Bob Ambrogi is one of the giants in the world of lawyers’ use of the Internet – it almost seems like he might have written the first of his columns on legal websites before the first legal website appeared.
I’ve mentioned and recommended the new edition of Bob’s book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web. On Bob’s blog, LawSites, Bob has been posting about some of the five star sites Bob covers in his book. Bob offers a unique perspective because of his long-term view and his evaluations carry a lot of wight with me. I thoroughly recommend visiting his blog and subscribing to his feed to gain the benefit of his wise counsel.
As I’ve seen Bob comment on some of the 5-star sites, I’ve seen some of the best of the history of the legal presence on the Internet. I cannot imagine any longtime Internet users looking for legal information who does not have good experiences and good feelings about sites like LLRX.com, LawPeriscope, Hieros Gamos, and other sites Bob has and will mention.
Bob’s posts, however, got me thinking about the blogging world’s phenomenon of breathlessly announcing any new blog as soon as it appears. I call it the “curse of the new.”
I was cleaning out my newsreader (FeedDemon) the other day and noticed that a good number of blogs that got announced all over the place on their launches withered away and disappeared in a relatively short time.
On the other hand, the tried and true, highly valuable blogs roll along steadily for years, never experiencing the “buzz” or high-profile “launch” that almost any random new blog gets.
Let me be clear that the launch of some new blogs, because of their authors, deserves a lot of attention. For example, I was thrilled to learn that David Allen had launched his own blog. Blawg Channel, for example, probably deserved the number of mentions it got, but we still have to prove that we can do it for the long haul and continue to create a high-value blog. In other words, we have to earn your trust.
As many of us know, some blogs are launched after receiving paid-for advice to “get the major blogs to mention your blog and you’ll shoot up to the top rankings in search engines.” I so dislike this “take, not give” approach to blogging that I adopted my “new blog mentioning policy.” By the way, the policy was a great success – no one asks me to announce their blogs any more or, if they make initial inquiries, I don’t hear back from them after I refer them to my policy. This result doesn’t surprise me. However, I can tell you that there are some new blawgs that are posting at such a level of quality that they are getting onto my radar screens and I know I’ll soon be linking to their posts on a regular basis.
Other blogs launch with great ideas and expectations, which are never met. I’ve mentioned new blogs in the past that have disappeared, with the only remains of their presence being the glowing praise I gave to them when they launched.
Bob reminded me that it’s better to honor the veterans, those who have earned their chops, show long-term commitment and consistently offer great information and hig quality. They are so solid and consistent that you start to take them for granted. That’s unfortunate. If you want a perfect example of this type of blog, look no further than BeSpacific.com, a blog that legal bloggers admire for Sabrina’s consistency and consummate professionalism.
The sad thing I’ve noticed is that some people new to the world of lawyer blogging have never heard of blogs like BeSpacific.com. Instead, their news aggregators may be filled with new blogs, which is not a bad thing in itself, but lack blogs that I consider to be bedrock legal blogs.
That bothers me. Maybe it shows that I’m getting older. But Bob is on to something important.
So, I’m announcing a new feature of this blog where I’ll highlight the core legal blogs that meet my definition of excellence. Some have been around for a long time; some might not have been around quite so long. All have histories of providing valuable content. I could (and perhaps should) link to posts from these blogs at least once a week, or maybe even to every post. These bloggers should be household names, but many of them get overlooked on lists of legal blogs.
If my blog has the power to increase search engine rankings (and it does), then I want to use it in a way that benefits my friends who have been running consistently great blogs.
I use the term “my friends” because part of the magic of blogging is that I now know and communicate regularly with the bloggers I most admire. That’s an amazing benefit of blogging. It’s also true that I’ve known some of these bloggers since the earliest days of lawyers having websites.
I’m tentatively calling this feature “Essential Blawgs.” I’ll post about each Essential Blawg in an individual post. If you guessed that BeSpacific.com might be the first one I’ll cover, I suspect that you might be right.