If you listen you will realize that we had no idea what the true topic and direction was but that it was going to be a discussion on asking better questions, helping people online and in your company and really just being a good steward to others.

The initial idea came from a Reddit thread about Sitemap XML and how someone was struggling with an issue at their job. Most if not all the answers simply said X was dumb, why would you do that, and were really not productive. (Note – here is our episode on Guide to Sitemap XML and CMS)

Some of the suggestions people gave that maybe people thought they were helping but really they weren’t. Some of these answers are from other questions as well!

  • Just change the CMS
  • Have the developers use the API.
  • Sorry but If you are even considering doing X manually, then you don’t know what you are doing.
  • That CMS sucks.
  • Why don’t you just use X tool?
  • OMG I hate X!

Now there were some good and great responses but I am just focusing on those that were less than helpful.

We Need to Give More Details

If you are asking a question online somewhere (forum, group, Twitter, anywhere!!) give information. Tell us why and what and limitations and as much as you can. Digital Marketing is a Puzzle… let us know more than just one piece to help you solve it!

The more people know the more they can consider your resources and unique circumstances around your question. The more detail the more the answers may actually help you.

  • What brewery should I visit?
  • What CMS should I use?
  • What software for X should I use?
  • Where should I go to eat in (insert large city name here)?

We Need Ask More Questions

Instead of just spouting out that X is horrible or X is a bad solution ask questions. Ask questions to clarify why they are doing something or why they are trying to get to Point B. Ask about budget, resources, what they like, where they are – ask questions.

  • What brewery should I visit?
    • Where in the city will you be?
    • What type of beer do you like?
    • What type of beer do you hate?
    • How much time will you have?
  • What CMS should I use?
    • Are you demand gen, ecom or a publisher?
    • What is your budget?
    • What dev resources do you have?
    • What is your current tech stack look like?
  • What software for X should I use?
    • What is your budget?
    • What dev resources do you have?
    • How are you at using X?
  • Where should I go to eat in (insert large city name here)?
    • Where in the city?
    • What time?
    • What kind of food do you like?
    • What kind of food do you hate?
    • What is your budget and reason for going?

So many questions we can ask but also so much more detail people can and should give.

/End Dave Rant.

Full Transcript

] Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt  and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have you all join us on another one of these business of digital podcast episodes, and we’re as usual are going to just jump right into it. And so, uh, this is one that, uh, that, uh, that they’ve been wanting to jump into and.

He loves, you know, when management is wrong, actually, I don’t know that that’s true or not. Uh, but, uh, we are going to be jumping into, um, a discussion today related to site maps and management. And, uh, I’m going to let Dave just go ahead and jump in and start us off.

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:44] This is, it’s a weird twisty. Like how did Dave get from.

What he found in red too. What the heck? Yes. I’m

Matt Siltala: [00:00:53] still trying to figure that

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:56] to the point where I thought, um, that [00:01:00] it was just completely wrong. Like I was like, these are the worst examples and the worst things. What the heck was I thinking? Like I thought I screwed up my Excel or my Google sheets, which

Matt Siltala: [00:01:10] it was just that bad.

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:12] No, it’s not that bad. Um, Cause I just thought it was like me going on a rant against, you know, site maps and stuff. But what’s interesting is it was a Reddit thread on, um, the SEO topic. And someone asked a question about creating a site map for a million products. They’re doing it manually, you know, and what’s fun is literally every person was giving quote unquote advice.

And the advice is you’re an idiot use a CMS that has, you know, a site map plugin. Now, granted, this is from two or three months ago before, you know, and if you want go back to our. Our site map thing [00:02:00] where I basically threw every CMS under the bus that doesn’t create site maps, word, press out of the box did not.

Um, they just launched that in the last couple of weeks, but this was like three or four months old. And it wasn’t that really easy, you know? And everyone’s like, don’t do this. This is dumb. Use an API, change your CMS. Um, you know, you’re doing it the wrong way. Creating this manually is horrible. But no one actually asked, what is the business reason for this?

Like, why are you doing it this way? What is the upside? You know, you’re being told that you have to do this by management or by someone, you know, is there actually a business? And I think so often, um, Um, and it’s not just Damasio people and PPC, but so often people are like, when they look at why websites do things, if you want, if you want to understand why [00:03:00] SEOs, like are all bald and pull their hair out.

It’s because so often. And if you’ve never been an intern in the house, SEO person, you have maybe not too much of an idea. If you’ve worked at agencies and worked with these types of clients and it’s like, well, we just spent three months or six months in Matt. You’ve, you know, you’ve talked about that one example with the really large, um, infographic type thing that you guys built for like almost a year.

And then what happened? It didn’t go live. Like everyone was just like,

Matt Siltala: [00:03:32] if it’s not hair, it’s gray hair coming in. Lots of air. Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:37] Um, and it’s like, this is why we walk around and pace and go, what in the world? Um, and social media people do it too. You know, you, you come up, we’re product people. It’s like, we’ve worked on this product launch for four months.

And suddenly now the company decides to pivot where four months of dev and market research and everything just goes out the window and we all just kind of go what, [00:04:00] and, you know, you might look at a website and. I think this might be a good example is I think through it, you look at a website and is an in house SEO.

You’ve been told that the developer resources that can and are able to work on something are booked for the next six months. So whatever you want, if it requires a technical change, can’t happen for six months, that team spends four months on that product that then gets shelved or, you know, pivoted as an SEO.

You’re like. Oh, I get dev resources now. No, because we just destroyed and shelved that project in pivoting. They’re now going to be working on this other project for the next four to six months again, because we really need to hurry it up. And now the resources you did have, or pulling from you because we’re now four months behind and you’re like, what?

And so when I read people critiquing and going after. You [00:05:00] know, like in this they’re like, we’ll just change your CMS. Yes. That, that clearly was not, you know, they should have thought of that. We have a site it’s completely built and tested. We have all sorts of redundancies that ties into our CRM. It ties into, you know, WooCommerce, it ties into Salesforce and all these other backend systems.

Yes. Why don’t I just replaced my CMS. Great idea.

Matt Siltala: [00:05:23] I love when people are always like throwing that out as the exam, as the.

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:27] Why are you on Wix? Cause it was easy. Like I hate wicks too, but come on.

Matt Siltala: [00:05:31] Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:34] Well, I mean, I, I was looking at, um, someone’s site the other day and I was like, why are they doing it this way?

And I looked, there are one person it’s, um, a part time gig that they’ve started doing just recently. They’re not technical when it comes to HTML and SEO and just digital stuff. They just wanted it quick and up. They’re on Wix. I was like, we [00:06:00] could do something better in WordPress, but then I thought about, okay, what happens if I help them build it?

Or I suggested, okay, in one month, what happens? They now have to maintain the WordPress install. They have to maintain the plugins. They have to install, like install things. They have to babysit things. They’d one don’t have time. They don’t have the knowledge. So while a lot of people and I’m included go, Oh, why are you on Squarespace?

Why are you on wicks? Why are you on fill in the blank for whatever CMS, you know, does it all for you? Because it does it all for you?

Matt Siltala: [00:06:35] Well, it’s something else that I’ve learned over the years, too, with all of this is where, you know, it may go against everything you and I, like, we shut her up to even think of, of, of not like doing something to like optimize and get the most traffic out of them.

But something that’s changed over the last several years, especially with like social media and a lot of the places that I know that you’re referring to are talking about this. Like, I think of some of the [00:07:00] restaurants or the places that I know that are pretty much at capacity with what they can handle.

And so they don’t necessarily care about being able to have a site that’s optimized because that’s not where they’re getting their traffic from. They’re getting their traffic from social or something else. That is just a placeholder, so to speak. That’s not affecting their, their bottom line. So you’re just actually creating more of a job for them by having them go in and having to fix something or change something or learn a new system.

You know what I mean? And so that’s the part of it that I’ve had to train myself and, and, and step back to certain things at times and realize, Hey, this may not be the ideal for the old SEO in me. But I know that it’s the ideal solution for this person. Does that make sense?

Dave Rohrer: [00:07:47] It does well. And go back to our podcast about digital marketing is a puzzle.

Like if you don’t know all the pieces, like you don’t know that they’re locked into, [00:08:00] sorry, I didn’t hit mute in time. I’m like, I worked at a place where I could not use a CMS because of security. So we had a flat site and everyone’s like, well, you should be on a CMS. Yeah, we should. We could. But it’s literally not legally possible internally at my company because we just can’t.

So we work around it like, Oh, your shove, a blog. Yeah. But I can install WordPress. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. Like you, when you don’t know the limitations. On someone it’s hard, but then also means there’s going to be times when management and I thought that security person was wrong. They, I mean, they weren’t, but they were, um, I had to get buy in.

I had to get approval. I had to fight and show business cases and, you know, Examples of how all of our competitors are doing this and how we were getting destroyed in links and content, because we couldn’t do that stuff. We couldn’t move quick enough. And I had to slowly build a case to get a CMS, to [00:09:00] get a blog, to get certain things.

So, you know, this one example was he was trying to build, you know, a site map. Someone’s like, we’ll get a better CMS that doesn’t help.

Matt Siltala: [00:09:12] Yeah,

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:13] you have to be able to, it scares me when I see people just go, Oh, well, you know, get off Wix back to my example, I just gave that person likely doesn’t have the time resources or technical ability to keep it up.

Like not every solution. And I think goes back to the, you know, we talked about digital marketing is a puzzle as an agency consultant in house person, you know, Matt, like, you’re just talking about. Some of the things that you’ve been going through in your house, there’s money, there’s time there’s who can do it.

That’s available. Like all of these things play into every decision for a house, for a website, for SEO, for paid, for social, for project. And

Matt Siltala: [00:09:59] sometimes it [00:10:00] doesn’t work out to be ideal. For example, they’re going to come and start demo on the day that online school starts the day. And we’re trying to figure all that out.

So. It’s a good example, real life of what you’re talking about. Sometimes it doesn’t work out ideal, but it’s still gonna work.

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:17] Yeah. Matt and I are both like, they’re building the house next to me. I’m trying to find a place in my house. That one, I have a strong connection. I have, you know, quiet. I have this, like, I’m trying to balance as much to get as good of sound, but also, you know, stay connected.

And I think when we think through projects, And I’m not just saying, you know, don’t blurt out that, you know, Wix is bad or, you know, people are doing something stupid or wrong. I think often, and as I keep going down this rabbit hole, I’m like, what the heck is the topic for this one? Um, it’s not one management’s wrong, but like so many things that we have to do as SEOs and just digital marketers and, you know, [00:11:00] people revolve around so many different things.

So I think whenever. You’re looking at a problem, ask more questions. So the one thing that jumped out at me was that no one asked why they needed to get those things. You know, like I said, what were the business cases? What was the reason behind it? What were they trying to accomplish? Was why were they doing it?

Um, you know, a lot of times I hear and people might come after me, but I don’t care about sitespeed like I do, but I don’t. I know, and I see people arguing about that, that that’s a horrible thing, but I’m like, how big is the site you work on? How many visitors a day do you come? What’s your dev team look like?

Like, are you an eCommerce lead gen or are you a small local business that has, you know, 50 people or a hundred people today, or maybe a hundred people a month? Like the amount of time to clean up a 10 page WordPress site and make it [00:12:00] faster versus. One that if you can improve this one product page by half a second, that impacts a million pages because you have a million skews, completely different, like ROI

Matt Siltala: [00:12:15] quarterly.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:16] So there’s business reasons. And I think a lot of people always jumped down on, you know, why things, and I think as an SEO or just a digital marketer, we need to ask him more questions. It’s like, well, why. Why do you use that, that the solution? Well, because you know, it was grandfathered because of this and this and this.

Okay. Well, why have you looked at what other ones? Yes. And here’s why we can’t, it needs to work with this legacy system. It needs to do this and this, I think asking management, asking coworkers, asking, you know, people that you’re are asking questions online. I think we should do more of. And maybe that’s what this is.

It should be about. [00:13:00] It’s like just asking more questions about getting stuff done. But for me, I think it’s just, it goes back to the, I don’t think a lot of people ask questions. We just assume that they don’t know what they’re doing. And I’ve seen some people in Twitter and other places go, Oh no, I’ve worked on that team before, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And it’s like, I once worked on an account where. We it, we waited nine or I wasn’t actually my account with someone else. They waited nine months to get page titles changed nine months. Yeah. They’ve been sitting there waiting nine plus months to get page titles and meta descriptions implemented because it was a technical issue.

Um, another time I’ve talked about it before a site map, we waited almost a year to get a proper site map made. And it was a technical issue. And like every sprint we would come up and we would start asking the question, is this in the package? Is this going live? Why not? [00:14:00] And we would always get something like, Oh, we had it, we tested it.

It’s still not working. Okay. Well next sprint, right? Yeah, sure. Three months later we finally get it like sprint through every three weeks or so. Come on. Um, but yeah, it’s like ask the questions, but. There’s just so much going on for companies and internally resources and stuff. I think it’s hard to just judge, maybe that’s what this is about.

Quit judging. People’s

Matt Siltala: [00:14:28] online,

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:30] judging what sites. So,

Matt Siltala: [00:14:31] yeah, we don’t know, like all the factors, we don’t know everything that’s going into it. So I think that’s a really good point. And so, but I, but I do think it’s also good to point out that you know, that you do need to have some pushback. If someone’s coming at you with a solution, that’s just like change a big CMS, for example, or change this, that like, it just, it’s not always gonna work out that way.

So I think you’re right. This could be more of a, of a, uh, I don’t know, [00:15:00] I’m with you. Yeah, we, yeah, we exactly call it the Dave rant, but, uh, but yeah. So anyway,

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:09] final thoughts. Ask questions when people ask for help online, ask them question so often I see people just go, I need an, it’s a bare example. I, I want, what, what kind of brewery should go to, or what kind of restaurant should I go to?

Um, do you like taco Mexican talent? Like so often people just ask questions and no one people just throw out answers and don’t actually ask questions to try to narrow it down. So maybe that’s the lesson. If you ask a question, give more, give more insight and data. And if you’re trying to answer, ask more questions before you answer

Matt Siltala: [00:15:43] here’s something else too.

There’s there’s probably a great deal of people out there that just like don’t care with certain stuff. Like, for example, I’ve. You’re going to laugh at this. Like I was working, I was trying to get some, some pages updated for a friend of mine [00:16:00] and he’s just busy in business. And, you know, I was like, okay, well he forgot all his passwords to everything.

So I finally got the host to give us access to C panel where we went in and figured out what, you know, WordPress passwords and stuff where, and so it’s like a lot of times. They’re too busy in their own trenches to care about these kinds of trenches that are important to us, that we know they need to be doing because eventually when they’re not getting phone calls and they’re not busy, they’re going to wonder what’s going on.

So there’s so many factors, Dave, and I think you hit the nail on the head. So

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:34] that’s all I got. I think we got no, we got to go.

Matt Siltala: [00:16:37] Alrighty. Well, um, make sure that, uh, you’ve given us a five star review on iTunes. If you have a chance opportunity. Go look at our page. You’ll see all the places where we’re listed, uh, for Dave war with Northside metrics.

I met salsa with avalanche media. Thanks guys. Bye.

E166 – How To Be a Better Steward for Your Team & Organization Hosts:

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