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.)
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.)
Unique pageviews: 2,783.
Top 5 referrers (full list in report, analysis):
- 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):
- 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):
- 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
- 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.
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: