Why No One Reads Your Law Blog

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So you decided to start blogging for business development. You’ve set up WordPress. You’ve supercharged your blog with plugins and you are adding free images. You’re an expert on your subject matter, you’ve bought into the idea that content is king, and you recognize the role of connecting with people in terms of growing your blog audience. But, no one is reading your blog. No one is subscribing to your blog. No one is talking about your blog. And while you might enjoy blogging, you’re beginning to think that maybe online publishing is a waste of time.

So what’s the problem? Well of course, there are many possibilities, but most likely, it has something to do with your content being broken somehow.

Markety

Being to too “markety” is probably the most likely culprit. Do you blog about how great of a lawyer you are? Do you blog about how hard you fight, how aggressive you are, and how much experience you have? If you answer yes to one or several of these questions, your major problem is that your blog is markety.

Internet and search users aren’t interested in reading about how great you are. More likely, they’re looking for information, answers, news, or entertainment. If your blog doesn’t supply their demand, it probably won’t get found, let alone, read or shared.

Noisey

The internet is huge and noisy. While blogs and web-based social tools that connect us like never before, and provide platforms for everyone to have a voice, with all these voices comes a whole bunch of noise.

Even if your blog isn’t markety, in order to have any effect in terms of business development, it has to rise above the noise. And the simple truth is that most blogs and bloggers won’t. At least not above the general background noise.

But as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s lunch (or something like that), just because you can’t rise above the global noise of the blogosphere, doesn’t mean that you can’t rise above the noise of your little corner of the internet.

Instead of trying to write for everyone, try to write for 5 people, or even just one person. Perhaps you write a post for 5 other lawyers you know. Or maybe your post is directed at one person in particular. Maybe some of your posts look more like letters to a specific person. I would bet that if you write a post aimed a small group of people, or a specific person (especially if it’s a person that you know), there’s a good chance they they’ll read it.

And for that one person, your post will rise above the noise.

Wrong Audience

Avoiding sounding markety isn’t enough. You might be providing decent information, but the way you are presenting it, and the audience to whom you are delivering it, might be out of whack.

This can result in your audience finding your blog boring. Now let’s face it, there are many legal subjects that simply bore the heck out of most people. The trick isn’t to try necessarily to sensationalize boring subject matter, but instead, think about your target audiences.

If you’re law blog is of a technical nature and you’re trying to attract an audience looking for technical information, run with it. If your intention is to attract “the public at large” you’d better start thinking about how “the public” consumes web content (I’d also suggest that your blog lacks purpose). Generally speaking, internet and search users have extremely short attention spans, need constant user feedback (i.e. scroll over actions, clickable areas, and calls to action), and if they don’t find what they’re looking for, will quickly bounce.

Read your recent posts and ask yourself: If you hadn’t written it, would you read it, like it, share it, or link to it?

Share your post with someone that you intend to attract: Ask them is they’d be likely to read more, share it, or link to it.

Isolated

In some cases, it may turn out that your content is actually pretty good, but it’s isolated. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t foster conversation and sharing. This can result from failing to pull in other sources, lacking easy sharing functionality (i.e. share buttons, email buttons, subscribe buttons, etc).

Isolation can also occur from technical difficulties. You may be blocking search engines (intentionally or unintentionally), have site speed problems, or some other technical issue that is diminishing your visitors user experience or ability to read your posts altogether.

Of course, these are only a few possible reasons that people aren’t reading your blog. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify exactly what is wrong. Fortunately, however, almost all of these problems can be resolved by spending more time listening to what your audiences are demanding and delivering whatever that is.

In my experience, effective blogs have real identifiable people as authors. Their authors interact with others on other platforms online. They provide professional insight that can’t be found elsewhere. They have an identifiable voice or voices. They are updated on a regular basis. The cite and link to authoritative sources. They foster discussion with others that publish on related subject matter.

They motivate their readers to comment, like, share, or otherwise engage with their posts.

Think about the composition of the audience(s) you want to attract. Think about what these people are interested in and how they use the web. Remember that while people are likely to find your blog through search, there are a number of other ways that they’ll find you. And once they do find you, they’re far more likely to come back through something other than search (i.e. a feed reader, an email subscription, following an author on twitter, from another blog that references you, etc).

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/celesteh/2188239871/)

Legal Marketing

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  • http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/ Jerome Kowalski

    While this may be complete heresy, but if I see one more article telling me how important it is for me to grow my practice through social media, I may toss a grenade. If I see one more piece entitled “Seven Important Steps to Take to Improve Your Social Media Presence”, I may toss a brick at my computer screen. If I get invited to one more webinar in which the sponsor promises to deliver the real secrets of social media, I will probably toss my laptop out the window. And if I get one more solicitation from somebody who touts himself or herself as the world’s greatest social media expert (whose most recent prior work experience was working as an accounts payable clerk), I may see if I can lay my hands on one of those Army surplus “Fast and Furious” weapons. I think we are all getting burned out on using social media, as I described in http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/2011/11/15/growing-your-law-practice-productively-a-twelve-step-program-for-curing-social-media-addiction/

    Social media is actually an amazing tool which has revolutionized marketing beyond anybody’s expectation. Its reach, scope, effectiveness and negligible hard cost are almost beyond description. After all, you are reading this piece, as will several tens of thousands of others through that medium.

    But like every one of life’s special pleasures, social media has the potential for becoming a consuming addiction, preventing you from actually carrying on your craft.

    On his old television show, “You Bet Your Life,” Groucho Marx interviewed a contestant who had twelve children. He asked him why he had so many kids. The contestant replied by saying “because I love my wife,” to which Groucho replied “I love my cigar too, but I do take it out once in a while.” You may love social media, but you do need to take a break from it sometimes.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I like to think of social media as the new extreme or green. It will only fade when the gurus find something else to latch onto.

  • Mike

    Maybe no one reads your law blog because it was posted on a Monday after a 4-day weekend. People were actually working; no time to goof off online!

  • http://www.matthewcantwell.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi Matthew Cantwell

    I completely agree when this article sites the failure of most bloggers to raise above the general noise. It won’t develop a llck of new business when you blog if you rehash the same old content as everyone else. That doesn’t make you someone who may be desirable to retain or do business with it just makes you a bobble-headed yes man if you agree with an issue then blog about it just to have something to blog about. Business development and generating new clients and new revenue comes from being different and effective.

  • http://www.theangryredheadedlawyer.com/ Film Company Lawyer

    I have a blog myself but honestly, I think one problem is that readers can tell when you’re only doing it to follow a trend vs. writing because you enjoy it. I know for myself, I like to see evidence of the author’s personality. Maybe this is because I’m also a creative type & I don’t have to worry about being fired for having a point of view or speaking my mind (and I’d never work someplace that tried censoring me in that fashion). But if I’m going to read your blog as a member of the general public, tell me things that make me WANT to read what you have to say. Not just in an “I’m an expert in XYZ & Q” sense but what about things like “I like to do this hobby for fun” or even fun or interesting facts about yourself or your practice? I like lawyers (or anyone else for that matter) who show me that they are PEOPLE, not robots. Lawyers suffer from negative perceptions from the general public & one of them has to be the belief that they view themselves as superior to everyone else. I never speak from an “I’m better than you” stance but from a humble “Here’s what I have to say & why you should care/how it will affect you” stance (since I hate the lawyer stereotypes & simply don’t fit them). I also have a sense of humor that comes out & I’ve been told is one reason why people like my writing. Some of my best conversations with people have been because of being able to talk about things besides legal stuff. That kind of thing also helps in finding people who will link to your blog, talk about it or let you do guest posts.

  • http://JacksonandWilson.com/ Mitch Jackson

    Lawyers who blog about their passion in an honest and unique way WILL fascinate others. A social viral buzz will follow and good things will happen.

    Write like other lawyers about things that only other lawyers will care about and you might as well “buy into” Jerome’s (another comment) view on social media.

    Social media platforms have already and will continue to change the way we communicate, share ideas, and make global changes. Failing to incorporate social media in to your business plan if planning to fail.

    Just my 2 cents worth :-) Mitch Jackson/ Jackson & Wilson, Inc.

  • Jason

    Good post, so many blogs are not giving any good info, just giving a sales pitch.

    One question I’ve got is what are “good” numbers? My small firm has three separate blogs for three practice areas all b2c stuff. My pride and joy (www.mankatolawblog.com) does about 1000 hits a month, while the other two do considerably less. I think thats a good number but I have no metric to compare. Anyone else want to throw out a number that they think is good for small firm blog?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I hate to say it, but it really depends. Primarily, it depends on your goals for your blog. Who are you writing it for? How many of those people are visiting? That’s the real question for any blog, not traffic overall.

    • http://www.attorneysync.com Gyi Tsakalakis

      Sam is right.

      However, assuming one of the purposes of your blog is to provide searchers information related to MN family law, one idea would be to set keyword target goals based on predicted traffic.

      For example, you might check out the Google Keyword Tool. While these numbers can be wildly inaccurate, they can provide general predictive traffic guidelines.

      Are you seeing traffic for relevant terms that have search volume? Does your blog enjoy high visibility within search engine results for these relevant terms?

      Ignoring traffic for a second, another way you may want to gauge your blog’s success is by interaction with the blog (i.e. are people linking to your posts, sharing your content through social media, submitting inquiries, comments, subscribing, downloading your content, quoting your posts, etc). Generally speaking, a healthy blog has a lot of this type of “activity.”

      Many of these “activity” signals are used by search engines to determine the authority of your blog for a particular subject and how to serve up your blog in their results.

      Obviously, search engines aren’t the only way that people will find your blog. Therefore, search engine traffic shouldn’t be the only way you measure its effectiveness.

      Again, these are just some things to think about. Whether or not your blog “is doing what you want it to” obviously depends on what you want it to do.

      You could also consider comparing your blog to other topically relevant blogs on sites like Alexa. Again, numbers here can be wildly inaccurate and shouldn’t be your sole benchmark of effectiveness.