The Friday Five

Why Your Blog Sucks

By | Mar.01.13 | Daily Dispatch, Law Practice Management, Marketing & Business Development, The Friday Five

Sam Glover“Why Your Blog Sucks and What to Do About It” is Sam Glover’s topic at the upcoming Lawyernomics 2013 conference. We talked with Sam last week to get a preview, and to learn a bit more about how wrong lawyer blogs can be. If you blog, or if you’re thinking about it, he has some mind-rattling thoughts for you. And he’s not just a-woofin’. Sam has driven the site to become one of the legal online world’s heavy-hitters—while continuing to practice law!

Five Reasons Your Blog Sucks (Probably)

While Sam has a whole lot more to say (there are, apparently, many ways a blog can suck), for today’s Friday Five we snipped these five reasons.

1. You think it is just a marketing tool. Your blog is not just another marketing tool. It’s a publication. If your only reason for blogging is to get clients, you are doing it wrong. It might support your marketing, but if you’re not blogging for your readers, you defeat the entire purpose. Focus on what readers want, and you can expect that you will also get some business from your blog.

2. You’re not doing it enough. You wouldn’t read a newspaper if it only came out occasionally—and people don’t read an “occasional” blog. Your blog should be a daily devotional. If you can’t do that, then do it weekly. You have to keep reminding people you are there. If you do, and you’ve got great content, many will come back for every post—just like they will seek out and read all the books by their favorite author.

3. You are writing in isolation. If you just write essay after essay and don’t link with others—and talk with others—you’re not really blogging, you’re broadcasting. People who are new to blogging don’t understand that blogs started out as conversations. They were online interaction between law reviews or medical journals. So keep in mind that you’re not just writing for readers, you’re writing for other bloggers, too. Link to them, talk with them, weigh in on their opinions.

4. You don’t read and comment on other blogs. Some bloggers say they just write for themselves, as a creative outlet. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re writing for an audience and for clients, you need to go out and get them. Let them know you exist. How? Start by reading other blogs regularly. Comment on their posts. Link to them. If you do, they’ll like you and link to your blog, too. Great writers are great readers. By the way, one of the best ways to discover new blogs is to click on the links people leave when they comment on yours.

5. You’re focused on SEO. Sure, SEO is important. And it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what it is and what it means. The really experienced bloggers have internalized SEO, so they almost naturally write optimized things. But without that experience, focusing on SEO and keywords just means boring headlines, bad text and poor content. Readers don’t return to bad content. The most valuable SEO doesn’t come from keywords, it comes from people who link to your blog because of its great content.

Sam Glover is a blogger and business lawyer for geeks, and he consults with other lawyers on motions and appeals. Also, he really likes espresso and fountain pens.

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9 Responses to “Why Your Blog Sucks”

  1. Nancy Myrland
    1 March 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Sam…great list. It’s also important to watch length of posts, too. People are inundated with email, texts and every other form of messaging we have today, so long posts can turn people away. Unless the information is critical, or breaking news, people can see long posts and think, “Oh no, I don’t have time for this.”

    Again, great list….Good to see you!

  2. Barb
    1 March 2013 at 11:23 am #

    These are great points – I think many colleagues think of a blog as just a marketing tool, some form of exercise they “must do” to be in shape. One of the great things about being a solo is that I can write what I want on my blog (yes, paying careful attention to ethics rules, etc.). I love blogging and cut my teeth with a blog I started for the Colorado Bar Association – It does take perseverance to keep blogging!
    I also like your “golden rule” reference of reading and supporting other bloggers. For me, cooperation and collaboration is the purpose of the internet, so they are basic values of blogging in my book.

  3. Paul H. Burton
    1 March 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Sam: Great points! I often advise lawyers – well, anybody who wants to get into the content creation biz – that it’s way harder to write than want to write. Steven Pressfield’s book “Do The Work” hit squarely on the reason: resistance – the enemy within.

    My advice to aspiring content creators is to:

    1. Follow: Begin by following other writers who are talking about the things you find most interesting (professionally and personally). Learn from their methods.
    2. Comment: Start commenting on their posts so you can get used to the act of writing without the weight of “publishing.” Also, watch for patterns in what you comment on. These are the issues you really, really care about.
    3. List: Craft a list of topics you’d like to write about and build a bullet-point outline for each. This gives you a bucket list of topics from which you can pull for your “next post.”
    4. Short: Start very small – 500 words or so. Writing is a practiced art. It’s easier to write short pieces than it is to write long pieces. It’s also quicker, so you’ll get the reward of publishing sooner – positive reinforcement!

    Even today, one-half of my writing is in the form of commenting on other writers posts. It’s keeps me fresh, engaged and relevant. It also keeps me in practice for my own next post, which is due over the weekend!

  4. Eric Dewey
    1 March 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Please use the web address above. Here’s another tip: when posting on another bloggers site, make sure you carefully check your own web address in the comments section before you hit send. ugh!

  5. Joan Feldman
    2 March 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Yep, that is a good tip!

  6. Alex Craigie
    3 March 2013 at 12:04 am #

    Well said. I tend to be an isolationist, and it’s good to be reminded not to.

  7. Erick Widman
    5 March 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I find it hard to have a good balance of spending enough time – but not too much time – writing on my own and posting on other’s blogs. But it’s clear that in the world of google it is worth creating good content.