Law firm bloggers, here’s a secret:
You’re probably not going to read what I write in this post.
If you read the headline of this article, you might keep reading. But some of you I’ve already lost, four sentences in.
Some of you will share this article without reading it. Some of you will scroll to the bottom of this piece without reading what I wrote in the first part of this blog.
Why is that, anyway?
In our modern world, people skim for information. Readers can’t focus because they’re busy and distracted. And, spoiler alert, they’re not going to read everything you write.
Statistically speaking, potential clients will read somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of what you write in a law firm blog post. As a lawyer who’s discovering how to improve your reach, that’s probably not what you want to hear, especially if you wonder how long that next blog post of yours needs to be.
At LawLytics, we get a lot of questions about law firm blog post length. Here’s what you should know about it for the next time you sit down at your keyboard to write content for your law firm’s blog.
Potential clients don’t read everything in a blog post.
You’ll be disappointed if you assume that all web visitors read your law firm blog posts all the way through.
On an average visit, studies suggest that people read between a fifth and half of the material on a page. Skimming is a natural habit on the web — we quickly scan everything from Google search result pages to PDFs of restaurant menus to blog posts. It’s not that we’re trying to be inattentive. But, in the information age, there’s just a lot of information. We’re looking for a specific piece of it.
You may be wondering why you should write long blog posts at all. Here’s the thing about that. There are people who do read much of what you write, and these are the users that should matter to you. They are your engaged readers, and they’re also the ones who are likely to engage your firm if they appreciate and trust what you’ve got to say. That’s why you should be posting significant content on a regular basis.
Are long or short law firm blog posts better for lawyers?
Based on what I wrote above, many of you may wonder if your blog posts should always be short. After all, if viewers are only reading a fifth of what’s there, should you always try to squeeze all your thoughts into just a few paragraphs?
The answer to that is no. Deciding whether a blog post should be long or short should be taken on a case-by-case basis. There are lots of good reasons to write a long blog post, just as there are good reasons to write a short post. Where short posts are concerned, the benefit is in conveying information in a way that agrees with the attention span of most readers — and sometimes, you only have so much to say.
Here are some great ways to decide on what length your blog post should be.
Write meaningful law firm content, not just lengthy content.
You should always aim to write material for your blog that’s substantive, informative, useful and trustworthy. But consider that you don’t want to use more words than you need to. A blog post that consists of 300 words and says everything your potential client needs to know shouldn’t be stuffed with more words just to fill up space.
Likewise, if you’ve really got a topic you want to talk about at length, don’t try to cram everything into 200 words. Regardless of length, give your readers new information that’s useful and that answers the questions they have about their legal dilemma. Be sure you’re adding something new and interesting to the conversation.
How often do you publish posts?
Based on data and our experience here at LawLytics, we recommend that you write meaningful law firm blog posts and that you publish them often. Good law firm content takes awhile to build up. But, if you’re a once or twice-a-week poster, you may want to write pieces that are lengthier than those who post every single day.
(But, again, consider that you should say what you need to say — if you posted a piece yesterday at 1000 words but you’ve got another topic that you expect will also be 1000 words, go for it. Your engaged readers will want to read what you’re writing, and the next topic you write about may engage readers who weren’t visiting your blog on a regular basis.)
Law firm blog posts need good formatting.
Let’s say you’re an average reader who’s reading a blog post on the web. Which of these seems more readable to you? Here’s our first example:
And here’s example two:
If the second image seems much more reader-friendly to you, that’s because it is. Formatting is important for law firm blogs. Whether you have a reader who’s skimming or one who’s deeply engaged, large paragraphs of unorganized text are exhausting.
Make use of subheadings, images, and short paragraphs. Not only do subheaders help to divide up long blocks of text, they also signal what’s important about your piece to the search engines. Therefore, it’s worth creating a hierarchy for your blog posts. You, Google, and your readers will be glad you did.
Attorneys, know your purpose (and your potential clients).
Before you start writing your next post, ask yourself:
- Why am I writing this piece?
- What are my goals in writing it?
- Who am I writing it for?
- What are the most important aspects of the topic I’m writing about?
These sorts of considerations will help you be sure that you’re meeting your objectives, not just writing for the sake of writing. That level of focus will help you make sure that you’re writing what you need to write to the person who needs to see it most: your next client.
Are longer law firm blog posts good for law firm SEO?
There are benefits to longer blog posts. Those benefits increase when law firm blog posts are formatted correctly and provide useful, relevant content. These are features of a blog post that will make your potential clients, referral sources and search engines happy. They’re also likely to increase your traffic and rankings.
You don’t want to fall into SEO traps like keyword stuffing. But longer law firm blog posts give you more opportunities to write about topics and keywords that people naturally search for.
The more you write to your law firm client persona, the more that happens on its own (no calculations required). There are hundreds of different factors that Google uses to rank web pages. Many of these have not been revealed publicly.
However, by writing useful, substantive content, you avoid the risks of blackhat SEO, give your potential clients and search engines what they want, and actively contribute to the success of your law practice.
The more law firm website content you have, the more Google has to index. That gives Google more to offer your potential clients when they get scan relevant search results.
The bottom line is not to get hung up on the length of what you’re writing. Single metric focus can be a disaster for law firm SEO. The best thing you can do is remember that your potential clients want useful information. Focus on providing them with what they need: substantive answers that are easy to read and published often.
Want to learn more about blogging, content and how it can benefit your law firm? Check out these great blog posts below.