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Consultwebs blog critique misguided

Web development companies regularly write articles on the value of blogs for legal marketing. They’re usually authored by someone who does not publish a blog, does not use a blog for marketing their own company, does not virally market their firm via the blogosphere and though well versed in facts as to why a blog may not be a good idea are not as well versed on facts supporting blogs for law firm marketing.

The latest of these articles comes from Dale Tincher of Consultwebs.com. Have to say Dale’s piece is much more well rounded than those from typical blog nay sayers.

Also let me preface my comments with a few points lest people will think this is one of those tit for tat things. I have heard a lot of legal marketing professionals complement Dale Tincher and Consultwebs.com’s work. So I have no doubt they do some wonderful Web development and Internet legal marketing work for firms. Second, Dale makes some good points about how blogs can be used in what appears, on the face of it, to be an attempt to write a well rounded article on blogs for his clients and prospective clients. Third, I turn law firms onto the use of law firm Web sites many times a week

But there’s a number of points where he is way off base and appears to be trying to scare law firms from using blogs, while at the same time saying they can be a good fit in some cases.


1. Internet users need not know they have arrived on a blog site for such a site to be an effective marketing tool. Dale goes to great lengths to site the Pew Internet & American Life Project of last year that an estimated 62% of Internet users did not know what a blog was. The fact is the vast majority of Internet users wouldn’t know a blog if it hit them in the face. People cannot tell the difference between a well designed blog and a Web site. Blogs are Web sites.

Look at Electronic Discovery Law or Search and Seizure Law. Internet users go to those sites and understand them to be Web sites – they’re blogs.

Internet users have no idea what a law firm Web site run on a data base driven content management tool is. Does that mean that such Web sites do not work for law firm marketing? Of course not.

2. Blogs, even without other marketing, bring in new business and revenue. Dale questions whether blogs bring in new revenue. No attempt was done to look for law marketing success stories from the use of blogs – and blogs only. I have a client who only markets via blog and has found more clients than any other marketing he tried in the previous 20 years. A bankruptcy lawyer I know is getting two to three calls a week on new cases as a result of his blog. Craig Williams was quoted in the New York Times that his blog has generated hundreds of thousands in new revenue.

I am sure Consultwebs.com has clients whose Web sites have drawn new work. However, the ability of blogs to quickly bring in new work should not be questioned when the subject has not been researched.

2. Lawyers need not spend huge amounts of time publishing blog content. The assertion that lawyers should plan to spend an hour a day on their blog is absurd. And frankly looks like a scare tactic. I have clients that post 2 to 3 entries a week and others that post 2 to 3 a month. Those entries also tend to be very short, a paragraph or two, 2 to 3 sentences each linking to a resource or item they wish to share with their target audience.

Taught how to use RSS for blog feeds and feeds of posts by keywords and key phrases, lawyers get all the content they need to blog about.

3. Lawyers are not likely to abandon blogs. Dale, implying that lawyers are not up to maintaining blogs for marketing, says the majority of blogs are abandoned within a year. The fact is that 85% of lawyer blogs started since 2002 are still going.

Tom Mighell, publisher of the Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter since 2000 and who has blogged about the Internet and legal technology at Inter Alia since August of 2002 reports he has been keeping track of new lawyer blogs through his ‘Blawg of the Day’ at Inter Alia since 2002.

During that time, I have tracked more than 500 law blogs, and I have also kept track of some 150+ other law blawgs through sites like Blawg.org and Blawg Republic. I was expecting to find a pretty high turnover rate among lawyer-bloggers, but that was not the case. Of the blawgs I have been tracking, almost 85% are still going strong.

4. A blog instead of a Web site can be an excellent way to market for solo’s and small law firms. Dale says “I cringe when I hear some consultants say that law firms should develop blogs instead of Websites.” He makes this assertion on the basis that blogs look worse, are less innovative and are generally more tech limited than Web sites. Done well, blogs have it over Web sites on all three points.

Of course a blog can look like the black and white hand outs Dale references. But so could a Web site. I also think blogs are viewed as a little more innovative than Web sites these days. Blog technology, though perhaps simple for our developers and programmers, is extremely flexible and can used in a lot of creative ways Web site technology cannot.

5. Blogs do perform well on search engines and it is not difficult to structure blog content for search engines. Dale says well done Websites are structured to appeal to search engines and while the same can be done for blogs, it is more difficult. His reasoning:

Potential clients do not type blog phrases into the search engines, they type the topic that has piqued their interest, e.g., (city or statename) personal injury lawyers, (city or statename) estate planning lawyers, business lawyers, car accident lawyers, etc. If you try some of these searches in Google, you will see that these queries rarely bring up blogs. Bear in mind that if the public can’t find you, they can’t read your blog and consider you.these queries rarely bring up blogs. Bear in mind that if the public can’t find you, they can’t read your blog and consider you.

Type in Atlanta Injury Lawyer on Google – Ken Shigley’s blog will be at or near the top. Type in IP litigation lawyer, IP Litigation Law Firm, IP Litigation – Mann Law Group, by virtue of their blog alone (updated about once or twice a month) is number one. Type in Seattle asbestos lawyer or Seattle mesothelioma lawyer at Google and Kevin Collucio, by virtue of his blog alone (not updated in nearly a year) will be number one. These are just a few of ours but check around the country and you’ll find lawyers blogs achieving outstanding search engine results at costs less than Web sites.

We set up blogs to achieve high search engine results, both with the software, the way we publish the original content and in the way we instruct clients what and how to blog.

6. Blog consultants often know much more about blogs, the use of the RSS, and effective PR and communications in today’s world of participatory journalism than Web developers and Internet marketing consultants. Web developers are good at what they do and have been doing for years. I also am certain these folks continue to learn more to serve their clients better in those respects.

However, law firms may be ill served to assume that information and advise on blogs from someone in the business of providing blog services on a full time basis is less reliable and trust worthy than that from a Web development consultant. Just like people higher lawyers because they specialize in the area for which they need help, law firms higher technology companies based on their expertise.

Like the hiring of any company, check out a blog service company’s reputation & references, talk to them, kick the tires, see if they offer a guarantee and see if what they have to say makes sense.

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