The “Internet Marketing Attorney” is the pen name of Micah Buchdahl, an attorney who runs www.internetmarketingattorney.com. The site is a resource for lawyers to market their services and firms. The site hosts the Internet Marketing Attorney Awards, and the Nifty 50 Web Site Review. Buchdahl also has a blog, www.MarketingAttorney.com. On the blog, he often answers reader questions.
Buchdahl is involved in HTMLawyers Inc, but the Internet Marketing Attorney site appears to be intended to be helpful, forthright and informational rather than an attempt to ham-handedly steer potential customers toward his consulting services. In fact, the site doesn’t allow advertising sponsorship or vendor affiliations at all. In effect, Buchdahl has created a helpful, well thought out, informative site, not a sales pitch. This in itself is good Internet marketing strategy and suggests Buchdahl probably knows what he’s doing in terms of marketing law firms and lawyers on the Internet.
Micah’s Nifty 50
Micah’s Nifty 50 was introduced in January 2001 and is now a reference source for successful law firm web sites. Inclusion in the “50” doesn’t necessarily mean the site is outstanding, but rather that it has an outstanding feature or component. The list is updated periodically, with previous lists still available online. The site now has over 200 examples.
The Internet Marketing Attorney ranks the websites of the 250 largest law firms in the United States. The sites are reviewed by surfing each site for an average of 20 minutes and then evaluating them. The top 30 sites are awarded. The awards are: The top ten are platinum, next ten gold, and the last ten, silver.
And The Winner Is…
He evaluates the sites by giving them numerical scores on a scale of 1 to 10 in various categories, and generally avoids giving out a ten—or a zero—unless it is really, really deserved, and describes five as a solid average. The categories are:
- Design, which encompasses the look and feel of the site, not just the graphics. Not surprisingly, some of the most effective designs had few graphics. After all, they’re selling legal services, not flash animation.
- Content, including attorney bios, practice area descriptions and publications
- Usability, which basically has to do with how easily a user can find what they’re looking for. Consistent navigation is the lynchpin of this category. He considers usability, sensibly enough, from the point of view of those who most likely would use the site.
- Interactivity had to at least include a bunch of email links. Good online forms help improve the score as well
- He also rates the sites for intangibles. Obviously, that is highly subjective. An example of an intangible that matters is smart domain name use.
- These scores were then added up. Many firms, not surprisingly, tied, with top tier being in the 40s. He also reviews and rates mid-sized and smaller firms.
The reviews are limited to brief synopses. Buchdahl states that he put more than 150 non-billable hours over the course of six months into the process. Now, my brief review of Buchdahl’s site: Internet Marketing Attorney is a useful tool for law firms trying to market themselves on the net.