Legal blogs, also known as “blawgs,” are proliferating on the Internet. Nearly 200 million blogs exist on the Web, making it harder and harder to get your blog discovered and to get repeat visitors. The biggest question many legal bloggers have is how to invest time in creating a successful blog that stands out from others.
Web tools make creating and maintaining a blog easier than ever. You don't need advanced web design skills, HTML knowledge, or a lot of money to start your own blog. Here are a few tips for launching a blog and building a loyal readership.
Pick a Niche Blog Topic for Legal Advice
Choose a topic that strikes a balance between appealing to the largest possible audience and focusing on a niche area you are knowledgeable about and will draw traffic.
For example, there are thousands of personal injury lawyer blogs. What makes yours unique? The top legal publications choose to focus on a geographical region (i.e., Chicago lawyer), practice area (i.e., intellectual property advice), niche subject (i.e., legal news, practice tips, getting into law school) or another more narrowly-defined topic.
Focus Blog Posts on Quality and Relevant Legal Advice
Content may be king, but low-quality content will turn readers away. On the other hand, professional, well-written, expertly researched blog posts on relevant legal topics will help you build your platform as an expert in your niche area and grow your readership. You may have to take the time to improve your legal writing before starting.
Decide who your readers are, and how you need to write for them. Are they lawyers practicing in your same field? Are they potential clients?
Your content must serve your readers. If they like what they read, and feel inspired or intrigued, they will return to your blog regularly and link back to you from their blogs.
Post Legal Advice to Your Blog Regularly
Regular blog posts will keep your content fresh and draw more readers to your blog. Daily posts are ideal but hard to maintain when you are busy. As a general rule, one to three blog posts a week will keep your blog fresh and give readers something to look forward to each time they return.
Failing to update your blog regularly will not only turn readers off but will lower your blog in search engine rankings. You can blog about current events in the legal world if you're running dry of other topics to cover.
Communicate With Your Blog Post Readers
Engage with readers in your comments section and discussions to develop a loyal readership. Post content that is cutting-edge, controversial or informative, ask open-ended questions, start a dialogue and encourage readers to comment on specific blog posts.
Converting passive readers into active participants in the discussion will draw readers in and keep them coming back for more. Tools such as polls and forums can help to engage readers as well.
You could add a question-and-answer section on your blog to post your answers to commonly-asked questions or common legal mistakes, for example.
Analyze Your Blog Post's Metrics
Utilize website metrics to measure traffic and page views. Metrics can help you gauge your growth and learn what legal topics interest your readers the most, allowing you to fine-tune your content to reader demand.
Likewise, metrics can reveal low-performing posts and help guide your overall content strategy. Metrics can also give you details such as which pages readers spend the most time on, which keywords have the best conversion rates, and how they're finding your blog. Lots of tools are available online, like keyword selector and comparison tools.
Promote Your Blog Post's Legal Advice
Once you start a blog, you will need to actively promote it to build a substantial following. Garner readers, increase your audience, and get your name out there.
Posting on other relevant blogs with links back to your blog, and adding your website address to printed and promotional materials are just a few of the many ways to get exposure for your blog.
SEO Optimize the Legal Advice on Your Blog Posts
The majority of your readers will find your blog through a search using Google, Yahoo, Bing or another search engine. Therefore, it is essential to optimize your pages so they rank high in search engines.
Free Web tools like Wordtracker, Google AdWords, Google Trends, and the Yahoo! Buzz Index can help you draw the most people to your site.
Use relevant keywords in everything you post on your site, from the text in articles to the titles, links, names of posted pictures, and videos. But, also be aware of what constitutes keyword stuffing, or overuse.
Include Your Bio on Your Legal Advice Blog
Create an "About” section to highlight your skills and background, and to promote your law practice or business, if applicable. Include links to publications, your firm or business, work samples, and other information. Blogging can benefit your career in many ways.
Leverage your experience with certain types of cases. You can also write about the good outcomes you've had with specific clients (while keeping personal details confidential, of course).
Incorporate Audio and Visual Legal Advice With Your Blog Posts
You can add to your blog by including audio or visual components like videos and photographs. This is a great way to recycle existing content and punch up your blog’s presentation.
Many people like blog posts that are also presented in video format so they can listen while doing other activities or listen to information with others more easily.
Be Sure Your Legal Advice Comes With a Disclaimer
See Formal Ethics Opinion 10-457 for details on what lawyers can and cannot include on their websites.
Add the appropriate disclaimer on your website, and you can insert it into the bottom "footer" portion of your site so that it automatically shows on every page.