2004.05.15

CLICK HERE FOR NEW HOME TO Real Lawyers :: Have Blogs.

This law blog has moved to a new url address. All of the content has been moved to the new site.

Continue reading "CLICK HERE FOR NEW HOME TO Real Lawyers :: Have Blogs."

May 15, 2004 in Happenings | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.05.14

Need a lawyer blog? It's LexBlog Law Blogs.

May 14, 2004 in Blog templates | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.05.11

Google preps new tool to identify keywords

According to CNET, Google is preparing to launch a program that will determine what lists of keywords will be most likely to trigger a visit to an advertiser's site. Google hopes that the technology will help increase the value of those clicks, and therefore the ceiling of their pricing, as well as include more searches in the ad program.

Only 40 percent to 45 percent of the 120 million Internet searches a day in the United States are currently linked to an ad by the search engines. This tool will apparently allow marketers to pay to have a Web page examined more often for inclusion in sponsored listings, according to one source. Instead of having to bid on thousands of keywords, a large advertiser could rely on Google's search technology to automatically create connections between its Web pages and related search queries. The advertiser would pay Google to examine thousands of its pages and to serve an ad whenever the software deemed it appropriate.

The report says Overture, a Yahoo company, is saying they wish to stay with the human touch. They employ slews of account managers who help marketers invent new keyword combinations to drive people to their online stores, according to an Overture representative.

When I read this stuff, I think it only applies to the biggest of the big advertisers but lawyers as an industry are a large player. Sponsored ads/keywords are just in their infancy compared to the yellow pages. Lawyers pay almost $1 Billion for yellow page advertsing. Don't think for a second the search engine folks do not look at that.


May 11, 2004 in Internet advertising & sponsorships | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.05.08

What is RSS, and Why Should You Care?

Amy Gahran, self described writer, editor & trainer has an excellent tutorial on RSS syndication on her blog. The tutorial is presented in 12-parts:

  1. Introduction: What's New Online?
  2. How Most Webfeeds Work
  3. Main Advantage: Webfeeds Save You Time
  4. Getting Started: You Need a Feed Reader
  5. Subscribing to Webfeeds
  6. Finding Good Webfeeds
  7. For Publishers: Why Webfeeds Beat E-mail Newsletters
  8. Publishing Your Own Webfeed
  9. Content: What to Put on Your Webfeed
  10. Webfeed Disadvantages
  11. Why Do I Say "Webfeed" Rather than "RSS?"
  12. The Big Picture for Webfeeds

Dennis Kennedy, from whose blog I found Amy Gahran's tutorial, pulled out what may be the most relevant excerpt for you as a lawyer. RSS/Synidication/Webfeed plays two key roles:

  • First, it's a publishing channel for delivering announcements of what's new on a site, or other kinds of messages or content, to an online audience.
  • Second, it's a syndication channel that makes it easy for other sites to find or even republish a site's content.

Played well, these roles can vastly extend the audience for a site's content.

Take a look at Amy Gahran's tutorial. It may be the best piece out there on syndication.

May 8, 2004 in RSS/Syndication | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another lawyer's blog works for marketing

Jerry Lawson's elawyerblog reports of another lawyer experiencing marketing success from their blog. In an email to Jerry, this 'blogging lawyer' (don't you love that phrase 'blogging lawyer') said it was just like Jerry predicted:

My experience: my blog went on-line in January 2004. Get 200-400 hits a day already (our firm's website gets about that many a month). Reading my TypePad stats is interesting...it doesn't take much blogging for you to suddenly be ranked high in Google for key words you find desirable: [Omitted--four examples where the author's blog was ranked number one by Google for certain key phrases relevant to his area of legal practice]

I could go on for days and days with such examples....just like your articles would have predicted it.

Not wanting to alert competitors, the lawyer's locale and practice area were intentionally withheld.

May 8, 2004 in Blog success stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.05.06

Web developers delivering value?

Are you getting what you need from your Web developers? Let's do a little exercise to find out. Not to worry, only requires a wrist on the mouse and a click with one of your fingers. You may also wish to print this email out so you have it along side when doing this test exercise. Read on.

Continue reading "Web developers delivering value?"

May 6, 2004 in Search engine optimization | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.05.03

Lawyers are missing the boat on search engines

According to this mornings Seattle Times, Google was the top search engine in March, with an estimated 65.1 million users, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, the Internet research company. Yahoo! Search ranked second, with 48.1 million, and MSN came in third, with 44.9 million. Being in Seattle now, as opposed to La Crosse, Wisconsin where I practiced for 17 years, we get this stuff served up in the morning’s newspaper like other places get the morning’s sports.

But this is okay because this news tells me things like how many times "divorce attorney chicago," "chicago divorce lawyer," "divorce chicago," "divorce lawyer in chicago," "divorce in chicago" and "divorce attorney in chicago" are getting searched on the big three search engines. About 2,610.

How did I figure that? Well Overture, which runs the ads on Yahoo!, has a site which tells me the number of times the above phrases are getting searched - 783. (Overture even runs the related phrases for me so I do not have to figure out the various ways Chicago and divorce is being searched.) Being that Yahoo/overture represents 30% of the searches on the "big three," means Chicago divorce lawyer and terms thereabouts got searched about 2610 times in March. Throw in about 300 or 400 hundred searches on other search engines and you've got about 3000 searches for Chicago divorce in March.

Why does that matter to me? Well I try to get lawyers in front of people who may be looking for their services. I've come to to know the Internet is the most cost effective way to get this done. Look at an amazing example using Chicago divorce lawyer. Doing a search at Google for the phrase "chicago divorce lawyer" I did not find one, not a single law firm, in the first two pages of the search results. In fact there was only one in the sponsored adwords. The other listings were directories, firms not doing divorce or divorce law firms from thousands of miles away from Chicago.

So over 36,000 times this next year a search for Chicago divorce lawyer will be done. Folks doing the search will find little of value. If I get my client into the top ten in the major search engine results, they are going to get clients. It's like having the only full page ad in the yellow pages under divorce law. My guess is that would cost about $60,000 while something like a niche blog site updated multiple times a week by someone you hire will cost less than $1,000 a month. You tell me what is a better buy.

Do some of this same testing for your practice areas and your locale. I think you'll be amazed at the opportunities lawyers are passing on - I can only assume out of ignorance.

May 3, 2004 in Search engine optimization | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.04.29

Keep those heroes in your thoughts and prayers

We're hiring student interns and employees from around the country to work at lexBlog. I love the energy students bring to new enterprises while at the same time think if you have a great place to work, it can be wonderful practical work experience for a student.

Yesterday, I was talking to a student from Montana State University in Bozeman. He loved what we were doing, the passion he saw via our site and wanted to help out. But did not think it would be fair to get started because he just got a call that he may be deployed to Iraq this summer. He's in the National Guard and already served in Bosnia. Though he would love to graduate in two more semesters and his wife being scared to death, he understands his commitment and is ready to serve again. I let him know we would be proud to have him on board and that my thoughts are with him.

We need to keep these men and women who serve our country in a time of war in our thoughts, hearts and prayers. But for their effort the things we take for granted would be at risk - flying from one city to the next, enjoying a sporting an event with tens of thousands of people and so much more that comes with an economy that benefits us all when we are free of the fear that immediately followed 9/11.

I do not know if I would have the courage they do. Growing up we discussed serving in Vietnam over the dinner table. It got to be very real when your birth date was assigned '81' by virtue of ping pong balls coming out of a machine like they do for lotteries these days. That meant my my draft status went from H1 to A1 and ribbing from classmates in my first semester at Notre Dame that I was on my way to Vietnam. I have to tell you that though I did not have anymore than fifteen bucks at anyone time, my thoughts were to hitchhike to Canada if D-day ever arose. Times may have been different in Vietnam days but the thought of dieing for your your country when you have your your whole life in front of you must be just as scary today.

So when you listen to Iraq news on the way home or read in your morning newspaper about a local soldier who was killed, pause for a second and remember what they are doing for you. When you are at work and not having a great day, think of those who are doing so much more - it helps me appreciate what I have.

April 29, 2004 in Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Search Engines Influence Consumer Research

The majority of North Americans use search engines for consumer research so states a focus group research product undertaken by the search marketing firm Enquiro. The results showed that 65% of North Americans use search engines to come to a purchasing decision.

The Search Engine News Journal reported on some of the more interesting findings of the study:

  • Search engines are much more likely to be used to research a purchase than to make the actual purchases, yet the majority of search marketing campaigns are aimed squarely at the purchaser.
  • Many search engine users are still drawn first to the traditional, free search listings, rather than the sponsored ones. This tendency was most noticeable in Google users, where the sponsored listings have always been clearly labeled.

I found also found it interesting to read that at the prompting of consumer advocate Ralph Nader The Federal Trade Commission has warned many search providers that sponsored listings have to be clearly marked on the search results page.

This is big news for blogs. One, blogs do incredibly well in search engines. This success is achieved without buying sponsored listings in the search engine results - and that's the place folks are looking at. I always thought people had banner and sponsored listings blindness. Heck, I always thought less of companies buying sponsored listings when they did not also come up in the free results - just showed me they did not know what they were doing with net marketing or that they did not care. Whether they were in the net marketing business or not, I want folks that try to achieve some level of professional excellence in all they do.

Second, people do research on the search engines before making a buy. They may not hire a lawyer over the net - that's expected, they'll call or come in and meet first. But if you're a lawyer - you gotta be there at the top of search engines and have a credible appearance when folks click to your site. There just is no better way to do both than with a blog.

April 29, 2004 in Search engines | Permalink | Comments (0)

2004.04.19

NY Times reports law blog nets California lawyer huge marketing returns

This morning's New York Times, in an article about making money by blogging reports a California lawyer has generated incredible new business by publishing a blog for the last eight months.

J. Craig Williams, a lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., began his Web log, MayItPleaseTheCourt.net, in August. He said his postings, which focus on his particular area of law, have brought him hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of legal business.

That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars - six figures - in new business in less than a year folks. This type of evidence should begin to silence those who say lawyer blogs do not work as a means to market the lawyers services.

I agree with the New York Times report from BloggerCon II, a blogging conference held at Harvard over the weekend, that most people who publish blogs do not do so for money. But last I heard, practicing law was a business. As with any business, marketing is important. If there is a more cost effective means of lawyer marketing than running a blog site on the Internet, I have not seen it.

April 19, 2004 in Blog success stories, Blogs in the news | Permalink | Comments (1)