I fear there’s been an attack, but it’s being covered up. Much as the Cylons infiltrated the human population, robots have apparently crept into many law firms.
Stilted writing seems to taking over law firm blogs and websites. It’s not uncommon to read sentences like, “Our Palm Beach bankruptcy lawyers help people in Palm Beach file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.”
It’s a case of robot writing, aimed at search engines without regard for the fact that it’s drivel that makes potential clients run screaming from your site.
But you’re too smart for that, aren’t you? You already know how to keep the robots satisfied without repulsing potential clients.
You know it’s not easy for the uninitiated but simple once you figure out these six simple steps.
- Draft Without Editing. When you sit down to write your web page or blog post, use a stream of consciousness. No editing allowed, just write freely.
- Format Using The 10-4 Rule. Sentences longer than 10 words are separated with a period. Paragraphs longer than 4 lines are broken into separate paragraphs.Shorter sentences are easier to understand. Shorter paragraphs allow for more white space. That’s easier on the eye.
- Use A Keyword Density Tool. Run the page through a keyword density tool. That will tell you if your text is repetitive. Using the same word over and over is robotic. Not only that, it runs afoul of Google’s “best practices.” I like this tool, which is free to use.
- Edit Harshly. Knock out as many of the repetitive terms as possible. Each time you delete a word, ask if the point of the article is lost. If not, keep chopping. Why spend 1,000 words saying what could be said in 300?
- Kill The Lingo. If there’s word you didn’t know before law school, replace it with something else.
- Have A Real Person Read It. Get someone to read the article and give an honest opinion. Don’t use a staff member – they won’t want to say it stinks because they’ll fear for their jobs.
It’s true that there are some robots you want on your site – the search engines. As much as you’d like it to be otherwise, those robots don’t hire you. You need to ensure that the humans who visit will find you engaging and informative.
Aside from engineers and young children, nobody finds robots engaging. That’s why it’s your job to help prevent the robot invasion of your website.
One of the sessions of the Bankruptcy Practice Workshop will cover the nuts-and-bolts of writing engaging, informative and (believe it or not) entertaining web content. Once you implement these simple tactics you’ll be able to convert more visitors to clients. You’ll also enjoy writing for the web because you won’t be so focused on the technical aspect of it. I hope you can join us.
Image credit: Dan Coulter