Guest blogger Jon Ivanco makes observations from his research of the blogs of the AmLaw 101-200 Last week I was tasked with creating a list of all the blogs that were run by AmLaw firms numbered 101-200. I visited every firm’s website one by one to see what blogs they were currently publishing to the public. This was a nightmare. Blogging by and large is not prominently displayed on the vast majority of their websites.
The concept behind creating content for people to read and gain knowledge relies on their ability to find it. Content should be easily accessible when navigating these websites. It does not strike me as being too difficult to accomplish this; every website had a newsletter or publications tab, yet only about one-third of the sites had a direct link to their blog(s).
I could say that this is unacceptable, I could call this ridiculous, but even that would be insufficient.
In today’s world, your website is your business card. Your website defines who you are and what you are all about. It tells the consumer if you are organized, what you are proud of, and how you go about doing your business and getting results. Your blog on your website allows the consumer to get to know your staff at a level normally not available through the traditional avenues. It allows the consumer to get exposure to your attorney’s writing and their ability to organize their thoughts on a topic and their literary style, all of which are important facets of a career as an attorney. The blog is a real example of what lawyers are doing and a great way to understand their style in presenting issues.
I will give some credit, all firms had a search function, and it was useful. However, if I have to search for “blog” and “blogs” to find your lawyer’s contributions of knowledge on a subject, you are failing the average consumer. My methods as a seasoned web browser point me to two places if I am looking for something on your site, the sitemap, and the search box. Between these two methods, I get access to just about everything you show to the public intentionally. When this fails, I really have to ask some questions.
As a final check, I used another source that listed some blogs belonging to the firm’s websites. I found blogs I had missed. These blogs were being produced by these firms who I had searched meticulously using keywords and combed through their sitemaps to locate any mention of “blog”. Still, they were missed. Please fix this, you are only hurting yourselves.
I feel that I need to mention one firm with specificity, Fox Rothschild (http://www.foxrothschild.com/). As a result of Fox Rothschild’s clear and well-designed site, they were rewarded by Google. The Google Search result for Fox Rothschild follows (note the red circle):
Not only does Fox Rothschild have a link to blogs in their Google Search result, but they have it prominently situated on their website as well, “Blogs” is a menu tab.
As if it couldn’t get any better, rather than buying obscure domain names, they decided to subdomain all their blogs. What I mean is instead of www.theamazinglyinterestingsecuritiesblog.com, they have instead branded their blogs in the easy to find format, for example: artlaw.foxrothschild.com. By using subdomains they keep their firm’s brand front and center and have flexibility in naming their blogs anything they like. This method allows for consistency across all of the twenty-six blogs they publish. Other firms should take note and follow this example as a means of streamlining their content to a growing contingent of more educated consumers.[In my column this week in the National Law Journal I mentioned blogging as a great way for small firms to gain valuable “digital real estate,” but as Jon points out in this article, having blogs isn’t as much of a benefit if they are too difficult to find.]
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