I hadn’t intended to write on the subject of blogging again, having just done that with my 5-year blawgiversary missive, but sometimes someone writes something that really puts things into perspective.
So today, two looks at other bloggers on the subject:
First out of the box are the folks at Drug and Device Law, which had this to say in the wake of another (well-deserved) selection in the ABA Journal Blawg 100:
We continue this blog for the same reason we started it. That’s to provide up-to-date information and commentary useful to those who, like us, defend pharmaceutical and medical device companies (also vaccines) in product liability litigation, either in law firms or in-house legal departments. We have strong views on practically all aspects of this subject – we’ve written books and articles – and our big-firm platform allows us the relative luxury of keeping current on a plethora of legal issues, from preemption to ediscovery. We firmly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, that is, that defense wins anywhere help other defendants (like our clients) win everywhere.
Well, that is OK, but there seems to be something missing. I know they want to provide up-to-date info, but why do they want to do that? In other words, where is the emotional/human factor?
Scott Greenfield, however, hits the nail on the head, I think, summing up my feelings:
I’m going to die one of these days. Maybe sooner rather than later, and likely sooner than most of my readers. I’ll be damned if I die without having anything to show I was here. I lack the skills to build the Taj Mahal, or write a symphony, or create a tourbillon. But I can type words onto a computer screen fast enough to put some ideas on virtual paper that serve to demonstrate, at least for a day, that I was here.
That is a worthy perspective. I see, sometimes, the social media fans crowing about numbers of followers or fans or links or whatnots. But no one will carve the number of Twitter followers onto your tombstone when the times comes.
So if you want to write, or use social media to any extent, I think it should be be with a view toward actually enjoying life and getting something out of the exercise. The same thing you would do with any other recreational activity.
Update: Contrast the above comments with those of an SEO “expert.” Aaron Kelly, writing for Avvo’s Lawyernomics, gives some advice on how to write blogs. It seems to parallel some of my own thoughts — thoughts I put down in an April Fool’s Day post about how to blog.
Basically, he tells people to write for Google’s algorithms, instead of writing for living, breathing, humans. Some of his godawful advice — and can you imagine actually spending part of your valuable, short life doing this stuff? — now follows:
- “since the goal is to publish as much unique, quality online content as possible, more emphasis is placed on speed as opposed to wordsmith-ing and editing.”
- “it’s important to temper your literary expectations and sacrifice some elegance in favor of volume”
- “a premium is placed on speed, many web content articles may not be as polished as print-journalism pieces, as there’s often very little time for editing or research.
- In general, you want to keep your web content articles between 400 and 2000 words.
- “[xxxxxxx].com is an excellent website from which to order content.”
- not everything you publish has to be perfect; sometimes it can be “just good enough” so long as it’s readable and contains the right amount of keywords
- “There’s no doubt that lots of well-written, SEO-optimized content will get you noticed online”
About #7? There’s lots of things you can do to get noticed. As an example, I noticed this article. (Here are a couple other things people have noticed: advertising in the toilet, chasing air crash victims, spamming.) But do you really want to be noticed for dreck?
Want to know why this guy is clueless and his advice is so bad? Because this was his premise:
- Love websites and blogs that are frequently updated
- Reward sites with high-quality, keyword-rich linkbacks (e.g., links pointing at your site).
If the author wanted to give actual advice about Google, he would write that the Holy Grail of search engines is quality inbound links. This will bring in readers. Want to know how to get them? Write well and be interesting. That’s how writers find readers. Can you think of any writer that became good because of keyword stuffing? Don’t write for Google; write for humans.
And about that prattle about the length of posts being 400-2,000 words? Fuggedabout it. The Gettysburg Address is about 270 words long.