Roberta M. Gubbins, Esq.
I Write Content--You Practice Law

Draft Three / blog

Get Your Blog Read Every Time

Is your blog a dense, word driven monograph? Do people sigh and click away when they see long paragraphs with no white space in sight?

Some studies show that long blogs are better. They cover the topic in depth and are easy to send on to others. Others say the blog should be short. Long or short, the blog paragraph shouldn’t look like this:

Under the English common law all felonies were punishable by death, but there were very few felonies. Criminal homicide was a felony, as also were arson, rape, robbery, burglary, mayhem and larceny. This about completes the list of the common-law felonies, and if we recognize that in its origin larceny was concerned only with cattle stealing, we realize that these would all be regarded as “hanging offenses” in a primitive community. In developing the rule that all felonies were punishable by death the judges merely reflected the general attitude of the community in which they lived. 

Why not? Simply because it is overwhelming for the reader--one look and the reader will move on--it’s too long, dense, and uncomfortable for the eye. There is no relief from all the words. 

Stephen King in his book “On Writing” (the best book on writing in my opinion) says that a paragraph written with “a series of grammatically proper sentences can stiffen a (prose) line, make it less pliable.” King is also against adverbs and passive verbs. King is speaking of fiction. Legal blogs are not fiction, they are meant to give readers information. But, the blog, like fiction, shouldn’t be stiff. It should be pliable, easy on the eye and welcoming. 

Consider this version of English common law felonies…

Jeffrey Silver, a villager in early England, was caught stealing his neighbor’s cow. He was tried and convicted of larceny (cattle stealing), one of the seven felonies of his day. Murder, arson, rape, robbery, burglary and mayhem were the others. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, all the felonies of his time were “hanging offenses.” The judge, after listening to the evidence, found him guilty and, following the law and the will of the villagers, sentenced him to hang. All the citizens came to witness the hanging. 

Now we have attached a person, place and setting to the law. The reader may feel some compassion for Jeffrey while recognizing the harshness of the times. The blog could go on to describe the modern day versions of the same felonies. 

There are also techniques that can add variety and interest to your blog. For example, bulleted or numbered lists:

In early England, the following crimes were felonies:

  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Mayhem, and
  • Larceny

If convicted of any one of these felonies, the defendant was hanged. 

Adding graphics, maps, charts or photos helps to break up the words and adds interest. You can find them in Google images, Fotolia, BigStock photo and other places on the web or you can use your own photos. 

Fortunately, for the web, the quality can be as low as 72dpi so pictures taken with your smartphone are acceptable. Snap away, you never know when your pictures will brighten up boring text, bringing you more readers and more clients. 

Roberta GubbinsComment