Ask the Experts from the LMA

How Am I Doing? Tools to Track Your Legal Blog

By | Apr.28.16 | Ask the Experts, Daily Dispatch, Law Practice Management, Legal Marketing, Social Media

Question: Are there tools available to help me see how many people are reading my legal blog? Are there standards to judge its success?

Ask the Experts from the LMA

Lindsay GriffithsLindsay Griffiths: What will be most important to you in gauging your blog’s level of success is how engaged your audience is, and this is a difficult thing to measure.

In terms of measurement, either your blog host should be able to provide you with tracking statistics, or you can use Google Analytics. It is an excellent tool to give you a look at the data that you need to see how people are interacting with your content. The number of clicks that you get on any post is a measure of your “reach” — basically, how many eyeballs are seeing your posts. You can look at the “time spent” on your blog, but that can be misleading. We’ve all navigated to a website, only to be distracted by a call or an email coming in, and left the browser window open — instances like that will artificially inflate those numbers.

So the best metric, as per the Content Marketing Institute, is what they call “scroll depth.” This tells you how far down a page a reader has scrolled — if they scrolled all the way to the bottom, they presumably read your content all the way through. Google Analytics doesn’t measure this, but WordPress does offer a free plugin that will tie in with your analytics.

You can also take into account how often your blog posts are shared, but there is quite a lot of data to suggest that there is actually little correlation between what people read and what they share.

Ultimately, you’ll also need to tie those numbers in with other data, depending on the goals you’ve set. For example, if you’d like to be known as a thought leader, and being quoted in certain niche magazines and asked to speak at conferences is your goal, then connecting with people who can make that happen and getting those placements/opportunities will be a reflection of your success.

Other goals can be harder to track because the data is more subjective, but you can use a combination of metrics to review your content, see what’s working and what isn’t, and refine your strategy to continue in pursuit of your goals.  

Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith) is the director of relationship management at International Lawyers Network with experience in branding and identity development, as well as supporting an international legal network of more than 90 firms. She is also the co-chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s Technology Committee. 

Jabez LeBretJabez LeBret: We use the standby: Google Analytics. You can track all the important metrics there. These include time on page, bounce rate, exit page, unique traffic versus returning traffic, and traffic source. You should note that “bounce rate” is now counted as any time a user visits only one page on your website.

The more challenging issue is figuring out what the data is telling you. For blogs, you should expect a higher bounce rate because many users will search for the answer to a legal question on Google, find your blog post, then leave after receiving the information they need. What you are looking for is a steady increase in traffic over time and for the time on page to be as long as it takes to read the blog post. If your post has a time on page of 1:32 and it takes 3:40 to read your post, you have a content problem.

Jabez LeBret (@jabezlebret) is a business writer for Forbes CMO Network, author of a No. 1 best-selling Amazon book on technology and marketing for lawyers, founding partner of a tech company for the legal profession, advisor to SUBWAY, a board member of the San Francisco Entrepreneurs’ Organization, co-chair of the LMA’s annual Your Honor Awards, and a keynote speaker on managing millennials.

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3 Responses to “How Am I Doing? Tools to Track Your Legal Blog”

  1. Gyi
    28 April 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Head over to the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and browse by publisher: They have a ton of great dashboards for measuring various blogging metrics. In my humble opinion, if you’re blogging for client development, you should ultimately be measuring client-readers (i.e. people who hire you and read your blog). That’s not to say this is a direct response play. Google Analytics + a marketing automation tool can connect the dots from a reader to a fee.

  2. Chris Hargreaves
    30 April 2016 at 3:56 am #

    For an article that was headed “tools to track your legal blog” I didn’t see any tools mentioned other than Google Analytics – am I missing something?

    I think what Gyi said is really the only metric that matters.

    You could have a blog with 100000 sessions a month, but if it’s not actually generating either work or effectively managing your existing client care, then it’s just a vanity metric.

    You can measure work pretty easily – how many people go from your blog page to your contact/inquiry page? Google Analytics can tell you well enough. Alternatively if your firm asks new inquiries where they found you, then that works as well. Sure, there are more sophisticated tools you can use, which will depend on your budget.

    In terms of client care it’s pretty easy as well, but less “on page” and more about the email software you use or your social analytics. You can see who’s reading your articles and who isn’t – if your existing clients or contacts aren’t, then chances are you’re just not writing very good content.


  3. Lindsay Griffiths
    2 May 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Like all good question responses, mine was edited for length 🙂 So as a result, some of what I said wasn’t able to be included in the above – with the most important part of that being “it depends.” As Chris and Gyi point out, if your goal is clients, it really doesn’t matter if you have a ton of hits on your blog – quality readers matter more always than the quantity of readers that you have.

    It’s a bit subjective because while you can ask on an intake form whether someone has arrived at hiring you because they found you based on a blog post, they may or may not say that’s the case. As Chris says, you can probably infer it from how many people go from your blog page to your contact/inquiry page.

    To answer Stephen’s question, we’re mostly talking standalone blogs, but the same applies if you have a blog within your website – you can still access the data for that single page over other pages on your site. If you must go for a free site over a paid site, I’d actually advise you to start with publishing some content on LinkedIn first – although I don’t love the idea of your content living on someone else’s platform, it’s a good way to test the waters and see if you’re comfortable with the commitment of blogging, and if you have the audience for your topic before you invest in the blogging platform. After that, you can decide how best to proceed.

    Ultimately, all of this does assume you are writing good content – as Jabez says in his answer, if it takes longer to read your content than people are spending on your blog, then you’re not writing good content. And that’s a different problem.