October, new post qualification job and all, is going to be something of a crunch point for this blog. Time, which has been very tight for the last few months, is simply not going to be available to keep Nearly Legal going in the same way. There are three options that I can see:
1. Nearly Legal stops updating and the archive just sits here. Not a good option – I find the blog useful and interesting and I hope others do.
2. Things totter onwards at a much reduced rate. This would be difficult to keep up and means missing out useful content.
3. Nearly Legal becomes a collaborative project. After all there is no requirement that this be a one person project. Although I do receive information and updates from a number of people both on the blog and behind the scenes (thanks – you know who you are), I wouldn’t have thought of this a year ago, or even a few months ago. But I have been assured in various recent off-blog conversations that Nearly Legal now has quite a widespread readership in the housing law sector – solicitors, barristers, advice workers, and local authorities. This is immensely gratifying and I hope means that people find the blog of use and interest. Of course, unless people comment or email, I have no idea at all who is reading, just the numbers. But the numbers have gone up quite dramatically over the last few months as well. The blog as a whole now regularly gets over 12,000 separate page views and something like 6,000 unique visitors each month. (Of course that 6K includes repeat visits, but not by me. That would add another 1000 or so). For an extremely specialist blog, those aren’t bad figures at all, I think.
With a couple of months to go before the likely deadline, I would like to get people’s – your – views on two proposals for new developments at Nearly Legal. Please let me know what you think, either in the comments or via email – the address is on the ‘about’ page.
Proposal 1. What I am considering is a group of regular contributors. Not guest posts, although that could also be fine, but regulars able to take on a proportion of the updates (whether chosen by rota or by subject, I’m not sure). I intend to keep on posting in part and to serve as editor otherwise.
I have been and will likely remain anonymous, at least in the short term. But this would not be a requirement. Contributors would chose their attribution, anything from anonymity to full attribution, including firm or chambers. So firms, barristers and chambers could view contributing as helping to add value to the brand – hint, hint. Contributors would retain their copyright in their posts, subject only to a licence for posts to be used in relation to the blog, obviously.
I’ve not seen any multi-contributor law blogs other than those produced by a particular firm. I think that a ‘sector’ based blog would be a very interesting proposition. I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t quite some effort involved in turning out posts, so potential contributors need to be aware of that.
I would be delighted to hear from anyone and everyone who would consider becoming a regular contributor – no commitment at this stage, honest.
Proposal 2. This follows on from thinking about a ‘sector’ blog. I’ve been struck by the way in which some posts here have ended up with comment threads that took discussion and information far beyond the original post. But, because of the structure of a blog it is currently only me that gets to post and so to start a topic.
Given that a fairly large part of the sector now read Nearly Legal (I just love saying that) and quite a few of those comment or pass on information, I was wondering whether an online forum, in addition to the blog, would be a useful thing.
It would need to be members-only for posting, to avoid a mountain of spam, although anyone could join and reading would be open to all. The idea is that anyone could post news, information, practice issues, questions and answers on just about anything sector related.
I want to hear from as many people as possible on whether or not this is a good idea – whether a forum would be used. A lively forum could be of great value to people, but there is nothing more depressing than a forum without responses, as the tumbleweed blows through.
These are my modest proposals for a great leap forwards. Something will have to change, as unfortunately Nearly Legal has taken off in an exciting way just at the point that I won’t be able to sustain it alone. The possibility is there that the blog will just peter out. On the other hand, I think there is also the possibility that Nearly Legal (we may have to change the name) can turn into something rather more than a one person blog, something quite new in terms of involvement and value.
What do you think? Or are you all on holiday?