128 – Getting content from clients

In this episode:

Interview – Getting content from clients.

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If you’ve building WordPress websites for clients for any length of time then you’ll know that getting content from clients can the a real thorn in your side.

In an ideal world you’ve got a roster of lovely clients who deliver the content that you need to populate their website on time, or dare I say it, before time! They will provide it in formats that you’ve requested. It will be clearly labelled so that you know where it’s intended for. Images will be perfectly cropped and video, just the right length. The copy is exactly what Google wants to see and it’s the right length, and in keeping with the tenor of the website.

Then you wake up, because all of that way a dream. In the real world it’s rarely this simple. Content that you want simply does not show up, you have processes which rely on a variety of channels and platforms – so chasing it up becomes a full time job. You wait and promised deadlines go unmet. You wait some more… crickets.

When the content does arrive, it’s the wrong format, the images are too small so you cannot even crop them down with Photoshop. The text is not usable, because it’s too long or short and it’s full of grammatical errors that (I suppose) the client is hoping that you’re going to fix in a jiffy!

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Temperatures go up, profits go down and you’re left wondering if you are building websites for people or just active a full time hand holder!

What you need is a process, a system that is completely bullet proof, one that will make this problem go away and ensure that content arrives on time and how you need it.

In my case, the solution is pretty basic – get on with something else and wait a bit longer. I know that this is hopeless and somewhat akin to digital ‘burying your head in the sand’, but it often works! Sometimes the client just need a little reminder and a little extra time and that’s all there is to it. Whilst that’s going on, I just move to another project and do some work on that and then come back when (or if) the content arrives!

But this laissez faire approach can’t always be the best way, in fact I’d argue that’s it’s almost never the ‘best’ approach… but what is?

We talk about some of the systems that we’ve used over time, email, dropbox, SaaS apps and the phone. None of it’s perfect and we’re always tweaking this process to make it work better.

I’ve created images which explain exactly where their content is going to go on the site. “This is what a hero image is like”, “This is what a UVP is and how long it ought to be”, but the root of the problem is that these people often don’t have much interest in interacting with you, the WordPress website professional. When we buy most things, we just show up at the store and then hand over some cash, in exchange for which we get a commodity, and then we leave. Web design is not like that, and it’s quite likely that your client will not be familiar with your process, or the fact that there is any process at all. They just want to hand it over to you and then get it back when it’s done; shiny and perfectly formed!

David has a unique approach to this issue in that he’s working from the get-go with the clients, teaching them how to use the tolls that he uses in WordPress. So he’s showing them how to use a Page Builder and guiding them on how to use it right from the start. This encourages the client to take some interest in what they want to go on their website as well as have an understanding for things like images sizes and the length of their copy. It’s great.

My greatest tool for getting content is called… wait for it… the phone. The good old fashioned phone. In my case I always make sure that I have one point of contact in each company that I deal with. This means that I get to know the one person quite well; well enough that we often get quite friendly and this seems to assist the who process. It’s not always perfect, but if sure does work. The big problem with this is if the person is just not available, is unfriendly or the point of contact in the business keeps getting swapped, then you’re back to square one.

The long and short of this is that you’ve got to do what works best for you. It’s more or less guaranteed that what you have working will not work for me and vice versa. I think that a conversation about what we all do is the best that we can hope for, so please, please add your comments so that we can see what you all do, and try some other things out and see what sticks.

As always, it’s fun chatting to David and I hope that there’s something of interest in here for you and your WordPress website business.

Mentioned in this episode:

Content Snare

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Transcript (if available)

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

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:04 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Now welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there and welcome to episode 128 of the WP Builds podcast. This episode is entitled getting content from clients. It was published on Thursday the 16th of May, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from pictureandword.co.uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I'd be joined later by David Waumsley from David Waumsley.com so that we can have the chat about getting content from clients. Before we begin that though, just a couple of things, most of this is over on the WP Builds.com website. If you go over there and click on some links in the main menu, the subscribe page allows you to join our mailing list and find us on iTunes and various podcast players. Join our Facebook group, which has now reached the 2000 person threshold. That's an exciting milestone and we've also got other links to things like our youtube channel where you can get all of our content.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:21 The other one I want to mention is forward slash deals. Go to the deals page. If you're in the market for anything to do with WordPress, go and have a look. There's a chance that we've got some percentage off, some notable plugin or other, not everything but quite a few products on there. So it's probably worth checking if you're in the market for some new stuff. WP Builds .com forward slash contribute if you'd like to join me and make a screencast about something that you've done recently that you're proud of this. I suppose this, especially for people who are not really familiar with having their face on social media and just kind of want an outlet to, to show something that they've done. And I've, I've found it most rewarding to, uh, to get people on and talk about all the great things that they've been doing with WordPress or anything for that matter.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:09 And the other one I suppose would be to say that these days we've decided to start doing weekly roundups live news bulletins. They go out at 2:00 PM UK time, which is probably early morning. If you're in the United States and it's alive at feed with some notable WordPress personalities and we talk about last week's WordPress news, it's supposed to be not serious. You know, we've had a few episodes where the audio hasn't worked and so on. But uh, yeah, join us for that. You'll find out more information in our Facebook group and it will be going live into that as well as live in onto our youtube channel. So certainly appreciate it if you want to join us for those. If you go to the WP Builds.com forward slash archives news archives page, you can find that by going to archives and the news archive, I'll actually be posting each of those into its respective a piece of content.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:03 So that's maybe another way of keeping track of it. And the last one would be WP Builds .com forward slash advertise. If you've got a product or service and you'd like us to advertise it on the podcast, we will certainly do that and hopefully get your your product in front of a wider audience. Speaking of which, the WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by the page builder framework. Do you use a page builder to create your websites or the page builder framework as a mobile responsive and lightening fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder, elemental breezy, and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. So go to WP dash page builder, framework.com today to find out more and we do thank our sponsors for supporting the WP Builds podcast. It certainly enables us to keep on going right today, David Waumsley and I talking about how to get content out of clients. You know this problem, you know what we're on about, finding images of the right size, getting copy that works, basically getting anything at all. We don't pretend to know the answers as usual, but we do have a nice frank, honest discussion about where we're at right now. So I hope you enjoy the podcast.

David Waumsley: 04:21 Hello, today's topic is called getting content from clients. Nathan and I were talking about this for while and I think we probably concluded that this isn't such a huge issue for us because we're small

Nathan Wrigley: 04:33 fry. Yes. Is that right? What? I am small fry. Absolutely. So yes, this is of, I'm less concerned I think for me than it probably is for a lot of you people listening. 'Cos, for some of you it might be extraordinarily important.

David Waumsley: 04:47 Yeah, well we see all the time. Don't worry that this is a big problem. A lot of people have been trying to solve it. It causes delays, which causes late payments and you know, I mean I think every Facebook group, I'm in it comes up every couple of days. This, yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 05:04 How do you get content from clients? What's the best tool for getting content from clients? What's the best process? How have you tried it in the past and so on? And probably we've all stumbled through it in some way or another. I don't think there's like the perfect way of doing it. You know, even the SaaS apps, I've got their strengths and weaknesses, but there are a whole different bunch of ways that we've probably tried it in the past. So I guess at some point today we're going to talk about what those ways are, but also ways for possibly avoiding this problem.

David Waumsley: 05:34 Yeah, exactly. That's the thing. Well, I mean we see come up and I think we've seen a lot of SaaS apps. Um, a friend of ours does content snare and that was aimed at solving the problem that gets reported, you know, and they've seen in the Facebook's like us. I think also, um, there's been some, I don't know who they are now because maybe of these haven't lasted out, but there's been other organizations which are set up ways of being able to create content for your clients as a way of stopping that hold up. But I haven't seen much of that recently, but it does feel like over the last couple of years, there was a, a lot of products out there that we're trying to solve this problem because it seemed to be reported as a big problem, right.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:18 The time. Yeah. Um, again, I suspect that somebody like me or David and I chatted about this quite a lot before we, um, got on this call and started recording it. Um, in my case, I'm mostly able to just avoid the problem by getting on with something else. It's as simple as that. If a client is not responding, so let's say for example, either intentionally or perhaps they've gone on holiday or something like that and they're not able to provide me with the things that I would ideally like to move on, then I just do something else instead. And that usually gets me over the hump. Um, and again, um, but it's probably not suitable for everybody because if you're an, uh, an organization where the work is put in front of you and you've got to achieve certain targets and goals and this, this particular bit of work needs to be completed by this particular date and that is your remit for the next week, that's, that's going to be more difficult I suppose.

David Waumsley: 07:18 Yeah. Maybe it affects the larger agencies or suspect they've probably got the tools and the personnel to be able to make sure that people go through a correct process and those deadlines are met or guests that we'd probably put these things in contracts. But yeah, it seems to also be a problem. And I'd like to know, I guess in some ways we need to know what the problem is that a bit because we don't, in some ways I, I would say I don't suffer with it now, but I, I think I have before you mentioned this before about people changing personnel, so you've got somebody else that you need to deal with to get the content and that can cause hold up.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:57 That's definitely happened to me in the past where halfway through a project, for one reason or another, the, the personnel at the company that I'm dealing with have changed. And so the person who I've been working the process through with has disappeared and all of a sudden you've either got to start that process again or, or just jack the whole thing in. So you've got to reeducate them. I suppose if you're using um, a system like let's say content snare, then there is at least that, you know, you could make video tutorials or what have you that can be repurposed so that you could just send it to the new person. Whereas if you're working on a, a more bespoke system that you kind of making up on the fly for each particular client, you might have two. You might have to begin the whole process of explaining how it all works again and allowing them into the shared Dropbox folder or Google drive folder or whatever system that you're using.

David Waumsley: 08:52 Yeah, I mean, you know, I changed my system because of some delayed projects. Ones that went 18 months, I was one and in fact the longest one was actually three years. Wow. Um, yeah, it wasn't a problem. I guess for most people this getting content was an issue because of payments. So if you do the, it's almost the standard isn't it, to take 50% and then 50% at the end that the launch and if you got to the 95% of what you can do and you're still waiting for the content for he is after that, you're really out of pocket. And I think, um, to a certain extent, I, there was a bit of that came into it. We were waiting for someone's payment for a long time longer than we should of done with that. Um, with the one with the three years I just got paid up to what we did.

David Waumsley: 09:43 But that changed my whole approach to it. I think the basis of those two examples and in some ways they are content issues. Um, but again, one of them was change of staff as well, but it does make me think, I mean I changed now to daily bills, so I don't really care now if they take longer, particularly as the tend to be linked with the care plan and the hosting. So they get one free month of that. So if they drag on for years and never launched this site, they're still paying me to look after it.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:16 Yeah. I really liked your model in the sense that if you've got this a one, well let's say it's one day, um, could be more, but let's just imagine it's one day. Presumably if they show up on that day and haven't got the content that they are required to have though, they pretty quickly realized that the, you know, it's not going to get finished properly, but yet they're on the clock. Um, that time will run out and that's tough luck and, and in a way that's, that's a great way of not having to explain to the client where the, where the fault lies because they can see it for themselves. Oh, oh, I didn't bring that piece of content and I'm guessing that in your documentation that you send out to them before that day begins your, you're explaining that we need everything. Um, text and images and video files or whatever.

David Waumsley: 11:03 Yeah, well it's getting. It's, I'm changing a little bit, not had a lot of work just recently to really test out some of the things that I thought about and that's about being a bit more client friendly about it. Just into the people having a good conversation in the first place and trying to work out what type of person they are. See I think a lot of the content problems that certainly I had, maybe it's true of others were down to me because when I learned to be someone who build websites, I read articles and they largely told me about systems and approaches and when you read about contracts, which I again, I don't have contracts in my business, but they would set out that the responsibility for the content was the client and a lot of people won't start the project itself until the content is all in.

David Waumsley: 11:56 For me, I now think that's probably the wrong way to go with my type of client because they're all going to be different. So if they are, as with the case with my brothers at the extreme, no one could have made them a website because you literally, they wouldn't pay somebody to provide copy for them. That's not going to happen with them and not worth it for their small businesses either. It would be too expensive. So you just have to decide, well I'm gonna put something in and they can change the old words. It's dust is going to have to be that way.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:28 I think in the error of page builders for WordPress websites especially, that's a fairly decent proposition. I think putting in stock images, um, with Bob probably better off having, you know, licensed free images and putting in dummy text. It's a bit of a quandary here I suppose in that it's very difficult to be, to design a site until you've got some indication of where the, where the text is going to go and how much text they want to put in. And conversely, it's hard to create the content for the site unless you know what the design looks like, so you call it. It's a bit of a chicken and an egg type situation, isn't it really?

David Waumsley: 13:09 Yeah, exactly. That and I, I've realized that's not familiar websites for myself. I've never given myself the content first because they depend on each other. If I start to build the site and it kind of looks the way I want it, then in a way that the space available sort of determines how much content I'm going to put in, you know? Yeah. I know it shouldn't be that way. You should be designing to the content, but I think they do work together and I think that's if you try and separate the clients responsible for the content and you're responsible for the design, I think something has to be lost in that. Particularly with page builders where you can, you can start to work together as I'm starting to do these days, you know, clients are going in and fiddling with the design.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:57 Are you in effect then selling? I don't mean you, I mean is is there a business to be, is there a business case or could you make a business where you are basically selling a template with the knowledge to carry out, uh, the, the completion of that template. So in other words, okay, um, you've got a building company say we will set you up with something which we think you can fiddle with with all of the stock images in with ample space around the edges for some, you know, white space around the text and so on and so forth. But we, we will provide it to you like that and then it will be your job to go in and finish it off because you'll then be able to see what fits. You'll be able to tailor the, the amount of texts that you want to put in there judging by the size of the image that you put next to it and so on and so forth. That could be an interesting business model.

David Waumsley: 14:49 Yeah, I think so. That's kind of templates would help, but I do think we're just moving that way anyway. We were saying this before. One way that the net itself has changed hasn't it? I think when you needed to be a designer before it, it was difficult to um, make those webpages. You needed to know what content was going in before because you might need to create a PHP template file and you would need to position the all of the CSS selectors and the html in there. Well all of that's gone. So you, you're much freer around you would page builders where you can literally change at any moment and swap houses, templates and move any part of the page wherever you like it so that that element has gone. So I do tend to think when we may be look at old contracts about the client responsibility being full, the, the content is maybe a little bit out of date these days and perhaps as businesses we need to be moving towards because it's so much easier to build websites and leaving clients know this, that part of our skills perhaps ought to be moving towards the helping them how to get the content together.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:59 Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, if you go back 10 years, a lot of the products available where you know, you could, you could spend an entire career doing that. So for example, um, you know, you had experts at photoshop, um, and so on and so forth. Whereas now it feels like there's so many more straightforward tool should we say online image creation tools or stripped down versions that you can get for the Mac or the PC that are much more straightforward. And a lot of that stuff I kind of feel the client can do for themselves. Not necessarily, well in most cases, you know, especially with images, that's an absolute talent and um, and Korea, you know, you, you certainly a good designer is, is better than I am. Um, but I think that in many cases, especially for the cheaper end of the websites, having something good enough can probably be thrown together fairly quickly with a selection of sometimes free online tools.

David Waumsley: 16:57 Yeah, I think so. I think template and really helps. I used to hate, I think when we started to this podcast and talking, we both said that we didn't like templates on starting to change now because if they're templates like the ones I'm trying to create myself at the moment for clients which are um, they have content in them telling them what this content needs to do for their business. If you like, you know, how important that kind of head over isn't the description under it, you know, your social proof sections, your various different sections that will work that to aid people to contact you. Uh, you know, it's all written into a kind of template. So it's a kind of ABC of how to, you know, build a website in a website that's already templated. And I think, you know, it's a given client's a clue. You say they're responsible for the content. Give it to me. I wouldn't have a clue what they really, I don't know. Does anybody do that?

Nathan Wrigley: 17:56 I think that is one of the most difficult things to convey to the client. I mean, I, I, it's really difficult for them to grasp because they've spent no time actually thinking about what our website is made of. They've just consumed websites and it's all very straightforward in the same way that I really wouldn't know how to go out laying out a newspaper, even though I've seen them tens of thousands of times, I don't, I don't actually look at the layout of it. I just consume it or just eat it up and read it and then throw it away and do something else. Whereas we spend our lives thinking about this. So it's second nature to us. It's obvious you need this here and this here and you need a bit of space around this. No, no, no. So that bit of text probably could do with being a bit shorter if that's the image you absolutely must have in those dimensions, but it's nonsense to them.

Nathan Wrigley: 18:40 And you very often get problems with, you know, they'll send you an image which has completely, utterly inappropriate in terms of its dimensions. It's a letter box when it should be, I don't know, tall and thin and so on. And so forth. So I think conveying this is really hard and and things like content snare, those solutions, they do try to to fix that because you can kind of upload images of what it typically might look like. And I've, I've done all of that. I've created images of what this bit should look like. Okay, so this is the header. We're going to have probably a bit of text over here possibly. Or it could go over there and I've created and made videos and all that. But still somewhere along the way it gets lost because it's not really what they're interested in thinking about or talking about.

David Waumsley: 19:24 Yeah, I'm not, I'm not used the tool. London is, it gives you any clues. I mean some of the things you would obviously need to let clients know because if the did other than content, chances are it's going to be content that was made for print and it's probably in the third person and probably entirely unsuitable as copy for the web because it's not simple enough. And the images again, I mean asking for that content to come in from the client's going to be problematic. The, the new isometric design trends where we're using a SVGs if you want to do that kind of look, a client could possibly do that stuff. So,

Nathan Wrigley: 20:03 well the, I guess the problem here comes from it being a, a more modest budget doesn't it? You know, there's no time for somebody to actually write the content. Whereas in an ideal world, somebody will, you know, you'll get the client interface with somebody who's an expert at that and they'll be taken into consideration all of the SEO stuff. Cause there's that as well. And then you need the designer to, to make nice, beautiful designs and so on and so forth. But with the cheaper end of the projects, it's kind of, I just want a website, can you just finish it for me and get it done? And yet, here's a couple of photos of, of what my office looks like and here's a couple of photos of some of the people and they're all standing with different backgrounds and we all know it will look a bit crummy, but sometimes you've just got to put that stuff on the line for them because that's all they've got. Yeah,

David Waumsley: 20:48 absolutely. Actually it's getting easier and easier for things like that. Somebody sends you some rubbish photos now that removed BG there;s that removed.bg program.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:58 Yeah, it really is fabulous. I coincidentally, I came across a another tool last night which will put different colors into different images and that's, that's really good. That makes things really in inverted commas pop. And uh, I've used that a couple of times in the last few days. It's been great. But um, yeah. With all of this, what has been your process over the years that you've been building websites? What kind of things have you gone through? What struggles have you overcome? What techniques, repositories of you set up?

David Waumsley: 21:28 Well, I think initially, again, it's just following what I thought being a designer was, you know, having a process and trying to force my clients through those was how I did it and I created problems, you know, like really, I stopped the process, been enjoyable for the clients. So that was my mistake. Now I've gone entirely the other way maybe too far, where literally I'm just going to go with what I think is going to make it easier for them. So if they're really keen on learning about page builders, then I'll put some basic design and they'll ask them. Then they will actually start moving with the design and start sticking in their copy. My dream is that one day he will not need anything like a center or base camp or something like that to talk through that literally everything will just come in directly into WordPress.

David Waumsley: 22:21 And with that I'll start throwing in the images that have got, they'll have some templates to put the text in. That's my aim. But the, you know, before it was trying to, I guess trying to use things like, ah, I wanted to look professional. So I try to set up systems where they provide me with this type of content is always failed every time. I've just now had to adjust to the people. You said this as well use, um, you told me about how most of your problems are solved by the fact that you mostly get to know these people and you just have a chat with them. Um,

Nathan Wrigley: 22:55 my most effective system for getting content out of clients is called the telephone shit. Um, and it just works most of the time. So long as you can get through to the person, and I don't know what you all do, anybody listening to this, but I make sure that there's one point of contact between me and the company that I'm dealing with. So, you know, as we said earlier, that person may change, but then I would, I would ask that it's another one person. Now, of course that's fraught with problems. Perhaps you won't get on with that one person, but on the, in the vast majority of cases I have and the telephone, you know, get their phone number and phoned them up can be really effective. Look, I was just hoping that you could give me the, the images that we need, something roughly this sort of dimension, you know, and maybe describe it like, you know, think about a letter box.

Nathan Wrigley: 23:42 Something about that sort of size would be great to just to go on that section. And that's been really effective. I, I'm not, um, I'm always torn a bit like you just described what was talking about how much freedom to give them an in the error of the page builders. It's completely possible to, like we said, give them a template and let them get on with it. Or You could build it and just let them finish off by putting the images in. Um, but of course then you've had to live with the results of that. Uh, and whether or not you want to put that as a, as a, a testimonial on your own website. Because suddenly after 10, 10 minutes with the page builder, the client has made things look extraordinarily interesting with Cooper black font, uh, in enormous font size on the home page and so on.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:27 So I don't really, I don't really have the perfect system, but I think, I think the phone is as good as it gets. Failing that. Uh, like I said, I've used things like contents, snare, I've, I've set up ridiculously complicated folder structures in things like a Google drive, like ridiculous, you know, folders for each page. And then in each of those folders is another folder which will say something like assets. And then in another folder it'll say something like text and then they've got to put across, you know, it never works because it's just too cumbersome and silly. But, um, I've been through it all and come out thinking, just talk to them, you know, that's the best thing. But also having that kind of courage, I think to just do something and put it out to the client and say, look, this is what I'm thinking. And it may be a bit of a waste because perhaps they'll turn around and say, no, that's not what we imagined at all. But it's better to at least provoke that conversation than to be constantly in the status of, Oh, I can't do anything because I haven't got anything.

David Waumsley: 25:31 Yeah, yeah. I mean, when trying to build your own sites, um, you, you may be different, but I just go in there and start with some look and then I put the content in, I move it around and then they changed the look and the content and it all starts. It's just keeps going on. So I'm kind of quite keen that with page builders as you can, you can let the client get that out of their system as early as possible before this because you must have been through this before where you think you've done something that's absolutely wonderful. And then, um, someone tells you, my wife, in my case, that is not so wonderful and, uh, oh, and I realize it's true the next day. And I in some ways I feel clients almost if they're interested, need to go through some of that themselves. They need to try them out where we tend to block things by saying where the experts, we know better. This won't work because of this and I've really, I'm trying to be a bit more open with that kind of thing. And it's the same with, I think with, with content itself, you know, they need to know how they can change that content because the always going to change it. My own business website, I mean it's almost changing the content, that word on that every week.

Nathan Wrigley: 26:45 Yeah. Right. Okay. Yeah. Now I do know what you mean and I think that's probably as the tools become much more easy to use as the, the, the techniques for creating web pages become easier and easier. I think it's either you're going to be a kind of agency that says, look, we're going to build it for you and we're not going to give you the tools to manipulate it in any way. You're just going to phone that stuff through to us or email us, whatever, whatever system you've got. And we'll, we'll, we'll take care of that. You don't worry or a little bit like you. Um, look, we've built it and here's some instructions as to how, how the software works that that enables it to be built, uh, go and have a play. But you know, the caveat is if you, if you play and break something, then you're either going to be built for us to change it back or you're gonna have to figure it out for yourself.

Nathan Wrigley: 27:31 And I've, I've got lots of that going on in my life at the minute. Lots of the clients fiddling with things. I've looked at a site a couple of days ago where I'm, I'm a little bit alarmed by button that they've put on the home page and it's huge and ugly. But then I sort of think to myself, well, if I was to sell you a car, um, and then I notice a couple of weeks later that you've put a, uh, uh, I don't know, an extra bumper on the front, or you've painted the car or a different color. It's not really up to me to tell you that that's the wrong color. I might dislike it, but it's your, it's your car, so your website, you can in, in this day and age, do that stuff. So I think that's fine.

David Waumsley: 28:12 Yeah. There's another debate, isn't it? Who's website?

Nathan Wrigley: 28:15 Well, I think my approach is it's, there's mostly, you know, I can't see, oh, I can really count. It's a stretch for me to, to understand the argument that it doesn't belong to the client because they've paid for it. Yeah. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 28:29 We should do it as a challenge. I'll try and put the opposing view,

Nathan Wrigley: 28:34 I fear. It'll be a fairly short to talk in that case. Yeah. So, um, any other ways that you get content out of your clients then?

David Waumsley: 28:44 Yeah. Well, I mean it is a lot more that they're going into WordPress anyway, so they aren't just chucking in images and moving stuff around. So I don't think there's anything particularly new that I do. I mean, I'm, I'm trying to get rid of, um, Asana which are used to use a waste with the emails. They can just chuck something through Asana because it goes automatically into the media section of Asana. So, so they don't really need to know it. They just need to know how to send an email with an attachment. But yeah, I'm trying to kill that kind of stuff and see my ideal via a page builder. I would love to do it. You see, this is the thing, it's, I mean, there's lots of different tools coming out these days, but um, you know about this because you've done a video as well on WP admin pages pro, which, uh, I've also looked at.

David Waumsley: 29:33 That's a great way of being able to provide information to clients directly within their installed because you can create pages which do with videos, I'm using user back, your project cuddle fan. Those are other things like that appearing where people can give feedback on the same site that you're working on. And then now I think, you know, with most of the instant sizing and optimization you can do in your WordPress installs, they can chuck stuff in there currently. So I'm, I'm thinking of all of these extra processes I'd love to remove. I'd love everything to happen in that one site or built in with them.

Nathan Wrigley: 30:09 How has it been working out for you using user back? So there are three products that I failed, I think fit a very similar target audience. We've got um, user back, there's project huddle from Andrea Gagnon and there's also a new one called WP feedback. All doing a similar role. In other words, your, you're putting the site live, you know, it may be on a testing domain or something like that, but essentially your, you're making something available to the client. So it's a process it iterating through it and yeah. Then you're asking them to give commentary on it to give a approval or to say that they like this or they don't like this and they can amend and add text and so on and take screenshots and all of this stuff and, and essentially just give you without you having to be on the phone to them that their opinion on it. My fear with, with all that stuff is that you'll be deluged or they won't use it, but I mean these products are out there. They're being heavily used so that they absolutely must, must serve a purpose.

David Waumsley: 31:16 Yeah. Well I've not had a chance to use, um, use it back. It's now in my starter theme, which has got all of these things in that I haven't done any new work of and had done some rebuilt with existing customers recently. So I haven't had a chance to sort of test this out. But my, my view is it's there if you want to use it, if you want to put some screenshots in quickly and give me some feedback on it, that's great. You can use it if not, doesn't matter. Because I think is one thing I didn't really discuss which, which is I wonder if this happens because it definitely happened with me with, with content and Moan about clients not sending me the content, but once they been delayed wants for, wow, I let that delay go on. You know, I might chase them with an email and I noticed something tedious for them to do and that would give me an excuse and then I'll just let it be, you know, because I'm not got that, you know? So I'm part of the problem because I'm not chasing them up where nowadays, because I'm going for short focus sprints of work with the clients is probably much more likely to get something done than when you send an email every so often, like you're saying. But the telephone, it just moves things forward. So sprints of work or the way that I now think I like to work. So probably something like user back won't get used in that.

Nathan Wrigley: 32:32 Right. The, this has never really bitten me too badly. And that, like I said earlier, I always just be getting on with something else. But presumably there are situations where it does cause a problem and I wonder if anybody out there listening to this as has had real dilemmas and problems caused by exactly this. You know, you weren't able to because the contract was written in such a way you weren't able to actually get the final payment possibly because they just, they stalled and yet the contract doesn't provide for that. Maybe with that in mind, you've had to rewrite your contracts so that there's a stipulation that if the content is not supplied, you can move on. Kind of decide that the project at some arbitrary time is, is actually over and it's on them. Uh, I wonder, I wonder if people have had to do this before my approach, I think with all of that would be never to just sort of drop the project.

Nathan Wrigley: 33:27 If it ever came to the point where they had, there was radio silence or they just weren't giving me the content. I think probably the worst that I would do would be to finish off as best as I could, fill it up with something which I would be happy with. And then say, look, there you go. Um, you can push it live in some way, shape or form that you feel is fit or I can push this live for you if, if that's part of what we agreed. Either way, you know, it's been sort of six months now, have absolutely no silence and I've sent dozens of emails and I've called a few times that this, this is what I can do for you. And uh, you know what, we can't, we can't go any further unless we have any content. That's probably what I do.

David Waumsley: 34:11 Yeah. I guess there are some circumstances if you've got, I mean the ones that I'm thinking of that did hold up a little bit were waiting for the photographer to do some pictures of the products and also some pictures of the staff. But there were ways around that because you could, you could substitute icons I guess, or some things styled or you know, just anything really to put in the staff in the meantime while they're getting them ready.

Nathan Wrigley: 34:35 I think also content, which is not quite as good as it should be, can also be a bit of a, it's a bit of a carrot and a stick in a way because let's say for example, that you're waiting on a particular photograph. I'm thinking of a website that I did not so long ago where every member of staff went through the same photography studio within a week. So that, you know, one of the requirements was that all 80 staff at some point had to take themselves to the photographers and they would have a photo taken at the same angle with the same lights, with the same background to give this field to their page. And there's all the 80 staff except that, um, a couple changed. So there was nobody, um, there was a couple of photos that didn't exist. And so I just put in like almost like the, the old Facebook dummy kind of, you know, it's like a silhouette of a person. You can't see a note. It's just like an image of somebody who's head basically and that that's on their website. And in a way it's kind of um, okay. That's, you know, there it is. It's not ideal, but at least we've got something and it's in your hands now. Go on, send them up, send them off to the photographer, send it over and we'll, we'll sort it for you.

David Waumsley: 35:45 Yeah, that's, you know, the end of the last projects I did, it had the stuff there and it wasn't nicely lined up because they didn't have somebody in a place. But it was wonderful because then we just left them a little template swap out. So they had it if they add odd numbers. But one of the templates is when they got a gap that it was a link through to their recruitment as well. So it could be, you see I got to that. So there's always a way to sort of use the space in and move on rather than get stuck waiting for this one person to come in or the design doesn't match up until they get the next member of staff or whatever.

Nathan Wrigley: 36:21 Yeah, I think, I think there's only so much you can do to try and persuade people to give the content to you. And if they don't, you know, uh, at the end of the day, I suppose you've got to ship something because you have to be paid at some point. And I also think using tools like, um, loom, which is a thing you can put in your web browser to, to create instant little screenshots. I mean, are you, are you make so much use of things like that because I can in five seconds have a video underway where I'll show them, look that we were missing this exact image here. It was supposed to be of your front lawn or whatever. So can you get it to me please and send it to this email address or whatever the system might be for that particular project. And it's done and it takes less time than it would do to to send an email by the time you've typed it all out. So I think that's also another way around it. And I don't know if these, these tools like contents in there or use a back or whatever, have that capability in them to, you know, to shoot little videos. But that, that's something that I make a lot of use of and in, in a way it's, it's like second best to the phone, but it's pretty good because I don't know, people seem to open videos a lot more than reading texts.

David Waumsley: 37:33 Yeah. I think we need to be taught what the real problem is because we probably don't understand it. Yes. The getting content problem, I think I've, it's become the thing that I enjoy now actually. I think it did not know him that the web designs been doing that for a while. It's got easier to do. I now kind of enjoy getting involved in the content a bit with, with folks.

Nathan Wrigley: 37:58 So good. So actually talking to the clients and learning about their business and all of that. Yeah, that's lovely. Um, I enjoy that part. I mean, I can talk for England as you well know. And so I do, I really enjoy that part of the week where, you know, you have to speak to different people and assuming that everything's on an even footing and you're getting along, I think it is, it's very enjoyable indeed. Um, I'm not sure that we've solved this problem. However, we not only have, we not addressed the problem of getting content out of people, but, um, we, we, you know, we, we haven't really nailed this one at all. I would say

David Waumsley: 38:34 no, that's, to me typical David. I've, I do think, you know, I think delays will be inevitable, whatever, but I think, you know, it's just, it's, we keep coming back to this is our solution to every problem is good communication, isn't it? It's about the service. We always end up back there that way. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:53 Not always finding a SaaS app or something equivalent that is going to fix the problem because it probably, well, I mean it might, that's a ridiculous thing for me to have approached saying. It might of course it might, but getting on the phone and come, yeah, communication is the key, whether that's using your voice or writing emails. Uh, for me it's using my voice every time

Nathan Wrigley: 39:17 because it just is far more effective and quicker.

David Waumsley: 39:20 Yeah, no, no, that's it isn't it? It's not letting team processes or tools get in the way of good communication, but they didn't then help that communication is getting it the right way round, isn't it?

Nathan Wrigley: 39:30 Have you ever had that feeling where the, it's been you that's caused the delay? Let's say for example, that you've, you've accidentally found yourself doing other things. Let's say, oh, I don't know. Facebook for example, and uh, the project has sort of slipped and then you feel a little bit guilty or a little bit ashamed to phone the client up or to communicate with the client and you sort of bury your head in the sand a little bit.

David Waumsley: 39:55 Yeah, absolutely. That's the thing is when, when they've missed the deadline or haven't got anything, it's given me the excuse not to follow them up. It's really my job to follow it up on the project manager effectively in small business of this project. So yeah, absolutely. It's a lot of, it's my fault,

Nathan Wrigley: 40:11 so we need to get, we need to communicate better and get our heads out of the sun. That's the takeaway. That's the takeaway from this episode. Do you think we're done? I do. Yes, I think so too. Not right on the head. Let's knock it on the head.

Nathan Wrigley: 40:25 Well, I hope you enjoyed that episode. It's always very fun chatting to David. Even if we don't have all the answers. It's quite refreshing too to get this stuff out in the open and to chat about it and you never know. Maybe somewhere along the line some of that stuff will have given you some, some guidance and also please feel free to contact us and tell us that you know what we said doesn't make sense or what we said was good and it offered you some support or guidance that would be most appreciated. Good place to do that is in our Facebook group over at wpbuilds.com /facebook or you can add some comments into the post on wpbuilds.com. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP and up one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and up supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training and counseling.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:22 Please help enable WP and up by visiting WP and aarp.org forward slash give together we can hashtag press forward, right. That's it for this week. I hope you've enjoyed it. Please join us again on Monday, not only for our news episode, which will come out early in the morning, but also join us for the live feed that I mentioned. There'll be three or four of us live in Facebook on youtube and a and you can come and comment on our opinions on the WordPress weekly news from the last week, but if we don't see you there, we'll see you here next Thursday for the podcast. One small, so bye bye for now.

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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!

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