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Site Evolution and Tools
Over time, visitors to this site have wanted to know how this site is created and maintained and whether we have any recommendations for specific software that they should use. While we can't provide specific recommendations without knowing the particulars of your situation, we are happy to provide an overview of how this site is created, what software we use, and what our experience has been.
RedStreet.Net Web hosting service).Statistics. We rely on WebTrends Log Analyzer Pro to evaluate our site's effectiveness and prepare monthly reports about how much traffic our site is getting.Advertising. Please see our page on Advertising that addresses this issue.Privacy. If you are interested in hearing from us when we update the site, or when we add new information to the site, please fill out our contact form and make sure the box labeled "Add me to your list" is checked. We do not sell our list to any third parties.
- Database. Almost every piece of content (1000+ reviews, 150+ articles) lives in a FileMaker Pro database designed by RedStreet. Originally written as a Mac-only application, FileMakerPro is now the best cross-platform database available. Since some RedStreet employees work on Macs and others work on PCs, it was important to find a solution that allowed everyone to use the data without having to convert it. FileMakerPro databases are remarkably simple to set up, powerful in operation, and can accommodate tremendous amounts of data. We use BBEdit and custom-developed scripts to manipulate and export the data from the database into templates designed with Fusion (see below).
- Web Design. Two early versions of RedStreet's web site relied on Microsoft FrontPage for site design. FrontPage is versatile program (especially the recently released FrontPage 2000), yet we had grown beyond its capabilities and needed something with more control. We eventually chose NetObjects Fusion 3.0, both because of its cross-platform operability (it too allows both Mac and PC users to work on the same file) and its phenomenal control over page layout. Simply put, the current version of the site would not be possible without Fusion's pixel-level control.
- Graphic Design. Kendra Lavery at aRk Design in Portland, Oregon, is responsible for all graphic design on this website. She is excellent at what she does, and is a pleasure to work with. You can contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Web Hosting. We host our site ourselves (through our
Experience has taught us that there are three primary groups interested in the information at RedStreet's website:
1. Law Firm Marketing Professionals. We try to provide you with information about the importance of the Internet in light of law firm marketing, whether you are an in-house marketing director or an outside marketing consultant. Maybe you've received an assignment to either update the website (or to create one from scratch) and you're concerned about how to do it right. Maybe you want to keep an eye on your competition. Or perhaps you're just looking to learn more about the Internet. Whatever the reason, you'll find plenty of information here to keep you busy.
2. Lawyers. As more law firms figure out how to effectively use the Internet in their practice, there is an increased need for high-quality information that informs practicing attorneys what they should expect to get out of the Internet. While this site is not intended as a tutorial in Internet use (you'd be better off buying Jerry Lawson's excellent book, The Complete Internet Handbook for Attorneys), it is geared to be an overview of what the legal profession is doing online today and our opinions on what has been successful.
3. Web Designers. Designing websites for lawyers is a tricky job. And if you're a Web designer trying to create a site for a law firm for the first time, you'd be wise to spend some time browsing our site to see what firms have done - and what has worked (or failed, as the case may be). The reviews on our site provide a comprehensive look at what has worked - and what hasn't - and might help you avoid making costly mistakes.
There is a lot of content here, too much to consume at one sitting. We've tried to organize it so that it's easy to take in pieces. The major sections of this site are:
- Reviews. The first and most substantial section of our site, the reviews encompass more than four years of work and total over 1000 written reviews of law firm websites. We update our reviews twice each year, once in the spring/early summer for the small and mid-sized firms, and once in the fall/early winter for the NLJ 250.
- Museum. What started as a side project in 1998 has grown into an enormous resource. The Museum boasts copies of the home pages of every site we've ever reviewed (so you can see what it looked like when we reviewed it), as well as numerous other legal "landmarks" (including copies of RedStreet founder Erik Heels's book The Legal List). If you want to learn more about the legal profession's long history with the Internet, the Museum is the place to go.
- Publications. In addition to the book we wrote for the American Bar Association in 1998, we have scores of articles about law and technology. Available in their entirety for the first time online, our 150+ articles (dating back to 1994) are now published in our Publications section.
- Other Sections. Recognizing that many of you are interested in information relating to legal marketing, we decided to form a partnership with Amazon.com, through which we offering books and software.
As with any publication, it is important to disclose our editorial policy. RedStreet Inc. was founded by two lawyers with extensive backgrounds in technology who have more than 25 combined years on the Internet. Our reviews are intended to be educational and are not intended to provide a qualitative analysis of one site with respect to another. We will correct any factual errors contained in reviews that existed as of the time of the reviews, but we will not modify any reviews after their publication date for any reason. For more on our reviews methodology, please visit our FAQ. If we have a prior relationship with the firm being reviewed, we will disclose that relationship on the same page as the review. If you have any questions about this, please contact us.
A Little History
RedStreet's website first went live on 05/19/97. This is the fourth revision of the site running on our fourth server. With each revision, we have aimed to learn from our past mistakes and organize the site to make navigation easier and the content more appropriate. It's an ongoing process. In fact, we're already working on what we expect the fifth revission will be. Your suggestions are welcome, by the way.