Blogging is now a very commonplace, helpful way to distribute current information on your firm’s website and show off your expertise in certain areas of the legal sector. However, there are a number of common mistakes lawyers make when managing their blogs in attempts to better their search engine optimization. Being aware of these mistakes can help you and your firm to avoid making them yourself.
Firstly, one of the most common mistakes I see is bloggers failing to provide functional search capabilities on their site. Readers do not want to have to scroll through your entire site to find a post relevant to what they are looking for. A search function easily fixes this problem.
Secondly, I often see bloggers who would be at least ten times for successful than they are now if they simply offered syndication on their blog. Providing an RSS feed for your blog’s content will greatly increase the number of followers your blog has. Lots of blogging platforms can automatically do this for content you publish, but if the content management system you use does not offer this, you can always create the RSS feeds manually yourself, or use software such as FeedForAll to make the feeds. Exposure is everything–and RSS feeds can easily help you get there.
Another tip: personalize the information on your blog. Blogs by nature are more personal than legal articles or other posted information. If a blog contains only factual and impersonal news clips, you will not hold or attract interest. Try to add as much distinct personality and character as possible as you can.
Next, another common mistake I see in the blogosphere is people who do not subscribe to their own blogs! It may sound silly, but this is the easiest way to see exactly what your viewers see. Click through your blog posts to make sure that your linking schemes are working right. You might be surprised sometimes at how your content appears to your readers–so subscribe to your blog to make sure you can quickly fix any errors.
Make sure you monitor your blog logs regularly as well. This will tell you which articles your viewers enjoyed most, so you will know what to give more of to your audience. These analytics are critical in determining what your target audience likes and dislikes.
Also, make sure you provide readers a clear way to navigate to older blog posts. Oftentimes you can categorize your posts, or list blog posts that are related beneath your main blog posts. This gives your readers access to extra related material if they find a particular post interesting.
Next, make sure your blog is consistent in both tone and frequency. Blog readers like being able to depend upon the consistency of both, and if you stray too far from the tone or frequency you established at the birth of your blog, you can quickly turn off readers.
Theme is another important aspect of blogging. Subscribers like to follow blogs that are about an ongoing topic in which they are interested–if you simply post a collection of unrelated random posts, your readers may quickly lose interest.
In addition, make sure you use a reliable, stable web host and platform! Nothing is more annoying for readers than to try to click on a blog post title, only to find out the link does not work.
One of the final common mistakes I see in the blogosphere is people who launch a blog using third-party hosting, only to switch halfway and decide to host and manage the blog themselves once the blog obtains some measure of success. When you do this, any followers you would have managed to obtain before that point will then have to re-subscribe to your RSS feed or visit a different URL to find the most recent blog posts. Either do it right and stick with that way the entire time, or don’t bother.
Written by Barrett Sharpe
Barrett Sharpe, founder of AdDaddy Networks, is a law firm marketing, attorney advertising, and search engine optimization specialist. He has had his hand in many successful projects, including Lawyer Search and the widely known LegalHub website where attorneys and clients connect. He is available, on a very limited basis, for consulting in a number of fields. Mr Sharpe also operates a seminar, coaching and consulting business for law firms. He accepts communications from interested parties via fax and FedEx exclusively. (phone calls or emails will not be accepted, nor answered.) Barrett Sharpe, 3201 B North Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205, fax: (704) 488-0552