It was bound to happen: I disagree with Seth Godin.

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Like tens — or hundreds — of thousands of others, I read Seth Godin’s blog religiously. I advise clients who blog or wish to blog but don’t yet read any blogs (a contradiction about which I’ve ranted here and here) to read Seth Godin’s blog religiously.

And I usually agree substantially and enthusiastically with his insights.

This caught my eye

So you can imagine my eagerness this morning when I saw in my newsfeed that the title of today’s article was How to make a website: a tactical guide for marketers.

Seth Godin Blog Capture

This much I do agree with:

Every website is a marketing effort. Sooner or later, your site involves an interaction with a user, and that interaction won’t be 100% technical. You have to sell the engagement, the interaction and the story you have in mind. While websites have always involved technology, the tech is secondary to your ability to get your point across.

Seth on the role of marketing teams

Then he recommends that marketing teams — whose members, he stresses, are usually amateurs — use a function-follows-form approach to create the blueprint for a Web site.

He essentially encourages these (amateur) members of the marketing team to browse the Web and create an electronic scrapbook of the elements (navigation menus, home pages, shopping carts, fonts, colors, etc.) they like — with screen captures and/or pieces created by a professional graphic designer serving as a sketch artist.

And then (emphasis added):

Now you have a powerful tool. You can use it in presentations, in meetings and even test it with users, all before you do any coding at all. Once you’ve shared this with the team, the question is simple, “if our website works just like this, do you approve of it?.” Don’t start coding until the answer is yes.

I think Seth has it backwards.

Certainly the marketing team needs to assert what they like and want.

But the job of analyzing and synthesizing those likes and wants — and creating the ultimate blueprint for an up or down vote — belongs to professionals who are looking at the bigger picture. Professionals who are guided by the principle that form follows function and who take the overall content and functional goals of the Web site into consideration.

Aside: How David could beat Hilary

In the show, Love it or List it, Hilary Farr doesn’t send a committee of amateurs to BED BATH & BEYOND to pick out the things they like for the home she’s trying to persuade the homeowers to stay in. If she did, she’d lose every time to co-host and realtor David Visentin.

In closing

I’m just saying.

Maybe you disagree with me. Maybe you think I misread Seth. Maybe you agree with me. Don’t be shy. Join the conversation.

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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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