A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, LexBlog used Get Satisfaction to manage our knowledge base and community portal (then named “Reach”). The implementation was clunky, requiring users to create dual user profiles on their sites and inside this other application. Moreover, there were no ties between the content in the knowledge base and the people that were helping clients find answers to questions, so there was little incentive as an employee to know or contribute to the content.

As I’ve mentioned in my past few posts, a huge reason LexBlog moved to using Zendesk’s suite of products was the consolidation of systems and processes. Instead of having three products from different companies that don’t talk to each other to manage one thing (support and project management) we now have a variety of integrated tools. A benefit to being in the Zendesk ecosystem is that these tools are fairly technically advanced, allowing us to tie a WordPress user to a Zendesk profile and supporting single sign-on into LexBlog’s support center where you can see all of your submitted tickets and interactions with our team since we’ve been using Zendesk’s ticketing system. For our support team this also means that all of the content from support center is at their fingertips each time they answer a question from a customer, and a new question can easily turn into a support center article.

While this has significantly streamlined our support processes from the Get Satisfaction days to today, we took things a step further when redesigning the support center. While the content has been available to anyone with a link to the support center for several years now, we had not allowed search engines to index anything. As a part of continuing to open LexBlog’s doors to all legal bloggers, we thought it was about time to take that step so that now anyone can search for the content on the web and find their way to the LexBlog support center. Community posts, profiles, and other private information will remain that way, but all articles written by LexBlog will be indexed by search engines from here on out.

A lot of the content now is there to aid in making our customers successful in using our software, but as we expand that content to include more information on blogging and social media, others that are starting up a legal blog may find it a useful resource. A key challenge for LexBlog (one among many!) is helping to raise the level of discourse on the web for lawyers and law firms – regardless of whether or not you publish with LexBlog – and this is one small step of many in doing just that.

As a Business Development Manager at LexBlog, I’m regularly talking with new and existing customers. One topic that has come up twice in the last week was about GDPR and what LexBlog is doing as we approach the May 25th, 2018 deadline when GDPR will go into effect.

We live in a world where everything revolves around data. From visiting websites, using an app or going shopping, our personal data is being collected. This is why GDPR was created.

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation is intended to give individuals more control over their data within the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

Under the terms of GDPR, organizations have to ensure that personal data is gathered legally and under strict conditions. Those who also collect and manage the data will also have to protect it from misuse and exploitation or face penalties for not doing so.

If your organization operates in the EU or offers goods and services to customers or businesses in the EU then GDPR applies to you.

What we are doing at LexBlog

LexBlog is working with our counsel on compliance with the GDPR, and our email service provider for the blogs, MailChimp, is as well.

As far as cookies go, we provide a cookie disclaimer as a feature option on Apple Fritter. Please feel free to take a look at huntonimmigrationlawblog.com for an example of our cookie disclaimers.

We can’t provide legal advice for GDPR and compliance as this also depends on our customers’ use of the platform and subscriber data. However, we can outline how the email system currently works so you can determine with your attorneys if you would like to make any changes to the blog emails:

  1. A user enters their email address in a subscribe form on the sidebar of your blog. Disclaimer text may be added below the subscribe form.
  2. The user is sent an email asking to click a link to confirm their subscription to your blog. The text in this email can be changed upon request.
  3. When a user clicks the confirmation link, they are added to your subscriber list, taken to a thank you page, and sent a welcome email. The text in this email can be changed upon request.
  4. In each email notification they are sent, they can click a link to Unsubscribe to stop receiving emails or Update their subscription by changing their email address.
  5. A user may also unsubscribe by contacting you, LexBlog or MailChimp. They will receive a confirmation email of their unsubscription. They won’t be sent any email unless they subscribe again, but a record of their subscription will remain in the database.
  6. A user or your firm may contact LexBlog or MailChimp to be deleted from the subscriber list, in which case they won’t receive any more emails, and they will be removed from the database.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to our support team at success@lexblog.com

When I moved to Seattle and began working at LexBlog as a full-time Account Manager in the summer of 2013, one of the first things I began doing was organizing my inbox in a way that would let me easily find a certain class of questions  and answers. This was primarily because at that time, LexBlog had no central repository of documentation for publishers using our platform. In this world, questions were a dime a dozen, but answers were in short supply or trapped in the brains of long-time LexBlog employees. Fortunately, the same or similar questions would come up time and time again, and each new question would get tagged and organized in a way that let me find it and other similar questions so that the next time it came up, the answer was just a few clicks away.

This might seem like a product piece for Gmail (it’s not, but Gmail sure is swell!), but far from it. This was an onerous, time-consuming process for all parties involved. On my end, my inbox was a mess, with emails from dozens of customers every day asking me how to do something when just the day before a colleague of theirs at the firm had asked the same question. Meanwhile, our customers were wondering how to do something and, finding no resources at their disposal, would email yours truly and wait patiently for a reply. When an employee at a firm would leave, someone new would take on the responsibility of managing the site and have to relearn everything on the fly.

We made it through those days through the power of fantastic employees who were truly dedicated to answering questions thoroughly and with a smile on their face. LexBlog is a company that prides itself on providing top-notch service and support, and it was (and still is) a necessity to be quick, nimble, and thoughtful, but things have gotten considerably better over the years. Those same great employees still exist, but our systems and knowledge management tools are considerably different.

Continue Reading A New Set of Tools for LexBlog’s Support Center

Rather than a marketing company or a company selling marketing solutions, why not create a publication?

A publication that builds a legacy brand. A publication that carries on for years, the way we have seen newspapers, magazines and trade journals do for decades — until the net.

LexBlog was started as a company that “built blogs for lawyers.” The blogs were and are used by lawyers and law firms for marketing. Marketing in the sense that one built a name and relationships from blogging.

What if LexBlog were a publication with contributors as lawyers looking to market themselves – to build a name and build relationships.

Publishing models founded on paying reporters and editors and selling advertisements for revenue are failing. But what if as opposed to paying contributors, they paid you?

Not a lot, maybe $50 per month (unless you are looking for more). Why would they pay? For the same reason thought leaders write for the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Bloomberg.

But here, all of the contributions, in addition to being published in LexBlog, would be published and archived on independent publications/blogs with a title, branding and domain in the name of the respective contributor(s).

Unlike other publishers and distribution services, canonical tags would tell search engines that this independent publication/blog serves as the original or primary site and that the piece on LexBlog is a duplicate.

The model would include satellite publications so that contributors’ pieces could be published in niche publications, such as Pharmaceutical AI or Michigan State University Law Today (alumni, professors, students).

LexBlog as a publication would exist not to shine a light on itself, but to shine a light on its contributors.

The publication exists to intelligently and professionally aggregate for ease of reading and discovery. Editors will curate and display/report contributions of value. It’s not a pay for play.

Just thinking out loud here. Am I nuts?

Have you ever visited your blog and something looked funny or broken?
How about when LexBlog support told you we updated something but when you looked at your blog you don’t see the update there?

Before you send an email to support or pick up the phone, you should try clearing your browser cache. I’m not kidding!

What the heck is browser caching?

Browser caching is your web browser trying to be helpful and increase the load time of a website you have visited. When you visit a website for the first time you might notice it takes a second for the page to load, then when you visit the website again it loads instantly. This is because you browser has saved a record of the HTML, CSS, Images, and even JavaScript files so that the next time you visit the page all of the site’s assets don’t need to reload.

If you don’t see the changes/updates that were just made to your website, browser caching is usually the culprit!

Refresh arrows vivid colored flat icons in curved borders on white background
Clear the cache!

For tech support folks browser caching is pretty much the bane of our existence because it’s such a commonly missed step when trying to troubleshoot a website browser issue.  With nearly every support ticket I find myself asking clients if they cleared their browser cache as a first step, or reminding clients they need to clear their cache to see the changes in their browser. I’m not trying to be annoying, it really does fix the issue most of the time!

Not sure how to clear your browser cache? We have a support center doc just for you!

I’d say I’m pretty tech savvy (for a marketer), but from time to time I get stumped. Like the time I tried to install a fancy wifi system in my home. Tech support was summoned. So when I ran into an issue with our Live Chat widget yesterday, I figured it was me. Again.

We just rolled out a new feature for our customers on the Premier Managed Platform. Customers on Premier are managing multiple blogs with many email subscribers. In the past, a site administrator would have to visit each blog dashboard to receive their email subscriber lists. With this update, they can download all subscriber lists at once, saving a lot of time and effort.

I was excited to get the word out and used our Live Chat widget to pop up and alert users to the update while they were working on the dashboard. This form of communication can be great— the first time. The second, third and fourth time, however, is just annoying. We discovered quickly that the widget was popping up every time a user logged in, pretty much ruining my intent of communication.

When I reached out to tech support, I figured the problem had a simple solution. I was missing some step in setting up a proper trigger. But what we discovered was…a bug! And they’re still troubleshooting. Admittedly, I am kind of proud we discovered it.

I’m still waiting to hear if LexBlog will get our bug bounty. In the meantime, I am enjoying this moment until I inevitably cause a problem for myself that only tech support can solve.

Our Product Development team is always busy baking donuts, aka creating new products. Many of these products are feature enhancements to our digital publishing platform known as Apple Fritter. With all the effort that goes into creating some of these new features, sometimes customer adoption can be the biggest challenge.

When developing and then marketing a new feature, we often make assumptions about the best way to use a product and how it will best benefit our customers. But after a number of conversations, I learned that simply talking to them— hearing their daily challenges, individual strategies, how blogging fits into their big picture— that alone was one of the most valuable tools for understanding what our customers need next. Seth Godin famously said:

You don’t find customers for your products. You find products for your customers.

Last month, along with the help of our Director of Product, Jared Sulzdorf, we got on the phone and started asking our customers lots of questions. The fact that they took the time to offer their opinion alone was great. But the little nuggets of insight we received was even better. What did we hear consistently from customers?

  • Lawyers who make blogging a daily practice saw consistent, positive results.
  • Larger firms report on blog performance regularly, so having useful reporting tools is critical. Guides on making the most of the reporting tools are also very helpful.
  • There is value in networking among LexBlog authors— new bloggers are looking for mentors and seasoned bloggers are always willing to share their experiences and best practices.
  • Law firms are very busy (surprise!), so offering just 15 minutes to demonstrate a new tool in addition to support documents can go a long way to help out. For some folks, a quick demo is preferred over reading through a document.
  • Blog posts are often leveraged beyond the initial post— finding ways to give your article more legs is a value-add for writing.
  • Blogging shows its success in many ways beyond revenue. Firms reported referral work, media interviews, relationship building with clients, and positioning themselves as practice area experts among colleagues.

Now that we have received all this feedback, we can begin to implement new practices and communication to support the needs of our current customers and help new ones be better set up for success. Most importantly, I learned that this type of flow of communication should never stop.