UPDATE – This features was hard to control and got abused by spammers, if you’d like to write for us, please get in touch – [email protected]
Legal blogging is a great way to network, improve your CV and enhance your writing ability. But getting a blog off the ground takes a lot of hard work and effort.
You don’t want to write loads of well thought out posts only to have them seen by a handful of people.
This is where StudyingLaw.co.uk can help.
Although we’re a new site we get hundreds of visitors per day who are hungry to read what you write. Your blog posts are guaranteed to be seen straight away. Just go to “blogs” at the top of the page and see what people have already made.
We can’t match platforms like tumblr, blogger or weebly for the ability to customise your blog. But we can put your blog posts amongst others in our community who will genuinely be interested in what you have to say. This way we hope our bloggers will be able to help each other out and be part of a mini community. This is an amazing chance to do some great networking.
The blogging just needs to be useful to future law students, current law students or law graduates. That’s it. You can write as much or as little as you want. It’s up to you. The following would be perfect ideas for your blog:
- Writing about experiences studying law at university.
- The quest for a training contract.
- Working as a trainee solicitor / paralegal.
- Studying A level law and your plans for the future.
- Commenting on legal news.
Read on for more details.
What exactly will my blog be like?
Like any great site our blog layout is so simple that an idiot could have devised it.
This is the main blog page. Whenever you write a post it will appear here. You will also see blog posts others have written located on this page. It’s set out in chronological order.
You will also have your own page that only your blog posts show up on. Here is Liam’s blog page. There is also a description which shows at the top of the page which you can edit.
Becoming an author
Unfortunately the internet is full of unscrupulous characters who would jump at the chance to spam StudyingLaw with a whole host of useless, and probably illegal, material. So when new users (“contributors”) submit a post it needs to be approved by the admin.
When a few (usually 1-2) posts have been approved you will gain the trusted “author” status. This means you can submit posts to your blog and they will come up straight away.
These initial restrictions are a necessary step to prevent abuse to the site.
Still interested? Find out how to create your blog.
Your first post – a step by step guide
If you are confused about any stage of the process, or want more help, please get in touch! We’re more than happy to help.
OK, let’s get started. First you need to register to be a StudyingLaw contributor by clicking here. Just enter a user name and your email and click “register”. A password should be emailed to you. You will need to activate your account by clicking on the link in the email too.
Next go here and enter your user name and password. You should be greeted by this screen: (If you already know about WordPress you can go to step 2). You can also log in and register from the link at the bottom of the page – under “General Info”.
1. Dashboard – This button will bring you back to your main dashboard screen (the one you’re currently on!)
2. Posts – This is the most important button. Clicking on it will give you 4 further options.
- All Posts – Here you can view all of the posts published on the site. This is the page you will need if you want to go back and edit one of your own posts.
- Add New – The most important option! Add a new blog post. We will cover this page in more detail below.
- Category – On this page you can see all the categories. The categories are the names of peoples blogs. Again, we will explain this below.
- Tags – You can give tags to your posts and you can manage them here. You don’t really need to use this page unless you add lots of tags to your posts.
3. Comments – Lets you approve comments to your blog posts. Comments by non registered users and contributor users on posts which aren’t their own may need to be approved. This is to prevent spam.
4. Profile – Lets you modify your profile and change your password. You can also upload an image of yourself here to be displayed next to your comments.
5. Tools – Has the Press This tool. I don’t actually use this but it lets you easily grab content from others sites.
6. Some statistical data on the amount of posts, categories, tags etc. on the site.
Now you know some of the basic layout features we can create your blog. Go to Posts then Categories and you should see this page, the actual categories will have changed since this guide was made. But the “Add New Category” bit will be the same. This is the bit we need.
Under “Name” choose a name for your blog. This could be something simple like “Bob’s Blog” or something more anonymous like “Equity Girl”. It’s up to you.
The next bit you need to fill in is “Slug”. This is what your URL will look like. So try and keep it short and easy to remember. You can only use letters, numbers, and hyphens. So for “Bob’s Blog” the URL would need to be “bobs-blog”.
Just three quick things left to do now. Go down to “Title Tag” and type in what you want your blog to appear as in Google. I suggest keeping it the same as the name of your blog. Next fill in “Introductory Headline” – this is what readers will see at the top of your page. It could be some thing simple like “Bob’s Blog” or you can add more detail like “Bob’s Blog – My journey through the LPC”. Again it’s up to you.
Lastly we need to fill in the “Introductory Content” box. This will be the text that appears at the top of you blog page. This can be as long or short as you want. Just write a brief introduction about who you are and maybe your career ambitions.
Then you’re done. Your blog page won’t show up yet. You need to write your first post for that to happen. So let’s get to it!
Go to “Posts” then “Add New”. This is where you will type your blog. You will see something similar to this:
These are the most important elements to the page. There are lots of advanced options below, but you don’t need to bother with them.
1. This one is simple. Type in the title of your blog post here. By default this will be shown at the top of your page when the post is published.
2. Before you start to type your post content make sure you click this bit – the “kitchen sink”. It gives you more stylistic options.
3. One of the stylistic options it adds is this one. This lets create headings. So if you need a subheading type it out (in number 4.) on a new line, highlight it, and select “heading 2” from the drop down menu. Personally I don’t use “heading 1” since that is automatically set as your page title.
5. This is where you can upload an image. “But I don’t see anything there on the image?!” Yes that’s because the account I created to make this tutorial is only a contributor account, not an author account. You will need the image on your computer before you can upload it.
6. This bit is important. The blog page you made earlier in step 2 is the category page. All of your posts will go into it. Every time you make a new post you need to link it to your blog page. All you need to do is find the name of your blog and check the box next to it.
7. These tags can be used to describe what your page is about in more detail. You don’t need to use these but it’s more likely your post will be found in google if you do. Try and include 4-5 tags.
8. This will either send your blog post to be checked over and then published if you’re a contributor (this will happen if it’s your first post). Or it will publish it straight away if you’re an author.
That’s pretty much all of the main elements of the posts page. There things you can do to make your blog even better though.
- Go to “Custom Title Tag” and type in how you want your page to appear in google. Name it after something people will search for. So don’t type in “My mistake” rather type in something like “Something you should avoid during training contract interviews”.
- See the little icons which pop up next to some posts on the blogs page? They don’t happen automatically. They have to be added. But don’t worry it’s pretty easy to do and can really make your post stand out. First you need to find an icon. There are loads of free icons available online. Try one of these sites – http://www.freeiconsweb.com/, http://www.iconfinder.com or http://findicons.com/. You can also go to google image advanced search, go to image size, and select icon. Then just type in the image you’re looking for at the top of the page. Make sure the icons you use have a creative commons licence though. Make sure the icons aren’t bigger than 65×65. Once you have the icon upload it as you would do a normal image, but don’t insert it into the post. Just note the URL. Scroll down to where it says “thumbnail image” on the posts page and type / paste in the URL. Hit update and you’re done.
- If you think it’s relevant you can link back to other pages on the site by using the “insert/edit hyperlink button” (It’s left of 2. in the image above). Just highlight the text you want to link from.
- Make sure you interact with others by leaving comments on their blog posts and replying to comments left on your own posts. Making friends and networking can be very powerful. Especially in law.
Hopefully that has given you a rough idea of how to blog for yourself. Hope I’ve not made it seem too complicated! It really is very simple once you’re used to it.
These are common sense really. Only register for the site if you agree.
- Strong opinions are allowed. Being blatantly offensive isn’t. Be respectful at all times whether that’s in your blog post or your comments. Certainly don’t make slanderous remarks about others.
- Don’t steal content from other sites. Quotes are OK, so is commenting on news. Just don’t copy and paste entire articles!
- Do not post copyright-infringing material.
- Don’t post anything illegal.
- If you’re going to mention something about someone you know in a post, then you should probably ask them first.
- This site isn’t for marketing your law firm. But if you work for a firm in a professional capacity and can provide a useful insight into your work, then you may include links back to the homepage of your firm. A blog about your life as a trainee solicitor would obviously be beneficial. Therefore a link would be allowed.