Nov 16 2006 at 2:34pm
We see it all the time in the forums: someone shows up asking all kinds of questions about SEO and promotion but the site is terribly designed. Or, on the opposite side, someone asks for a design review but clearly has absolutely no concept of SEO or marketing. You tell them they need to get some keywords in their title tag and they give you the equivalent of a blank stare
You see this in the blogging world as well. I’m not going to name any names but you can probably think of examples. Great designers who blog a lot about design issues, or web standards, or usability but never mention SEO or marketing or link to sites of that genre. They don’t even seem to consider the relationship between the two. The opposite is true as well (although IMO not to the same extent – I get the impression that a lot of the SEO bloggers I read do recognize the importance of good design).
Obviously people are going to blog about their areas of expertise, and that’s great. But why no intersection between design and marketing? In some cases I even detect some disdain on the part of designers for marketing (and vice versa). I think the web standards people could make a much bigger impact if they could convince people that standards compliance is good for SEO for example (which some SE experts are starting to understand).
Here’s an illustration:
(I’m not quite sure how programmers would fit into that. I think marketers and designers generally have a healthy respect for programming. We know when we need it and that we’re not able to do it ourselves and therefore we need to hire a programming whiz ot do it. There might be a little more animosity the other way around, and a bit of a need to know more about where the other is coming from.)
I can also see why beginners, like those who come to our forum, have this kind of a gap in their knowledge. They get online and want to build a site because they want to design something, create some content, or market something/make money. The content people often fall on one side or the other and sometimes understand the balance. It’s the others who don’t seem to seek out resources about other aspects of web development. They just look for information that will lead them to their goal. The problem is that these sites do not lead them to information that will help them with the other part of the equation. These spheres of content almost seem to operate independently of each other. They don’t reach out and try to close the gap.
Just as I was composing this post a couple of interesting articles came up. Oliver at iA has a rambling post that touches on the relationship between usability and branding, and how different minds need to come together (at least I think that’s what he’s saying!). Rand at SEO Moz wrote yesterday about multiheaders as a growing trend in web design. This wouldn’t be especially notable unless you’re aware that Rand is an SEO expert, not a designer. And yet this post shows a clear appreciation for design and the impact it has on marketing.
So there you have it. Do you need to improve your knowledge of marketing or design? Do you consider the other side when you are working on a project? Do you work closely with the other or read blogs in that genre? I know that for a long time I was one of those designers who had some disdain for marketing. Now I’m starting to learn a lot more about it and findind that the “white hat” people have a lot of really valuable things to say, even from a designer’s perspective.