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ingratebriton - Web Gurus

Marketing and generalisations

Gurus generally sound like they are making sense. They are in the business of self-promotion; it (and public speaking) is what they are good at. That's what you buy when you employ one. They are specialist consultants who like to talk almost exclusively about their own ideas, from which they rarely waver.

Popular at the moment amongst deluded, lost-for-ideas, senior managers is the notion that everything they have buggered-up can be made better by a consistent corporate image, a new web strategy and better online content control. The personality types attracted to the most senior roles, being predominately narcissistic, have no interest in detail and have no care for accuracy, and have budgets they are only qualified to waste. It's a recipe for lining the pockets of Web Content and SEO Gurus and for doubling the workload of hard-pressed content providers. Sometimes it is a recipe for redundancy and web content centralisation. Both are almost always detrimental to the level of service quality experienced by the end user. If the money spent on the running of the Big Brother branding and web-content chiefs was instead spent at the coal face, web-provision would be expert and better targetted. My golden rule for web/paper/word-of-mouth based information provision, is that unless you are directly selling an idea, product or service for cash money - more is better. More is more and less is less and people need definitive, accurate and comprehensive information, albeit easily navigated and organised. They need a triumph of substance over style, which is easily achieved cheaply. This is unacceptable to narcissitic senior managers with a role to justify, a budget to match and a hungry paranoia habit to feed.

The web content gurus are only making sense when they are talking to the peddlars of anything you can buy online. It is just a catalogue, price, description, and a little small print. It needs to be easy to find on your site and your site needs to be easy to find from somewhere else. So far, so obvious. If you are a large organisation, say government, your customers need accurate, often detailed information and the presentation of it cannot always be the same. When the deluded managers misunderstand that the gurus make the bulk of their wedge from wafting their blindingly obvious common sense in front of the peddlars of wares, they wrongly apply the ideas everywhere. Its the web init.

The branding mob may well employ design graduates who are good at adding the bling but they are also increasingly guilty of assuming they understand all the content and it's raison d'être. The policy makers above them are happy to encourage this self-deception. It's bound to be more efficient, surely? Good web design should be able to accomodate a corporate image, trendy enough looks without compromising content. The appearance of the soundbite as content sustitute on sites customers expect to find information is a rapidly spreading pandemic. It is directly related to the general dumbing down of western culture and probably beyond. Stupid management in business, education, NGOs, charities and life is a self-fullfilling viscious circe. We have to keep-it-simple without being simple. There is no one-size-fits-all and if it ain't broke don't fix it. Duhh!

The shiny new car we buy is the bees knees until it gets its first scratch. The novelty always wears off and to paraphrase some metaguru somewhere, changing your website again and again will not fix the underlying problem. This, of course, is exacerbated by the senior manager in charge, assuming they have a limitless understanding of the entire organisation. The web guru they consulted along the way has gone and doesn't care, and probably never did.

SEO, incidentally, is completely irrelevant anywhere other than in the sales environment. Everywhere else, the 'customer/client' knows how to find your site!

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