Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common
For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.
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.
to “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.
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.
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.
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).