Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Terrible Twos!

The Drug and Device Law Blog turns two today!

We're feeling our age.

Last year, when we turned one, we threw a party. This year, we're turning philosophical.

We think that "blog years" are like "dog years." They don't correspond to the human lifespan or the time it takes for the earth to circle the sun.

Thus, at two, we're middle-aged. We've seen many, many blogs launched after we launched ours, and we've seen a fair number of those close up shop, while we labor on.

We have a question for someone with access to the data: What percentage of legal bloggers stop publishing within 12 months of launching a new blog?

We don't know the answer to that, but we bet it's like small businesses -- most fail within a year.

Why?

First, as we've said before, blogging is hard, hard work. It's not easy to maintain an active legal practice by day and find time at night for massive "recreational" writing. Try writing five or six shorts articles a week (which is what we've averaged) for just one week. Think about what that would feel like for three months. And now imagine what we're celebrating today -- two years cranking out posts at that pace.

(Hey, Bexis -- You're right! We're nuts! What in God's name are we doing?

Shut up, Herrmann -- and keep typing.)

Second, it's hard to find an audience in the increasingly competitive blogosphere. A successful legal blog needs both a niche and a voice. If you pick the wrong niche, no one will visit.

And if you pick the wrong voice -- which means none at all (if your blog is published by committee), too breezy, or too pompous and bureaucratic -- you'll quickly lose your blaudience.

It's no surprise that new bloggers are quickly discouraged. They're spending nights and weekends drafting blog posts, but no one's reading them. It takes time, and luck, to build a readership.

And us?

Thanks for asking.

We attracted between 25,000 and 30,000 pageviews in the last month, depending on how you count the folks who subscribe through our Google e-mail group (over there in the righthand column).

When we started our little experiment, almost all of our traffic came through our most recent post, whatever topic it discussed. Now that we've basically built, over time, an on-line encyclopedia of drug and device law, we see far more folks doing research on the web and entering the blog through one of our older posts.

Finally, the highlights of our second year:

L'Affaire Berenson. What could be better than that?

Proposing a way of looking at the "change being effected" (or "CBE") process, and then seeing that idea codified in a new regulation. That's pretty cool.

Watching the reach of our blog spread -- on the web, in scholarly legal publications, and in the popular press. She's our baby, and we love to see her grow.

And, finally, you. We've met an awful lot of people -- some on-line, some in person -- as a result of our experiment, and we've both enjoyed meeting you and learned from you.

So, thank you.

And, if our strength holds out, we'll survive our terrible twos and be back to celebrate another anniversary on October 30, 2009.

Heaven help us.

1 comment:

Robert Thomas said...

"blaudience" -- better trademark that quick -- great term. Congratulations on your anniversary.