I have not blogged on this website since the summer of 2022.
I have now decided that I will carry on, but not exclusively in my niche (employment law) anymore. I am not motivated by it right now.
First, the employment law blogging industry has changed, and I don’t see a rewarding future for me in it. One competitor has begun to distance itself in the niche, and it will be challenging to compete without hiring an army of content creators. Credit to them for their blogging innovations.
Second, when I started blogging, only four or five firms were consistently blogging and trying to compete for eyeballs in the Ontario employment law niche. Now there are literally hundreds of firms blogging about the same topics here in Ontario (employment law is the easiest area of the law firm to start a law firm in, IMHO, because it is so retail-friendly. Hence, many people start these kinds of firms, but that could change because there are so many employment law firms to compete with now). I realized writing another blog post about “severance in Ontario” isn’t worth the same effort it once was. How many blog posts about severance does society need?
At the same time, writing about “severance in Ontario” has become boring to me. Unfortunately, I’m siloed into this kind of post. There is no point writing an interesting commentary about some recent case with a particular twist about motion procedure, for example, because relatively no one googles those topics. The only people that read posts like that are lawyers doing research on that case years later. You have to blog for clients, not lawyers, if you want to attracts lots of clients. Credit to all the legal bloggers who blog for passion on interesting topics that lawyers rely on for research, but that wasn’t me. All I cared about was traffic.
Further, I lost motivation because I didn’t care about winning arbitrary milestones anymore. Once I hit 100 visitors in the early days, I was ecstatic and addicted. I wanted to keep going so badly. Same with 1,000 visitors, and again with 1,000,000 visitors (I bought myself balloons). Now I have almost 4 million visitors, and the next milestone, ten million visitors, doesn’t motivate me as the first one hundred visitors did seven years ago. I feel like the only next milestone I would care about is 100 million or a billion visitors, but that’s not realistic for a firm of my size.
Moreover, it’s hard to move the needle when you get up to around 100,000 visitors per month. One extra blog post will not do much for the number of callers our law firm receives. As a competitor proved, there needs to be some kind of innovation to scale your blog once you hit those numbers.
I created an unrelated TikTok account last summer, which was eye-opening. I was able to get millions of views in literally months. Meanwhile, it took this blog years to get to just one million views. This leads me to believe that written blogging has a much bleaker future than when I started. On the other hand, the future is bright in short-form video blogging. People don’t even realize that TikTok has a search engine. You can search “severance in Ontario” in the TikTok search bar and find videos about that topic, and gen z is doing exactly that instead of searching Google.
Lastly, AI is the real deal. The latest Chat GPT release (4.0) writes insane blog posts (if you prompt and trim well). This will be problematic for law firms in my niche because there will soon be so much more competition on Google. It takes five minutes to write a passable blog post with Chat GPT 4.0. It used to take a few hours to do the same task. Law firms will begin posting a few AI-written blog posts per day in the next year, or they will die on Google.
One of the side projects I am working on is a Open AI API-powered blog prompter to make amazing legal blog posts. I am training it to cut out the BS, recall the actual law better, improve on-page SEO and speak more like a lawyer.
Try Semrush to improve your SEO for free for 14 days with my invite here.
Already I am at a stage in my model that it will take a simple hyperlink to a CanLII case and output out a 2/10 blog post about the case. When it gets it to 7/10 it will be slightly better (for Google) than most blog posts made by human lawyers and far better than posts written by Fiverr writers.
I don’t care about revealing my “great idea” because its not actually innovative. Companies have been trying to summarize caselaw with AI for a while now and there are a hundred startups popping up monthly trying to do approximately the same thing.
If I don’t succeed on this project someone else will, and its going to be mind blowing.
Maybe you are a nay-sayer about AI, but eventually you will be proven wrong. As cringey lawyers say, “govern yourself accordingly”. AI is not a flash in the pan.
Still, there’s no reason to abandon my blog. It does well on Google, and it would be a mistake not to monetize it.
Hence, I’ve decided to convert this blog into a content site (with ads), leveraging AI. I am going to call it Dutton’s Law. I do not know what niche it will land in (probably whatever pays the most in ad dollars), but it will be interesting experimenting with it. Ninety Nine percent of the posts will be AI-written (with human editing – it wont be spam and search engine gaming).
With regard to the ads served on my website, at first they will be overwhelming and extremely annoying. However, I am just now learning about this business and I am running experiments on what works best, so bear with me. Eventually the ads will look a lot better (like a newspaper website).
On a side note, I think that one day, many small law firms will run ads on their blog posts. Why not? Why leave money on the table? At first it will be embarrassing, but then it won’t. Ninety nine percent of law firm blog traffic is informational – and the vast majority of these kinds of visitors will never convert to clients, so you might as well monetize these views. Maybe I’m wrong on this. We will see. If you are a small firm lawyer and you are curious, run an experiment for a month. Put Google AdSense auto ads on a few posts and see if you have less consultations than the month before (although don’t run ads if you don’t get a lot of traffic because it wont be worth the risk to lose consultations in exchange for just a few ad dollars).
I also plan on changing my WordPress theme (X Theme) to something far more modern (it is seven years old) soon.
And on that note, I will be leaving Monkhouse Law. I wish them well!
A final note to lawyers considering opening a law firm: Do it! Get a WordPress law firm template and start using AI to blog several daily posts about your area of law. At the same time, make TikTok videos about your area of law with keywords in your description, including your jurisdiction name (i.e. “Ontario”) as a hashtag. All you need is an iPhone and a tripod to get millions of views by the end of the year.
A percent of your traffic will convert into clients.
Reach out on LinkedIn if you ever need advice about law firm blogging if you are starting a firm. I’m always happy to give you some time.
Now read this tweet:
Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.