Self Hosted Legal Blogging – The Simple Pleasures

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Looking up

CC photo credit: aussiegall

Recently I wrote about why I do not believe the large web site services targeting the legal market are a good choice for solo and small law firms. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of starting your own site.

Small is good!

There is nothing wrong with starting a small readership! I understand that it is frustrating to sweat over creating content when only a couple people read it. However, a small readership has its benefits:

  • Small lets you make mistakes.
  • Small lets you find your voice.
  • Small lets you experiment.

If you ever glanced through People magazine or US weekly, you have seen candid shots of celebrities wearing sweats and flip-flops (laundry day, no doubt). All they wanted to do was get their groceries, have a Jamba Juice, or put gas in their car! *FLASH* Now their excursion is memorialized forever in glossy print in your dentist’s waiting room.

Just as there are downsides to fame, being taken to the first page of Google on week 1 also has its problems:

  • Your readers will expect a level of quality from you that you have not had time to hone.
  • You may be able to whip out a District Court appeal or argue in front of the Supremes. However, you do not know how to write for a blog.

Like everything else, you can and will learn it (you made it through law school, I am confident blogging is not beyond your abilities). However it will take time to learn how to communicate in this venue, how to structure posts, how to focus on keywords, how to use tags, and titles. All the while, not loosing track of your readers and creating interesting content.

Natural growth is good for you!

There is nothing like seeing your numbers spike after a particularly good post. You will be checking your analytics and see that someone mentioned your article in a forum and all of sudden you are getting crazy traffic.

The best part is that you did not pay for this spike. It happened naturally: you made connections with other bloggers, you commented on their sites, they commented on yours, and the circle of life continues.

I don’t mean to go all kumbaya. This is purely about practical web building skills. By building it yourself you will learn the fundamentals of building, writing and marketing your site.

What did you learn from starting small? What do you wish someone had told you/explained when you were starting out?