126 – Is web design dead?

In this episode:

Discussion – Is web design dead?

GoDaddy Pro

Short version – No, but man alive that was a clickbaity title! It was all David’s idea!

There is a debate in here though, because it’s getting easier and easier to make websites, so are we entering the beginning of the end? An end in which the available tools are so good and easy to use that anyone with a few hours to spare can get a decent site up and running?

I’m thinking particularly of Page Builder, you know Beaver Builder, Elementor, Brizy and the others. If you’ve been in this business for any length of time, you’ll know that you’ve never had it so good. You’ve got WordPress, and amazing CMS that’s free to use and thousands on plugins that you can bolt onto it with little need to understand how they were built. You can be up and running in minutes.

Not only that, but there’s a slew of great tutorial materials that you can follow should you get stuck. Many of them are free over on YouTube, but there are also modestly priced paid courses should you have the need to dig a little bit deeper.

Want to get your product or service on our 'viewed quite a lot' Black Friday Page? Fill out the form...

I’d say that if you were committed and had zero experience with web design, you could have a good site up and running in a matter of days.

Pile on top of that the latest new craze of A.I. which promises to do most of the work for you, and you might be left feeling that the ship is sinking and you’d better jump off. Bring back the days of complexity, the days of table layouts that nobody understood I hear you say. Make web design hard again, so that my clients don’t have a clue about how to build even the simplest of sites, that way I can sit in my ivory tower and know that I’m safe; I’ve made the ship float again!


Perhaps not! Perhaps in all of this panic we’ve forgotten that we’re good at building websites, because we’ve done the reading, we’ve made the mistakes, heck, we even make new mistakes every-single-day! The job is not about having the tools, it’s about being able use the tools, and you’re going to be in better shape than your clients there.

Remember that they often have zero interest in how the site is built, they just want to have a site and will happily open their wallet to make their website problem go away. You’re the expert and you will be for years to come.

Also, remember that the industry is not standing still. It’s not like CSS came along and we all said, well, that’s it, we can design websites that look like printed media now, there’s nothing left to innovate we can all stop worrying. No! New ideas, new technologies have cropped up, and I don’t know about you, but I’m bewildered by most of it and I try really hard not to be. If you’re a client who just wants a websites it’s like trying to speak martian!

You’ve got new concepts to sell them too, hey there client, we can build you a funnel and integrate with with your CRM and retarget your visitors over on Facebook. Splurt! What dialect of martian is that! Then there’s the hosting, responsive design, SSL certs… the list goes on and on. You are the expert because you’ve lived and breathed this for years. Because you love it. And your love of it makes you great at it and that means you’re indispensable.

Interesting chat, but I’m sure that you’ll have your own thoughts. Comment here or in the WP Builds Facebook Group.

Seriously, you’ve got nothing to worry about, except maybe the A.I. that voodoo is amazing!

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…

GoDaddy Pro

The home of Managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24/7 support. Bundle that with the Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% off new purchases! Find out more at go.me/wpbuilds.

The WP Builds Deals Page

It’s like Black Friday, but everyday of the year! Search and Filter WordPress Deals! Check out the deals now

Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

Read Full Transcript

Nathan Wrigley: 00:02 WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Now welcome your host David Walmsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:22 Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode 126 and titled is Web Design Dead. It was published on Thursday the 2nd of May, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co.uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I'll be joined later by David Wamsley from David walmsley.com because it's our discussion episode today. If you haven't really listened to this podcast too much before, we sort of seem to flip and flop between discussions with David and I one week and then an interview with somebody in the WordPress space the next week. So stay tuned for that. Couple of things just before we begin, if you wouldn't mind heading over to WP Builds.com forward slash. Subscribe. Now the reason I'm saying that is because over there we've got all sorts of mechanisms so that you can stay in touch with what we do over at WP Builds.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:17 There's a couple of newsletters to sign up for. One so that you can be alerted to these released podcast episode, a news episodes on a Monday and another one said that you can receive deal alerts if we find a WordPress a deal. Then we'll alert you with a plain text email as soon as we find out about it. You can also go and subscribe on iTunes or Google podcasts and those are 2000 strong Facebook group, which is very, very cool. If you're into WordPress, you can ask lots of questions from seasoned professionals and get some polite responses in return. It's lovely. Also, we put everything out on youtube and so on and so forth, but if you feel minded, I would very much welcome anybody going over to iTunes and giving us a a review. That would be most welcome. A couple of other things to mention, if you go over to WP Builds.com forward slash deals, there's a whole page there of deals that plugin authors have given to us over over the years, so 20% off this, 20% off that.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:13 So I would say if you're in the market for buying some plugins, go and check that page out because there might be something that you want and also WP Builds.com forward slash contribute this week we had somebody who came onto the podcast, did a video with me and it was Brandon toll and he talked about using gravity forms and Zapier to create gift certificates and it was lovely. It was a really nice episode and if you've ever used gravity forms and Zapier, um, he's put together a tutorial with me about how to make unique a gift certificate numbers. It's very cool. Actually. The other one that I would mention is WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you'd like to advertise on our podcast and get your product or service or whatever it is in front of us, a bigger audience that would be most welcome advertising.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:02 Sounds a bit like this. The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by the page. Build a framework. Do you use a page builder to create your websites? The page builder framework is a mobile responsive and lightening fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder element or breezy and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. Go to WP dash page, build a framework.com today and WP admin pages pro. Have you ever needed to add custom admin pages to your clients WordPress dashboard but couldn't find the tools to do it? Wp admin pages pro is here for you. Create beautiful admin pages using your favorite page builders such as beaver builder element or breezy and more. Check it [email protected] and we do sincerely thank both of our sponsors this week for their participation.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:05 It really does enable me to put this podcast out. Most obliged. Thank you so much. So what have we got this week? David and I are having a chat with these somewhat click baity title is web design dead. The, the reason that we decided to do this one is because of the sort of onward march of technology and the fact that everything is becoming so much more easy. Does this, does this put us out of a job or is the country true? Does it just mean that we've got to diversify and find other ways to justify our existence and, um, yeah, go and enjoy the episode and find out what we say for yourselves. Thanks so much for listening.

David Waumsley: 04:42 And in today's discussion we're talking about whether web design is dead done. Um, I'll come to the last episode for you. Yeah. It's all dead. There's nothing else to do. There's completely no industry left here. Nothing to see here. But it's interesting though. It's an interesting discussion because David as is always the case, it's very well prepared and he's pro put forward ideas for and against this argument on. They're very, uh, very interesting. And in our, in our long ramble, before we started recording, I think we came up with some quite interesting stuff for, for before, I'm sorry. For AMD against yeah. And were quite positive as a result. Long. Yeah. I started out being less positive and then you manage to persuade me. I wouldn't be in this if I didn't think there was at least a glimmer of future in it.

David Waumsley: 05:37 Yeah, well I guess the evidence is so obvious now, so it's just changed. I mean, we'd go back, don't we? I started trying to build websites in 2006 way, way back. You remember these tables, you see all of this stuff, you know, to, to get into that business back. So many skills were needed. I mean, I couldn't do developer stuff. WordPress wasn't what it is today. Um, so you, if you needed a lot of clever functionality, there wasn't an easy plugin to get. So you probably needed a team of people to build a fairly simple brochure site even then. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:16 Yeah. It was horribly, well, I wouldn't say it was particularly hard because after all he was doing it, but it was, it was a chore to put anything together on the screen, which was not to text and a background was, was difficult. And getting things to line up in the days before Cx, CSS was really cumbersome and it took a really long time to, to match things up. So stuff that would now be trivial with a point and click interface took ages. And then of course CSS came along and yeah, there was something else to learn. And then I suppose the next big thing for me at least anyway was it was CMS is and so on. So it's definitely got easier. And so that's the, um, that's the curve, isn't it? The easier it gets, the more likely we are to be out of a job until the point where it's so easy that anyone can do it.

David Waumsley: 07:06 And the, and in a way it started to feel a bit like that's the case. And then because page builders, it got to such a point now where you can do the functionality stuff. If you're based on WordPress, of course we are, um, the page builders now can do all that dynamic stuff as, as well as we can borrow somebody else's template. And anybody else now can do this because you know, in our space now, the tools that we're using are the same tools that new DIY others are using. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:38 Very, very easy to pick up lots of youtube tutorials. So I would say somebody completely on accustomed to working with the web in any way, apart from being a consumer of content could probably within a very short space of time get something together. Um, if they knew what, what tools they needed.

David Waumsley: 08:00 Yeah. And we also at the artificial intelligence stuff as well, way starts to build websites for you. Yep.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:07 And also just the whole suite of tools, not just WordPress tools, you know, online tools to, to, to make the, the hosting aspect really easy. Um, you know, things like cloud ways and all of these different hosting companies can stir and so on. It's trivially easy, you know, you basically log in, um, the managed WordPress hosting stuff. Certainly you'd log in, press a few buttons and you're off to the races. There's no difficulty setting up an account and doing all the difficult stuff and pointing the Dns, you know, all of that's taken care of and there's support there to get you through it if you don't know what you're doing.

David Waumsley: 08:41 Yeah. And in those early days you would have, wouldn't it? There was the browser wars, which I escaped. I came in later thinking I was in the mature web stage. Some things we're going to be easier, but you know, even then back then I, when I started, most people hadn't kind of worked out how the, the networked, how there was the long tail and how that works. So it felt like it was still traditional advertising. People were claiming their space on the web and they were looking to recreate the kind of print materials that they had on their space, on the web. And that's how it worked then.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:17 Yeah. Now it's, uh, it's exactly how it worked. Absolutely. Yeah. And you didn't even have search engines in the beginning when IBM, you just have directories. There were things, I even remember the name of them, but there was like a Yahoo, um, property where you could drill down into different layers. And then of course Google came along and changes it all forever. Yeah. What was the Alta Vista? Was that one of those, a search engine? But I definitely see the, the, the key source in Google, wasn't it? It was page rank. It was figuring out the, the complex network of links to other sites and therefore gaining or authority from the combination of combined links, um, which made it intelligent for the first time. You know, it could really figure out where as before it was just a brochure basically. Sorry, a, um, a directory. Um, so yeah, a lot has changed. It's so the, the barrier to entry has become almost nonexistent. Like I say, I think with, with a week and a, and a strong tailwind and the right tutorials and some instructions to which tools to buy so that you didn't mess that bit up. You could, you could have a decent site thrown together and um, in a, in a matter of days all by yourself.

David Waumsley: 10:31 Absolutely. And I think the demands for the big change, I think from those early brochures sites because of the way that they viewed the web has changed now where we see, I think websites has as you eyes for task focus visitors to achieve their tasks. And uh, for that reason I think that websites become simpler anyway or an effective website is, is more simple than it used to be. So great. It should be easier. Yeah. Yup. So, um, yeah, what else have we got is that there's a lot of talk and really this is indirect info for me, but a lot of talk of the larger red agencies closing down those ones.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:15 I, I'm racking my brains trying to think of one that was closed down and I can't put any names, but it's, and again, I don't really follow this either, so I didn't realize that was a trend is, is that something that's going on? There are a few notable agencies which have shuttered their doors over the last few years.

David Waumsley: 11:31 Is that I think Jim Galliano, it has some sort of facts and figures on that kind of thing for the u s and the, I think I'm right in that, right? A friend of mine is a big site that they've done. I think the agency has now closed down, so I mean, maybe that could have just happened anyway, but there's a sense that I'm hearing this message, but again, it is in dove act information, so maybe I'm drawing too much from that.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:57 Well, whether or not you've drawn the, you know too much from it. The truth is that this is a conversation that the professionals in the WordPress space are always throwing around the idea that do these tools make it too easy? Is Our jobs secure? Will there be an industry for us to even be in in a decade, five years, three years, whatever it might be. So those people who are working with WordPress and working on the web, you can see that this is a possibility. Especially, I would say with the, with the advent of Ai, I mean I don't think anybody could have foreseen what's all ready possible, not necessarily in the web design space but in, in all sorts of other areas that the fact that you can communicate in language to artificial intelligence and it can deliver things back to you based upon just auditory, auditory input.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:55 The idea that at some point that same auditory input or perhaps with a touch interface or whatever will enable you to, to throw websites together and be very effective because it will have a greater knowledge about what typically converts than, than perhaps somebody starting out in the industry would have. You know, it's, you can imagine Google building a website. You imagine that the, the knowledge that they could bring to bear about what converts, what colors work well together, where things should be positioned. It, they know, they absolutely know this stuff already. Yeah, absolutely.

David Waumsley: 13:37 So I go from my little controversial point, no, the indicator of website dying. And that's the number of courses that there are, um, trying to solve client problems for people that are already in the industry and how to up their game to earn larger money. I think if we had a very healthy industry, it'd be very difficult to, uh, to see these courses existed and being so successful. I think, you know, if you tried to sell these courses to doctors or lawyers about how they can get on top of their business in a moment from it, uh, you know, you wouldn't be able to sell them. They're already doing quite well, you know, so, so I, it's a little indicator to me that things that we're struggling in web design.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:23 So you're saying that the course is fulfill the need of people who have no expertise in that area. So that's indicative of the fact that there's lots of novices in web design. Okay, I see what you mean. Yeah. Well, maybe not, not so much the, actually that's another point isn't it? That we didn't put down and I was more thinking from the fact that a lot of, if

David Waumsley: 14:43 the courses that are out there are talking about the issues that people perhaps in the evening at freelancers were doing web design, but they usually say, do you suffer from these kind of issues? And that your overworked, that your, yeah. Struggling to get money from clients that they don't respect to you and all of those kinds of things. We've seen most of those courses and I think there's quite a lot of that dialogue all the time trying to solve those problems. And that for me says, well there probably is a problem if they, if there's enough of those courses around them that they're getting filled. You know that probably the, we're struggling in web design, right?

Nathan Wrigley: 15:22 It's like a a malaise in the industry, which these courses are trying to fix. And if the, if the web industry was healthy, perhaps we wouldn't need quite so many of these courses systems be around.

David Waumsley: 15:33 Yeah. It's hard to imagine that there would be a course like that to say, you know, you've got your law degree, are you really struggling with the client? You've got, it's hard to imagine because lawyers do quite nicely and often the, the focus is often on earning more money as well. Yeah. Um, where you wouldn't, you wouldn't see these kind of courses being aimed at other industries that were naturally quite healthy and people were earning quite well.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:58 Yeah, it is a very, it's an interesting one because obviously there's no, there's no professional qualifications. So getting back to your lawyers example, in order to, in order to move in that industry, you, you require, you requires some expertise which has proven through examinations and uh, I guess usually a university course or something like that and you pop out the other end. And that in a way is your justification for running those fees saying for let's say doctors, same for teachers. You, you know, you go through these processes and you come out the other end and that there isn't, there is no equivalent in this industry. So in that sense it's a bit wild west, isn't it? Anybody can, anybody can rock up and say I am an expert. Whereas if somebody made that exact same claim, um, in the law field, that would be fraud, that would be illegal to make that claim. Um, and you know, especially in medicine and things, you, you can't make claims about those things unless you've a proven track record of, of sitting through exams and although there are courses in our industry that would enable you to claim to be, I don't know, a networking expert or um, uh, able to, I don't know, um, build computers or whatever it might be. There isn't for web design, not, not as far as I'm aware anyway.

David Waumsley: 17:21 Yeah, no, you just made an excellent point, which makes my point void because you would need to be qualified if you're qualified. You don't need to go on any courses really to kind of help you on your way. You're going to earn a certain amount of money, I guess.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:36 Yeah. Wonder what other industries there are though, which have this zero barrier to entry. I mean basically the barrier to entry for becoming a jobbing web designer is desire. The wish to do it. After that anything goes, you know, you might be, you might be very good at design in which case you'll probably get more work. You might be very good at coding and in case in which case you'll probably get more work, but there's nothing to stop you going out and trying to, um, to seek work even though you've only been doing it for a week.

David Waumsley: 18:12 Yeah. Do you think there's more people, I mean, since page builders, do you think there's more people now trying to set themselves up as freelancers? Even if it's just a kind of part time thing?

Nathan Wrigley: 18:21 The only, the only thing I can point to in my area is there's the natural sort of ebb and flow because I've been doing it for, oh, I don't know, ages, decades. Um, then I've seen businesses come and businesses go. And in my case because I'm of a certain age, it's usually people younger than me and some of them stick around and make a career of it and you know, I meet up with them from time to time and we talk about web stuff and some of them don't stick at it. Maybe it wasn't financially successful for them or they move or they just decided to change career or whatever. Um, but I've, I've definitely not noticed, um, in my area at least like a dearth at this point. No.

David Waumsley: 19:03 Ah, okay. No it's interesting cause I just think of my own history at the end of the day. I built websites for me I guess I believe for friends initially because I was interested, but still it came out of that because through that process I stuck at it enough to learn enough. Then you kind of want to use your skills to help somebody else and then that knocks on to learn more. And then you know, when you get to sort of like a hundred sites behind, do you think perhaps I actually do this as like cause profession now?

Nathan Wrigley: 19:31 Yeah, that's a good, probably in a sense when it was, when websites could be designed only through tables or cs, CSS or whatever before CMS is, became the thing. Um, perhaps that in a sense was your qualification, that was your examination, the fact that you could do it, you mentioned that you spent many, many hours wrangling with that stuff, failing, picking yourself up, trying again and so on. Whereas now with a more point and click approach that like I say, like we've just been saying, you, you can, you can get up and running and, and, and it's, it's, it's trivially easy to do the design part of it, um, with, with very little time, a couple of youtube videos and, and an interest.

David Waumsley: 20:14 Yeah. Yeah. And you know, what we're calling it is, is web design dead and, uh, we haven't defined what web design isn't either with this. And I think if we move to our, what we think is our evidence against they've been dead. If you take the wide, the definition of it, that it's not perhaps what some, I think still the majority of clients still think web designers. The, the technical process of making pretty pages on the Internet. I still think most people think that's what it is.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:44 It hasn't moved on an awful lot and there is definitely in, in it, in the industry there's more things to learn. So whereas previously the skill was actually knowing like, like we keep going back to CSS and tables and all that. Now that knowledge, that requirement has let's say more or less evaporated. It's certainly diminishing CSS being that's not not true of course. But um, now it's all the ancillary stuff, the stuff tagged onto the side of websites if you like, the are becoming the industry and to me, I'm, I'm not sure, to me the very fact that it's got the word design in it. Web Design feels to me like the way it looks, but I know that you're going to say it's not, it's, it's broader than that.

David Waumsley: 21:28 Yeah. I've always had a hangup, I'm sure we'd talked about this before with those terms. We, it's the same as, we don't like to call this house web designers. When we'd say builders don't mean cause it implies that we're good with the aesthetics were where we're both not. But yeah, but the thing is that I have now come into love it because I think if you think you know the two words that you've got to pick design, I think design has per person web is what we do and I think for a long time web design as been about digital marketing in some form or another, always go, if we've got some skills behind us, we're always going to be way ahead of our clients either. Even if it's just the aesthetics. Understanding not putting too much on a page is a good thing because of the way visitors respond to have an overload of information. Knowing where navigation goes, knowing some of that basic conventions of the web, which clients would easily break to try and be cool. Yup. Yup. That, that knowledge that we've gathered over years. I don't know what that, are you somebody who kind of keeps an eye out on those kind of a no, you are because you do the news for one thing, but um, you know, keep an eye out on what's being said on um, user experience and

Nathan Wrigley: 22:49 uh, do you know what I used to be habitual about all that stuff. You know, back in the day in the UK we had this fabulous magazine, I, it may be still exists called.net and I was a subscriber to that and it would, it would take on all that stuff. It was a public publication of paper thing that would get delivered to your door. It was fabulous. It always struck me as a bit of a bit of a strange paradox though that I was reading a paper based publication about the Internet, but nevertheless it was really good. No, I did it. And you know, when new books came out about user experience or about, oh dare I say it like the bash shell or something like that. I buy them all and consuming them all but not so much anymore. A lot of that stuff has kind of dropped off. And, and I, I have, uh, I have an interest in it and I read the news about it, but I don't, I can't remember the last time I read a, uh, an an internet based web design based book from cover to cover.

David Waumsley: 23:41 Interesting. Do you think that is because to a certain degree we've already learned the basics of a simple website that's going to work. We know to keep it simple. We know what I menu we know already. I think so.

Nathan Wrigley: 23:54 And also I think that once you've, uh, once you've been in it for such and such a length of time, the, the knowledge is more drip, drip, drip. Um, but also I'm not trying to, I'm not positioning myself as like a, a node js or react developer or anything like that. But if you were in that area then, then that would be probably very important to keep reading those publications and keeping, keeping abreast of absolutely everything. But, um, my feeling is that that's just not for me. And so bill building websites, being a website builder is enough. There's enough of an, an industry there for me at the moment to sort of keep that going. So yeah, I've kind of dropped out of constantly looking at the next best, greatest thing and just focusing on the stuff, which I know works right now.

David Waumsley: 24:45 Yeah, I think, you know, the other thing why we're not dead in the water and I think we've all moved a little bit too with our care pans is the fact that, um, clients wouldn't be able to keep up to, they need somebody to keep them up to date with the technological changes that are happening. So, you know, if, you know, as many of my clients are, the last slide built was like 10 years ago, lots of things have happened since then. It just wouldn't be aware of, they wouldn't know about the move to responsive design they've had that you would need an SSL certificate these days. And, and the major things like how hosting is greatly changed, uh, over the last few years. That security, of course, if you've got a CMS like WordPress. So I, you know, with all of these things, we've still got a role, but we, I think we've, we've started to incorporate it anyway naturally by having care plans.

Nathan Wrigley: 25:38 Yup. I mean, the thing that we said a moment ago about, uh, you know, web design, so we were playing the, we were talking about the evidence for Web design being dead right at the beginning. And I was saying that these tools are trivially trivially easy to use. You know, there's lots of scope with a week on a, on a, on a good, good trailing wind, you could be up and running. The fact is, who's got a week, who actually has a week? Who's, who's, you know, you've got to be serious about this. If you're going to buy these tools and learn these tools, you're not probably doing it as, um, as a side project. Nobody's really coming into web design, building their own site, just, you know, just for their own little business. So from that point of view, even though it's got easy, it's still difficult. It's not easy enough. You know, like you said, responsive design. You ask anybody who's not in the industry, what that means. They won't know. Ask anybody. Not In the industry what an SSL certificate is. They will not know. Ask people about what you know, what, what does Internet security mean in terms of websites they won't know. So even though it's easier, it's still, I would say significantly more difficult than most people would care to capture. You know? And also that stuff takes time. You know, you couldn't learn all that stuff in a week. It would take years.

David Waumsley: 27:03 Yeah, absolutely. And even if you could bypass some of those certificates and security by going with something like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace clients still have to sort of trust somebody rather than themselves over all the possible options out there because they don't know that the longterm pros and cons of going with any of these platforms and they don't get independence to own their own site necessarily. So yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 27:29 Well, that means you only have to look at the, the conversation that goes on in the industry to realize that nobody has an idea, had any idea what the best in inverted commerce, um, host is anyway. You know, this constant discussion about right. All this stuff constantly.

David Waumsley: 27:45 I absolutely, and it takes forever to try and even work out a method to decide how you're going to pick the tools you use, which we've talked about as now I found my own method because it's just too overwhelming. If you just try and go with the popular, that's not necessarily going to work with you.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:02 Yeah. And so all of that is a inhibitor to, to be it to being an industry which is just so trivially easy to get into. Anyone can do it. There is layer upon layer upon layer of complexity, which most of the people probably listening to this podcast have forgotten they ever went through. You know, they just know what an SSL cert as they know what responsive design is and how to create, let's say media queries to do that stuff. They know, um, which hosting companies probably are best avoided and which ones they've, they've had success with. Just it's come over time and it wasn't simple. So, you know, it's not as easy as we thought. It's not dead.

David Waumsley: 28:42 No to the, I mean, things listed a few of the things that my clients wouldn't know, but I didn't know them as always build insights it until, I guess I class myself as professional now. But you know, it took me a long time before I started to do speed tests or browser testing before I really understood, you know, how to sort of muck things up properly for search and understand how that happened and things like Schema, which again is something that's relatively new, which you ought to add to your sites. We need to give them a better chance. Again, this is all just jog and something that a client couldn't pick up that would just understand the basics of

Nathan Wrigley: 29:21 no, no. Yeah. Not even the understanding of it, the knowledge that it was even a thing. I mean, it would be quite easy to, let's say go out. So find a host, install WordPress, find a, find a page builder, find a couple of plugins that satisfy the stuff that you want to do. Then you'd have no idea that you needed to with the metadata and the Seo optimization and getting things in an appropriate schema. All of that would be utterly unknown to you because you haven't got the heritage and spent the time, I mean, it would come. Yeah. But it wouldn't be immediate.

David Waumsley: 29:56 The, do you think that clients are starting to think that Web design is dead? That they can easily do it themselves these days?

Nathan Wrigley: 30:04 Um, yes. I would imagine there's quite a lot of that. Uh, my, my personal experiences, I haven't really had to deal with that. The client that says, well, you don't do anything. What are you, why are we paying you or I've not had, thankfully I've not had to deal with that and I've made, been able to justify my existence on numerous occasions, especially when things have gone wrong and they can't. Um, and they can't fix them. In fact, minor fixes to websites or I think one of our, one of our industry's greatest strengths when the client goes in and mock something up and you know, how immediately how to fix that. Um, I think that that, that can make a real difference because the client is suddenly as made an error and they, they gain, they gain an insight into the value that you bring. And it might not take you more than a second to fix, but you did it and they were unable to do it. Um, and I've done that loads of times, so I've not really had to deal with that too much. I mean, it's the old adage of the, the guy who, I don't know, I can't remember what the industry is, but let's say it's aviation go who comes in and gets paid $50,000 and all he does is turn a screw and, and uh, the, the, you know, the guy's got, Pam says, but you only turned a screw. Well, yes, but you know, kind sir, it wasn't the screw turning that you're paying me for. It was the knowledge of which group to turn on, how far to turn it. And it's a bit like that, you know, you, you don't know, you've just broken something. It's gone wrong. I've been able to fix it, not because I'm super clever, but because I've done this year for years and years and I immediately spotted, identified the problem. So that's why we have value and that's why this industry is not dead yet.

David Waumsley: 31:47 So we're still in a job. I start, I do think though that, um, because I think the way that we sell websites is quite similar to the way that he did way back. Um, we still do sell websites. I want to topic with you actually sometime about why we even do project based web design because in some ways to me that always still seems the answer to how much for a website, you know, and I think, I feel like we're at a time where we almost need to sort of remark it ourselves. So we get over the digital marketing without that, just without introducing another sort of a theory or concept, which clients can't understand. But I do think we're moving to a time where, um, our relationship with, with, uh, clients is going to be more long term because we're taking care of all of those changes that are going to happen, but we don't quite get that message over. We still sell websites.

Nathan Wrigley: 32:44 Yeah, you're absolutely right. I'm, I'm lousy at that stuff. I'm not so good at selling all of the, or at least not selling alerting shall we say clients about all the other stuff which is going on in the background. As you mentioned earlier, the, the, the correct markup, the schema.org stuff, the um, the popup forms which lead to email automation and all that kind of stuff, the funnels and all of that. I don't really, um, make that a point, but that, that's it. It's all of those bits glued together that are now web design. That's, that's what it is. I mean, I know that there are some people who go off and they make one of those things, their area of unique expertise and they get really, really good at that. So it might be, it might be somebody dealing with funnels or it might be somebody who was an SEO expert or whatever. And I realize that, but all of us have to have some, some knowledge of that. Otherwise we're not going to be effective. And so that's where web design now is, I'm wondering if there's a better word. I know you'd like web design, but it's not digital marketing. It's not web design. It's not SEO. It's you're trying to say I do a little bit of all of these. I'm a jack of all trades. I don't know what the correct terminology would be, but I can see web design going forwards being the one that sticks with us all. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 34:00 Yeah. Well he's one that, and people understand that probably going to, uh, if they do go to Google to search for these things, it probably the thing I've got to type in, but, but um, I don't know. Maybe you can't get round that, but, uh, certainly I'm trying to move towards that first conversation being more about the longterm relationship we have. Because I think, you know, our value to people now is about the long term. The fact that if we do that project for them and they disappear and we don't have anything more to do with them when something major does change, like responsive design or SSL certificates that might affect their search rankings or anything else that they're doing. Our value to the clients is really knowing that stuff, being that person that they've got who's the right person. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 34:48 Yeah. I think a lot of, sorry, I think a lot of, um, a lot of clients still have a very limited expectation of what we, what we're able to do. So in terms of, well, I'm just thinking about what marketing automation most of most silly word. Some clients literally have no idea about this stuff and they really delighted when you introduce them to the fact that these, this stuff can be done. What you can automate all, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You can get the names at, yeah. Yeah. It can make it very personal if you really wanted to and so on and so forth. And they, they find incredible value in that and that yet they didn't know when they picked up the phone to get a website that that was what they were even in the market for. They were just, they wanted pixels on pages. They didn't necessarily want the, um, you know, the, the email lists and all of the other ancillary stuff. Maybe they were about Google and search and results, but there's so much more stuff that we can throw in and gain value of site. I completely agree, but I am, I'm not very good at pushing that stuff and I kind of haven't figured out the wording or the marketing of it. I'm still basically talking about me building websites and, and then I slowly introduced this point after I've clinched the deal, but I don't really drone on about it too much when I'm proposing.

David Waumsley: 36:03 Yeah. And I did, I had a couple of conversations with some jobs that might come up for me. And it's been quite interesting because I'm sure I've said things to them just by the reaction, um, that they hadn't thought of before because I'm sure most clients have picked up along the time that they ought to be producing some kind of contents and blogging that they ought to be on some sort of social networks and then they all travel website. But they, they, they detach them. And as really, I mean, our role as people who do that marketing and because the primary thing they own is their website. We, we connect those things up that we, and the strategy behind those things. And it's really, you know, I don't think clients think of us that they think of as the people who are going to make their vision come alive for that one job they need to do. But it's about trying to switch him to that whole idea that actually the website is the hub of all of these things. Cause all the other things are owned by somebody else. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 37:02 Right. You're right. And I think we're still, so if, if people like me whose, whose job it is to do this, are still struggling to pitch that stuff, it's very likely that a significant proportion of the people who are just getting a plain, simple website won't even know that that stuff's on the table. I mean, I know that if obviously if you're dealing with a big company or what have you, or some company with a history of working with the web, of course they will, they'll have known it for years and years and years. But let's say somebody starting out, um, a local bricks and mortar shop, they probably won't. Um, and so that's that stuff that can make you valuable to them pointing it out. Absolutely. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 37:41 And then even if they know, I mean, you shared, um, now this is probably going to go out much later, but I think in one of your news reports you shared a video about Sco. Oh yeah. That's fish skin. It was random grandfather the changes. Yep. Yes. Yeah, that's it. And I, you know, I think the fact that even if people could keep up to date with that, they know it was, it was an eyeopener for me. You know, the fact that actually how we spend our budgets depend, you know, Google's change it in SEO is changing all the time. So even if they've got this kind of knowledge in house, you know how their website is the hub of things, they can't keep up to date with that all the time without someone like us.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:26 Yeah. We forget our own expertise that our peril don't we and if we, if we take like we did at the beginning of the slightly more pessimistic approach that Oh, the sky is falling in, web design is dead, then we're ignoring all of this stuff. We're ignoring that. That we have an amazing trove of expertise. We have things which are utterly incomprehensible to most people on the planet. We are in this area. We are the 1% with a 1% of the people who get this stuff and who understand it. And that is the little corner which keeps our industry alive. It's the knowledge, not the, let's say, let's say page builders maybe have made the, the actual process of putting the pixels on the page easy, but the knowledge of where to put it and how to put it in, how to link it up with marketing automation and funnels and all that. That's, that's the corner that that I think occupies the future.

David Waumsley: 39:20 Yeah. We were talking earlier about I got excited about the future of web design. I think it's more exciting because, because I'm really going with the page builder thing and the fact that I can now work with the clients more closely then that could be form whether it would have to send me this stuff, you know, and I would do my thing. They would do their thing when we can do much more stuff together than we could do before. Now that's not for everyone, but it does open up some kind of different relationship, which I think is really exciting. And I think I was saying this before, I initially when I could do things easily with the page builder, I was conscious about whether I want to let them know that it's so easy, but in the process of showing them how they can do stuff, you actually showcase your own skills by pointing out you can do this, but you need to be aware of responsivity about how browsers will, will be affected differently, all of that kind of stuff. Now if I try and tell them this stuff beforehand, say I'm an expert, don't you know, I know about this stuff, they'd been blank town. But in context of teaching them how to do something for themselves, I elevate myself. I think so I quite like that.

Nathan Wrigley: 40:35 Yeah. You've become, you've become, um, an accidental if you like mentor. I completely agree. I love the personal interaction. I love, I mean mostly it's Skype or um, what have you, but there are, there are quite a lot of moments where I sit actually with the person, you know, swivel my computer around and show them how it's done and, and they, they get a real sense of pleasure in contributing to their bit of the Web because we forget the web is really exciting and really, um, how to say it's something else for other people. The web is not something that the date dabble in the web is like, it's almost like being employed by an actual print newspaper. You know, there's something exciting about that. You've, you've got, you've got a certain kudos status and, Oh look, I've just, I just did something and it's on the Internet. That's, that's cool. You know, people are still beguiled by that. And, and if you can show them that and demonstrate, well actually when I leave this room, you can go back and do it again and again and again and just remember, click the save button. That's it. It's all done that. They'll probably like that. And you've become a mentor. You've become somebody that shown them how, how easy this stuff is. And yes, it's easy in inverted commerce, but it's not so easy that when you leave the room, they're going to, I don't need them anymore. Yeah. Probably thinking, wow, that was great. They've enabled me to do something cool.

David Waumsley: 41:55 Yeah. And they need you more because they realize that you know a bit more and they want to learn more and they forgot to click save and it didn't work. So web design, it's not dead according to us, is it?

Nathan Wrigley: 42:09 No, I think, I think there isn't absolute cast iron set of arguments as to why it is and I can see them the strongest of which I think is a AI. Um, but I also think that if you've, if you found your little area and you can get those messages across and make yourself the expert and make yourself after all, if you can make your message clear and remember that most people have got no time to do this stuff and they just want somebody who is, uh, able to do it and take it off their desk, then no, I think it's not that at all.

David Waumsley: 42:48 I know might do is easy because it's so nebulous, this concept that I'm not going to clean it either way. But yeah, I do think that message in, I wish we could nail that. Oh boy. I mean there's, maybe

Nathan Wrigley: 43:00 I agree with you. I mean I'm sure the people have pondered nothing else and I've got this really clear, but I haven't yet. I haven't worked at my, my website still talks about, you know, the web having a website. It doesn't draw in those, those bits and pieces and I really should make more of an effort to, to look at it and uh, and frankly, so should you David, I will. Good. Should we knock it on the head? Perfect. Nice conversation.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:29 Thank you so much for listening. I hope you got something out of that. It's always an interesting topic. This idea that our jobs are being taken from a spy, for example, Ai and the ease of new new tools, but perhaps not. Perhaps it just means that we've got a whole new set of things that clients simply don't understand and whilst we're in them every day and seems very straightforward, you know, it's not. If you don't do this for a living. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP&UP one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness. WP&UP supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training and counseling. Please help enable WP&UP by visiting WPandup.org forward slash give together. We can hashtag press forward, right.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:28 That's it for this week. Thanks so much for staying right till the bitter end. Join us next week when we'll have a new episode, but also come back on Monday when the WordPress weekly news will be put out. And then we're also starting a little bit of a new initiative last week with four, three of the participants with Kyle Van Deusen, Paul Lacey and Chris Badgett. We did a, a summation of the WordPress we can use. It was about an hour long and it was really, really fun. You can find those. If you go to the WP Builds.com website and you click over to the now the archives a button on the main navigation click news archives. What we're going to be doing from now on is inside the, the individual post for each new section right at the bottom will be buried or a video, probably a youtube video with our little chats with our summation of the WordPress news. Come and join us. We'll be doing it live. We had a bit of a bit of a problem with the audio this week, but hopefully we'll get that ironed out. And uh, it was very much fun. So join us for that. But if you don't manage to do any of that, have a nice week and we'll see you soon. Bye. Bye for now.

Support WP Builds

We put out this content as often as we can, and we hope that you like! If you do and feel like keeping the WP Builds podcast going then...

Donate to WP Builds

Thank you!

Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

Articles: 818

Please leave a comment...

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • Plugin (1)

% discounted

% discounted

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • WordPress (37)
  • Plugin (34)
  • Admin (29)
  • Content (18)
  • Design (11)
  • Blocks (6)
  • Maintenance (6)
  • Security (5)
  • Hosting (3)
  • Theme (3)
  • SaaS app (2)
  • WooCommerce (2)
  • Lifetime Deal (1)
  • Not WordPress (1)
  • Training (1)

% discounted

% discounted



WP Builds WordPress Podcast



WP Builds WordPress Podcast
%d bloggers like this: