Home / Site News / Behind the Curtain: The 1st 30 Days of a New Legal Blogger

Behind the Curtain: The 1st 30 Days of a New Legal Blogger

What follows is a raw data dump of my first month of blogging, sans details and analysis. If you want details, analysis, breakdowns, graphs, charts, etc, then you’ll need to download the (free) PDF version of the report at the end of this post. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I put a good bit of effort into it and I think it shows. If you are at all interested about the back end details of what goes on in running a legal blog, it’s worth a read. I lay it all out on the table, the good and the bad. (Sneak Peek: LinkedIn = good. Twitter = bad. Scribd = good. JDSupra = bad.)

Report intro:

On June 29, 2010, I began An Associate’s Mind. I started the blog for a number of reasons, but mostly because I could not find a website or blog that catered to new lawyers and that provided useful information. There were the large legal company websites that had obviously been SEO’ed/marketing-consulted to hell and back and were bloated with ads and confusing navigation. There were smaller, but still slick, websites seemingly offering advising or coaching or some other such service; with fees attached. Then there were the scores of personal law blogs written by students or newly-minted lawyers that claimed to be “blawgs,” butwere usually about Twilight or complaining about document review.

There was no website that was informative, honest, and didn’t expect anything in return. There certainly wasn’t a website that catered to my particular interests: Psychology, Economics, Business Management, Classical Western Thought, Eastern Philosophy. All of these topics intersect with the law in a myriad of interesting ways, but no one was discussing them. Furthermore, no one was speaking to new lawyers, or if there was, I couldn’t find one that I thought was credible or offered something other than “4 Quick Ways to Increase Your SEO Presence.” *

After being frustrated with a lack of credible information or community that catered to my interests online, I decided to create one myself. Now that I’m one month in, I thought people might be interested in how it’s developed. What follows is a complete breakdown and analysis of: my traffic, referrers, top posts, interaction/clicks, social media (Twitter, LinkedIn), document hosting (JDSupra, Scribd), rankings, & resources.

* (I don’t mean to pick on internet legal marketing. Some of the legal marketers I have connected with are genuine people with whom I have been glad tointeract. However, the majority come across as overbearing and looking to sell something. Unfortunately, they give the good ones a bad name.)

Raw data:

Unique pageviews:                                                      2,783.

Top 5 referrers (full list in report, analysis):

Referrer                                                                              Views

  • linkedin.com/viewArticle                              240
  • lawyerist.com/blawg-review                        63
  • linkedin.com/viewArticle                              60
  • linkedin.com/viewArticle                              48
  • myshingle.com/                                                 48

Top 5 posts (full list in report, analysis):

Title                                                                                         Views

  • The Top 5 Reasons Lawyers Fail                      799
  • Postcards from the Bar Exam – Ithaca          112
  • Innovation: Ideas Having Sex                           107
  • 5 Basic Mistakes for a New Associates            95
  • Why Lawyers Fail #20-16                                    74

Top 5 clicks (full list in report, analysis):

URL                                                                                        Clicks

  • Top 20 PDF Download                                       135
  • reason.com/archives/2010…                        19
  • temporaryattorney.blogspot…                      14
  • linkedin.com/in/keithrlee                                11
  • hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you…               10

Twitter:

  • Total Tweets (Messages I broadcasted):    107
  • Announcing a new post:                                    51
  • Mention (my twitter name appears):           29
  • ReTweets (quoting a message):                      21
  • Link to a story:                                                      6
  • Following (People I have subscribed to):  85
  • Followers (People subscribed to me):        53
  • Lists:                                                                          6

LinkedIn: See report.

Scribd/JDSupra: See report.

Justia.com Ranking: 516th most popular blog on service.

Avvo.com Ranking: 315th most popular blog on service.

Report Closing:

So there it all is.

Sometimes I get the feeling that sharing all of the above is a bit like talking about money with people in person; it’s rather frowned upon. That is unless you’ve got tens of millions of dollars, or in the case of online media, you’ve got traffic in the tens of thousands, etc.

However, as I stated, this is my first month and I didn’t really have anything to lose by sharing it freely. So what was the secret? How did I get over 2,500 hits in my first month as a blogger? Did I SEO-optimize An Associate’s Mind and strategically litter my posts with keywords? Did I advertise with Google AdSense? Did I network and retweet with “inner circle” law bloggers to try and integrate my content with theirs? Did I smile and nod along with the “Happysphere” as Scott Greenfield refers to it at Simple Justice?

At first….I did, sort of. I never SEO optimized nor did I bother with trying to figure out what keywords would be popular for the website. However, I did start to follow people on Twitter in which I had no interest, because it was what you were “supposed” to do in order to get traffic and grow on the web. I was following something like 150 people on Twitter in the first week. But…it felt cheap and it was a lot of work. I was spending as much time bothering with social media networking as I was on the site.  So about two weeks in I threw in the towel with all of it. I culled the people I was following down to 85, and I need to distill it down even farther.

Instead I focused on why I started the site. One, I have a variety of interests that I think converge with the law in intriguing ways. Two, as I am (hopefully) about to start my legal career in a few months, I wanted to think aloud about the type of lawyer I want to be, and elicit feedback from others in the same situation. Trying to do all the other stuff seemed disingenuous.

So instead, I just focused on writing my posts. I ensured that what I was writing about interested me. If other people got something out of it, I look at that as a bonus. I still tweeted (on LinkedIn as well) when I had new posts but I quit really worrying about it. When I had a post that I thought would interest a particular group on LinkedIn, I would share it there – but not spam every group I belonged to.

So, as far as I can tell, here is the big secret to having a successful first month at blogging:

Free Legal Blogging Guide

Enter Your Name and Email Below and Click

About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.

5 comments

  1. Keith, this is a brilliant analysis of the traffic you have got. I honestly do not think there are many other people (other than serious Internet Marketers) that have the detail you have here. The information on the stories your readers are particularly interested in gives an excellent insight on the areas where more information and help is needed for ALL lawyers irrespective of their experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Eria, glad you enjoyed it.

      “I honestly do not think there are many other people (other than serious Internet Marketers) that have the detail you have here.”

      That’s why I decided to do it. What works and what doesn’t is usually fed through a bunch of smoke and mirrors from the social media/web 2.0/marketing jargon folks. Not to mention, no one ever dumps their raw data logs. I’m not sure why, who cares? The more transparency the better.

  2. Yes, thank you for sharing this information!

    To me, your blawg experience demonstrates that what primarily matters is content. Sure, SOME marketing and networking is important and helpful. How else would you get your name out there? But diminishing returns on marketing strikes quickly. Your content is what is enduring. Like you said, when compared to the blawgs out there speaking directly to the new attorney, your content shines. It is both useful AND interesting (not that Twilight isn’t interesting for some). Plus I like lists, and I’m a sucker for interesting stories promised and delivered in sequential pieces.

    • Hello Peter!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Maybe I should develop some sequential pieces listing legal Twilight blogs? :)

      Agreed with you on marketing quickly approaching diminishing returns. Either you have something interesting to say (not that I always do, but I try) or you don’t. Too many blawgs out there are much ado about nothing.

My new book is available now. Grab it here.