203 – The WordPress journey of Wendie Huis in t Veld

Interview with Wendie Huis in t Veld and Nathan Wrigley

This is one of those warm and fuzzy episodes! It’s all about Wendie and her journey with WordPress.

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There’s no product here, no tutorial, just a good, old fashioned chat about WordPress with a thoroughly lovely person!

Wendie and I have been chatting on and off for years. It all started back in the day that both of us were going through the WP Elevation program and we decided to be accountability partners.

We chatted from time to time during that and drifted in and our of conversations online for many years. We met in person at WordCamp London in 2018 as well as WordCamp Europe in 2019.

She’s been working in the WordPress space for years and has a really interesting story to tell.

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We speak about:

  • Wendie’s ‘Website Club’ project. This was a philanthropic project that she started to meet with other WordPressers who wanted to learn from one another. It all started off well, but then the club started to be used by some people in a way which means that Wendie decided to stop participating and move on.
  • We also talk about the beguiling nature of web technologies and how it’s easy to dabble in other platforms, such as Webflow. Although WordPress is an amazing project, it need not be at the root of all our online endevours. Wendie has some interesting opinions about this area and although it’s constantly under change, it’s certainly something that I’ve thought about a few times in the past.
  • Can we trust the WordPress Project for all of our work. The concern that some people have is that the governance model for WordPress means that we have a benevolent dictator (not our words) who oversees the ultimate direction of the project; what gets commited and what stay out of core. Is this the best model for a platform which is now seeing such a large proportion of the internet running WordPress code?

Since the discussion was recorded Wendie has had some great news. She’s been taken on as an employee of Automattic, working as one of the WordPress happiness engineers.

Maybe some of the conversation would have gone differently had we recorded it last week, but I commend it to you anyway as it’s a lovely story of a Wendie’s journey which I’m sure will resonate with many of you.

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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: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 203 entitled the WordPress journey of Wendie Huis in T Veld it was published on Thursday, the 29th of October, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley, and just a few bits and pieces before we begin black Friday is on the way and I'm sure you're getting yourself prepared each year.
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It's a blue button and you can add your own deal and let us know about it. And we'll put it on that page completely. For free. So that's WP Builds.com forward slash black. If you'd like to keep in touch with everything that we do head over to the well UPG builds.com forward slash subscribe. And over there, you'll be able to get involved with the things that we produce.
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And the best part is it works with element or BeaverBuilder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out and get a free demo at AEB split. test.com. Okie dokie. Let's get stuck into the main podcast. Shall we? Today I'm chatting with Wendie, Wendie, and I go back quite a long way. We began our friendship, or I would say probably eight or nine years ago over at WP elevation.
We became. Accountability partners for a short time. And we did some email toing and froing and some meetups each week. And then we met each other in person several years ago at WordCamp in London, and also at WordCamp Europe. She's a thoroughly lovely person. And today is just the most wonderful chat with somebody in the WordPress community about their journey, how they began, what initiatives they've created, things that went well, things that didn't go so well, what it's like to be a freelancer and ultimately.
What it means to be in the WordPress community. I thoroughly recommend it. It's a real lovely chat. As I say, with a thoroughly lovely person, I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there. Welcome to the interview. Part of the WP Builds podcast. I'm glad you made it this far. I am joined today by Wendie now, before I begin this podcast, I did a different podcast with Wendie a few weeks ago, and there was a bit of a.
To-ing and fro-ing because I asked Wendie on, what was it? Facebook messenger to tell me how her name was pronounced. And I'm not even going to try to pronounce your name, Wendie, if that's right. Would you mind saying it for me?
Wendie: [00:04:24] Just stick with Wendie.
Nathan: [00:04:25] Yeah, but how is it? How do you say the whole thing? Wendie Huis in T Veld Yes.
And it was the high spit that I couldn't do. I seem to. Recall. Cool. Yeah. Yeah.
Wendie: [00:04:36] you did well,
Nathan: [00:04:37] I did try, honestly, I tried about six times the, the reason we've got Wendie on today is cause she wanted to come on and we decided we were going to talk today about, a few things that she does in her local area.
But before we begin that maybe she could just tell us, you know what her. What her journey has been with WordPress, where she lives and so on. So Wendie, yeah, just tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're based and what your interest is in WordPress and so on.
Wendie: [00:05:04] okay. I'm based in the Netherlands.
the city where I live is called , it's the fifth biggest city in the Netherlands, but, In comparison with other cities, it's still pretty small. it's about 200 something thousand people. and I've lived here for well quite a few years, almost 20 years. And I have a 19 year old daughter. I'm a single mom, mother, and I have two small dogs.
And, I've been working with WordPress, since 2011. No, since 2008. And I had my company since 2011, so I have been a business woman for almost 10 years.
Nathan: [00:05:48] Do you, do you work from home or are you part of a sort of wider agency or you freelance? How does it work?
Wendie: [00:05:54] I work from home and I do a combination of freelancing.
So I worked for several. communication agencies, digital agencies, and I build themes for them that they use on their clients' websites. And I have, quite a lot of customers that work with me directly. And the focus with them is mainly on teaching them to do it themselves. So I build a basic website and then I teach them how to use it and how to work
Nathan: [00:06:28] with it.
Yeah. this is, this kind of leads us very nicely into one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about today because I met Wendie years and years ago. I say met in the sense of online. We were both part of WP elevation. I don't know if you're still involved in that or not, but that's where we, that's where we initially made contact.
And then actually finally got to meet each other at a word camp in London. Goodness. When was that? In 2017, something like
Wendie: [00:06:53] that. It's 2017, because that was the first word camp I ever spoke.
Nathan: [00:06:57] Ah, okay.
Wendie: [00:06:58] I cried on stage.
Nathan: [00:07:02] I actually was there too to witness it. It was a lot, it was a nice talk though. but we over the years, we've hung out periodically, but one of the things that.
Stuck with me that I knew that you did was you have this really interesting idea, which is something that had, I got more time in my life, which I currently don't have. I would like to do myself a philanthropic endeavor at times, but then also at various times, you've tried to, to make it part of your actual business and so on.
do you want to tell us about a website club?
Wendie: [00:07:31] Yeah, sure. website club is also the name of my company. everything I do is, it goes out by the name of website club, but what you are referring to is what I, with WordPress, there is a part business and a part sharing knowledge and telling the world and creating a better world together.
And I am very hooked on that part. I like the idea of me sharing knowledge and people being able to create a better living for themselves with the knowledge they got from me. and that's why I like making websites because it gives people more opportunities to well, make a living. And what I did is I have been trying to.
Find ways to make it accessible and affordable for as many people as possible. And also without going broke myself, because if I give everything away, then I am not good, then it's not sustainable for me. so what I did, I, when I started out, I created a month plea meet thing. in an open office space that was free to use and people who had questions about WordPress could come to me and I would answer their questions for free.
And it was two hours. I think when I started two hours on a Wednesday morning and two hours on a other day in the afternoon. And it was both the times once a month. So for me, it was two times a month. Work. And I stopped that because it got abused. abused is a big word, but I had some people that came in every time and they just wanted to get my knowledge and my work for free, and they were not willing to pay for it.
And I was, the hard thing was I really wanted to help people. So I was going way beyond what was. reasonable to help them out.
Nathan: [00:09:36] Can I just pause you there for a minute? Did it, was there a period of time in which it did work? you've said describe that at some point it became unsustainable because certain I'm guessing it was certain individuals as opposed to everybody.
Wendie: [00:09:48] Yes, sir.
Nathan: [00:09:49] Yeah. We're
Wendie: [00:09:50] not everybody.
Nathan: [00:09:51] Yeah. Yeah. taking, taking too much of your time and requiring too much of you, but was there a sort of core group of people. That it worked for. And was there a period of time in which it wasn't abused and it looked like it was going to be an endeavor, which you was going to be successful for you.
Wendie: [00:10:07] Yup. Yup. It was the first period and I restarted it. because then I stopped it and then I started charging money for it. And then I restarted it with only, people I already worked with already paid me and they could get, they could come in and ask me questions. So that was, I think that was the best setup.
Yeah. So it was available for free for people who already worked with me. And if you hadn't worked with me, you just have to make an appointment.
Nathan: [00:10:38] So when you say already worked with me, is there any kind of, was there any kind of paywall there? And what I mean by that is, did they have to be on some kind of recurring plan or it's just, I worked with you four years ago.
Built your website. You're you for now forever more. You'll be able to access this website club.
Wendie: [00:10:54] Yeah, that was really funny. You asked me that because, sorry. The thing that, I have been struggling with money and how to charge for the services I give and how to be reasonable with that. And I have always dreaded, that kind of a recurring payment things.
So I never did that. People bought a website, they paid a one time fee and that was it. I recently got a new coach. recently it was at the beginning of the year, so it's a couple of months and she just laughed at me. And she said, that is so ridiculous because you're selling yourself short because you give service to people who are not paying you for that.
And you are losing money. And it took me a couple of weeks to get my head around it. And I started implementing a subscription model for service and for asking questions and for doing backups and updates and things. so that is a new thing for me.
Nathan: [00:11:56] Yeah. it's, it is a difficult one, isn't it?
Because the sort of philanthropic nature of the WordPress community is fairly well known. a lot of these events that we attend. So for example, word camps, and so on, they have a fee attached to them, but they are. Probably, more or less free and there's an awful lot of well in the communities, lots of different channels that you can go through.
And, you're not familiar with paying for access to Facebook groups and things like this. So I can, imagine that it's difficult to come up with the, with such pricing, but it's interesting that it did work for a while. And also interesting that may be if certain individuals hadn't have, come along and maybe just.
Abused it, shall we say, then it might have just carried on, but I do like the idea of it. So did you say to any of your clients, presumably most of whom are fairly local to you? They could get in a car or get on a bus. I'm just going to make myself available. You come and was it bring your problems or bring your aspirations, bring anything you want to do with your website and we'll try and tackle it together?
Wendie: [00:12:59] yes, that's the way it started. I. I changed that to, I am answering your questions. I am not giving any help. If you want help, you have to pay for it. But I will answer any question you have. So that is a good, I think that for me was a good line. Because that was very clear where my help stopped and where you would have to start paying for my services.
Nathan: [00:13:26] It's interesting. Isn't it as well, because I think a lot of people would be first of all, fairly intimidated by the idea of opening themselves up to you can ask me any question, just because of the chance that somebody will ask that. Dreadful question for which you have no answer, you simply don't know.
And in a,
Wendie: [00:13:44] no, I don't know is an answer as well.
Nathan: [00:13:47] Yeah. I don't know. No, I'm not sure. but the, but the idea of letting your professional veneer slip for a little while might be. a little bit, off-putting the other problem, for some people is their clients are spread all over the place.
Aren't they? And, in my situation, your, what you're describing seems very appealing because just about everybody that I work with just about. Is fairly local and could get in a car and within a few minutes come and join me. I just don't know. I don't know whether I'm willing at this point to open myself up to that largely because of, if they are something which I just can't handle or they asked too much or what have you, but it's interesting.
Wendie: [00:14:28] But to be honest, the questions I got, I, apart from the two people who try to get their website for free, and ask me everything, most people are very moderate and the questions they ask are extremely easy for me. Questions like, okay. So how do I change my password? I want to restyle my blog a little bit.
I want to add social media buttons. I want to start using a newsletter. How do I collect email addresses? It's questions like that.
Nathan: [00:14:59] And that's actually really, that's really good. Fun as well, isn't it? if you can provide the answer and you've got the answer right. Fright at the back of your mind, and you can bring it to the forefront and you can fix their problem and they can leave at the end of that evening with a sort of sense of, that was worth doing.
I'll go back again in a couple of, in a couple of months or whenever it might be that's really rewarding.
Wendie: [00:15:19] that was the whole idea that the customers I have the clients I have, I helped them with a website, but that is only a starting point. From there, they have to start getting people to the website and start measuring what is going on the website and start tweaking it and maybe change the text a little and add some more content.
and I noticed that people were not doing that. So I created a website for people and then a year later they called me, okay, I need to do something about my website because I forgot the login information. Can you send it to me again? so that is where the idea came from initially.
Nathan: [00:15:58] Yeah. it, I also just liked the idea of being in a room with people who were at different levels of expertise.
And obviously you've set it up, but yeah, it may be that on certain things, there is somebody in the room who could take that question and field it for you after they've been attending for a little while, it may be that they, they become the expert at, I don't know, whatever it might be and you get this little community and they're all helping each other out.
And it becomes a social event as much as it becomes a WordPress event.
Wendie: [00:16:26] that is one of the best things that comes with it. I have a great example if you'd I was talking to one of my clients about having a calendar on his website because he did, he's doing events. and he wanted, he put them on the page and every time he just updated the page, he w he removed whatever event was done.
And then he put up the new events and it was just a page with several blocks on it. so I added, I told him you can use a calendar plugin, and then you can create events and they will show up and they will remove themselves after the event is done. And there was another customer who was listening to our conversation and he said, if that is possible, I want that as well.
So they got together and they started working and they both have a calendar now. And one of them even has a, has a pay, WooCommerce construction connected to the calendar so that the. Their clients can pay.
Nathan: [00:17:21] Oh, nice. So it can get quite complicated. it's interesting though, that a lot of these sort of philanthropic things that we hear about, they often start this way and sadly, certain individuals as you've described, got in the way and made that slightly unsustainable.
So did you pivot it in some way? Did you just cease to do it or maybe charge for it? how did it work from then?
Wendie: [00:17:42] I started charging for it. And then I had a little trouble with the price because, I do believe that everything you do must. Be profitable. You must make, if you charge, if you do volunteer work, that's not the case, but if you do your work, you must make money from it.
And if I charge 10 euros for one person to come and only one person is coming, that would mean I would be there for 10 euros for two hours available for that person. So that was not sustainable. And if I would charge too much, then nobody would come. so I got stuck there a little bit.
So I tried it at, 17 year olds and I tried it at 35 euros and both were not working out very well because people were hesitant to pay and people were hesitant to pay. And once. A person paid and they didn't make it. And then we had a whole discussion about getting the money back and I thought it's not worth the 17 years.
It's just not worth it. and then I just stopped it because I was fed up. I, it was too much work and I was giving away too much time and energy. And especially because of some questions. What I told you with the WooCommerce store, that guy actually paid me to set up the WooCommerce store, but then somebody else heard and they wanted to do them themselves.
And then they started emailing me. And then I have to email back. You have to come to their website club and it was confusing.
Nathan: [00:19:22] Yeah. So where does it stand at the moment? do you still run it? Was it ultimately an enterprise doomed to failure or does it still go in some way, shape or form?
Wendie: [00:19:32] currently I'm not running it.
I am, I will be reopening it this year and it's going to be online because when I'm online, I don't have to go anywhere. I don't have to rent space. I don't have to, I can just open zoom and people can come in if they want. And if not, that's fine. I can do something for myself and I won't lose any time or energy.
Nathan: [00:19:56] It seems like we're in the, we were in an era where this is becoming the new normal, the idea of, I really hope that this isn't the new normal in that I don't in a few years time wished that there are no word camps, physical word camps that you can attend or meetups in your sort of local area.
I wish that. That they come back online. I'm very much hoping that they will because we're recording this at the time when everybody is in lockdown. And, it seems that the shift has started lots and lots of these events are going online and the technology, the weather barrier to most people using that technology seems to have more or less evaporated, even the people who previously had been technophobes, who wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere near the technology.
become used to using it. A good example would be my parents, they would have had no interest in using zoom or sort of FaceTime type call, but now it's completely second nature to them. They've worked out what buttons to press and in what order. And so it feels to me like that would be a really great model for you to have, if you can, have it so that your sitting in your sitting room and if people show up great, if not, it's just back to work as normal.
Wendie: [00:21:08] Yup. Yup. And also, this is not, this is something I do for fun because I like hanging out with people and I like helping people. And I noticed that I was losing time helping people, when they were emailing me. So that was also that also played a part. I was helping people when they emailed me with a question and I was.
Answering the question via email, and then they had a follow-up question and I didn't know when to start charging, basically. That was my,
Nathan: [00:21:36] yeah.
Wendie: [00:21:37] So I gave a lot of information away for free. And when I went to, could answer them with, okay, I can help you with this, but you need to come to the website club and then I can answer all your questions.
That was a good escape for helping them out and not giving away all my time. But to be honest, Nathan, I am still struggling with this because it is, I want to help everybody as much as I can. And also. thank goodness. I have a good coach right now because I have been struggling with monies for so long and it is it's shifting right now, but that is also because I have someone to remind me that I cannot keep giving everything away.
Nathan: [00:22:17] it's an interesting one because. everybody who's listening to this will be having their own interesting relationship with money and charging for work and so on and so forth. Mine is very much a straight up, I'll swap you a website for some money kind of relationship.
And that works really well. And hopefully after that, we have some kind of ongoing relationship in terms of. some care plan, let's call it that for want of a better word, hosting care plan, all of that kind of stuff. I don't, I've never really had a relationship with the clients in which I have a, an ongoing, personal, I will teach you how to use WordPress.
I'm more hoping that any problems that they've got, we'll just. File them into a ticket ticketing system and I will tackle them and leave them to get on with their business. That seems to be the way it works well for me. But David Walmsley, the guy who is the cohost of this podcast, he has a really, he's launching a really interesting new business model, which I'm really interested to see how it works out.
And he's calling it like. DIY. And the idea is so DIY meaning do it yourself. The idea is that you book a day of his time and with him during that day, you build a website with him. So you literally sharing the screen, building the components. He's very firm user of Beaver builder. So he's very interested in how that works and he'll share the screen described to you.
how you can move things around how you can put things in certain places, how you might modify, edit, delete, change, colors, buttons, all of that. and he gets lots of information from them upfront. So really it's like a halfway house between what you've been doing and what I do, he gets loads of information up front and then has one day with them, gets the website built, hopefully, but that's where in theory it could end.
And if they're happy at that point, then he'll put them onto his care plan and keep maintaining it with them going forward, which is really interesting.
Wendie: [00:24:08] to be honest, I know David, I don't know David. I have never met the guy, but I know his website very well because it was the inspiration for my own website, because the way he described his services, I really liked it.
And as I am. Servicing people in Dutch. I figure I could use this website for inspiration. So David, thank you. You were very inspiring
Nathan: [00:24:32] to me. He'll be so pleased to hear that. But I do the model he's got a, a different requirement than you and I in that he's based in India and yet his client.
So largely as far as I'm aware, based in the UK. So there isn't that component of let's have a website club. I can't meet you in a physical location cause I'm. 2000 miles away or whatever. Yeah. but the model strikes me as something really interesting in that you are striking up a relationship.
And the whole point is that you communicate with one another the entire time, although it's a very small amount of time a day. So he's not after the big projects, they're all quite small in scope, but maybe a brochure site or something like that. But the intention is to foster an actual relationship where you've talked to each other and it's not done via committee.
It's not done via email. It's done online. In-person on zoom or something. I just think it's really nice.
Wendie: [00:25:23] Yeah. I totally agree. Also, I think that is where my super power is. I am. I am not a, the best WordPress developer. I'm not the best WordPress builder. I am a very bad designer, so don't ever hire me for that, but I am extremely well in.
Maintaining relationships and, getting people to do things themselves and trying it out and experimenting and, giving people faith that they can do it and that they can do it themselves. yeah, his, one day websites. I am moving towards that as well, because it's interesting to just finish a project in a day.
Nathan: [00:26:07] Yeah. We've had so many discussions about this tooling and froing over the last few years on the podcast about different people trying out different business models. and the whole one day website thing. I know. I could probably list three or four people. Who've managed to grab that niche and make it work for them.
I don't know why it's just never something that I've got serious about or taken the time to do it. Whatever system I've got, which is very minimal, I have to say is working for me in that, I get it. Get a phone call, answer a phone call, arrange a meeting, do something on Skype, and then finally get them to agree to the project and the scope and the contract and all of that kind of stuff.
And that just works for me. I'm handing it over at the end and saying, it's either goodbye or come on to our care plan. But the idea of fostering relationships, if the build up front has been modest, not a very high ticket item, then having spoken to them and becoming friends with them, I think.
on the one hand, it's, I'm going to say this and it's going to sound disingenuous, but I don't mean it to sound disingenuous. You become the person of trust for them. if they've got a technological problem with their website, they're going to come to you. Oh, David we'll fix it. Wendie will fix it.
Cause they're the person that does it. And you could maybe expect that to go on for years and years into the future.
Wendie: [00:27:22] Yes, so true.
Nathan: [00:27:23] Yeah. I am.
Wendie: [00:27:25] I have customers that have been with me since the beginning, since 2011. And they are still customers.
Nathan: [00:27:31] You intend then to resurrect the whole website club idea at some point, based upon what you're doing, will you ever go back to the physical event or are you only going to be interested in doing online stuff?
Wendie: [00:27:45] I am not sure yet because I, this whole Corona thing is a, I think it's a good time to do a reset in figuring out okay. So now I am forced to stay at home and I actually like it very much.
Nathan: [00:28:01] Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
Wendie: [00:28:04] I actually liked not seeing that many people. if we get out of this, I am going to take a serious look to all the commitments I have that involves me going out.
Nathan: [00:28:15] yeah, it is an interesting time, obviously, like I said earlier, we are going through the sort of lockdown process at the moment. How's your life been in terms of that, have you suffered any negative consequences in terms of clients canceling? Have you had to rethink your business in any way or has it all been more or less, work as normal?

Wendie: [00:28:34] well, a little bit of both. I was, on vacation just before the lockdown started. I returned home on the day that the lockdown started in the Netherlands, which was March 16th. I was in Iceland for two weeks before that. and I was, I went on vacation with the agreement that there were two big projects going to start when I came back and both those projects were canceled.
So when I came back, I was ready to start work and there was no one. Yeah. So that was a scary moment, but yeah. To be honest, a week and a half later I had different projects and something else came up and I just work as normal basically.
Nathan: [00:29:20] yeah, I think for me, things have, I've definitely had things canceled, but on the whole it's been, pretty much plain sailing, it failed.
Incredibly blessed the industry that we're in the first start, I didn't have to change my, let's say for example, I was working in a shop or something like that. Obviously all of those have closed and that just simply hasn't happened for me. And in fact, the environment in which I work is 100% the same, I'm staring at the same computer, I'm in the same office, which is in my house.
The only difference is that when I. When I go downstairs, the front door is more of a barrier than it's ever been. the idea of going off to the pub or anything after workers, ceased is completely evaporated, but work-life is exactly the same. And I'm not really noticing a huge downswing in interest.
I've had quite a few projects that have inquired, shall we say I haven't landed them yet, but the, that of people are still, it would seem wanting to get worked on and so on.
Wendie: [00:30:17] can I ask you something about your work? Because, I've noticed you've been doing a lot of podcasts in the last, because when we met you didn't, you didn't do any podcasts and you were just building websites and, You moved to podcasting.
And is it, is that something that's part of your business or is it just a new hobby or
Nathan: [00:30:40] no. So it is definitely part of what I now do because they, although on the face of it, it seems like it's quite a quick enterprise. The podcast comes out and it's what is it? Maybe it's 40 minutes, long or 45 minutes.
There is actually quite a lot that goes into it. And so a 45 minute podcast, what, with all the other bits and pieces that go on in the background. takes quite a lot of time and I don't just, yeah, so there's yeah. So there's this podcast that you're listening to right now. And then I do one for big orange sharp, formerly WP and op.
that takes quite a bit of time because there's a heavy burden on editing that one, I edited much more carefully because of the slightly more delicate subject matter that some things need to be carefully managed, shall we say? And then of course, things like, I do the news on a Monday and have to be involved in writing that in during the weekend or prior to the weekend and so on.
So yes, it's become slowly but surely more significant. part of what I do, treading a balance as to whether or not it could become the significant part of what I do, but it has swings and roundabouts. Sometimes it feels like it could be. And then at other times it feels not so much, I need to have the stability of client work and care plans and all of that, but I couldn't have started the podcast unless I had a client work.
I think making a living out of podcasting is quite tricky. Yes.
Wendie: [00:32:03] I totally agree. I think so too.
Nathan: [00:32:05] Yeah. I can't remember what my question was now. What did I ask you?
Wendie: [00:32:08] No, I asked
Nathan: [00:32:09] you no. Prior to that, did I ask you a question? I can't even remember.
Wendie: [00:32:13] I don't know. I think the last question you asked if I was bringing the website club
Nathan: [00:32:17] back.
yeah, no, anyway, I'll edit that little bit out where I can't remember what it was. I was going to ask you. Are you, are you committed to using WordPress going forward? What I mean by that is, are you going to, soon as this period is over and the lockdown is finished, are you going to return to.
Your word camps and your community and do all of that stuff as ever walls.
Wendie: [00:32:40] Yes, I think I am. I also know that I am flirting with some other tools.
Nathan: [00:32:51] Can, is it web flows? Yes. How did I know? How was it
Wendie: [00:32:59] you
Nathan: [00:32:59] may have done, but also you are one of a dozen people who've told me something similar.
Whenever that word, whenever the I'm playing with something else comes along, web flow seems to be the one. How's it going?
Wendie: [00:33:10] it's going pretty well. Actually. I haven't been, I've just been experimenting with it, so I haven't, I don't have anything to show for it, but I am. Somehow recently, a very aware that putting all my eggs in the WordPress basket might be a little risky.
Nathan: [00:33:31] what do you mean? what is it that you, cause from the outside, when you look at the numbers and how the WordPress install basis occupied 35% of the internet and we always hit these statistics, it would seem like a really safe bet. You've got, you've got fears about that. Have you.
Wendie: [00:33:47] Yup. because I know there, I don't know, what I see happening is, I don't know if
Nathan: [00:33:53] I do know how the burns, she was on the podcast. She's fabulous.
Wendie: [00:33:56] She is amazing. And she moved away from WordPress because it is the privacy political combination of open stores is not working out for her.
And I am, I was shocked when that happened. and also it triggered a little, curiosity about finding out how it works with open source and all the political influence and, the word press community, some things that have happened recently or, not so recently about. Being democratic. And I talked to Martin, ran several times.
And the question he is asking about how do we decide who is right and who gets to make the decisions? And, those things are not. Transparent and they are not open. And I don't like that. And I am, that's why I'm experimenting with the closed source system, because the deal is more. Out in the open I give you money, you fix my shit.
Nathan: [00:35:07] And when you say, fix things, what does that mean is because I confess I've heard about it so many times in my Facebook feed is filled with adverts for web flow. I just see them constantly, really huge amount of the adverts that come through are for web flow. But I don't know what the process is.
Is there a kind of tariff to. you build one site with web flow, you pay this, you build 10, you pay this, you build 20, you pay this.
Wendie: [00:35:33] No, I, I haven't checked because you can just, as long as your site is not published, you can, experiment for free. So I have been experimenting and not published.
I haven't looked at their model yet.
Nathan: [00:35:48] I'm guessing that there'll be some, I suppose they can survive on having,
Wendie: [00:35:52] it's hosted. so it is, they have two types of plans. They have site plans and they have account plans. So you can do a plan per site and you can do an account where you can have several projects within your.
account and the website plan is 12. The basic plan is $12 a month.
Nathan: [00:36:12] Okay. Okay. And so you can build your clients' sites in the same way. So long as there is a $12 a month or more, fee that they're willing to pay. You can be profitable with that. It's interesting though, because the exchange for money thing does it, you mentioned that the politics and where decisions are made and so on is.
Go F cause for concern there, what is it? What's why the relationship with web flow is different in that, it's a private company, presumably they'll at some point have shareholders. And so the big be beholden to their shareholders to turn a profit and so on. Why do you think that model is well, not necessarily preferable.
Why do you think it's different in a way that is persuasive?
Wendie: [00:36:56] I haven't figured that out yet completely, but to be honest, I'll give you an example. I have a cleaning lady, and she comes to my house every week and she cleans my house and I love her for doing that. and I love. That our relationship is so clear. She comes to my house. She cleans my house.
We get along very well, but this is the relationship we have. And with WordPress and I would like that with a web site tool. I buy your stuff. You make sure the hosting is good and that the tools work well, and I give you money and that's it with WordPress. I am so invested. I have, I have so many international friends and I am so grateful because WordPress gave me the basis to build my company.
but it's also blurry. It's not transparent. It's not open, it's not clear. And it is too connected with everything for me for now. So it is, how do I say that correctly? It's not that I'm breaking up with WordPress, but because it is such a big part of everything in my life. the risk of it exploding and my life being completely messed up is too big for me.
Nathan: [00:38:18] Yeah. Yeah. I fully understand. And it's really, I think the difficult thing, which is confronting people who think on this. Is the sort of blurring between the let's call it for want of a simpler way of describing it, the.com versus the dot where the, yeah. You don't really know at what point the, the.org is going to let's imagine worst case scenario.
The.com really takes off and WordPress, they're their SAS service if you like takes off. And they just decided that's where they're going to put all of their money and they stop supporting the wordpress.org pro project. it's highly unlikely, very unlikely, but you don't really have any insight into that.
And then all of a sudden it's completely dried up. Whereas if you'd have been paying. For a web flow or whatever it might be. You can, you, you probably have profit warnings issued and you'd figure all of that stuff out and start to export your site and the decisions around things like Guttenberg when 5.0 for WordPress came out.
And the fact that it felt certainly at the time that nobody really wanted it, but it was happening any well, not nobody, but there was a significant and very loud voice saying, please, can we just not have this as core. And nobody quite knew who was going to make the decisions until the decisions were just made.
And so you've got this benevolent dictator for model, sorry, benevolent dictator for life model, which is a little bit unsettling because we're just not used to these relationships. We're used to paying money, getting a service. and so it is, but with WordPress, we've got something quite different.
And I think that's why a lot of people cherish it. And also why a lot of people are a bit nervous of it.
Wendie: [00:40:02] Yes. And to be honest, I am one of the cherishes as well. I am also experimented with wordpress.com, because they do a hosted service of. WordPress websites.
Nathan: [00:40:14] Yeah, it's interesting. I don't know how it's going to go.
It just feels to me like the community seems to grow and grow, but equally the rival services, the Squarespaces, the Wix, the web flows and all of those, they are getting more and more appealing. And making the difficult job as it was of building a website, much more easy. and so pivoting the business might be quite important because at some point, people are going to be fully aware that if they just want a five page brochure website and they're willing to shell out a few.
A few dollars each month, they could do that and be guaranteed that it's all gonna work. And, and that business works on the basis of millions of people doing that. Whereas the likes of you and I require a handful of clients paying probably a lot more for care plans than they would pay to somebody like web flow in order for us to survive.
So it is, it's an interesting time.
Wendie: [00:41:09] And also let's be honest. I am 45 at the moment and I am, I was. Very good at HTML and CSS. My PHP skills are okay, but my avid script skills are awful and young people, are, moving so much faster and doing such awesome things. I really don't see myself creating websites for another.
Third years or so.
Nathan: [00:41:38] I know what you know. Yeah.
Wendie: [00:41:39] Yeah. I do need to change my business model or need to change my business because I am way more customer service person or project manager person then actually creating a website person.
Nathan: [00:41:56] Yeah, that's interesting. Isn't it? And the idea we were, I was talking to somebody just the other day about this sort of similar approach the guys over at go WP, who you may have come across before they offer a service whereby you hand over the website, maintenance to them for a fee and they will maintain all the websites for you.
they very recently launched a product called site builder. if you pay them an, not annual, if you pay them a monthly fee, which I'm not going to say what the number is, because I'm pretty sure it's going to change, but it's not a small amount. It's a fairly hefty amount each month, but they will build the sites for you now, presumably there's going to be limitations and constraints.
what's possible with that, but that, it seems like a really interesting service for somebody like you, who is a people person. And maybe you're really good at getting the people to commit, to having a website that might be a service, which is a great interest to you because you don't in the future.
You won't need to build the websites. You would simply be the person that says, look, I can get this done for you. I'll be the facilitator of that. And then you hand it over to this third party.
Wendie: [00:43:01] Yeah. Interesting. So the options are like endless. I, and I haven't decided where, which way I want to go or what I want to do.
and I have time. That's why I'm starting experimenting now because I S I still have time. I can take my time. I can take it easy. I can take it slow because there is enough work and I am not finished with WordPress and WordPress community. Definitely not finished with those people. So far so good and we'll see where it goes, but I just want to be sure that we'll maybe in five or 10 years, I will still have work to do because, I will still be the caretaker of my family and I will still need to make money.
Nathan: [00:43:43] I think that's the perfect place to end it. Thank you Wendie. Very much. Indeed. What a lovely community, the WordPress community is. I think it's a real privilege to get, to meet so many people. And in this particular case, what a privilege it was for me to get to know Wendie, I hope that you enjoyed it. I hope that you got some takeaways from that.
I'm sure that many of the things that she described during her WordPress journey will chime with you as well. The WP build's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time, then you 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, anything. And the best part it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it [email protected]. Okay. We will, of course be back next week for another podcast episode.
We'll also be back on Monday for the WP bills, weekly WordPress news, and we'll have the live version of [email protected] forward slash live. I would encourage you if you are in the market for some black Friday or cyber Monday deals. Possibly even some Halloween deals go and check out AB split test.com forward slash black and book market as your page of choice for checking out WordPress deals in the days and weeks to come.
Okay. I'm going to feed in some cheesy music and say, stay safe. 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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