This is the next post in my Blogging Basics for Lawyers series. I’ve previously discussed promotion tips for your law blog as well as the need to make your “blawg” content valuable. In this article I will be discussing three common blogging mistakes made by attorneys.
I’ll be focusing on four issues that I regularly find with legal blogs. These include not interlinking your posts, not including “related posts,” and either not allowing or overly restricting comments on your articles. These mistakes decrease the amount of time a potential client spends on your blog and also reduces the likelihood that they will pick up the phone and call your office.
Attorneys often neglect the need to interlink their blog posts
Interlinking your posts, as I did in the first paragraph of this article, is important for an attorney who wishes to make his or her blog successful. This provides two benefits. First, interlinking will boost your SEO efforts by helping Google find my pages on your blog. Second, this makes readers more likely to read your additional content than they would be if you do not include such links. I previously discussed the benefit of writing your blog posts as a series; giving people an easy path to other posts in your series is a great way to ensure that they read more than just one portion of it. If have not been interlinking your posts then start with your next article; you’ll find a boost to your web traffic as a result. Be mindful of the need for moderation when interlinking your pages. If your article is overly-littered with links you then become a spam artist that neither Google nor your readers will like.
Attorneys need to include a “related post” section in their firm’s blog
The more time potential clients spend on your blog then the more likely they are to call. In addition to interlinking your posts, a great way to keep them reading is to include a list of related posts at the end of each article. Your blogging platform of choice should include an option for automatically populating a short list of related posts with other articles from the same category. This allows a reader to get to the bottom of your post, say “that was interesting,” and move right on to the next post in your series. If your blogging platform doesn’t include this functionality then you should, after you’re done reading the related posts listed below (my self-promotion for the day), add the functionality or switch to a platform that supports it.
Attorneys often make the mistake of restricting comments on their blog
Writing quality content that is targeted towards your potential clients will result in people wanting to comment on the article and/or their particular situation. Receiving comments on your blog provides two benefits. First, it legitimizes your site in the eyes of your potential clients. When someone visits a blog with a rich flow of comments it creates a viewpoint that the attorney has received a “stamp of approval” from others who have faced the reader’s situation. Second, comments will often expand upon a point made in your article and, when you respond to the comment you can expand the discussion even further. This increases the usefulness of the article and increases the percentage of blog readers who will call your office for a consultation.
The primary reason for which attorneys restrict blog comments is spam. Out of this concern many lawyers force readers to log in to various spam blocking software or, worse, don’t allow comments at all. These tactics are killing your engagement. Controlling spam can easily be done with the following:
- Install software that separates true spam from legitimate comments without requiring a reader to log in to your site. For the many attorneys who use the WordPress platform, we recommend the “Cookies for Comments” plugin (make sure you place the “speed spammer” setting at 6). This will work wonders.
- Set your site so that comments are held in queue for moderation before they are placed on your page for the public to view.
- Be mindful of the fact that there are many “spamming bots” which attempt to auto-post a comment that can look legitimate at first glance. If the comment is general, and it does not appear that the commenter actually reviewed the post, then give it a closer look before approving.
If you are making any or all of these mistakes then you have a homework assignment. Fix the mistakes ASAP and in 30 days go into your tracking software and look at your bounce rate (this is the rate at which people come to your site and quickly leave). Compare your bounce rate to previous months and you will see that your readers are much more engaged on your blog.
What other blogging mistakes do you find attorneys making? Please comment below.