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Six tips for building your blog readership

growplantLawyers blog for a variety of reasons, marketing often being chief among them. Blogging and other online social activity can be both rewarding and frustrating. Every regular blogger has wondered if there is really anyone out there reading their tips and insights. For your professional advancement (and peace of mind), it is good to know that your blog readership is growing. More readers mean more interaction, more prominence online, more opportunities to build trust with visitors and ultimately more chances to secure a new client. Try some of these tips for making your blog more active and productive.

1. Be a good reader. Good writers read. Regularly. Writing in a void without exploring examples of the skilled writing of others can result in poor quality material. Reading helps strengthen your own writing and critical thinking skills, particularly if you read material that comes from a point of view with which you do not agree. It also helps give you ideas. Coming up with regular ideas for posts is one of the hardest parts of blogging. Taking a look at what others are saying is a great way to expose yourself to potential topics.

2. Anticipate the needs of your readers. Like all marketing tools, your blog must be directed toward your readers. If you spend your time only talking about yourself, then you are not providing a resource with the depth of information visitors seek. You will also give your blog an air of predictability, which discourages people from returning to explore more articles. People who actively seek out legal blogs are looking for information. They do not need to know about all the handy features of your firm, they want to know about benefits. They have a problem or question they need answered, and if you can provide that answer, they will likely return.

3. Make keywords secondary. When creating a blog entry, do not make optimization your sole focus. This results in awkward headlines and long, strangely worded sentences. Yes, you should have search marketing in the back of your mind and be aware of how your writing affects your marketing goals. But is it more important to write quality pieces than it is to engage in keyword stuffing. Learn to optimize naturally, without keyword abuse.

4. Get local. High-profile national cases already receive a lot of attention. Writing about the same thing as everyone else will inevitably force your blog entries to the bottom of search results below well-known, large publications that have an advantage in Google's algorithm. Picking topics that are relevant to a local audience gives you unique content that is more likely to be found. Locally oriented content is also more relevant to your target audience – those whom you would most like to become regular readers.

5. Stop broadcasting. Start interacting. Your creative cooking blog may just exist to talk about what you like, but your legal blog exists to build relationships and get clients. In order to accomplish this, you have to acknowledge those around you with links and comments. Building readership may involve interacting with other bloggers in addition to the audience you consider to be prospective clients. Establishing associations with other bloggers can earn you mentions and links that will reach a wider audience than your blog can alone.

6. Make a content schedule. Blogging is like running a marathon (apologies to marathoners). If you sprint up the first hill, you will never finish the race. Many bloggers make the mistake of rushing to post two, three or four posts a week – a pace that is unsustainable over the long-term. Eventually, the posts trickle to nothing and the blog is updated sporadically and infrequently. Take a serious look at your calendar and decide how much time you can spend blogging a week. The most successful blogs have at least one post a week. More than one is ideal, but only commit what you or your staff can manage. Consistency is your friend. One solid post a week – or even every two weeks – is better than an on again off again schedule that turns off frequent visitors.

A few good habits can go a long way toward building a more consistent readership for your blog.