If you’re trying to market your law firm online, no doubt you have a blog. You know how important a blog can be for building your brand, and maximizing your SEO. You’re doing everything right — loading up on keywords, submitting your posts to social media sites, and asking visitors to bookmark you — but when you look at your numbers each month, you’re still not getting all the hits you deserve. What’s going on? And how can you fix it?
What’s going on is that every law firm and solo out there has a blog these days, and it seems like everyone is doing the same thing. After all, there are only so many ways to optimize your site if you aren’t constantly generating fresh content. So if you’re like most blawgers out there, you’re getting lost in the crowd.
One way to stand out, of course, is to write lots of original content about topics that interest you, so that your interest draws in others similarly interested, and engage with your audience as it grows over time. But this can be time-consuming, and who has that kind of time? Anyway, you don’t want potential clients to think you have this much time on your hands — they might wonder why you’re not busier, instead! Furthermore, let’s face it, not everyone is a Kurt Vonnegut or Dave Barry. We’re lawyers, not essayists. In a way, it’s unfair that the essayists are drawing hits away from you, the lawyer.
Fortunately, we here at the Criminal Lawyer have learned a few secrets of maximizing blog traffic with a minimum of effort. And now, for the FIRST TIME EVER, we are going to share with you the 5 easy techniques you can use to DRAMATICALLY INCREASE YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC RIGHT NOW:
TIP #1 — Lists, Lists, Lists!
Holy mother of God in a sidecar with rainbow sprinkles and a lobster bib, if you aren’t using lists, then you’d better start. Articles with names like “The Top 5 Ways to…” or “The 10 Most Badass…” are proven to grab more online attention than anything that isn’t porn.
Online readers don’t stop to chew over ideas and digest careful arguments. They nibble; they graze. Give them bite-sized nuggets of pithy observations, and they’ll come back for more.
A bonus of the list is that it can automatically double your hits, by the simple method of breaking the post into two pages. By spreading the list across three pages, you can even triple your hits WITH A SINGLE POST. (But don’t get too crazy — studies have shown that online readers lose patience if they have to click through to every part of the list. Don’t make it a slideshow.)
TIP #2 — Don’t Write for You; Write for Your Audience!
So you’re super-interested in this nifty case that just came down, and you think you have some ideas about why the court ruled that way and what it might mean for other similar cases? Good for you. Make a note of it for your own files. But unless it’s a case that’s been all over TV news this week, I’ve got two words for you: BO RING!
How many people do you think share your interest in this little bit of legal arcana? A couple dozen? Maybe?
Well, if you want a couple dozen hits, then by all means, knock yourself out. But if you want MAJOR BLOG TRAFFIC, my friend, then you’re going to have to knock it off.
Write instead for the masses. Don’t be a snob about it — what, are you too good for their attention? Are you too good for their money if they decide to retain you? Didn’t think so.
Look, if a topic is hot, then there is a huge demand for information about it. All you need to do is write a few thoughts about that topic, and you’re practically there. You’re only providing what the masses demand, what’s so wrong with that? Nothing!
One potential drawback is that hot topics change all the time — today’s Trial of the Century is tomorrow’s trivia. You can write more often, if you like, constantly keeping abreast of the latest trend. But with all the hits you’ll be getting after reading this post, you’re probably going to be too busy to write so much. You’re going to need a few easy topics that are guaranteed to be audience-pleasers, no matter what’s in the news.
Think about what you searched for online today. We bet some easy topics that never go stale are right in your search history. What with more and more lawyers setting up shop online, articles on SEO and maximizing internet traffic are always a good bet. The best part is, there are tons of sources out there you can use to make your own lists. They practically write themselves! (Remember, though, don’t just copy someone else’s posts — if you take it all from one person, it’s plagiarism. But if you get 10 ideas from 10 sources, it’s research!)
TIP #3 — Don’t Just Write; Challenge!
Few things are more boring than some guy blathering on and on, just reciting stuff at you. Don’t be that guy.
But few things are more engaging than an argument. So start an argument!
Now, you have to be careful with this one. You don’t want to offend your base. The easiest way to argue without risk is to pick a fight with the kind of people who aren’t likely to read your blog in the first place. You can set up a “straw man” of positions you disagree with, and attribute them to an unnamed (and thus unverifiable and un-offendable) “they.”
Then just knock down all those positions you disagree with. Be sure to use broad generalizations and heavily emotional language. Go ahead and attack — it’s only a “straw man,” after all. Be as mean as you like. Better yet, be the victim calling out the mean, the bad and the ugly.
The more inciteful you are, the more rubberneckers will stop by to see what the fuss is about. Meanwhile, your loyal readers (whom you are defending in your tirade, of course) will jump in to defend you. They’ll spread the word, and the hits will pour in.
Meanwhile, if you’re truly lucky, some who disagree with you will stop by to post. That’s just more hits, baby. And hits are the name of the game.
TIP #4 — Engage!
Your readers are more likely to find you because someone else referred them to your blog, than simply through a Google search. (If the search box was all you needed, then SEO would have done the trick, and you wouldn’t be reading this.) Where do these referrals come from?
From other sites, of course. What you want to do is get other sites linking to you in a way that brings in readers. Blogrolls are a thing of the past. It’s nice enough to be listed on one, but that’s only an SEO thing and isn’t going to bring actual hits. We want hits!
What you want is links from other blog articles and links from bookmarking sites.
You want others who are writing blogs to link to you within an article, basically telling their audience that you’ve got something worth looking at. This isn’t so easy, because the “prestige” blogs out there are pretty picky about who they link to. And it can be very time-consuming to read other people’s blogs and post comments on them, in the hope that one of them might notice you.
But if you look around, you’ll find there are networks of mutually-supporting blogs out there (sometimes affectionately referred to as “circle jerks”) on a variety of topics. It shouldn’t take too long to find a circle jerk where you fit in. Don’t be shy here. You’re going to have to flat-out ask for links. Just let the others know you want to swap links — a simple email blast should suffice — and be sure to link to their sites, too!
Bookmarking sites are places like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg (yes, it’s still around), where users submit content that can be seen by hundreds or thousands of people in a day. Just be careful to post your blog to places where people are bound to like it — you don’t want getting harshed by jerks who might look on your link as unwanted spam. When in doubt, look to see where everyone else in your circle jerk is linking to their stuff.
TIP #5 — Cut-and-Paste Expertise!
Ideally, you want a fair proportion of your hits to be potential clients. What are they looking for? Someone they can trust to handle their matter for them, of course.
What better way to show them that you have the expertise they’re looking for than to post right on your blog a summary of the law that affects them. Better yet, post the law itself! Statutes aren’t exactly copyrighted; all you have to do is cut-and-paste the text right into your site, and POW! instant SEO and instant credibility.
Similarly, there are government websites that have public information about the courts where you practice, the agencies you deal with, etc. You know what to do: Cut-and-paste, baby!
Don’t strip other people’s actual original content; that’s a good way to get in trouble or become well-known for the wrong reasons. But simply regurgitating basic, non-copyrighted data? Go for it.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you take this advice, then you too can get maximum hits with minimum effort.
And that’s what blawging’s all about, right?