Making Friends Through Blogging


Later this week I’ll be serving on a panel hosted by The Net Impact, the web development company that built my Blue Maven Law website. I’ll be the only civilian (i.e., amateur) on the panel, and my role will be to discuss the good and bad of blogging as a professional services provider.

The highlight of the program will be Q&A, but my prepared remarks will focus on two points: (1) blogging (and social media) is a great way to get to know interesting people, and (2) posting substantive articles that answer questions that are on people’s mind is an effective way to generate traffic on your website.

To illustrate the first point, I’m in Seattle for a couple of days on business, and I’m taking the opportunity to meet with some law bloggers I admire. This post’s featured image is a snapshot from dinner at Salty’s with Bill Carleton and Venkat Balasubramani. Bill and Venkat both run circles around me in the blogging arena. Bill blogs mostly about startup stuff and is an authority on issues surrounding the changing startup-financing regulatory landscape. Venkat was an early blogger at Spam Notes, but I know him from his regular contributions at Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog, which is a must-read for anyone keeping up with Internet law issues. Bill and Venkat are also both interesting and fun people.

I also have the privilege of meeting Joe Wallin, who publishes the Startup Law Blog, and Dan Harris, the man behind the incredibly successful China Law Blog. Joe was the mastermind behind Washington’s new crowdfunding law, and Dan really knows his stuff when it comes to China law, as well as general commercial law. Dan also published my favorite blog post of all time (They Like China Law Blog. They Really Like Us.), which is a response to my 2012 review of China Law Blog.

I would never have known these guys if it weren’t for blogging.

As to my second point, it’s good to publish substantive stuff, even if it’ll never go viral. I’ve done everything wrong when it comes to trying to build a blogging audience. I’ve gone several months multiple times without publishing anything (once as long as five months), I don’t do keyword research, I built my own site, I don’t try to build backlinks, I’ve published a lot of boring case summaries.

To some extent, it shows: I have a very small blog in a niche area.

On the other hand, thousands of people visit my neck of the Interwebs every week, and my most-read piece has been visited about 100,000 times. The posts that drive a lot of that traffic are substantive articles, such as Battle of the Forms Explained (Using a Few Short Words) and How to Sign a Contract. Not exactly link bait, but they seem to do their (small) part in providing people with information they’re looking for when they open their browsers.

What do you think? What’s been your experience with blogging, either as a blogger or a reader?

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