Attracting readers for electronic disclosure

I do not have any sophisticated means of tracking the visitors to this blog, but WordPress shows me which pages have been read how many times and allows me to distinguish between real views and those made by crawlers and the like. The tracker which gives it its statistics is Google Analytics which is known to err (and sometimes seriously so) on the side of understating visitors. I am not here so much interested in absolute numbers as in relative ones – what posts encourage people in?

According to the under-counting Google Analytics, visitors have been running at an average of about 1350 per month or 45 per day. This is no doubt trivial compared with the Orange Rag, but Charles Christian writes on a wide range of subjects whereas I cover a very narrow niche (I also have a web site whose numbers I am not including here). I can assume that everyone who comes here intends to come here – you don’t wander into a site about e-Disclosure by accident. I can also assume that no-one reads the same article twice, and I can see that a reasonable number of hits derive from searches rather than from repeat visits by regular visitors.

I had 117 recorded page views yesterday, so well over twice the average. The most read ones were two articles on Women in e-Disclosure, the Epiq / Pinpoint story, and one about LDM and CaseMap. The searches included ones for companies (Marcus Evans, Caselogistix, Epiq, LDSI), people (Jason Velasco [of Merrill] and Nii Larnyoh [of OutIndex]). There were searches for relevant subjects (“commercial court disclosure statement”), and for my name and the name of the e-Disclosure Information Project.

The Epiq Systems story is the big news of the week, so it is not surprising to find that being read. The LDM / CaseMap story had two well-known names in its title and in its Categories, so is bound to attract interest. The interesting figure is the one about Women in E-Discovery.

Assuming, as I do, that this interest is genuine, and not from lonely men in search of document coders in provocative poses, what does it tell us? I suspect it signifies something I know from my years in software support – in litigation support as with driving in a strange area, men blunder about hoping to find the answer whilst women just get on and ask. I don’t much care anyway – all that matters is that the topic attracts readers.

Why does that matter? Well for one thing, I spend bloody hours each week writing this stuff, and it is good to know that someone reads it. For another, something called the E-Disclosure Information Project exists to spread information. Lastly, the Project sponsors got their logos in front of interested visitors at least 117 times yesterday. How many conferences must they sponsor, and at what cost, to get an equivalent exposure in a single day?

The qualification for being a sponsor, apart from being willing to pay for it, is having an interest in promoting knowledge of the wider subject, not just in shifting product. The rising graph of readership since this blog began does not just signify good search engine optimisation on my part, but a growing interest in the subject. There is a chicken and egg scenario here – the Information Project in all its forms – speaking, writing and mixing with interested people – is both a catalyst for change and a reporter on it.

Being a sponsor does not necessarily mean that what you do generates interesting copy. There is no automatic connection between the articles I write and those who sponsor me, partly because I am no one’s in-house magazine and partly because that would remove the breadth of subject-matter which attracts people in. Company news is generally easy stuff to write – edit the press release into plain English (why don’t they write plain English in the first place, one wonders?), add a summary which relates the new development to the needs of potential UK users (again, you would think they would find room for that in the press release) and away you go.

Very much harder is writing something accessible about the deeper issues. My post last night about the definition of a disclosable document (Relevant is irrelevant to standard disclosure) was not about technology but about the rules and practice which (as an aside in the last paragraph) the technology can help with. It involved reference to the current rules, the old rules, and to Lord Woolf’s report which brought us from one to the other, as a way of highlighting how narrow the present obligation really is. It took a long time to research and write, but will, I hope, be useful to readers who are not just out to buy software or services. They may come to that in due course. It had picked up five readers by 11:30, some of whom got there by searching for my name plus “court rules” or “e-discovery rules”.

If all this explanation as to why I write about these things looks a bit introverted, well, I think readers are entitled to know that I don’t sit in my Oxford ivory tower writing about the Commercial Court Recommendations entirely for pleasure (I do in fact enjoy it but there is a serious commercial purpose there as well). And if it looks like an advertisement for sponsorship from anyone interested in making litigation more cost-effective by better use of the rules, the practice and the technology, then that is exactly what it is.

If you would like to discuss any of these aspects – court rules, litigation practice, litigation support technology, search engine optimisation or sponsorship, please contact me.

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About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Case Management, CaseMap, Court Rules, Courts, CPR, Discovery, E-Discovery Suppliers, eDisclosure, eDiscovery, Epiq Systems, Litigation Support, SEO, Web Sites and Blogs. Bookmark the permalink.

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