December 27, 2012
As a solo practitioner or member of a small law firm, you probably know that using a blog to spread the word about your firm’s knowledge can be a low-cost way to show the community what you have to offer. If you blog about legal issues and current events, you probably also know that posting regularly is vital to the search value of your blog.
The content you post is the most important component of your blog, but it is not the only one. Readers and search engines alike appreciate seeing comments on blogs — comments indicate a blog with a healthy discourse and an engaged readership.
Most blogs provide a section for readers to comment on each post. According to the preferences of the blogger, the comments are published immediately or after the blogger validates them.
Allowing comments on your blog fosters reader engagement, the sharing of ideas and opinions and, ultimately, return visitors. Amongst the chatter, you may discover true insight and intellectual vigor.
Even negative comments can be useful. Responding respectfully demonstrates that you have the ability to resolve conflicts. And no matter the tone, comments serve a purpose by showing search engines that activity is occurring on your blog. This could mean a higher ranking on the search engine results page and more eyes on the blog.
A blog is social media, after all. Social media implies interaction, rather than a platform for one to speak to a silent crowd.
How to Encourage Comments on Your Blog
If you’d like your law blog to feature readers’ comments, but there just aren’t that many, you can take action to cultivate comments. First, ensure that the layout and interface of your blog aren’t making it hard for readers to share their thoughts.
When you do receive a comment, respond to it quickly and thoughtfully. Readers who take the time to submit comments appreciate feeling heard. One caveat, however: Be careful to avoid providing legal advice or inadvertently establishing an attorney-client relationship. If a reader asks a legal question in the comments, consider providing your contact information to set up a consultation.
Commenting on Others’ Blogs
Reading the blogs of other solo attorneys and small law firms will help you keep up with industry news, and it may spur your creativity for your own blog. But you needn’t be a silent reader.
Submitting professional, provocative comments can generate discussion; it can also help you establish your name with people who are interested in the law. Of course, you want to avoid posting “spammy” comments or comments that look like advertising, but consider speaking up on an issue, using your real name as the commenter.
The more you comment on the blogs of other solo practitioners and small law firms, the more likely they are to return the favor. This interaction will eventually become second nature, creating a greater sense of community in a tough business.