts in which we at LexBlog share our insights and advice around starting, maintaining and building a blog.

But it seemed that the best way to start was not for us to tell you why you should blog. Instead, I thought it would be of more value for you to hear directly from legal bloggers about why they blog. So I put out a call. What follows is a selection of the responses I received.

As you will see, there are common themes to why these professionals blog. They see it as a way to connect and engage with clients and colleagues. They see it as a way to inform and educate. They see it as a way to explore and reflect on issues of importance. They see it as a way to develop their own expertise.

But as you will also see, at least one who responded has soured on blogging. And there is a lesson in that as well. Blogging is not for everyone, and starting a blog need not be a lifelong commitment.

Daniel A. Schwartz
Connecticut Employment Law Blog

I worked on my college newspaper extensively and wondered what would’ve happened if I chose journalism instead of law as my profession. As time passed on, I realized that law didn’t provide the outlet to writing that I missed in my life. Back in 2007, I thought I was “late” to the blogging game but started writing. I hoped to elevate my profile in the state. And I secretly was envious of the op-ed writers in The New York Times who make a career out of it. But why do I continue? I had been asking myself that question in the last year or two. Frankly, my writing had started to drop off as I was less inspired to write for the first time. How was I still adding value to the conversation? But the pandemic has made my writing feel more inspired than ever. And I’ve heard from people that they still look forward to my posts because of both my personal anecdotes and insights. It still connects me to clients and other lawyers in a way a tweet can’t. How long will I continue? Until it stops being enjoyable. I thought that day was starting to appear on the horizon but lately I’m grateful for the opportunities and the outlet it provides. I’ve met so many amazing friends because of it. That is a feature that I never thought possible.

Elizabeth Keane
Just Lawful

Blogging allows and encourages me to connect with the courts and the profession, to have a voice and a presence, and to enjoy the creativity that curating and writing afford me entirely on my own. Blogging is the 21st century “room of one’s own” for me professionally. I envisioned becoming engaged in depth with the U.S. Supreme Court and First Amendment issues a decade ago while working in a position that allowed me to go to the Court, to work on briefs submitted to the Court, participating in moot courts before oral arguments, all of which provided kindling for my blog. This is another satisfaction, to have an idea, then a vision, and then to execute that vision, to make it real. I keep at it because I keep getting rewarded with praise and interest, because it keeps me alert to new developments, and because I am creating a repository of case materials for future reference.

Greg Siskind
The Coronavirus Immigration Blog

I’ve had many blogs over the years. It’s a really efficient way for me to keep people posted on developments in my field and the integration with social media also makes it very easy to get content to a lot of people. It’s also a way for me to have my own record of what’s going on and with the latest seismic shift in immigration law related to COVID-19, I’m frequently scanning my blog archives to remind me of how things are currently working.

Mary Juetten
The Traklight Blog

I blog to provide information and to help small businesses and individuals minimize risk. The added benefit is that I learn along the way. Traklight’s blog stated back in 2011 when I was working on the software development and started writing on the intersection of the law and business, specifically for intellectual property. From there when the new website launched in 2014, and I had a marketing team, we blogged every day which was not sustainable! Quality is more important than volume but a consistent posting schedule is key.

Patrick Anam
Patrick Anam – International Trade Lawyer

I blog about trade law and trade policy in Africa. I do so to inform and start a conversation on how African countries can take part in the global trade policy arena .As Africa grows, it needs to take advantage of the various international trade agreements and decisions , which I blog about.

Nicola Shaver
Tower of Babel

I started blogging because it was a way to formalize many of the thoughts and reactions I had to what I was reading and experiencing around legaltech and legal innovation. I realized that I was often unsatisfied by a short tweet – I wanted ongoing dialogue, to contribute meaningfully to the conversation. What I’ve found through blogging is that writing also allows me to think logically through an issue, to dig deeper and understand what is at the heart of it. Much of what I read is fairly shallow – people reporting on news rather than analyzing it, and I thought there was a place for greater reflection on our industry. I also have great interest in topics that no one else seemed to be writing about, so I decided to start writing on those subjects myself. Notably, the globalization of legaltech and the way it’s evolving across the world in different ways is something that fascinates me. Too much of what we read is focused only on the United States and the UK. I’m about to start a series of regional snapshots that will address that imbalance, with regular posts exploring the development of legaltech in different countries around the world.

Colin S. Levy
Notes from the Front Lines of Legal Innovation

I blog to achieve two key goals. One goal is to share my thoughts on what it means to practice law and the changing definition of what it means to practice law. Another goal is to help inform and educate others, via interviews of individuals who are themselves innovating through either technology, process, or both. I seek to highlight through my blog the evolving relationship between legal innovation and legal technology and to dispel many of the persistent myths around both topics. The blog serves as both a resource for myself and for others. I see it as one way to help change the culture of legal and push the profession to become more entrepreneurial and more client-centric.

Ken Adams
Adams Drafting

I blog to develop my expertise. More than 20 years ago, I set myself the task of creating a comprehensive set of guidelines for the building blocks of contract language. If I’ve largely completed that task, it’s thanks to my blog, which I started in mid-2006. My posts serve as a first draft of material that ends up in my book A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, now in its fourth edition. Reader comments have improved my understanding of my subject. And without the discipline that comes with having to feed the blog beast, my work would be much flimsier.

I also blog to shine a light on the freakish dysfunction of traditional contract drafting. That requires grabbing the reader’s attention without being a jerk—sometimes that can be challenging! I’m under no illusion that such polemic will change the world anytime soon, but it’s enough for me that I reach those open to an alternative to the dysfunction.

I’m sure I’ve gotten business through my blog, but if that were my primary reason for blogging, I would have thrown in the towel long ago.

Randi Karpinia
The Legal Blog

I created Sagacity Legal with the mission of reinventing the way lawyers interact, share knowledge, and guide small businesses to protect their passion. “The Legal Blog” is a primary component of achieving that mission. I know that navigating the legal pathways of the business world is tough. That’s why I’ve made it my job to help my blog readers secure their business success by providing easy to understand legal guidance in a supportive environment. Combining extensive experience both as a corporate attorney and small business owner, I guide my blog readers through the legal risks they’ll face now and in the future, so they can focus their time and efforts on the value, expertise, and experience they bring to their business. I use my blog to create an awareness and provide practical real world guidance of the legal risks my readers face now and in the future. The more small businesses and entrepreneurs I reach, the more people I can help. Since launching “The Legal Blog”, I have seen the impact. Whether just starting out or an established company, small business owners share their gratitude for my blog content. That alone makes every day worthwhile for me.

Irwin R. Kramer
The Lawyer’s Lawyer

With a practice devoted to the defense of attorneys facing disciplinary charges, this blog is designed to help my readers avoid a painful process that threatens their careers, livelihoods and standing in the community. By sharing insights from my cases, this blog provides practical guidance on practice management, managing fees and finances, client relations, and other ways to avoid risk and to establish rewarding and satisfying legal careers. We all work very hard to serve the best interest of our clients. I believe we must pay equal attention to creating productive practices that serve our best interests as well.

Marc Randazza
The Legal Satyricon

I started simply because it was fun. Everyone who did it back then did it for the same reason. It created a community of people who thought law was something enjoyable to write about, cross reference, and engage in multi-blog debates. It was marketplace of ideas in action, and it was a bit daring in a land where big firms discouraged it.

There was a lot of value in it then. I have dropped off, a lot, because it is not so much fun now. The field has become polluted and a lot of what you got out of it has been replaced by social media interaction.

I don’t see as much value anymore. It never was a road to riches. It got you a lot of calls from crackpots and people who wanted free legal advice. But, it was fun. It really isn’t fun anymore.

At LexBlog, we are passionate about blogging.

I say that not as a trite attempt at marketing. Rather, it is a statement of fact. We love reading blogs. We love writing blogs. We believe in the power of blogs to create community and connections. We believe in the ability of blogs to inform and enlighten. We believe in the power of blogs to build trust.

It is a passion that drives a mission that LexBlog founder Kevin O’Keefe describes as “connecting lawyers with people, for good.”

With LexBlog having been in the blogging business for 16 years, and I personally having been blogging nearly 18 years, we also think we’ve learned a thing or two. But while the LexBlog staff regularly shares tips and advice in calls and emails with customers, we haven’t put it all down in writing.

Until now. With this new blog, we are kicking off a series of posts in which we will share our insights and advice around starting, maintaining and building a blog.

In part, we were inspired to start this project by the LexBlog Excellence Awards, our first-ever contest to honor excellence in blog writing.

Also, through the process of reviewing and judging those awards, I found myself making random notes about how some posts could be improved. I ended up compiling those notes into a post, Some Random Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts, which turned out to be quite popular, suggesting that there is interest in more guidance of this type.

So over the next couple months, we will share some of our thoughts about blogging basics and best practices. If there is a topic you would like to see us cover, shoot me an email at

Hope you find it helpful.