“You can blog badly, but not for long.”

This from LexBlog’s Kevin O’Keefe In the most recent installment in LexBlog’s monthly client webinar series, “Writing For Blogs – Style, Strategy, Voice,”  in which he covered how professional bloggers can improve their online writing.

If you missed the webinar this morning and want to watch, it’s posted along with our other recorded webinars on the LexBlog client services website. Belief is a brief summary of the discussion.

Finding Your Own Voice

A blog is a conversation. A unique voice will keep readers coming back to your blog, and will help them get to know you through your blog. Max Kennerly of Litigation and Trial does a particularly good job of conveying his own personality through his writing.

Blogging Style Pointers

Web readers have notoriously short attention spans, so hook your audience in the first paragraph. Figure out the most interesting or attention-grabbing part of your post and make that the first thing you say– don’t start posts with something like “In the April 14th session of the [blank] District Court…” as this just doesn’t captivate readers. Hayes Hunt of Cozen O’Connor’s From the Sidebar and Winthrop and Weinstine’s Duets Blog are shining examples of bloggers capturing reader’s attention from the get-go.

Also, because web readers have notoriously short attention spans, keep the post itself relatively short; 200-600 words is a good length to shoot for. Don’t make readers scan large chunks of text, and break up longer posts with subheadings, bullet points, and quotes.

Most importantly, stick to one point. This helps keeps posts short and prevents readers from getting distracted. Michael C. Schmidt of Cozen O’Connor’s Social Media Employment Law Blog is an excellent example of a blogger following this principle.

Grammar And Spelling

Nothing makes a smart lawyer look like an amateur faster than a typo or grammatical error. Your blog has a spell-check function, so be sure to turn it on.

And as often as bloggers check and double check their writing before publishing, something always slips by. Read your posts out loud and have someone else proof them before posting — they may catch mistakes you do not.

Finally, beef up on grammar; add a grammar blog like the New York Times’ grammar blog to your RSS reader or listen to the Grammar Girl podcast.

Using Linking Effectively

Links are the currency of the web. Use links to grow your blog’s audience—linking to other, similar blogs will increase the chance that they will link to you. Nancy Van Tine of Burns & Levinson’s Massachusetts Divorce Monitor is an example of a blogger who is very generous with links. There’s no harm in linking to your competitors, and you may even see a benefit. Also, link to previous posts on your own blog to keep people on your own site.

If you had any additional questions about effective blogging, feel free to contact me or other members of LexBlog’s Client Services team at 1-800-913-0988 or by email at support@lexblog.com –  we’d be happy to help. And stay tuned for more information about next month’s client webinar with Faith Pincus, in which she’ll continue her webinar series on public speaking for lawyers.