How To Blog Successfully: Interview with Courtney Tuttle
Chris Dreyer | December 20, 2013
It is a privilege to be able to work with someone you have looked up to for advice. For me, that person is +Court Tuttle of +The Blog Builders at TheBlogBuilders.com. I actually learned Internet Marketing from his resources at the The Keyword Academy several years ago. Fast forward to this year, I decided to launch Attorney Rankings and I reached out to Court for professional consulting related to launch and promotion of the site. I owe Court more than he knows and it is a great privilege to interview him.
Q: I want to start a blog for my law firm, do I setup a blog on or off of my main website?
A: I would HIGHLY (I really can’t emphasize this enough) recommend adding a blog to your existing website.
Let’s say that at some point, you write a blog post that people really like and a few thousand people end up sharing it on social media and/or linking to it. That will help your main website in a huge way if your blog is on it. If your blog is offsite, it won’t have the same effect.
Search engines like Google are always looking at sharing and links to decide which sites are the best so you want to consolidate all of your work onto one site.
Q: Are there some time-tested strategies out there for getting a blog more visibility or does it depend on the topic/industry/company?
A: There are definitely some time-tested strategies. One of the big ones is writing blog posts about topics that people are already interested in.
If I were a lawyer, I would be creating blog posts about interesting cases that are going on in the world. I would also be creating blog posts about legal issues that I was currently working on.
I would bet that every day, there are at least a few hundred thousand people out there searching for knowledge on different legal issues. If you can create blog posts that line up with those issues, you can really bring in a lot of traffic.
Q: Should I have a promotional plan for my legal blog similar to how a business has a business plan before it launches?
A: Yes, you should definitely have a promotional plan. You need to be able to get your blog in front of people who will find it interesting. I would at the bare minimum have a plan for how to get your blog (and website for that matter) to show up better in search engines and on social media.
Q: I get that there probably isn’t one magic silver bullet that is going to drive traffic to my blog but are there a set of activities that usually work well to build a following and get more traffic?
A: I focus my efforts on three main things, because they have proven to produce more traffic for my blogs and sites:
1. Creating interesting blog posts and articles.
It’s a lot harder to get people to share and link to content that isn’t interesting. I would imagine that most lawyers stay in touch with interesting things that are happening in their industry. They should write about it on their blogs because other people will be interested as well.
2. Creating strategic alliances
It’s very hard to get ahead online if you’re working to promote your blog or site on your own. Things work a lot better if you have friends or contacts that can help you to share your work. If you don’t have time to cultivate those relationships, I would hire someone who can do it for you because it’s crucial.
3. Getting other sites to link to mine.
Google has been my top source of traffic for seven straight years. They look at a lot of things when they are deciding which sites are the best but most of them don’t make that much of a difference.
The biggest factor (by far) that Google uses to determine which sites they are going to send traffic to is links. If other sites are linking to yours, Google assumes that you are a good site. If no other sites link to yours, Google assumes that it’s because your site isn’t very useful.
I work consistently on making sure that other sites link to mine and over time, this creates great traffic from Google.
A: WordPress is by far the best platform. I speak at a lot of blogging conferences and every time I do, I have people coming up to me after, asking me how they can switch to WordPress. When you’re on other platforms, simple things become more difficult. For example, say you want to create social media sharing buttons to add to your blog. With WordPress, you can do that with an easy-to-use free plugin. On many other platforms, something that simple isn’t possible.
I’ve also found WordPress to be the best out there for generating search engine traffic. It’s set up very well for that.
Q: Last I checked, there were a ba-jillion different blogs out there on the web. What can I do to make mine stand out among the best ones?
A: I have spent a lot of time talking on the phone and in person to some of the most successful bloggers on the planet. The biggest thing that makes them stand out is dedication to the right things. You have to publish interesting content, get your work shared on social media, and get linked to. If you can do that, your blog will grow.
I personally don’t spend much time thinking about how successful other blogs are. If I’m able to reach my personal goals with my blogs, I am happy, even if someone else has more traffic, creates more revenue, or generates more business than I do.
Q: Do you have any advice on tactics or practices that I should stay away from when promoting my blog?
A: Yeah there are definitely things that you should avoid. There are a lot of automated promotional tools out there that supposedly make things easier. For example, there are automated tools that share your content on social bookmarking sites and generate links through spammy methods. These types of things will only hurt you in the long run.
Q: Obviously there is a fire hose of information on this topic but what are some key things I should keep in mind when building and promoting my blog?
There are a lot of things I could say here. But, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it takes a lot of time to build something great. Don’t get discouraged when it takes time to get results. I have had blogs start slowly, with very little traffic and then explode later on. Just keep building and promoting until your blog catches on.
Q: You are incredibly successful with your online endeavors, what three things do you wish you had done differently in the beginning that might have saved you time, money or frustration?
1. I would have had a better content strategy. When I first started out, I was almost 100% focused on promotion. Once I got better at creating content that people liked, it became a lot easier to promote.
2. I would have started sooner. I wasted a lot of time in the beginning trying to ‘figure things out’. It’s hard for me to start things if I don’t understand 100% what I’m doing. In my case, I just ended up wasting a lot of time.
3. I would have tried to showcase my expertise more. Back when I started, I was very shy about talking about my own abilities. That makes things tough. A blog is a tool that can be used to showcase your expertise and showcasing your expertise can generate a lot of business.
Again, it is a great honor to have Court share his expertise here. Thank you for participating as an interview candidate on Attorney Rankings. We wish you the best of luck for your future endeavors!