190 – Content first v content later

Debate with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Setting up the Debate

We questioned whether there was a debate here, but it appears that there is! It’s common for website contracts to state the website build is subject to receiving content and there are many products and services to help with that.

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So is it better to get all the content ftom your WordPress website clients forst so that you don’t have the back and forth, making sure that it’s coming in to you in a timely manner, or are there benefits for the design process in being more iterative and allowing changes to happen as the sites develops; changes that might alter the length, size, shape of the content that you need?

Nobody would argue that having a prepared client is a bad idea, but some just are not ‘that kind of person’! They don’t understand what it is that you need, and all the clever language that you keep throwing around does not help them. They see it is your job to build their site and their content needs to fit into that, when it’s finished. It’s hard!

Many of us do SEO and marketing which can alter content, and even if only designing and building their WordPress website, we get involved in how the content is organised and what needs adjusting/tightening to be better suited to how visitors interact with the web.

So we take contrary positions and these are the main points that we thought would be up for discussion:

Content First – Nathan

  • needed often just to understand better what the client does and how they interact with customers / those they serve
  • it makes more sense to design to the nature and tone of the content
  • how do you know what pages you need until you see what you need to represent?
  • image content from clients may have a look and feel that need accommodating – maybe they have some kind of filtering on all their team photos
  • even if the client is planning to produce new content it is better to see what they have already that can be used and what they could be missing
  • without content we are effectively building templates – are we even needed!

Content Later – David

  • for most of us it has taken years to understand what makes site content effective and we still continue to learn way to make landing pages psychologically effective to website users – providing the structure first can help a client produce better content
  • getting client content can be worse than not getting anything – first you can get delayed trying to get it and only to have to upset them telling them that what they have is rubbish!
  • we should be designing web copy (a specific skill where the copywriter usually provides site structure for it) – who specifically states that they only design to professional copy?
  • startups may not have any content above a few photos – the website is the place where they first start to put something together and realise how difficult that is
  • asking for content first assumes the client has accepted your processes and so you can legitimately not begin work until that process is complete
  • business aims rather than content may produce concepts which demand a new approach to content – why are they even spending money on a new site if the old content did the job?
  • SEO and sales funnels require a type of content a client would not have before needed
  • basically we get involved in content so why not lead it and that means bringing something to the table first

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Thanks to Timothy Preut of Tickyboom Design for suggesting this topic.

Mentioned in this episode:

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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: [00:00:00] Welcomw to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news. He's from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 190 entitled content first versus content later, it was published on Thursday, the 30th of July, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley. And. As always a few bits of housekeeping just before we begin. I'd very much appreciate it. If you listened to this podcast regularly, or indeed consume any of the content that we produce, if you feel like sharing it, that would be most welcomed.
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You can check it out and get a free [email protected]. Okay. Speaking of the content that we produce, don't forget we do this yes. That you're listening to now the Thursday podcast, but we also do a weekly WordPress news Roundup that comes out at 7:00 AM, UK time. And also on a Monday, we do the live news.
So that's 2:00 PM UK time. We do the live news, come and join us for that. Make some comments and join in the conversation. It's great. But also at the moment, I'm having conversations with Sabrina's a dam and we're talking about trying to take. Plugins from zero to 10,000 installs. It's a very Frank and honest discussion where coming from a point of ignorance.
So it's not trying to preach about what we know. It's quite the opposite. It's trying to learn along the road. And we've got some people joining us each week who are helping us out with that journey. So, yeah, that's Tuesday at 2:00 PM as well. Okay, let's get on with the podcast. Shall we? This is episode number 190 content first versus content later.
If you've built websites, WordPress websites, for any length of time, you'll face this problem. Should you ask the clients to supply absolutely everything. All of the content, all of the images, all of the text, all of the, everything. Before you even set foot. Into the production environment or are you allowing them to be a little bit more laissez Faire?
Are you happy for them to, to bring you some content later? Maybe your process is a bit more iterative and you'd like to show them the outline of a design and then perhaps upload some of their content and tweak it so that the design and the content match, there's no exact right answer, but there certainly is a lot to discuss.
And David and I debate that this week. I hope that you enjoy it. Hello today,
David Waumsley: [00:04:58] we are debating client content. First versus later, this is one of the suggestions from Tim from ticky boom designs and well, Nathan will have to set up the debate cause we didn't initially think there was a debate here.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:11] No. And I think also this is going to be one of those debates where we are probably firmly positioning ourselves to sort of deceive ourselves.
Should we say one of us is going to have to take a position completely contrary to what they think. And I think that person today is going to be me.
David Waumsley: [00:05:30] Yeah. Well, you know, it's interesting because when we first talked and didn't think maybe this a debate, because the first thing you said to me was, Oh yeah, well, this content first, isn't it.
Yeah, and it sounds we've gone on, we've almost drifted both of us to not fall necessarily our business models. So,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:46] yeah. And that's it, you know, I think where I was coming from when I said, well, it's content first, there is no debate here. I was just basing it upon the received wisdom and about the. The talk that everybody has when they talk about this stuff, it's always, we won't get everything off the client first.
There's just no, no way. That's not a good idea. But then having talked with you and reflected upon it, it would be, that's actually so far from the reality of what happens to me and to you that a it's difficult, but I'm going to try and present the case for getting the content first, even though I am not the best person at managing that.
Yeah. Well,
David Waumsley: [00:06:27] go ahead. Let's have your first point.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:29] Okay. So, I mean, let's just imagine that you are striving to be a successful web developer. That one of the last things that you really want to do is kind of just waste time and emails going backwards and forwards communications with clients. It just becomes a bit of a time sock.
And if you set up right at the beginning, let's say. At the proposal level. And then at the contract level that you would expect all of the bits and pieces within reason, right? Obviously if they're having, let's say a video made for their company and it involves, uh, some, some video company and it's two weeks out and they haven't actually made it well, sure enough, you could let them, let them have that.
But for everything else, copy the, the brand guidelines, the logos, the images, everything really. It would be, it would be a better experience for everybody if they could somehow put that together and deposit it with you so that you can then peruse that and begin on the design fully in the knowledge that all the paragraphs are, these lengths that the images need to look like this, that, you know, if we're going to go for font size 14, we can put that image next to this bit of text of that width, because we now know what everything's going to be like.
And so that is an ideal. But it's a good ideal. So that's where I'm starting from. It's just, if you can achieve that, everything's going to work better. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:07:56] I agree. You know, interestingly, even in your point there where you were saying about the content, if we're going to go for this font size, you've already in a, some way you've already got onto the design first.
Yes, yes. With a slip there. And I, I think this is where this is always such a problem because. The two go together all the time. So I mean, as you know, we're both in the situation where it doesn't seem to work out that way. Clients don't know how to get together, their copy or what they're going to need, and they don't know the terminology of the web and how many pages they're going to need and all that kind of stuff.
So our reality is that we we've had to adjust to. What the client is able to do and second guess also them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:40] Yeah. And I suppose that speaks to sort of like the weakness of our systems. Really. I think, I think I'm right in saying that I would prefer to get all the content first. Um, whether I manage that or not is a debate for another day.
Well, it's not a debate. I just, yeah. Basically don't manage it most of the time, just for a whole variety of different reasons. But the, the process would be a good one to follow and if you could stick to it. And I think, I think the reason is oftentimes it's just apathy on my part or just, I haven't got enough time to, to get involved in a, in a lengthy debate about no you haven't and given us everything we need.
So we can't start. And also just the fact that often I'm dealing with an individual and I realize the constraints of time that they're under and okay. Well, let's have an understanding that you've given me enough to be getting on with, but you're going to have to accommodate that. That just, that's just the way it rolls out usually, but it would be better to have a system in place to sock all of this stuff out the client and to lay it out primarily, just so that you've got a real, a real solid understanding of what it is that they want, you know, what their expectations are, what the, what, the, what the feel and the fleet.
Again, I'm getting into design here a bit, but. What the flavor of it's going to be like, what, what it, what it ought to look like, what kind of language they're going to use, what it is that they expect, how many pages they want, what will those pages look like? What kind of theme do they want going on, on all of those kinds of things, those conversations though.
Don't seem to be conversations, which the people that I've often working with are willing to engage in largely for the reasons you said, there's just, don't have an understanding of what all of this means. I mean, for some of them, it's, it's a, it's refreshing to know that web, that websites come in pages, that there are actual pages and we call them pages and that's a hero and that's, sir, that's a headline.
They just don't know these things. And so it's difficult to have conversations around that. Because they don't know it and they don't have any way of engaging with it. They're just familiar with looking at websites and having no understanding or, or any process of looking at it. It's a bit like me. If I look at a magazine, if I pick up a magazine off the shelf, somebody has probably spent a great deal of time.
With that layout and making each page look like that. And you know, that bit of text fits in that funky little yellow box in the corner, which is interrupting that photo in a clever way. And, and I don't see that. I just go look at that. There's a page on a, in a magazine. And I have no interest in the design of it really.
I'm just looking at the content. And so if I was to be the person that was asked to lay out that magazine page, I struggled to communicate with the company that was doing that. Cause I just don't have the vocabulary for it.
David Waumsley: [00:11:25] Yeah. Now I just go and I think probably early on, we should acknowledge the fact that I think.
You know, with larger agencies, which were not, they do have a, you know, they're dealing with clients who have invested a fair bit of money and they're usually inclined to go with their process. And this usually, if it's a large agency, there will be somebody who will be the project manager who will at least have a series of exercises in which to be able to gather the content in an effective way.
You know? So yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:57] I mean, that's, I'm sorry. Yeah, you're gone.
David Waumsley: [00:12:00] No, that was just that I think that content first comes from those ideals with design, that you've got a system, which allows you to cumulate that comment, that content and arrange it, you know, card sorting exercises, that whole information architecture with your website that kind of built in.
And then you put on. On top of that, the flavor and the feel with your mood boards and stuff. That's the standard, isn't it? Which we, which I think is the tradition for those agencies, which we copy, which tells us that content comes first. Isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:33] I think, yeah, I think that's it right? If, if you, if you're working for a larger agency, you just have to have processes.
Cause you just can't have. You just kind of have members of staff grinding to a halt because their job description requires them to do this. And only this thing potentially. So my, my job is to, I don't know, gather the content. My job is to make the, make the template. So make the layout. So the pages, my job is to do the JavaScript or whatever it might be.
That stuff. You just need to know it all so that you can farm out the jobs to all the different people. And if you, if you're thinking, okay, there's going to be a bit of content that collapses when you press this button, right. We need some little JavaScript thing writing for that, that JavaScript guy he's got to, he's got to have the work, you know, he's got to know what he's doing and where it's going to go and what it needs to feel like and so on.
And, and somehow the wisdom of that has trickled down to, to freelancers that this is the best way to do it. Um, And, and so, you know, the, the, the, the wisdom now is, well, everybody do it, no matter if you're a guy that builds two websites, you know, a month, or if you're an agency that does 50 websites a month for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
And, um, I don't know, even though I'm arguing from this point of view, I just don't know if there's wisdom in banging your head against a process wall that doesn't work for you.
David Waumsley: [00:13:56] Yeah, maybe. Yeah. Anybody, anyone can win the organized content. First argument, you know, if somebody is able to organize that in a way that we can design around it, that you must have had the situation.
Surely, I haven't had much of this because I've not needed to ask for the content often, but if I do get it, all they've got in terms of content is maybe something they got from a brochure. I mean, if I'm lucky they've had a website before, so, you know, That's a good starting point, but if they don't and all they've got is some other texts that they've put some out on some leaflets or whatever it is, it's not going to be appropriate.
So I, why I'm a bit less for the content first is that sometimes the worst thing that can happen for me is not getting the content 10 is actually getting it. It's just, I have to have a conversation about how I can't use this.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:14:49] Yeah, I do know what you mean. And I think that speaks to, well a, the process that you've got and also the whatever infrastructure you've built in order to accommodate that.
And yes, I've had to be, I've had to set up various different systems and honestly, I have tried. Every conceivable way that I could have done to get content of clients, you know, I've done, I've done SAS apps, I've done Google shared Google drives. I've done email, I've done FTP repositories and all that.
I've just never found anything, which, which is. Perfect symmetry for this, you know, it's just absolutely bang on and perfect. There's always something left behind. There's always something missing. There's always something usually that I didn't explain needed to be done. Um, and, and so I have, I have had to bang my head against this wall and it is, it's not that pleasant.
One of the, one of the takeaways that I leave. I've I don't know. At what point I discovered this as a technique, but it has worked for me in the past is just to, just to put something of your own creation up in the absence of information, you know, let's say for example, they haven't given you some texts to go in a paragraph.
I just bang out a paragraph of something that is akin to what I expect would go in there. Obviously it's not appropriate. It's made up by me. It won't use the right language and all of the right vocabulary and the vernacular that's in that industry, but I can have a good go and it takes me a few seconds.
And then at least when I show it to them, they can get a handle on. Oh, okay. Oh yeah. We miss that. All right. We'll, we'll write that about that length. Yeah. About that length. And that's really helped.
David Waumsley: [00:16:31] Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, getting content off people and issues with client revisions seem to be the two biggest problems that we have working with clients, I think.
And I think they both come out of this content first thing in some way or another. I think if you can put up something, some visual, something that represents something, because site that you imagine they might want in the first place, they've got something to address that because they can't get the concepts that.
We get, it gives them a starting point for the conversation for them. Then I think it's easier to get content from them. Well, and I think
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:10] that
David Waumsley: [00:17:11] helps with it because what you're doing then is your, instead of saying, you do all the work, then there's too many revisions at the end and they have to pay more.
You put it upfront and then you start from the point that they really starting from the revisions, so that the opposite.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:25] Yeah. I mean, I suppose that's why a lot of websites do come out of templates and they feel like they're templates. It is just because this approach to building websites just, just works.
Right. I mean, isn't that the reason why 90% of all websites have. A huge amount of commonality, you know, they're all laid out in the, they've got images to the left hero images at the top. And all of that kind of is because clearly it's not one point. Somebody is not that out before and it's worked and you can template it, thrust it in front of a client and say, okay, this is, is roughly what we're after, because this is proven to work effective and we've done it before.
So it will be simple. And it'll cost you less. We're not trying to break the boundaries with design here. You know, we're not implementing some. Crazy design. That's never been seen in the wild before. Um, so you can, you can put those templates out and then they can modify them. And that, that seems to me a completely and utterly rational approach to doing it.
Right. It wouldn't necessarily work for you. Your big client, or maybe it would, maybe it would work for a big agency, Chuck, a bunch of templates at them, pick the template, which you feel is the most appropriate. Then get the content that'll fit that template with a few minor tweaks and alterations and work from there.
David Waumsley: [00:18:41] Yeah. And I think, you know, in the page builder era, it's a lot easier for us to move around sections of sites where before we'd have to build out the whole PHP template and it would be time consuming. But I think, um, It's just a different starting point. But I think also when I was convinced by the content first people, the, the early people I listened to back in kind of 2006, seven, they were dealing with a different web than we are now.
I think they were dealing with a time where most people were there. It was their home on the internet. It was their brochure site. It was their functional site where they expected that they didn't really see. The, the web has landing pages, marketing tools, where people get a different experience depending on where they would be sent from.
They weren't thinking like that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:27] So
David Waumsley: [00:19:28] I think some ways the content first is slipping away. It has to slip away because what we expect our websites to do is change. Greatly. Yeah, no, not for, not for everybody. They're still going to niche up that center site, which reflects their branding and has their messaging, but still, I think a lot's changed.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:47] I think you're right. And because I'm casting my mind back to the first sites that I built in well tables, you know, pre CSS. Yeah. You just literally started with a piece of, well, a blank piece of, um, what it would like an HTML file, a dot HTML file. It was yeah, absolutely. Or a white piece of paper GML file.
And you would then start to put tables in it and you'd write them all out. And, and so. Everything had to be built from scratch. Once you've done a few things, you could probably store those away as little snippets of how to achieve. I don't know. We've got three, three columns here. Okay. I'll, I'll stick that somewhere and save it to later.
But on the whole, everything was built, um, in a bespoke way. And then, like you say, I encountered things like WordPress and page builders and all of that kind of got thrown out the window, um, because you can save rows now and you can reuse things, but also. What do you imagine that the clients and well, everybody, yeah.
In fact has some sort of expectation of what a website looks like now. They, you know, if you step away too radically from the design, I think a lot of people would be like, yeah. Oh no, that's a bit weird. Um, Hmm. That's not what I'm used to seeing, you know, where's the menu. Uh, Oh, right. Oh, it's hidden in that quirky thing.
Is it okay? That's interesting. Um, trusting, but not very usable. I think we've, we've come to the point where potentially. Using those kinds of templates is a good idea. In which case you might not need it all the content up front, because you can put placeholder stuff in. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:21:22] Oh, absolutely. I mean, there are some conventions are our best friend half the time.
If the, if we just borrow what most sites do, then a visit to the site, doesn't have to relearn how to use the site. They know where it is straight away. If the menus. All on the top to the right and the logos to the left, they know where they're going. And as long as the main hero section, which we now call it, which I didn't back in 2006, did there wasn't such thing.
And there wasn't such thing really as well, maybe the was, but I wasn't aware of it, the sort of concepts that we now have.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:56] Based really around
David Waumsley: [00:21:57] copy this idea of a landing page, where we have a value proposition at the very start being a key thing to our conversions and how we lay out the benefits to somebody, how we describe the problem, lay out the benefits, make sure that we've got a call to action.
All of these things have developed over time. I think when I did the first site's content first, we didn't, we didn't have to. Put to the client, there's some kind of conversion strategy that goes with building websites.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:26] Yeah, I was thinking just as you were saying, all that, that we have missed out a lot of the, uh, a lot of the stuff that I'm sure many of us do.
And that is to say the kind of explore exploratory work that goes on before content is, is created. And before, before you've even lifted a computer, really, you know, the, the conversations. In people's offices about what the purpose of the website is, why it's being built, what needs it's trying to address, what shortfall are they trying to make up for?
What product are they trying to sell? And all of those kinds of things. And, you know, just those exploratory conversations we've completely ignored them. And we've almost started from the point of view of right. Clients arrived. Start on page one off, we go, let's build a website. And of course there is more to it than that.
And one would hope that in those discussions you would set up that. That that conversation about, okay. Right. We've we've all of us decided that this is the main point of the, um, of the website. We want it to do this, so, okay. We need to come up with a unique value proposition. It's gotta be short and punchy followed by, I don't know, list the benefits of your products list, the features of your product and so on, so forth.
Okay. Now we've got all that and we've refined the language. Right. Let's put it in a document somewhere. Let's get the brand guidelines. Let's do all of this exploratory work. Okay. Now what kind of tenor of picture do we want? What kind of images do we want? Any videos going in there? If you're holding those conversations, surely there's a fighting chance that they'll be able to hand it over to you on day one.
David Waumsley: [00:23:56] Yeah. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:57] there is a chance
David Waumsley: [00:23:58] of that. But I also think, again, I think it's, you know, past to present again in the early days when they used to hear about people setting out the content, you know, a bit of discussion about what, what key points or, you know, if it's a large organization, you know, they would have to decide what's going to go on the homepage, which departments their content needed to be there.
It wasn't necessarily, I didn't think when people were designed into those processes, That they were thinking like, actually it really starts with what this light landing pages do these days. It has to do achieve one function only and get one message from that one page. And I think, you know, that would be very different called to try and cause I think we've all wandered into that area.
It's our future. Isn't it guiding people there. And that's why I think sometimes you, because it's so difficult to. Teach people because when they see a website, they haven't yeah. Expectation, but I'm pretty sure that most people don't say, ah, there's the format. I see what that is on the top there. Those first words are their value proposition.
This is, they don't see it like that. They just read what they, and they react to it. So for us to explain this to someone. Um, would be take a long time. If we did the whole format, we say what would need to go on the home page? So we'd just be talking about what information they felt they needed to provide to their visitors.
They wouldn't be thinking how the visitors would psychologically respond
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:22] to it. Oh, my word, no. I mean, my experience of, of many clients is that they. Just not interested in the project at all. Very often, you know, they just have been handed the, the, the work, you know, we need a website, please, will you take the job of getting this website sorted for our company?
And then they come to you. And the, the expectation is that they'll hand you a, uh, an amount of money and that's it. They are totally dumb. They've done their job. And I was saying to you before the call started, I mean, you, you just don't go into a, into a shoe shop. And expect to walk out with like a bit of a shoe, like a half feet shoe.
You just walk out and you pay the money and there's the box. It's got the shoes in it. You are done the transit, the transaction is over. Um, whereas we just, we just operate in such a different industry where there's two wing and froing and backwards and forwards and, and stuff that they need to give us.
That's not money. You know, actual time needs to be spent on this actual endeavor thought. Um, you know, and I, I think a lot of people are just not interested, you know, they can't have, they just don't have the mental space to, to learn about a new industry. What, what do you mean psychology? So webpage there's no psychology.
What do you mean? I've got to find images. That's your job? You're the web guy. Can you find the images? Do you know what I mean? So I think there's. There's a real barrier to getting people to understand all this stuff, as much as to actually hand it over just to, to make them willing, to begin thinking about handing stuff over is hard enough.
David Waumsley: [00:26:56] Yeah. And I, you know, I've not been very rarely that I've dealt with any company. They've not really understood the web in the way that I do, but even so even if they've got some brand assets, which they've got to stick to, um, That's about all. I mean, that's the only thing that it can help me with when it comes to what other content easier for me.
I like the content later a little bit more because it allows me to put up some ideas for them, hoping that I will keep a longterm relationship. But if, I guess my business was more thinking along the lines that I just want to get the site built and. And, you know, because they pay me to build this site.
That's my remit. That's where it ends. I think if I felt like that, I would be a little bit more inclined to the content first, because really, I just want to give them what they need and use my skills to build the website and get paid.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:50] Yeah. Have you ever, have you ever taken on a project where literally you got no guidance?
I mean, not non, but maybe barely enough to get going. And yet you've endeavored and struggled through it and managed to get it to the end. Cause I actually have, I've had ones where it's been a really iterative process, you know, I know what your business is. I've seen your current website. I know that you want the same colors, but beyond that, You're not really engaging with me and I've just bitten the bullet and just thought, well, I'll throw something together.
And it's worked. It's worked, definitely worked for me in the past just to take that approach because those, those clients, I'm sure this is a bit of a toss of a coin. I'm sure it could go either way, but I've had many experiences with those clients. They've actually been happy. The minute they've seen what I've done.
It's like, Oh, Oh yeah, that's good. Yeah, that's nice. Um, and so it can work with having almost no interaction with the client at all. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:28:47] no, I have, I mean, certainly I've done my two brothers sites and one of them went through a whole range of different designers, not being happy because literally they were coming back to him and say, you know, Give us some more information of which he just didn't know how to articulate and didn't have really any content and stuff.
And the only way to get it forward is just say, I'm just going to go. I'm just going to guess your business as best as I can. And then that was the only way to get it started. Cause then you could, he had something to correct me on and that's it
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:18] really interesting this, because. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah, your audio sort of dropped out there.
So I fair amount of cross talked over you. I apologize. But, um, it's interesting because we, we know this is a problem. Um, we've designed lots of solutions for this, you know, SAS apps and whatever infrastructure you've got in place, but I wonder how good we are actually here having that conversation at the beginning, you know, about, about the level of the content that we need.
And so right now you could probably buy a dozen courses. About how to automate things. You could probably buy a dozen courses telling you how to set up your business and all, and all of that kind of stuff. I wonder how much information is actually out there. Talking about how to educate your clients in the fact that they need to, to engage with you on this level before you can begin the project.
I know that I went through WP elevation and they definitely touched on this. I forgotten the majority, I think of what was said in there. But, um, that would be an interesting thing. You know, if there was a resource that you could somehow give to your clients that explained succinctly and cleverly exactly why.
They needed to give you content, as opposed to just saying we need the content that could be quite useful.
David Waumsley: [00:30:39] Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think what's been working for me best though, is that I'm assuming not always correctly, the client, they don't want to be educated, so that's always a difficult one. They literally do want to buy the shoes and walk out the shop, you know?
So, um, yeah. Um, I'm left with this idea of the not really told me enough about the business. So I'm going to guess it stick up a page and explain on a video. This may not be the look or the feel you want all the right words, but this is why the page is working this way. It's the idea that they had to have is to let them know, you know, and explain that the marketing behind, and that seems to work quite well because.
The kind of feedback. A couple of times they've done that. It's like, Oh, they suddenly get onto the fact that there is a lot more to this, a lot more disciplines into going into building a website. Whereas if I try to get something off them for they wouldn't, they would be too defensive about what the work that they needed to do for me, rather than just listen to me, explain why I go about stuff.
I'm showing you how I do my work,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:43] you know? I think you've hit the nail on the head there. The it's the, it's the sentence that you just said where you, you shot a video and you showed them a design, and then you explained to why that's the key, right? That's the point, if you can, if you can actually explain to them, okay, this is usually larger.
You know, this piece of text right at the top is usually larger. And the reason for that is, well, The data shows that such and such percent of people will get this far only. So you've got to really have a big impact at the beginning. And obviously it would be silly if we put a bright image there and that image was then on a below some very pale text.
Wouldn't it be better if we, I don't know how dark texts there instead, and all of those little why you suddenly start to. It's good for you as well, because it increases your authority and then future requests will hopefully be a bit easier. Cause you've explain why, but it also makes them see the purpose of it.
Whereas in the model where you just trying to get the content off them. Yeah. I probably just don't see the point. It's just another boring job that they've got to do. And you know, you could just do it. Just, just get on with it yourself.
David Waumsley: [00:32:49] Yeah, you could knock out the, make my logo, bigger argument by covering it in our first video where you're talking, I've just done a designer.
Now your logo might look a bit small here, but this is why it is because, you know, people don't perhaps know who you are when they visit here. It's not the key point that you want to make given that your visitors have got very few moments to get to judge whether it's worth it. Yeah. And you know, you can knock it out before it even comes up,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:16] you know?
I think, um, I think we've hit a real vein of something here. I think this is really interesting. The wineries of a website, the purposes of all the different sections explained in a short pithy video created by David Wamsley and GPL for all to use.
David Waumsley: [00:33:34] We need, we need to make a course. We'll make
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:39] a course about how to get people, content off people.
It's going to sell like hotcakes. Yeah, it is interesting. And it's a battle that I don't think I'll ever be over, but I do think that I've, I've settled on not. Despite the fact that I was going to argue from the other point of view, um, I have absolutely settled on the fact that this, this whole content first approach whilst.
Laudable and absolutely worth while. And certainly if you're not a freelancer like me and you're working in a business, it would make sense. It just seems to be on achievable. It's always, there's always light at the end of a distance on all there. I can't ever get to that light and I just have, I've just have to be, uh, reactive, you know, if things don't go perfectly, okay.
Let's try something different. I'm sure I'll lose a bit of time here and there, but it works. And it does mean that I engage with the client, which I actually rather like doing.
David Waumsley: [00:34:33] Yeah. I mean, I've given up on systems altogether. Cause even when I think I've got a great new idea about, you know, perhaps not even putting the content first for them and the design so they can see even that doesn't.
Kind of work. So you just have to adjust don't. Yeah. And I think if, for us, for you, you and I, who I think the relationship with the club, it's going to be the most important thing because they're going to stay with us and keep providing us with some common, ongoing income. It's going to be important too, to get that right.
Where I think if you're a larger agency or something in your, you know, your contract is absolute and they got to deliver, or they lose some money, then you're probably going to need to. Behave like that, but I would never have the nerve to do that. I'd never hold someone to their contract. You've got to lose money because you didn't get the content to us.
You know, I couldn't do it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:21] Or, or just the mere thought of that terrifies me. Um, yeah, that's, that's really interesting. So in summation, it's a, it's a laudable thing. Do it, if you can, certainly, if you're okay, the agency seems like common sense, but don't beat yourself up too much if you're not following this strict protocol.
And if your, if your process seems to be more like David, and I's where, you know, you, uh, you sort of roll with the punches a bit more and make it up as you go along and have a conversation with the client that that's not so bad either. No.
David Waumsley: [00:35:51] And it's actually, do you know what? I think one thing about, you know, having to provide the content for clients sometimes do the copy for them is that it's it makes a nice change sometimes to the work you do.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:02] Yeah. You're trying out some new skill you pick becoming good at marketing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, do you think we've done this one?
David Waumsley: [00:36:09] I do. Yes. I think it on the head.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:12] Yeah. Let's knock it on the head. That was really interesting. I enjoyed that. Thanks,
David Waumsley: [00:36:15] David. Yeah, me too. Cheers. Well,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:18] there you go. I hope that you enjoyed that episode.
Always interesting chatting with David about these things. Obviously trying to take a slightly adversarial position each week, now that we're having these debates, but it's certainly very interesting. If you have a position on this, if you'd like to get all of the content first and have your own system for making that work, perhaps a SAS platform or some bespoke offering that you've thrown together yourself.
Please let us know in the comments or join in the conversation in the Facebook. WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook. There'll be as soon as this is published and you can give us your suggestions in there, perhaps though. Yeah. You take the opposite position. You're quite happy to allow clients to give you content as, and when get it all later, it doesn't really matter.
Just let's get started and let's just iterate as we go along again. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. The WP belts podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? The new AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes.
Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers rows, really anything. The best part is it works with elemental BeaverBuilder and the WordPress blog editor. You can check it out and get a free [email protected]. Okay, join us again. Next week. We'll have a podcast for you.
It'll be an interview this time, or come back on Monday two things on a Monday, we've got the WP Builds weekly WordPress news, which is kind of like a podcast episode. It's audio. And then we'll have the live video version 2:00 PM UK time where I'll be joined by some notable WordPress people. And we'll be discussing the weekly WordPress news.
And I forget, same URL, WP Builds.com forward slash live on Tuesday for Sabrina's or Dan and I chatting about plugin. Anyway, lots of coming this week. I hope you stay safe. Hope you have a very nice week. All that remains for me to do is to fade in some. Currently cheesy Dixieland music this week and say, 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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