Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Walmsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 210. It's called a is for appointments. It was published on Thursday, the 17th of December, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And in a few minutes, I'll be joined by David Wamsley for that podcast episode. But before then, a couple of bits of housekeeping, I just want to keep you informed about various things that are happening at WP built.
We produce a bit of content each week, quite a bit, in fact, and I'm going to explain how it works because we are chopping and changing it, trying different things out. But every Thursday, the podcast comes out. That's what you're listening to right now that comes out at 1:00 PM UK time, but we're fiddling with.
A new format for the things that happened at the beginning of the week on Monday, we've started something called this week in WordPress. Now, if you've been a WP build's listener for a long time, you'll know this. As WP Builds weekly WordPress news and it's live. It's a live video and I'm joined each week by Paul Lacey and some notable WordPress guests.
You can join [email protected] forward slash live 1:00 PM UK time. Why not join in the conversation? We post lots of the comments onto the screen. It's. Nice. And what we do is we go through the WordPress dues for the previous week and we just have a jolly nice time. And I'd love for you to join us. WP Builds.com forward slash live.
And then the notes that we've cribbed from become a newsletter the following day. So that's Tuesday. And in that newsletter, I break down all of the different. Pieces that we've talked about in the previous week and add a whole bunch more in as well, and also linked to the video from the previous day. So that's all encapsulated in this thing called this week in WordPress, and it happens live on a Monday and then there's a newsletter on a Tuesday.
Anyway, that was a long ramble. But what I was trying to say there was head over to. WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. If you want to keep in touch, there's a form on there. And if you fill out that form, we will stick you on our newsletter and keep you in touch with all of that. You'll probably notice there's another form as well.
And that's so that we can keep you in touch with deals and things that are going on during the week in WordPress, perhaps a plugin will reduce in price and we'll be able to notify you about that. There's also buttons on there to join us in our Facebook group. It's a really nice thriving Facebook group, 2,700 plus word presses.
And it's very polite. So if that's your thing, go to the WP, builds.com Facebook group, and you can see the buttons on that page. There's also links to our YouTube channel and Twitter feed and so on as well. Another thing I want to mention is WP Builds.com forward slash deals, a searchable filterable list of WordPress deals.
You can go there and get yourself some money off. I keep saying it's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week. And the final bit of housekeeping, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to have your product or service put in front of a WordPress specific audience, a bit like AB split test have done.
Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. Check it out. Get a free demo AB split test.com.
Okie dokie. Let's get on with the main event. Shall we? This is the first in 26 episodes, a new series, if you like, and it's called the a to Zed of WordPress or a to Z, depending on where you live of WordPress. And the idea is that right. Each time, David and I have a discussion. We're now going to go through the alphabet, starting with a ending in Zed and discussing something related to that.
So a is for appointments and that's what we're doing. First. Next time it'll be B and so on and so forth. But today talking about appointments. I have no doubt that you've had a need online to book something yourself, or possibly you have a system whereby you allow people to book your time or your services, products, and so on.
And WordPress has got a whole bunch of ways of doing this there's loads of plugins. So we go through what we know about and what we've tried, what works, what didn't. But we also talk about whether maybe it might be better to ditch WordPress altogether and go with a SAS solution. It's a lovely idea.
Stick with the series. I hope that you enjoy it. And I hope specifically that you enjoy this episode.
David Waumsley: [00:04:42] Hello, this is the first of our new series of chats, which is called the a to Zed or Z if you're in America of WordPress. And the idea is that over 26 episodes, we will have covered all of the major aspects of building sites with WordPress.
That's right. Isn't it, Nathan.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:01] And by the end of the 26 episodes, they will be nothing right. That we haven't covered every single thing. No, it's an interesting idea though. So we're taking every letter of the alphabet one at a time going in alphabetical order. So we're starting at a next time will be B and I'm sure you can work out from there, how it goes.
And I'm finally getting to the said, and X is going to be interesting.
David Waumsley: [00:05:25] Yeah. so yeah, so we're starting this one, his appointments, and it's going to include bookings and events and ticket in and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. we could have put it on the beach, but we've got something for B, so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:39] yes.
This is how our system works. We just pick something which roughly fits to a letter of the alphabet and we'll go for it. So this is appointments, but like you say, it could have been ticketing events. Bookings, but appointments worked very well for Acer. Let's go with it.
David Waumsley: [00:05:53] Yeah. Honestly, I've seen such a demand for WordPress solutions for this, for taking bookends and I'm sure it must be COVID 19 inspired.
This more people are needing to, think about online more.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:07] So I don't think, have you
David Waumsley: [00:06:08] spotted that?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:09] Yeah. I haven't really seen it yet swell on it, but there's no doubt that there has been an upswell, but because I not. Building so many clients sites anymore, but, yeah, I think this is a real strength of something that the internet, not necessarily WordPress, but let's just talk about appointments in a more generic way.
This is such a fabulous, unexpected consequence of the internet. you go back sort of 20 years who would have thought that we'd be carrying around a little mobile phone and who would have thought that you could book your favorite service, whatever that might be, it might be. crikey, the list is literally endless.
It could be an estate agent, a vet, it could be your hair appointment. It could be something to do with a hotel or a holiday. You can button all of it in such a speedy and, Just fail safe way these days. And I think this is such a brilliant aspect of the internet. I do this all the time.
not a week goes by where I'm not booking something and like I said, it could be a car appointment to get money, to get the mechanic, to look at something, or it could be, going off to the vet or something like that. But I'm literally using this all the time and I can't see this going away.
I can't see the internet being replaced. going back to telephones and what have you, because it's so great, isn't it? you sync up your booking system with your calendar of choice. I use Google calendar. I'm sure that's the case for a lot of people. And again, if you've ever implemented one of these booking solutions, We'll check if you're available. And so no more phoning up the vet, say, to say, if you've got an, got any availability on Wednesday. No Thursday, no Friday. Yeah. 12 o'clock Oh, I can't do 12. Can we go from my, and so this conversation goes on, whereas now you can see on a website when somebody is available and it's just fabulous.
I do this for the podcast and there's no way I could keep up with all of the appointments that we have for the podcast, because it would just be a slew of back and forth emails, back and forth. Can you do this state? Can you just put a booking calendar up and you're done and increasingly.
I'm seeing this as the mode of choice for everybody to book virtually everything. you want to have a chat with me, book it in. You want to have an appointment with me about your website, book it in. You want to go to the vet, book it in. It's just brilliant. I love it. there's nothing about the system that I dislike.
I think it's fabulous, but. I happened to know that there's a lot of people who are really reluctant to use booking systems, not just because it may stray into problems of legality. But, I know several people who literally won't touch it with a bargepole for their business, even though. I know that it would make their business more, easier to run, possibly even more profitable.
They just don't like the robotic feel of it. They like to be on the phone. They like to talk to people. They like to be able to say, okay, yeah, we can do it, but that'll only take 10 minutes, and have that kind of interaction with people and work out the appropriate times. And. To my mind, this is crazy talk.
You should be using online calendars, but they don't and they just don't want to get involved in it. Yeah. Just
David Waumsley: [00:09:21] make me worry about where we're going in the future, because I am one of these people who've I've got, if somebody wants to have a chat with me, there's a. This system I've got for booking the chat time with my availability.
If they want to book my time for work, that's a calendar to know when I'm available. So I actually get quite frustrated at this people who might, I might be working with, who actually want to have a chat with me about when I might be available. And I just think because when you do these chats, It's just so annoying because I might say my bit, and then they'll say, when they're around, I can't see what they've got on them.
They can't see what I've got on. And I just think this is just pointless
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:58] chat, but I just think
David Waumsley: [00:10:00] what worries me about this is that it's probably just my intolerance of people these days.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:05] Yes. Yeah. Yeah, because we've all got to the, or at least I have, but you and I sit on a computer for significant amounts of the day and we've sat there and worked out how these systems work and it's terribly efficient for us.
we've set the calendar up, we've linked the calendar to a booking system, be that WordPress or SAS, whatever, and we know how it works and we've organized the free, busy times of the appointments and the length of the appointments and what they're supposed to be about and all of the follow-up emails and all of that kind of stuff.
But. I just think for that for her, a lot of people that is far too much faff. I also do wonder, I wonder what the drop-off rate is for people who just don't follow through with booking appointments. So let's take the example of, I dunno, let's take the example of a hairdresser or something like that. I wonder if you only had on your website yeah.
A booking system, what the proportion of people who would be confronted with that as the only way of booking you. What w what the drop-off rate would be? my assumption is that a lot of people would like to phone up and check who they're going to get and what, how long it's going to take.
And, I don't know where they can park and all the other interesting questions that might go around a booking. So whilst it's, I think the best way of doing this kind of stuff, I can also see how robotic it feels and how impersonal it feels. And it's probably not the right solution for everybody, or at least it's not the right exclusive solution.
David Waumsley: [00:11:28] about when you think about that? That's okay. So when you've got personal services, you might want to talk to your head, your actual boot, cesarean, or whatever vets even, but maybe with things like hotels, that's really pretty much for most people. The only option they've got isn't it now because we have hotels.com booking.com.
No one thinks, I could be wrong. Cause I don't know anybody who runs hotels, but
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:50] I think,
David Waumsley: [00:11:51] those. Websites where they might put their own number on there probably don't get wrong at all. I think everybody just knows that's how you book a room these days.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:59] Yeah, that's a good point. I don't really know.
I suspect there's a real boundary in the kind of profession that you're in. hotels seems to have gone entirely online, the booking for it, but, but other things definitely aren't, again, using the example of the vet, I've done countless times already in this podcast.
That's just for me, that's a phone call. I don't even know if they have a booking system. I could see that would be good, but things tend to overrun. Don't they with, with things like vets and doctors, and a 10 minute appointment upon presenting the, your cat or whatever it might be. the vet suddenly realizes actually we're going to be here for 40 minutes or more, and everybody's appointments get shuffled down and the booking system.
It doesn't accommodate for that, does it, whereas having people sitting in a waiting room and all of those kinds of things is appropriate in that setting. But you, you can't have a waiting room for a hotel. you expect the room to be available well at 12 o'clock on the day that you show up, regardless.
Yeah. So there are certain situations where it fits in certain situations where it doesn't, but I would be surprised if anybody listening to this podcast, hasn't got something like this implemented either in their own. Website business or in client website businesses, because it's just a no brainer.
It's so cool.
David Waumsley: [00:13:11] Yeah again, with the hotels and that, I guess the same is going to most people know that they would need to book their events online. I would think in theaters and cinemas and stuff like that, most of the time, I think it must be moving to that direction rather than needing to make a phone call these days.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:27] Yeah. They th the sort of the difficulty, with all this stuff that the book system that you're presented with, it does make the complexity of what's going on in the background. It makes it from the end user's point of view disappear. for example, if I go on to, I don't know, let's say bookings.com, which I never have Donald.
I confess it that's for hotels, right? booking.com. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So if you go onto there and let's say that you're looking for hotels in a particular city in Spain, for example, and you find that there's a bunch of hotels available and it shows you that on the dates that you want to go, there are 92 hotels available and you click on the one that you liked the best, and that there's 24 rooms available and you click on the budget that you've got and you pick the room.
you imagine all of the complicated queries that have gone on to take you on that journey. It's phenomenal. And when we get into the conversation about WordPress, I think it's the complicated nature of it. That makes me a bit nervous of WordPress being given this job, because for something dead simple, I'm booking David Walmsley on nice and Wrigley for an hour on a day where there's probably going to be no other appointments. In other words, there might be one overlapping thing, but that's about it, but you're booking, it's a one-to-one transaction. You're just looking for free, busy on that. One thing that is really.
I'm sure that's fine. a little WordPress install can do that. when you get up to the level of, okay, we are an entire country of hotels, then we drill down to the city level of hotels. Then we drill down to the hotel itself and the permutations of rooms and what's available. When does it start to be available?
And when does it finish being available? I'm starting to get nervous now that WordPress isn't really a system built to handle that kind of information. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:15:20] I feel famous that I've stuck with only WordPress solutions when it's really a simple thing, because I just think too, the, or this one is it's the reliability of the plugins and the longstanding of kind of bookings and appointments plugins that there are, but there's also the inevitability that you're going to be then filling up your database, which is.
They're really to be serving your website with appointments. And I just, you've got to compromise there. Haven't you straight away. you've taken away resources from delivering those pages for your booking system. they're all. I think I've been with clients. it's always been the most difficult thing.
We've had so many clients before over time who have had various rooms that they want to let out and I've never yet come up with the solution in WordPress for them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:14] You mean in terms of being able to, so are we talking about like a small hotel or something where there's maybe five or six, 10 rooms? And so it's got to be able to that the system itself has got to be able to figure out that on these dates, these rooms are available for this length of time.
Yes. There is a ton going on in that isn't that, if you actually think about the conversation that you would have with a person at the end of the phone, if you phoned them up and said, I'm looking to come between this date and that date, and then. Immediately the phone would go quiet and somebody say, hang on a minute.
I'm just having to look and they'll go into their calendar or their paper ledger. And, yeah, we've got three rooms available. Okay. what size of that? And then they go back to the ledger. Each question leads to more, more filtering of the data and a human. It will take ages to do this stuff.
And in a sense, we're expecting a WordPress database to do this stuff as well. And it's all, as you said, it's not really performance for that. Is it?
David Waumsley: [00:17:07] No. there's lots of solutions. If you've, if you've got one room. WordPress can really sought you out. There's lots of situations there, but really what most people want to do when it comes to booking a place.
It is, they want to put in the dates that they're looking at first, and then that's got to serve back the available rooms for that date. Yeah. And that's the problem, isn't it always with this?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:29] There
David Waumsley: [00:17:29] isn't well, that's not true. There are some products which look fantastic out there. The one I know of, and in fact, I bought his Moto press as own hotels bookings, which kind of does all that.
But I do know food's setting it up myself, that this is kind of database. Heavy, there's a whole bunch of tables that are going to go in and it's really connecting it up. So your website becomes heavy in the same way that it does when you put in something like woo commerce. It becomes a lot heavier with WordPress.
So yeah, I've never felt. Comfortable with the solution for that. And that's why I would say to people, we'll go and find your third party app that I just do. Brochure sites effectively. I can show off your rooms on your site, but when it comes to bookings, maybe you'll need to make the decision.
Not me on that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:14] Yeah, I suppose the reason why this is scary. From, from our perspective building this kind of stuff into client websites is that let's say for example, that you had, I don't know, 50 different content types in your WordPress website, and you were trying to display posts of those 50 different websites or sorry, 50 different content types.
that's far less scary because there's no money involved. And the worst that you'll get is probably. The wrong things displaying on the front end. Oh yeah, we should have six of those content types and then we should have six of those and so on. It's fine. everybody can wrangle that and nobody's going to probably lose the plot because it's not working.
But if you're building a website for a hotelier and something goes wrong, this is catastrophic, bad. somebody might literally show up too. To a hotel in a different country with their bags packed and their family in tow. And no, we were expecting you next week, or we don't have any record of it, obviously I'm dramatizing it.
This is probably a ridiculous proposition, but you could see the point, the seriousness of this starts to become. to me that the Seesaw has tipped onto the negative side. At this point, the using WordPress to do this starts to become, I don't know, I'm getting really nervous now in the same way that I do with complicated e-commerce stuff.
I'm just not that. I'm just not that way inclined. I just don't want to touch it with a bargepole. What do you think? Are there certain instances? Are we basically saying for anything one-on-one where if it's one customer books, one thing on the other end, we're happier with that than we are when it goes to one to many suddenly.
David Waumsley: [00:19:53] Yes, I am.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:54] I'm very happy with,
David Waumsley: [00:19:55] the setup I've got for booking work. So people. Book a date and on my site for our build days. And, that's always worked perfectly and that's, WordPress that I'm using, actually, we were confused over what it was called. I'll say it's bikinis, wp.com. It is where the plugin is, but it's actually a WordPress appointments for, or appointments for.
commerce, I think. And that works perfectly for me. It does a simple thing. They're only booking my time, but pretty much one day nothing ever goes wrong.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:29] I get
David Waumsley: [00:20:29] scared because I looked into it cause I was so desperate
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:32] to try and help
David Waumsley: [00:20:34] some people who had multiple rooms and keep those kind of clients and see if I could find a solution that wasn't the third parties that they had, but I wanted, but I realized how confusing that can get, because most of these people who.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:47] booking out
David Waumsley: [00:20:48] rooms. they are also listed themselves with hotels.com, bookings.com and all of the other, the other ones, there's a few others. Aren't that?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:57] It's like a TripAdvisor. Yeah. Yeah. But basically the big websites that most of us go to that kind of amalgamate, all this content from around the web and put it onto their, their website.
David Waumsley: [00:21:08] And they have a system don't they, where you can share that information. So if you're doing that in WordPress, then you have to link into that system of when it's booked somewhere else, it tells you to move it from your calendar as well. And you just think, wow, so many moving parts with that. Yes, I will.
I will say,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:25] yeah. In my experience,
David Waumsley: [00:21:26] the people who have used third parties for this, not entirely happy, they've had their own problems with double bookings. So maybe if I was trying to do it with WordPress, it would be no different to what they've got with third parties.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:38] The, I suppose the difference there though, is that if you were using a third party, so let's say SAS for the sake of argument, a third-party SAS solution for you.
And again, let's go with the example of hotels. At least you can go to that third party company and say, look, I've got this problem. This clear, clearly there's a software bug or something. Can you fix it, please? and that's their business to do that. Whereas if that same person comes to you, you're busy building other WordPress websites and doing other things suddenly you've got to try and get a fix for a plugin that you probably have no insight into how it works.
You just know that something's broken. that's a real difficulty, going to the company makes life easy. They know what they're doing. That's all they do. They're just doing bookings for hotels and great. But coming to you. There's a, there's like an intermediate layer. You've got to fix a plugin or at least get a solution from the software vendor.
You're standing in the middle with an angry client on one side and maybe perhaps communicative or not community communicative plugin developer on the other. And it's your worst nightmare.
David Waumsley: [00:22:45] Were both fake conservative were very cautious about that. What we'll take on, I think, and that's a that's so we're always going to come to that conclusion.
If we know we can control it fairly simply, and there's not big losses at the other end, we're not we're, we're okay. But if it's something where we could be culpable for it and take on large responsibility for somebody losing money, we're going to steer clear of it. Aren't we.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:08] Yeah. Yeah. That just occurs to me that we've missed out a fairly important bit.
David put together some show notes and, you've got this why section, which we've missed out altogether, which I think would be a really useful thing to, you got a few bullet points in there, which I think, Oh, really demonstrate why this is so powerful though. And, put aside David and I's concerns and just assume that everything works perfectly and we live in magical fairytale land for a moment.
the most beguiling one I think is that you can, you can just automate everything and again, assuming everything's working, okay. Just not having to answer the phone, not having to pick up waste your time, not having to say yes, I'm free now. No, I'm not free then. It's showing that you're free and available here and not free and available.
That's a huge times time sock that's that you've saved. It's fabulous. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:23:59] absolutely. And I forgot by these points. That's thanks. Thank you for reminding me. Yeah, the next one was that in a suiting customer's use of tech today. And I think probably if you've only got the phone as a way of taking appointments, then you know, the opposite argument that you could be losing people because they will only now do things by their mobile.
And that's probably going to increase, isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:20] I would imagine that's absolutely true of degeneration that are now growing up is that their expectation is that they could book almost anything where there's, money involved or time involved or whatever. Almost anything can be booked. Online and that the phone is the backup process when something goes wrong.
you can't avoid this. If you've got a business selling stuff, selling, a space selling, your time or whatever, it just doesn't make sense. Not to have it because this is the way everybody's doing it and the interfaces and are so sublimely cool. My Mo the one that I liked the look of best is Calendly.
it's not the one I actually use, but I liked the look of it. The best, you've got the, you've got the days of the week, sorry, the dates of the month put on the left-hand side and then you can. Pick the one which suits you best. And then little buttons appear on the right hand side showing the times available and you click on that and then it becomes the book button.
So the, the thing that, you're the time that you want to actually book this in, is the button and you enter your details and you're good to go. And, it only shows the ones that are available. It shows you like for how long they're available. it's absolutely brilliant.
Can't fault it at all. maybe there's an improvement to be made there, but I just think it's wonderful, really easy to understand. And the kids get it straight away.
David Waumsley: [00:25:40] Yeah, it was good. I'm wondering about that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:43] Cause I say
David Waumsley: [00:25:44] I've seen more people asking for WordPress solutions for bookings and often these questions.
They're not specifying what they actually need it for. and I was saying it may be COVID-19 do you think it's probably. Just think it would just be increased demand for this in WordPress, just because of technology changes as I was mentioning. Or do you think this has been boosted as it has been for sure with e-commerce because of COVID-19 and the.
the demands on those now to reduce that personal contact.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:15] Yeah. I don't really have any insight into this until it's all over, but you're absolutely right. everything has gone online. So a good example would be where I live. If you wanted to phone up and get a pizza rodded, the way to do that literally was to phone up.
That was the most efficient way of doing it. And then now. During the COVID time, all of the pizza places where I live have now gone online, you book, you not booking timer and you'd literally booking a pizza. And so obviously there's been a lot of work done by web developers, quite a lot of WordPress web developers building out these solutions where people can order this stuff online and yeah.
And it just seems like everybody has jumped on the bandwagon, whether it's, scheduling zoom calls between you and your colleagues or whether it's, booking a restaurant slot or what have you, I think you're right. I think there has been a bit of a sea change. it only takes five one, two, three, four, 5% of people to start to move in this direction.
And you've got this lung slide and. Yeah. Loads of the local businesses where I live have done this, whether or not that sticks. I don't know. I don't know whether people will be hankering for the old ways. maybe it will become more important to pick the phone up again. We want to communicate in that way more, but I feel that this is now part of the culture.
It's just the way it's going to be done from now on. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:27:38] And, one of my whys for having, a booking system that it's my primary one, with my businesses getting. Folks to pay up front for stuff, which I really liked because if they pay then the serious aren't, they've got the booking.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:52] Do you?
So obviously if you're booking a commodity, like a hotel, you're totally familiar with that and just get that's the process and you're going to pay up front, whether that's a deposit or the full amount, not really important. You're happy to pay at that point. Do you find it easy to get. To get your time booked for money with a booking system.
Do you find that an easy thing to do? Do you know, do you get any pushback from people saying, can I pay you after the fact or even, I don't know if I'll be a hundred percent able to show up, so I'm not quite willing to pay for it now, does it like thoroughly work?
David Waumsley: [00:28:24] it seems to do. Yeah. I think I've only had one person just ask because underused.
COVID-19 as the way there's delays on payments, we've got other things going on, et cetera. Is there any other payment options you have to pay over the longer term? And I just said no. And they just booked the time that they would have been. but it's only one situation. And I was actually surprised because of our business.
everybody's talking generally about how you charge clients will chase in money or. the usual 50% upfront and then on delivery or whatever.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:56] when I switched to that
David Waumsley: [00:28:57] pay up front, admittedly it's only small amounts. Yeah. Because of only book in kind of one week's work. the book in 16 hours is the kind of minimum, so it's not a huge amount of money that the pain up front.
But, the weird thing is no one ever thought and I guess it wouldn't have worked unless I'd had online a booking system.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:16] Yeah. If I'd have had to say you have to
David Waumsley: [00:29:18] pay me up front now, and I'll send you the invoice. I don't think it would have worked, but the fact that it's online, And there's our system online.
You can go on there, you book in your date and then it takes your money. I think that makes it,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:31] yeah, it's an interesting notion. Isn't it. if you actually are talking to somebody, you've got the, you've got the option to push back a little bit, but if you're literally confronted with a booking system where look, if you want to do this, there's nobody to argue with.
It's just push the button and pay the money. That's what you're going to have to, the reason I asked was because in most situations, in like the real world, and again, I'm thinking of hairdressers and, vets and yeah, you usually pay after the thing has happened. get whatever it is that you need.
And as you're walking out, you pay the money or maybe you get an invoice through the post or whatever it is. So just fascinating that. Maybe even that's a shift, paying for things upfront. obviously there's loads of things that you do that in the real world, but, paying up front.
Yeah. I'm pleased that it's working out for you. That's great.
David Waumsley: [00:30:15] I think who knows, maybe it doesn't, but I, no one questioned it because when I suggested doing this with my colleague, she's used to sending the invoice and waiting up to 30 days to get paid. God knows where that comes from. This was slightly off with our topic, but yeah, I always would the, where these traditions have gone, but, just swapping it.
So if you turn it into a product, basically everybody expects when they buy something online as a product, even though they don't have it. The moment they pay
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:43] their,
David Waumsley: [00:30:45] they pay, it's going to come by Amazon. So it's only services. And I think the only reason services are not. not normally charge in that ways because they don't know what to charge.
So if you go to your vet, cause your cat's sick, that they won't know how much to charge you until they look at your
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:01] camp. Good point. Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. you may consume some pharmaceuticals that are very expensive and so on. Yeah. Good point. So should we get into the subject of SAS versus WordPress in other words of what WordPress has to offer, at least that we know of?
I'm sure that we're going to miss a laundry load of. Different options, but you're definitely ahead in terms of knowledge with, with WordPress options. Cause I only know of a couple and only a couple I've implemented, whereas you seem over the years to, followed or at least tried out of a whole variety of different things.
So should we just name them and and say whatever we've got to say about them.
David Waumsley: [00:31:37] really I came into China bookings options when there was a payment system that I understood, which was woo commerce. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:46] the biggest excitement for
David Waumsley: [00:31:47] me was the kind of
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:48] official,
David Waumsley: [00:31:49] commerce bookings, plugin, which, was there to take care of all those kinds of individual services.
The things that we'd be more comfortable with, when somebody wants to book her hairdresser, that was really aimed at those kinds of things. It wasn't aimed so much and still isn't at, unless you've got one. Room to book. It doesn't really work.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:08] and that
David Waumsley: [00:32:08] was okay. And that really got me started cause I really wanted, I can't remember why I wanted that originally in the first place booking system.
So I did work with that for some time, but
shall I just mention this?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:20] Yeah, it's false. Why not with it? Definitely.
David Waumsley: [00:32:23] it, how to, it was interesting because following the whole conversation, as that bookings plugin came out, you realized as the, as people wanted to use it, they had really huge requirements on it.
So certain people needed that to be certain different breaks dependent on what the time gaps in between appointments became. Yeah. complicated something you mentioned to me before we were chatting about a new thing. This is moving on to the SAS about you can somewhat, you might need to allow somebody to pick their own time slots, and all those kinds of things.
So you realize how a simple book is. Thing. Isn't so simple as it really is quite complex, depending on who's using it. And particularly if you've got multiple people say your hairdressers and you've got, I don't know, seven stylists, all who need to take their own independent bookends. It can become very complex, but sorry, but for me, I moved off that one for my simple use because it had to.
Failings for me, something requested for some time. And that was a Google calendar integration. And also surprisingly, there's no way with the official one to be able to put a short code in somewhere else in your WordPress site and have it show. So it has to work within a woo commerce. A product page.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:42] Is it a popular one limit? it being the official WooCommerce bookings plugin feels be the one that gets, installed by default and tried out by everybody. But having, having no Google calendar integration does seem like, a bit of a yawning gap there.
David Waumsley: [00:33:56] Yeah, no, I'm really surprised by that.
Probably by the time we put this out, the mended,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:01] it has been,
David Waumsley: [00:34:03] that's been going on for some years. and I would have thought it was a key thing, but, yeah. So that's why I went to my appointments for woo commerce. Cause it it. Basically it was the shortcode. I wanted to be able to put it outside.
I wanted to be able to use it for me, with my page builder and place it with my theme or
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:21] anywhere else in a different
David Waumsley: [00:34:22] place. So yeah, that's what moved me over. But, yeah, I'm quite happy. I think both of those, pretty reliable, for simple use.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:31] And th the one that you currently use is just recently had a branding change.
As you mentioned earlier, it's now called booking wp.com, but it was cold wall.
David Waumsley: [00:34:41] I don't remember that they were, this is just a bit of a runaway success they've had with this plugin, perhaps people who wanted that Google calendar integration and shortcodes have come to it. And they were, I can't remember.
You'd sorry. I should have had a look at
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:57] this, but they
David Waumsley: [00:34:58] were some sort of theme company beforehand and it was sold on their site. that had other themes on it. So they rebranded after I bought it to this and took this name, bookends WP, which makes it a bit confusing. Doesn't it? Yeah. It's not cool. It's not called that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:15] what is the w in your case, why the reliance on woo commerce on your simple site, what is it that you're connecting with WooCommerce? that means that you can't use a totally separate non WooCommerce bookings plugin. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:35:29] I don't know, an a, maybe. thinking again, it wouldn't be, it was a mistake to go the whole WooCommerce route.
effectively I'm selling products. So I'm one of those products was my time. So I wanted it. And also for my business that I've got other things that were commerce can deliver. So I basically, subscriptions is part of my thing. So I wanted it all into the same package if you like, but if it was just booking my time to do work on our site, then maybe the commerce route wouldn't have been there, but it makes sense.
Yeah. given subscriptions and other things that go with my setup.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:06] Okay. So it's like a legacy thing. It did a bunch of stuff, which at the time. It felt like it could expand and grow or maybe just was the best fit at the time. But now maybe that you were looking at it again, you'd go for something a bit more, bespoken separated from WooCommerce.
Okay. What else is there in the WooCommerce space? the wild bunch of,
David Waumsley: [00:36:26] cause I haven't tested that. So this is the one that was around. Yeah. Lydia was, I think it's a tie cheese software, their version of a WooCommerce booking plugin, Indian company longstanding. They were around. So they, I think that one had some problems in the early days.
It now appears to have good reviews. So I really don't know. And I haven't tried some of those, but there's a whole bunch, I think of. commerce alternatives. There's another one by plugin hive as well. I haven't tried them
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:54] and yes, as well. Yes.
David Waumsley: [00:36:56] Oh, yes. Yes, of course. Yeah. really anything you want in commerce is pretty much available through youth.
good competitor, aren't they? Yeah, please.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:08] we should say that all of the links. we will, I'll put all of the links for everything that we've just mentioned. Cause we've. just mentioned them by name, but I'll put the links in the show notes so that you can access those ones. is that your list of WooCommerce ones over with what have you got WooCommerce bookings with WooCommerce booking, wp.com, this plugin hive one.
and then this Tai-Chi software or Tai-Chi, I dunno, he pronounced that software as well. So that's quite a few just connected to WooCommerce. It's definitely got the lion's share of the pie.
David Waumsley: [00:37:38] Yeah. And then we've got, the one we haven't mentioned,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:41] which have tried
David Waumsley: [00:37:42] a little bit, the events calendar
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:44] totally separate from WooCommerce though.
Isn't it? This is just installing on any website will come as not required. And yeah. And then,
David Waumsley: [00:37:52] yeah, sorry. No, sorry. I was just moving on to the more specialist, WP stuff, cause events. Calendar is well known. they've got their own competition. Now. There's quite a number of those types of things.
Things that we'll do ticket in for events and things as well. I can find we'll link it thinking won't it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:10] I don't really know, to be honest, I just know that their reputation goes before them. It would seem in the forums and the, Facebook groups that I frequent. If somebody wants to do events, this one.
Absolutely is the one that everybody seems to recommend wholeheartedly, the events, calendar.com, from modern tribe. And it just seems to have a stellar reputation. I haven't used it, so I can't say, but it definitely seems to get, get rave reviews and it's for events as the title suggests, real world physical events.
I. But they have done, I bet they've seen a lot of growth during the last six months or so, just people trying to run events and sell tickets and books, certain types of events would, they will, sorry. Would their WordPress site? I bet they've. I bet they've had stratospheric growth.
David Waumsley: [00:38:59] Yeah. I did use it. it used to on a client site and it got replaced, it wasn't needed just for it's kind of calendar and they didn't, they weren't selling any events on that. So I have no experience with that, but, yeah, I've got a monopoly. I think it's because the developers themselves have got a fairly good reputation in.
And WordPress and they'd been around for a long time. So I think it's often seen as the one and even for BeaverBuilder users like us, there's an integration with the Beaver FEMA and this as well. That's true.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:27] Yes. I had forgotten that actually. So it works out of the box. That's great. things like that really do make it appealing.
Don't they, if you see something like the Beaver builder logo on, on a website like that, in my case, if you're an elemental user and see the element or logo and so on, it does sway you a little bit in that direction. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:39:45] And, yeah. So the other thing I haven't got that much experience.
So the other thing I probably mentioned earlier, I don't know if it did Moto press.com. They've got hotels, booking.com, which is something I really tried out for to see if I could just on test sites to see for certain clients. And I just decided I was too scared to try and do this, offer it as a solution, but I think, they do pretty well.
They seem to. I don't know, maybe because they're quite affordable. They center dominated that kind of space
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:17] and they're available
David Waumsley: [00:40:18] in two places on their site. And they're also available on code Canyon as well. there seems to be an awful lot of people who are using. Braver than me. I
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:26] was going to say, I am not going to be the person that would jump in with this, but I'm not denigrating this product at all.
I'm sure it's fabulous. But, it does some of the heavy lifting stuff that you mentioned, like on their website, they make the point that they will sink, It says, I count all, sorry. I count channel management sync to Airbnb booking.com HomeAway, which I've not heard of on TripAdvisor. It's probably all the major ones that you want.
wow, amazing. Doing all that stuff in WordPress, but again, it's just you and I to get to sketch, take this one on.
David Waumsley: [00:40:57] Yeah. I was really serious about it. That's why I was testing it out. but yeah, too chicken to take on that job.
should we try?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:06] The one, should we talk about the
David Waumsley: [00:41:08] more generic ones in WordPress seems to have made us splash?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:12] Yeah, because these are not really connected to any particular thing. So it's not connected to WooCommerce. It's not connected to an event type of situation or a hotel type of situation. This is just. try your hand at booking anything. You just make up different categories and put yourself in those categories or your staff or your team or whatever it might be.
Yeah. So what you were just saying, what was it? WPM, Amelia.
David Waumsley: [00:41:35] Yeah, that's the one that generally, when I've seen people recently asking the question about looking for a solution almost every time this has come up as we've used this it's there. It's doing the job that we wanted to do. .
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:50] Yeah, we hit both.
I don't look at the website just before recording and it really does claim to do an awful lot. and if the sort of screenshots or anything to go by, it does it in an attractive way. And honestly, I think that really matters. I don't, I can't speak for the quality of, the reliability of it and so on, but the way it looks is.
Utterly fabulous. you, there's no way anybody booking this is going to have any sort of level of confusion. There's lots of customization options. As I mentioned earlier, the sort of Calendly, which is my preferred interface, it kind of mimics that in a way. it looks fabulous. Looks really good.
So that's WP emilia.com. I expect that a lot of people are. Big fans of this, maybe off the back of an AppSumo deal. I think they had an AppSumo a while ago, and that always bolsters support doesn't it? Because it's, people got on board and got a really good deal on the, I have deployed.
Is, it's called simply shed jewel appointments way back when we, when we were launching our podcasts, I think it might be in the first 10 episodes or something we have to developers have simply schedule appointments on. And, at that point it was, they were launching their plugin and trying to get notoriety for it.
And I, she used it, I think twice. And I've received no phone calls. From the, from the people who are upon whose sites it is working and every so often go and log in and make sure everything's fine. And it seems that they're getting bookings completely reliably, that simply shed jewel appointments that works really well.
They do all the usual stuff, Google calendar sync and all that. And they've got a, they've got quite a healthy roadmap for things that they're doing in the future, including teams and all that kind of stuff. So I can recommend that one in as much as I've used it twice and it's worked perfectly.
I tell you what scares
David Waumsley: [00:43:29] me a little bit about these systems here is because they'll have so many users with so many demands. I'm always a little bit fair, fearful about how these plugins will grow themselves. So I think Amelia wins. Absolutely on the interface. It's so beautiful in the backend. I have seen it.
I've installed it. There's a free version you can start off with, which is still fairly usable, so you don't necessarily need to stop. So they've really nailed that,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:57] but
David Waumsley: [00:43:57] also it's a constantly growing plugin. Isn't it? And it's also just by the nature. And I think this is the problem with WordPress is that.
Taking all these bookings fills up your database. Yeah. And that's the issue, I think probably with any of these. So the more successful they are and the better they are that providing this, what you would expect from a SAS. All of that loveliness inside of WordPress means the compromise is that you've got a lodge.
Database probably. Yeah. WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:27] Yeah. W which in a sort of sense, segues us nicely into third-party solutions, because if you w if you want to. I think there is a really good business model. If you've got something that you are happy to manage in using WordPress, but I also think there's a good business model in some of these third party systems.
So a lot of them will allow you to white label. A lot of them, will have complete recognition by the clients. And, you might not make the money on the, on, by doing, I don't know, a monthly fee for using them or something, but you never know there might be avenues to do that. the one that I use most frequently, is book like a boss, which I got on an AppSumo deal.
You got at home maybe four years ago or something. It seems like ages ago. And I'm really happy with it. They've been incrementally. Updating it, nothing stratospheric, but they've recently added this ability for you to add time slots into w what I mean by that is time durations into one booking type, up until about two weeks ago, if you set up a booking, it was for an hour or half an hour or 45 minutes or whatever.
And if somebody booked that's what they got, where now they've had this option where you can set up. 20 different time possibilities and the person booking you can say, I only need 10 minutes and they don't have to have a different appointment that they go to for 10 minutes. They just select the 10 minute option and you're off.
And that might be, I can see myself using that because people can judge for themselves how much time something's going to take. I only want to speak to you for five minutes. Okay. But five minutes, that's fine. And, I can do that. So that's been really useful. I've also used Calendly quite a bit and been very happy with that.
These, the good thing about these is that they tend to have useful integrations with services like Zapier and so on, so you can get them to do other things like create a Google doc when somebody books something or what have there's lots of external possibilities. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:46:24] Yeah. Do you know?
I did. I mention that I use booklet.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:27] you have to me, but I don't know if you mentioned it on this podcast, but do you like it or not? I do,
David Waumsley: [00:46:33] it's quite ugly, isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:35] There's an option in there to make it less ugly. There's a, you can pick a, there is a way if I can't remember what you do, you go to the light version of it and it removes most of their branding.
and it that's a bit less ugly. but yes. I agree that.
David Waumsley: [00:46:50] I use it actually just for chats before someone might want to officially book my time and I've got it on my website and this is just that it's not going to sound good, but, just recently I've had a few appointments through this where people have booked chats.
They've seen me somewhere else. And then of course, what I've got in my mind when I put this on is that it's going to be my customers who want a new website. What people are doing is booking them for also
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:13] just a chat, have a bit
David Waumsley: [00:47:15] of a chat. Yep. Yeah. I need to specify that, but yeah, it's all rather not.
So it is about websites and it is about jobs, but it's not the jobs that I have in mind. yeah. So yeah, recently I've had to spent more time with book like a boss, turning down appointments that people have booked.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:33] There's a nice feature in book like a boss is that you'll get an email and you can set it so that it goes to pending and the client who's booked.
It knows that, and you have to approve it. And when you approve it, they get an email to say it's been approved. And so on. I like that feature because yeah, exactly the same thing, because it's publicly out on the internet. I've had moments where it's clearly been spammed or somebody wanting to book an appointment and that.
There's just no relationship between me and them. It's not even, it's pretty clear that a bot did it or something, and that might have consumed time in my calendar that somebody else then couldn't have booked. And so you have to approve it. And that's quite nice. I like that. You just click a button and it's done.
David Waumsley: [00:48:13] And the thing I like about it, you mentioned this to me earlier was the fact that it's got a very easy system where it will just, you can set when it's going to send a reminder email to people. Yeah. So one day, two days, whatever before, or one hour before, and particularly when I'm with book like a boss, I'm using this for my free time.
So this is so essential because they're not paying anything for that time in my case. And I can see then people canceled. Cause they've just got the reminder and they realized that they can't make the appointment, but if I didn't have that would have just wasted my time.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:46] Exactly.
Yeah. So I've got it set up for, I think for podcast appointments, I think they get one a week. Before, and then an hour then a day before and then an hour before. And it's not, it may be a bit over the top, but I just want to make sure that people do actually show up. And in every case, I've never had any pushback stop spamming me.
It's just, okay. That's fine. It's only a few, but it's a helpful little service. It's really good. What else have we got in here? Simply book me simply book.me. Never heard of that.
David Waumsley: [00:49:14] Yeah. it is fairly new and I, the only reason I. Popped it, there is because of a few people, just a couple of people actually have just had that.
They've tried it and it's really good, but I don't know. You never know, do you, in Facebook groups, whether it might be them,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:30] do you know what though? I've just popped onto their webpage and instantly there's a feature on, it's not a feature, but if they've got an app for, Android or iOS, that.
Gets me every time. I really liked that. Cause I do like to be able to set these things up on my phone book, like a boss has done on a web interface and it's responsive and it works really well, but nevertheless, it's still all done in a browser. And, if everything's optimized and uses the Google UI or the.
the Apple UI and calendars work in that way. It's just much more straightforward. So I'm quite beguiled by that. I'll probably look at that more closely bots. I think it's one of these things that if it's not broken, I'm not going to try and fix it because everything in my book, like a boss cell works and it just consumes so much time to rearrange it.
We better get through this list quick. Cause we're on about 50 minutes.
David Waumsley: [00:50:14] Yes, no. Yeah. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:17] what about. Podcast a plus, ah, now this is something, yeah, this is a thing that I've actually launched, where you can book for podcasts and I've started using it my own podcast and tell you what it's enlightened me, into how difficult this is to do.
the, especially getting authorization from Google. We only use Google calendar to sync with. We haven't got, the option to do, office three 65 or any Microsoft. It's just Google calendar, but honestly, the amount of permissions that you need to keep sending videos back to Google, to get them to authorize the app.
It's that it's now working. I've got to say it's not as nice and interfaces. Something like Calendly or, Emilia that you mentioned, but that's just a work in progress at the moment. The calendar functionality just works as a, how should we say it as an added extra, but it doesn't book the appointment itself.
It books some time in your calendar, but it doesn't link up to the podcast, but yeah, podcasts are plus keep your eyes peeled. We'll see how this plays out. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:51:17] I think that's probably enough to talk about the third parties. Cause there's endless ones that we just don't know about. You can book me as one, I think you put in and yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:51:28] In fact, it's probably, if you just literally Googled a booking or calendar booking app or something in Google, you'll get pages and pages, but there's enough there to be going on. Yeah. So what's your conclusion from all this? Do you want to use WordPress for booking or not?
David Waumsley: [00:51:44] I do well,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:51:45] I'm happy with what I've
David Waumsley: [00:51:46] got at the moment.
I'm happy with my, thing. That's for woo commerce. I think anything simple like that. It's been brilliant. And, without it, I wouldn't have been able to change my business model because it's so easy to send people to a book in my time and get them to pay. yes, for that, for anything else we've discussed where it gets more complex.
I'm too coward. I think. Yep. Yeah. Stay away. Third parties.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:09] I think so, too. I think for anything where it's mission critical, where there's lots of money, that's not directly connected with you or your client, people paying for large amounts of money for things. I think I'm just too nervous as well.
Just use a third party app. the cost of them is trifling and compared to the cost of this stuff going wrong. And so I have installed WordPress bookings systems I will continue to do But for anything, mission critical, I'll probably be advising people to use SAS. We're going to get shot down for this, of course.
But fair enough. I think that's yeah, I think, yeah. And speaking of which, if if you've strongly disagreed or if you've got any. Plugins that we haven't mentioned or SAS apps that we haven't mentioned, please do include them in the show notes. So I'm as always sitting on the fence, David? no, not really.
David Waumsley: [00:52:55] It was one of the, did you mention this actually, one thing that you mentioned to me, which I hadn't thought about so much was the whole data protection issue.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:02] Yeah. So I know a few people who work in industries where you mean it's not like the spies or anything, but they are handling. Sensitive data.
And clearly, if this is a concern, you, I don't put this stuff in yet. WordPress database. I just don't think you need to be doing it. So in the case that most pertinent to people that I know they've just opted for. I think it's Microsoft teams in order to do their bookings because they've got the due diligence done.
And obviously there's probably all sorts of, privacy policies and terms of service that they've read and they know where the data is being kept and so on. So yes, it's a big concern. Obviously. It's just going into a WordPress database and, history shows. That's a WordPress state spaces can be compromised and siphoned and amended and hacked and so on.
So just be, yeah. Love that. Yeah. Okay. Do you think we're done? I do.
David Waumsley: [00:53:56] Yes.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:58] Yes. we're going to have be in a fortnight. B is going to be for something. but we'll find out what it is in a fortnight. Nice one, David.
David Waumsley: [00:54:05] Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:54:07] I hope that you enjoyed that one episode down 25 more episodes to go in our new podcast series.
The aide has had of WordPress. I guess it'll be next time. Join us for that. In the meantime, we will be back on Monday for the WP bills this week. Week in WordPress, it'll be live [email protected] forward slash live. Join me and Paul Lacey, as we talk about the WordPress news with some special guests, we'll then repurpose that, put it out as a podcast episode and a newsletter that all happens on a Tuesday.
So WP Builds.com forward slash live this coming Monday we'll of course have a podcast episode for you next Thursday as well. The WP Builds 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.
You can use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. Go and check it out. Get a free [email protected]. Alrighty. I hope that you have a good week. Stay safe.
Stay inside. Might be some good advice at this time. We're getting closer to Christmas, and nobody wants to get ill in the run up to Christmas. So as I said, stay safe. We'll see you next week. Bye bye for now. I will fade in some dreadful, cheesy music.