First ask why

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First Ask WhyYesterday I wrote about fellow WordPress designers/developers discussing the best way to automatically delete old posts from a blog.

My point yesterday was don’t. Don’t delete old posts from a blog. With very few exceptions, old posts have value, both for human readers and search engines.

Today I want to revisit that discussion, but from a different angle.

Today I hope to encourage my fellow techies to do something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us:

First ask why.

We love being right, accurate, and clever.

As techies, we pride ourselves on having answers and solutions. We like to be right, accurate, clever. Some of us could tell you how to build a watch — even if all you did was ask what time it is.

Professionals, regardless of their fields, don’t (or at least shouldn’t, IMHO) always do what their customers ask them to do just because they asked. Notwithstanding the old saying, customers are not always right. There, I said it.

Problems that aren’t problems

Too often — and especially in the peer-to-peer discussion forums I frequent — I observe fellow techies offering solutions to problems that aren’t problems and answers to questions that probably shouldn’t even be asked.

What the best way to add a blinking multi-colored scrolling popup marquis to my client’s Home page?

and

How can I prevent other Web sites from linking to my client’s Web site?

and finally

What’s the best way to automatically delete old posts from my client’s blog?

Instead of rushing to be the first with the best answer (if one even exists), let’s stop and first ask why.

Efficient !== Effective

Of course, the real problem isn’t with WordPress designers/developers chatting in discussion forums. The real problem is that we sometimes don’t push back with our customers when we should.

Being efficient is about doing a thing well, economically, quickly. Effectiveness is about doing the right thing. They’re not the same thing.

Unless we first ask why, we run the risk of efficiently doing the wrong thing.

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About JeffCohan.com

The nSiteful Tech Blog (the official blog of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. since January of 2013) is where I (Jeff Cohan) and (occasionally) associates will be posting articles of potential interest to like-minded techies, nSiteful clients who are playing active roles in the maintenance of their own Web sites and blogs, and pretty much anyone interested in how Web strategies and tools can help them reach their goals.

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About Jeff Cohan

Jeff and his wife, Margie, are the proud parents of Sarah and Jake. Jeff is the founder, president and chief cook and bottle washer of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc., a Web development and Internet Consulting firm. In his spare time, Jeff builds Web sites and Web applications, plays guitar, putters around in his basement woodworking shop, mercilessly spoils his grandchildren, and creates videos from more than two decades of home movies. His current video project is an extended montage of people (mainly family members) asking him to stop filming them.

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