293 – Understanding the client’s training needs

‘WordPress Business Bootcamp’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

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Welcome to another in the Business Bootcamp series where we relearn everything we know about building WordPress sites, and running a web design business from start to finish. We are on the first episode of Season 4, which is a short season looking at training clients. We are kicking it off with understanding the client’s training needs.

We are taking contrasting approaches to getting our new businesses running and our first client’s site built. She is a new lawyer with no previous site.

Going Traditional with fixed pricing. He has presented a proposal and a contract. Set some expectation on the plan with has a deadline.

Agile. MVP constant interactions based on user behaviour data.

Episode 1. Understanding the client’s training needs

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Some assumptions:

We’ve given them a CMS, presumably so they can manage content. But maybe not. Maybe it was to make up for missing skills or to keep build cost down.

Clients today probably expect the ability to add content (even if not requested).

We’re likely to extend the relationship with the client beyond the build. Often providing hosting and / or care, so it’s in our interest to set expectations.

Training clients was probably not upmost in our minds during the build.

Much of what they need training on will be decided by the brief, but expectations and business need change over time.

Traditional v the agile launch

Traditional training is likely to be a separate activity. With agile’s aim to closely collaborate with clients.

Small teams closely working together with few boundaries as supposed to be the way no one is supposed to be precious about their expertise. Using expertise to dictate goes again the scientific spirit of testing. Doing copy together you learn a lot.

Does the client want or need training?

Ms A, may say she has no time or desire to get into this web malarky. After all, with her hourly rate, it’s probably cheaper for her to get us to do it.


Six months later, she might have a new assistant who has been given the job of marketing. We will talk more in a later episode, about when we have new management.

Then she gets into the idea of publishing articles. She now wants to blog. She decides she wants a booking system she will manage.

How do we know what is going to fit her abilities?

One of my clients came first because she thought she wanted a booking system. Now I know her. I am so pleased I talked her down on that initially. I would have given her something way too complex for what she had the time to learn.


I would ask them who was maintaining / updating, and it was usually one person, so I’d get in touch with them directly.

Before it was simple to create videos, this was a pretty tricky job to get right. I would often go to their place of work and show them what to do, and get them to write things down as I was doing it. Now that videos are trivially easy to create and distribute, that’s been my approach; a quick two-minute video to explain away the issues as they arise.

I used tools like Video User Manuals back in the day, but I do not know if they were used at all.


I have had a single client say they have watched a Video User Manuals. I think you were mostly out of client work before they thought they could all drag and drop their way through anything.

The real issue I see now is that clients hand things over to something they also think is a web designer (and so do they). I have to be careful what I say, but I presently have a dilemma with this


Potential dangers

Newer and unrealistic expectations set by page builder marketing

Recently I have really seen that in clients like never before. I used to be able to freely give access in the safe assumption the client would be too nervous to touch what they did not understand. Now they will wander off and wreck their site and moan about how crap WordPress is.


Restricting clients according to the brief. (the opposite problem.

I had a job rebuilding a site that had an ACF field for everything. The problem was the business required the pages to change. It ended up with so many fields that it was slow and much better to remove the field and give the freedom of the page builder.


I never really had anyone wreck anything too badly, although this certainly happened. I liked the solutions like Wallace Inline that enabled granular permissions in Beaver Builder and the new Block Locking feature in WordPress.

I always used to add a ‘Duplicate Posts’ type of plugin and would ask the client to play on a duplicate of the post first, but this never really happened, as I think that this is quite confusing and time-consuming.


How much do we accommodate clients?

There are those who say they don’t allow clients to touch their site.

Others are the opposite. They build to hand it all over.

How do we find the balance? Do we set rules as the agency or alter to accommodate the client?

What about techie help for clients that go beyond the website?

  • Emails
  • Web analytics / SEO / Conversion
  • Social media
  • Image manipulation
  • Copywriting
  • Print
  • Computers

It seems hard for us to extract ourselves from being seen as either the techie folk or the marketing folk.

I embrace all of this now, so I stay at the centre of the ongoing things that might impact the site. Keep hold of the consulate role if you like.

But I won’t claim expertise on anything, but aim to know what they should look for in someone providing a service (ie they don’t steal the client).


One of my largest clients used to get me to do almost anything that they could think of. Google WorkSpace, even logging into their router a few times to get things fixed up. It was a little ridiculous and in the end I started to say no, you need a PC specialist service for this. I was new and did not know where the boundaries were!


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Transcript (if available)

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the worth rest community. Now welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, a Nathan Wrigley..

Hello there. And welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you have reached episode number 290. Entitled understanding the client's training needs. It was published on Thursday, the 25th of August, 2022. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And I'll be joined in a few minutes by my good friend, David Waumsley, so that we can have our chat about this topic.

But before then, if you enjoy the WP Builds podcast, why not check out our website? WP Builds.com all of the episodes you can find there along with all of the other bits and pieces that we do. So for example, we do a live show every Monday, 2:00 PM, UK time. I'm joined typically by three other. Very nice WordPresses and we chat about the WordPress news from that week.

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Okay. What are we talking about today? At the top, I mentioned that the title was going to be understanding the client's training needs. So it is that it's David Worsley and I having a chat about this we're into that stage in our WordPress business boot camp, where the actual build of the website is largely done. And we're all of the bits and pieces that might come after the fact. So this one is all about what are the training needs that a client has?

How much do we put into this? Do we just hand over the site and. There you go, do we provide videos? Do we provide documentation? Do we do it on the fly? So that we react when the client says, could you explain how this works? I've forgotten how to log in and so on. And there's an awful lot in this, and I hope that you enjoy it.

[00:03:35] David Waumsley: Welcome to another in the business bootcamp series, where we relearn everything we know about building WebPress sites and running a web design business from start to finish where on the first series of season four, which is looking at training clients and we're kicking the first one off with understanding.

The client's training needs. Nathan and I are taking contrasting approaches as we try and get our new businesses up and running. And our first client site built she's a new lawyer with no previous site. And Nathan will just do a quick recap, shall we as

[00:04:09] Nathan Wrigley: usual? Dead quick. Yeah. Okay. My, my premises that I'm doing.

The traditional approach. Some people might call that waterfall where I do a contract, do a proposal, get the sign, get the sign off for that, build the site and yeah, hand it over. And I guess today's episode would be what happens after that really? Yeah, indeed.

[00:04:31] David Waumsley: And I'm agile where we're trying to get out a minimal viable website and we'll be constantly iterating on that based on behavior from users.

So great. Yeah. So this is key actually understanding clients. So actually our different approaches will really determine, how we might go about it, but should we start with some. Basic assumptions about what we mean. Okay.

[00:04:55] Nathan Wrigley: With this. All right. Yeah. You've made a, as you always do a nice set of show notes with the assumptions written there.

Do you wanna just read through 'em?

[00:05:03] David Waumsley: Yeah the first one is, and this may not be true, is that given that we're offering people, we press or CMS, presumably it's so they can manage their content. Cuz that's what it's for. But maybe that's a wrong assumption cuz perhaps some people are doing it because it's gonna keep down.

Build costs with page builders or to make up for the skills that they don't have, perhaps they're more of a visual designer than a developer. So that's probably going to have a huge impact how you do your business. I would imagine. Yeah.

[00:05:33] Nathan Wrigley: I think one of the pieces in there also is the fact that it's the CMS, the client sometimes is beguiled by the idea that in the future they can do whatever they want with their website.

They might have to, they might have the ability to do bookings or add in a shop or something like that. But yeah, I think that's fair enough. If they've got a CMS, a safe assumption that they're gonna want to edit their own content. Why not? Yeah. And I think that's,

[00:05:57] David Waumsley: for me, this is why. Quite an interesting topic.

We said, this is gonna be such a boring series St we . But when we started talking about it, we realized how much has changed since when we did it, when clients were too cautious to want to go in and get involved in the technical stuff. And we'd have to coax them in to today where they believe everything's possible with page builders.

And they expect to be able to just add to their sites, anything with a simple plugin. Yeah, it's a completely changed environment from when we started.

[00:06:26] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And I also think that we've got to the point. Almost everybody's online at some point during the day. And when I started hardly anybody was, really operating online, maybe they'd have logged in to check emails, but that would've been about it, but everybody's really familiar with apps for this, SAS apps for everything.

So the idea that people are frightened to log in and do things I think is gone, especially. As the generations get older, the younger generation are just brought up on this. And so anybody in our case, our lawyer, miss a it's very likely that she's been doing things online, her whole life.


[00:07:05] David Waumsley: probably. And I think one thing that's changed as well with this is the fact that we are more likely these days to try and extend our relationship with clients. Once it used to be a build, it handover the keys and off we go. Yeah. Where now we are trying to provide some ongoing service in the form of hosting and care.

Yep. So sometimes I think it's probably more likely to be in a interest to set expectations. Going forward about what they can and can't do that's understand them a bit better. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. And that training one assumption is that training is has never been probably utmost in our minds when we start a build process.

[00:07:44] Nathan Wrigley: No. And in fact, on some level I wonder how, because we've got the muscle memory of using WordPress forever. You assume that it's really easy to use. Whereas it only takes an inexperienced user to be playing with it in front of you where you suddenly realize, oh, actually, do you know what?

It's not that straightforward. I think this is a crucial thing. I think having some kind of training bolted into your offering just nowadays seems like a no brainer. If you're not doing it, I guess they're gonna be asking why. Yeah. And

[00:08:18] David Waumsley: I guess it's how you come about the last point I made under some assumptions here was the fact that maybe much of the training needs is decided early on in the brief.

So if you are going the traditional route, maybe what expectations are set, there will come out of what they've been asking for. Cuz they'll probably come with some need to be able to change this regular ongoing content. Yeah.

[00:08:41] Nathan Wrigley: I always offered it as a part of the. The proposal right at the beginning and a part of the contract was that there would be some training.

Yeah. And my experience, and you may differ. But certainly my experience was that would mean me literally going to their premises because most of the clients that I had were very local to me and, a short car journey and I was there. So it was a question of getting in a car, going with my computer and literally fielding questions.

If they didn't have any questions, I would just show them how. How to edit things, but it was built in the reason I'm mentioning all that is cuz it was built in I would offer that at the beginning, but it, there was never a sort of commoditized package that I would send forward with, pre-made videos and all, everything clearly thought out.

It really was on the whoof a bit. I was trying to figure out for them. From their questions, what it was that they wanted me to show them during the training session. And often it didn't even happen. I'd ask them if they wanted me to come in and they'd say, no, it's all right. We'll figure it out.

And we'll email you if we've got a problem.

[00:09:44] David Waumsley: It's nice. I like that. I like the fact that you can just have that face to face contact. I just don't have that at all. No, since I've really been doing it. That's right. And also my experience is limited here because effectively I offloaded that to the person who gave me the work.

She was really the design and. The client end when I first got clients and I was on the implementing what they wanted. So she largely had to deal with making sure that their training was there. So are they limited? Also

[00:10:14] Nathan Wrigley: it is. It's a skill, isn't it being able to teach things is a real bonafide skill.

And it requires you to be fairly outgoing, to have an understanding of how deep you need to go in. And, you might need to do things multiple times and repeat things over and over again and determine. Whether or not your yeah. Your client is capable of taking this in or whether or not you need to go more slowly.

There's a lot in here. And so just saying, oh, training, people train for a long time to be good trainers. And so it's not something necessarily that's in everybody's wheelhouse. There may be a bunch of people listening to this who think I am literally never gonna do that. Cuz it's just terrifies me cuz it is quite a scary thing standing up in front of people, especially if it's a, like a.

Room full of people. You've built a big website for a big company, and there's gonna be 15 people editing it and they're all in the room and you've gotta stand there and give a cogent explanation of how it all works and make sure that they understand and possibly go round and help them. Boy, there's more to this than meets the eye.

[00:11:19] David Waumsley: Indeed. Let's talk bit about our different approaches, agile and traditional. And in some ways, this is why I've moved agile. Part of this. It's just a way of dealing with it, but let's try and distinguish what I think is different. So the traditional approach would probably see training as this likely separate event.

Where I think agile probably sidestep is slightly because the idea there with this ongoing iterative approaches is that you work through a small self-determining team who work closely together and no one has a. Exact roles as such, obviously everybody has their own expertise and people were probably not likely to be able to tread on their toes, but otherwise everybody, no one should be the expert.

Everybody should be able to help each other to solve the immediate problems, which are always, small things at a time slowly being put out. So I think, from that point of view, assuming that you're working with the same person in my case, trying to go agile would be the same client you're going to build up naturally.

A sort of understanding of what they can and can't do. So yeah. Just the process of say, trying to get copied together for your website, trying to do that together as a collaborative thing, you get a real good insight as to yeah.

[00:12:36] Nathan Wrigley: Your approach is almost like it's training the entire time.

Yeah. Apart from the bit prior to when you've actually agreed that you're gonna build a website together where there's no training, but the moment that you are putting. On a page, you are doing it together. So you're training the person how to do it all at the same time. So it's just this constant journey of training.

Yeah. And so the idea would be really when the website is in a state that's that it's fit to, to call let's just use the word finished. I know you probably wouldn't ever think that it is finished, but let's imagine there is a moment where you think that's now a functioning website, the training's all done.

Whereas for me, The training is very much a moment in time. The client basically is not seeing WordPress at all at any point until that training session. So it's gonna be a moment in time. It's gonna be booked into the calendar. We're gonna have a location, which is typically their office, but I'm imagining more and more.

It might be a zoom call. Yeah. And I'm gonna have to go with some ideas. Field their questions, but if they've got no questions be ready to give them things that they can do and try out and fail at. And so they're completely different. I would say yours is ongoing iterative. Mine is a moment in time bound by location and the amount of hours I'm gonna dedicate to it.

And there's a

[00:14:02] David Waumsley: kind of philosophy as well in this, for the agile, because it's a two way learning the idea of having working closely with the client is the client brings in knowledge, which the person building the application will not know about the business. So it's always, no one is effectively training somebody else.

There isn't a power position in within that right setup. Yeah. That's the kind of idea behind it. And I think some, sometimes if I hear the word, if somebody tells me I'm going to get training on it, There's a little bit of me that goes what . Yeah. Who said I want to be trained yeah. By you.

[00:14:36] Nathan Wrigley: The curious thing about this is it's not okay. So take the example of our lawyer. Yeah. Yeah. I think my training brief, there would be really small in that it would. In many cases, I'm assuming the only things they're gonna wanna change is things on the pages which already exist. So for me, that would be an educational experience where they let's say we're using a page builder where I'm just saying, okay, this is where you go to log in.

You once you've logged in, you wanna click this button there, you're into what we're gonna call the page builder. And so now you click on this and here's where you modify it. Don't forget to click, publish, or save or whatever at the end. And then you're backing out. And that's probably the limitations of what they're gonna do, but I'm guessing, if it's a, if it's a WooCommerce store or if it's something a little bit more complicated with dynamic data, there's gonna be quite a lot to take in and getting the process right.

Is so straightforward to you and I, cuz we've done it a billion times. Yeah. But my experience was always that they would nod and smile and say, yes, I've understood it, but you own, it's only really later when they start to phone you up and say, can you tell me how to do that thing again? That you realize that you've probably given them a hundred little things to do in the correct order.

And if any, one of those hundred little things is incorrectly remembered or just forgotten, you can't do it, just, yeah. Like URL to log in, username password, then click on this link, then go over here, click this. No, not that. Click that bit. Then go to this box. Don't forget to click save, and then to log out the, just right there, just changing one thing on a page builder has probably required 10 steps to be done accurately, and they're always forgotten in my in my experience.

And I think that's

[00:16:28] David Waumsley: one of the issues with the Kind of end of project, the traditional approach where you end it, because then that's your kind of maybe just after it's your training session. Yeah. But in reality, maybe work to the client up to that point where they're a bit sick of talking about the website and they don't do anything for a while.

So all that training that you taught them? Yes. From. Day two of the site being live. They probably don't get round to getting interested in the site again for another six months and everything taught then has gone out well. Yeah, cuz

[00:16:57] Nathan Wrigley: we obsessed don't we obsess about websites and we like to tweak and we go in and we fiddle all the time.

Yeah. My experience was broadly that once I handed it over. It wouldn't be, it would be looked at probably, and if forms start to come in, then the content of those forms would be looked at, but the website itself would just be right. It's done. We can forget about that. We've got other things to move on to.

We've got other business objectives, so you're right. I think it just gets forgotten. And so the hundred steps that you gave them has gone and then six months from now, they can't even. The training materials that they wrote down or that you wrote down for them. And so the phone rings and in, in some ways there's a piece of me, which kind of likes that because at least you've you're reestablishing contact.

Yeah. If it's if it's a website, which they never ever edits again, you are gonna lose that contact. And so when the needs to rebuild or redesign or fiddle with the website in some way comes along, you are just gonna be vying for that work. Whereas, if they are, they're forgetting how to do things, so they're gonna call you up and, you're reestablishing those bonds every once in a while.

So it's not all bad. Is it? If things go wrong, cuz at least you get a touch point.

[00:18:09] David Waumsley: Yeah. And my limited experience of agile anyway, because everything stops, we'd get something out and then, it's not an ongoing process cuz they just get on with their lives and do other things and other, but it's nice to be able to at least with that system, I can prompt them to, should we just do a little bit of work to just.

Move forward a bit, yeah.

[00:18:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And you are also, you are constantly thinking about where the website could go because that's the approach you're taking. Whereas there is a bit for me where it's, it's forgotten about for me, if they don't call me for six months.

Yeah. There's no bit of me realistically, which is just gonna go and check if they've modified the website in any way or make suggestions. I'm just too busy working on the next project. Yeah.

[00:18:56] David Waumsley: Here's the thing. This is really, at the heart of why I want to talk about this particularly is the fact that when we get into, does the client need or want training?

Cuz there are let's take our one lawyer. As you've pointed out before she's gonna be paid quite well by the hour. So chances are that she might not want to spend her time with this web malarkey and would probably be a lot cheaper for us to get us to change what she needs. Yeah. Do you agree with that?

[00:19:26] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah I think so. And that again, that was my expectation. It was far more likely that I would get the call. Asking me, if I can change it, then the call was, can you show me how to change it? Because, okay. If you think about the lawyer, very busy, probably fantastically busy. I got several lawyer friends, and they're all incredibly overworked.

And if you think about it if it takes the same amount of time to write the. Or to have the conversation, telling me to do something as it takes to ask for them to be taught to do it. But of course, if they've then got to be taught to do it, they've gotta make space in their day to relearn it. And if it's just something modest, like actually we've changed our telephone number.

I think it's just way easier for them to. Nathan, can you just change the phone number on the site please? Rather than actually Nathan, can we book in a meeting and I, come into the office and we'll spend 10 minutes and you can show me how to change the telephone number. That is not typically what happened.

It was more Nathan, can you just do it? So training really was not mostly needed. I don't think. Yeah. I

[00:20:41] David Waumsley: was just trying to imagine the kind of scenarios that have been happening with me. So you might, we might, from the beginning, know that we say probably a lively to want to do it. We'll do that and we've set it up.

But what I found and imagine in her situation, six months later, she's grown a bit, she's got a new assistant. She's given them the job of sorting out the marketing. So she says, I'm gonna introduce you to my new marketing person. And they come in and then suddenly. It's almost the same as what you've got with new management.

You've got somebody in there who you've got to train. Yeah. Who probably has a role where they think what they should be doing with the website is, is their decision. Do you know what I mean, becomes a very awkward situation.

[00:21:24] Nathan Wrigley: This happens a lot actually, doesn't it in that somebody comes in and because it's their role.

To affect the business. One of the quickest ways to do that is to update the website. Yeah. And I actually lost quite a few clients during that changeover, I'd done nothing wrong. We had a perfectly great relationship, but the personnel changed and suddenly I basically had to start again.

And you'd get the phone call. Can you come into the office? We just wanna have a chat about the website. And then, six weeks later you find out they've gone to somebody else because the rapport and all of that had completely gone. And you were basically starting over and that person who's replaced them, just wanted fresh perspective.

And so it went out for tender again. Yeah, that's a really crucial moment. Yeah. It's

[00:22:12] David Waumsley: that, I haven't to deal with that. I've had to deal with it before, but when somebody changes over and you have train that person, cause they don't know how to do what they want to do, but also trying to reset boundaries, which you thought were already set on this website, yep. With the person you built it for. But also there are other things, where I think just things change over time. Let's say they're get into publishing articles and they think, wow, I've got a site. I won't put 'em on my blog. Yeah. Again, yeah. A new batch of training that might go directly to miss a.

I really, all I wanted to talk about was the fact that I'm suddenly getting surprised all the time by how the training needs are changing. And with what we mentioned before, about the expectations, about what people can add to their sites, e-commerce booking systems. Again, they come with a whole batch of training.


[00:23:06] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I wonder what the level of expectation from the clients is as well, when they're acquiring the services of somebody building a website. I wonder how professional they're expecting the website training to be, if I was. Getting a website done for my cottage industry, new startup business.

I probably wouldn't have too much in the way of expectations. I really probably would be expecting somebody from the company to show up possibly in the room with me and spend half an hour just showing me how to do it. And I would make some brief notes, but I wonder the professionalization of almost every aspect of life.

I wonder if they. Literally expecting, like a full day with coffee breaks and launch in the middle and, PowerPoint presentations and the, and ancillary trainers who can go around and mop up everybody's problems as, and when they happen. I wonder I don't I don't know, I guess that would be an interesting question to start with wouldn't it right at the beginning of the project, do you have training needs around this or are you happy to bump into problems and we'll fix them as they go?

It's Mo. For you because you are gonna be working hand in hand. But for me, I wonder if, there's a better way of offering the training or indeed the training could be an additional bolt on service. If you pay us X amount of money, we'll go this deep into it.

But if you just want something a bit more hands off and it, there's a lot of expectation of you to remember things or write things down. We can probably do it in an hour over zoom. I dunno. It's interesting. I dunno what the expectation would be nowaday. Yeah.

[00:24:45] David Waumsley: Yeah. And it's interesting cuz I've actually got a product on my site.

Still that's sat there. That's a half day training. I kept there. Much more when I was thinking about I handed it over and they could use the page builder and they might want to learn that stuff. And no one's ever taken me up on it so far.

[00:25:01] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. That's interesting in and of itself, isn't it?

The idea of training is not appealing cuz nobody's phoned you up and said actually, can we avail ourselves of that training? Yeah. Interesting. Yes.

[00:25:13] David Waumsley: They want to do stuff and effectively they want somebody to just answer their questions cuz I think that's, I've got, This is the balance.

I find quite tricky. So one of my clients came to me. Essentially, I think they only came to be, to build the website because what they thought they wanted was a much more complex booking system. And the one that they showed me was a WordPress one, which would be complex, lots of complex third party plugins to rebuild what I thought you wanted.

By the end of the conversation, we realized that wasn't the first thing she needed. It was very secondary. But if I'd have gone with that, I've very much realized as I've got to know her, that she just wouldn't have been able to cope with what I had built. It's it just, it. What I'm saying is that the, what she wouldn't have needed to have learned is not what she's got the time for, or the interest in learning.

And she didn't need it as much as she thought she had. So I've got it that way. And then I've also got the other way where I feel there are lots of people out there who have got very interested in building websites. They feel they could do it now it's within their capability. So that's going on at the same time where people are, going beyond what I would expect people would normally have done before.

[00:26:23] Nathan Wrigley: I wonder if it's harder to teach WordPress now than it was say 10 years ago, because you imagine this scenario 10 years ago you probably would've built the, you would've constructed a theme in some way. Yeah. Either built your own theme or you would've bought a theme and you'd probably have plugged in.

Fields and advanced custom fields or something equivalent to that. And the data would've gone in the back end and you would've explained where the data goes and how to save it and so on. And there was a real separation between the data, the content on the WordPress admin side, and then it's presented on the front end.

Look, if you save it over here, it is over here now, although for you and I using a page builder. Dead simple. And it made those jobs much more straightforward. You could throw together a website in a matter of hours if you were really good at it. Yeah. That's only true because we've used it over and over again.

I think it's more complicated potentially for a client to be faced with the page builder and all the myriad settings. Then it may have been just with the separation, WordPress admin, that's separate. There's your presentation? There's your data. There's your presentation then? It is now. And I always found it, fascinating people.

I would watch them use. In my case, it was beaver a builder. And I would just say right now you try and the amount of mistakes that were potential to be made, which were made. No, not that bit. Try clicking on that. Okay. Now go over there and edit. It was just more complicated with the page builders.

I, I don't know if we've made life E life easier for the clients with page builders in the end. Yeah,

[00:28:06] David Waumsley: I don't know, but I do feel there's an expect it's one of the strangest things is, but then it does. maybe it's just that kind of, I forgot what it's called now that theory where people don't know their own abilities, if you like.

So it's often the people, if you like who least interested in the web. Yes in my experience and don't wanna get into that who are quite blase about going in and as one did, rip out their main call to action, just deleted it. without an awareness that they just killed the whole function of their website, wow. And it's one of these kind of weird things where it's really hard to judge. Hey let's can we talk about just something, cuz there are two routes you can go and I hear people do. To take either of these route. So you could go with the, I'm going to restrict the client into only fields that they can fill in.

Yeah, according to their brief. Yeah. And then you've got the opposite, which I was in that camp. Previously, but I'm tightening up a bit where it was a bit like I've built the site with your CMS, with a page builder. That's a benefit for you. Okay. I'm gonna train you and then you can go and do what you like.

So how do we fall on this?

[00:29:20] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I don't really know. I guess the. The great appeal of being able to lock things down is that you are ensuring yourself against client failure. And I think in that scenario, you are basically hoping that the client is unable to cock things up. They're unable to go in and cause a catastrophe and save something which they didn't intend to save.

But on the other hand I guess giving them the ability to do everything is potentially opening that up just really wide because you and I both know, it's so easy to make mistakes. You've probably in error by accident somehow saved something. That you didn't intend to save. And you've been doing this for years and years.

I, I think the capability, especially with things like Gutenberg with block locking, and there was that great beaver builder, plugin called Wallace in line, which enabled you yes. To do this kind of thing. I don't know. I think as a client, I, I. I, I would probably just want to be led on that, but there, again, there could be a conversation there couldn't there.

Do you want to have full control? And if you do, you have to realize that, mopping up those mistakes, maybe costly, or do you want me to just lock things down so that the likelihood of making mistakes is much less saves you a bit of time, but you are not gonna be in control of everything. I think you just have to see what their persona was like and just offer them that opportu.

[00:30:50] David Waumsley: Yeah I think so. I think you've got, obviously you've got to accommodate the client else. You've got no business, but I do think, it's interesting because when we started this often I had somebody else getting the work for me. What she did. She always used to offer them because she used to do HTML and then she.

Were offering WordPress via me. So she would ask them the question, do they want one where they can edit the content themselves? And that was the trigger, the yes. Answer to that was I'm coming in to do the WordPress with her. And it's interesting cuz no one ever answered. No yeah. But almost none of those did their own.

Updates themselves. They still got her to do it. So it was a win-win for her in a way saying that because effectfully, it made it easier for her to do the updates on their behalf. Yeah. They still came into her, so it was an interesting thing. And I just think it's still the same with this. Cause I've been on both sides of this.

So one job that I got was somebody who. Did a really good job at building out all these, a ACF fields to there's a section. So they couldn't really make a mistake to fill out different pages and different custom post types. Absolutely there, but you could see this has grown over the years and this person wasn't available.

So I got the job to remove it and get it back to the page builder, which at this point you realize that heck all these fields that were being helpful and restrictive were now. Just completely pointless, cuz the business has slowly changed bit by bid over time. Yeah,

[00:32:23] Nathan Wrigley: that is interesting. Isn't it? It, what's also interesting is that quite a lot of my clients really genuinely express the desire not to be able to edit anything, they really didn't wanna have that trouble.

They wore their, let's say Luddite badge with P pride. If and right at the beginning I explained that I was gonna use WordPress or the equivalent, whatever I was using at the time. And they said, no that's your domain, but I feel that's changing, these tools being advertised on the telly, that you can make your own website and have it done in a few moments.

It's it's. I think that is changing over time. Yeah. I wish I had the answer to this, but I think more and more, it would be about getting in there and asking those questions and seeing what the client had in terms. But like you say, I reckon everybody given the question, do you want to be able to edit your website?

Yes or no? Everybody's gonna say yes. Just that's what they're gonna say.

[00:33:25] David Waumsley: Yeah, but they, I guess they didn't say, is that gonna affect the price they just went for? Yes. Yeah. And it was interesting at that time, but they were mostly cautious. One, one thing that I did notice, and I think it's something that I'm now trying to prepare for.

I've been one client who had done numerous sites for over a period of time has I think progressed they've be they've turned. Web designer because the tools have been there to allow them. So each time they've pushed themselves a little bit further Uhhuh and they've done it quite well. But the danger is that also in their department, they've led if you like, they set the trend yes.

On doing more and more. And I think, now I think will have to have a conversation back cause they're doing stuff which they don't know is maybe. Potentially harmful. So that's one of the things which I've, I feel I've, I will do with agile approaches feel I need to prepare for. Yeah. And I guess you don't need to worry if you're traditional because effectively, if they mess it up, then they have to pay for you to come and do that.

But they just may not know they've missed it

[00:34:28] Nathan Wrigley: up. Yeah. It's a difficult one. Isn't it? Because in like we were talking about earlier, if they do mess things up, you are creating. That that future business, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be back in touch with them. Whereas if you do a really fabulous job of training them, you are in a sense saying you no longer need me.

Yeah. Off you go, you can do, I don't know. I think this is really tricky. I think it's gonna change on a per client basis. I don't think there's gonna be one size that fits all this client over here might want training, but they only want half an hour. This client over here might want no training.

They just wanna be, told over the phone how to do it and they'll figure it out themselves, I guess it's different in each and every, in each and every. The only thing that I would say about

[00:35:14] David Waumsley: The, if they mess it up, then it's new business for you. But in my experience, most of what they mess up, they won't see they've messed it up.

That's a good point. Yep. And that's one of the most frustrations you got, they've done that. They just don't see it, it doesn't work on mobiles or whatever, or it's more subtle. It's something to do with SEO that's impacting on that or something, and I think, yeah. But really why, I guess I've changed my approach.


[00:35:42] Nathan Wrigley: right. You told me a little story. Just before we hit record about the fact that you've got a, you've got a tool, which is a SaaS app, which kind of keeps monitoring visual changes. I know the SaaS app can do all sorts of things, it can monitor the HTML and it can monitor all sorts. But in some cases you are just looking to see if changed.

And then you get an alert. So yeah, we, you were able to determine that the person who'd taken their call to action off the page. I didn't have any of those tools I now do have, but I don't really deploy them, but I do think that's quite an interesting strategy. Just keeping an eye on the, keeping an eye with software on the website to see if they've removed anything perhaps by.

Yeah, it

[00:36:27] David Waumsley: is great. Although, as you pointed out as well, cause the software, it does give you a fair number of false alerts and it's quite easy then to start ignoring yes. The messages that come in. But yeah, in this case it was good, within 12 hours, cuz I've said it twice a day to go and look at various different pages, something came in, you thought, look, that's definitely

[00:36:47] Nathan Wrigley: wrong.

yeah, but you can modify it can't you in such a way that it, oh if anything, less than 10% of a given page. Portion of a page has changed. It won't alert you, or it could be 50%. And so in, in that way, you are able to at least have some granular control over it. Here's a question. What sort of tools do you use?

Because back in the day if we're going back 10, 12 years video on the internet was still not really a thing. It would've taken me a lot of effort to throw together a tutorial, a video tutorial, then somehow get that to the client. But nowadays with software like loom and I use one called cloud app, which I know you use, it's just sitting in the.

Sitting on my computer, it's there waiting to be used. I click a button and within literally two seconds, I can start making a video. And for me, that seems like the strategy that I would adopt. Yeah, that is to say I would be reactive and I would wait for the problems to emerge. And then I would just do the quick two minute video.

Okay. So right. You've forgotten how to change that image over there. I'm gonna make you a quick video. I'll have it to you in a couple of minutes, whole tight, and then I'd just talk them through it, send them the video. And in that way, I think that's how my training would work. Now. I'd just be doing little tiny videos as, and when they needed to be.

[00:38:14] David Waumsley: That's me. It's really, as they need to be done. I think, there are lots of training courses, which I've got links to that I give to clients, one that I pay for, but it, or had paid for, but I just, they're not using it. They really, in my. In my experience, they don't go out to go and get training.

They literally just want to solve problems and that's how I have to respond to it. Yeah. So

[00:38:40] Nathan Wrigley: there's all sorts of things that you can get. There's, there's SaaS apps and things like that. Isn't there where you can go and watch training about WordPress. But yeah I had, no, I had no feedback to say that anybody ever watched any of that stuff, because honestly I wouldn't.

[00:38:58] David Waumsley: Actually next, next time we're talking about this. We are talking a little bit about website documentation and the kind of support stuff that we might need to have in place. So we'll probably get into that a bit more now in, in that episode, but Hey, can I just ask you cuz, and maybe you get into the end of this.

Is there stuff that clients want? Which, training on potentially that has nothing to do with the website, but is related in the techy way. Oh, good

[00:39:28] Nathan Wrigley: Lord. This happened to me so often. Are you meaning basically they ask you become a bit like the tech guy for their company. Yeah. Yeah. I got that quite a lot.

And when I was starting out. And I think a lot of it is a function of how difficult technology was back then, yeah. Getting online was really tricky. Just setting up a modem was tricky, setting up a router was tricky. Computers used to break in ways that they just no longer break in. And I had this a lot, I would go in and set up printers for clients that I'd got and I'd go in and fi I, one time was logging into their router and trying to figure out how to.

Packets that came in and all this kind of stuff. And it was, I think it was that I didn't just have, I hadn't figured out what I was, I was the internet guy and part of the internet was the routers. If that client came to me now, it's very likely, I would say, do you know what I think you probably want to phone up?

In my case, as a company I won't name them, but there's a company and I would immediately go, just go to them. Because they've got all of that in hand because that's not my area of expertise and I'd probably couch it like that. Just say I'm more likely to waste time doing it than if you go to them.

And I know that they're not gonna try and steal my website business, cuz that's not what they do anyway. So it seems like a perfect marriage made in heaven. I'm getting them some business at the same time, but yeah, it happened quite a lot. But now I know I know what it was that, I know what the.

The boundaries of building a website should be now. So very unlikely I'd fall into that. I think about you probably

[00:41:09] David Waumsley: broke. Yeah. I think I've gone a bit in reverse on that. Cause I would be quite hard. I kept out of any additions, but I, as I've tried to get more working with the client on an ongoing basis, I realize I have to get into this.

So things like emails come into it. Like one of my clients, they, she knows she's needed a new email address for. The she wanted the domain name one, but she know she's just been picking up her Gmail and a Hotmail account, the separate things, she hasn't got a client on a computer, so you end up thinking, yeah, I really do need you to know about this and help you with that kind of stuff, yeah. And it just to, to move forward, even things like. You want them to set up for local SEO, you want them to go in and create a Google my business, and you feel like you end up having to get into things which are nothing to do with the website just naturally, because you want the website to have a better chance of succeeding.

Yeah. That's

[00:42:02] Nathan Wrigley: a really good point. I ki I feel almost like email is in. Is in bound a bit. Yeah. Sorry. Within the boundaries of what we would do. Yeah. That's curious cuz it really isn't the website, but obviously if you've got forms and they have no ability to set up the, the email account, which will receive those forms, I think there's gotta be a bit of that in there.

Haven't that there's gotta be a bit of give and take. It's not. It's not strictly the website, but it is part of it. I, yeah you've made it difficult there. I think because I know email fairly I know that I could pull that off within a matter of minutes. It wouldn't really bother me, but if it was something brand new, like a, I don't know I want you to make it so that all the contact forms go into this particular CRM that I've never used before and all that.

Maybe at that point, I'm starting to get a bit concern.

[00:42:54] David Waumsley: Yeah. I just think, I don't think we can escape a lot of the stuff, cuz even if you're traditional and you say, okay, I want the content delivered before I work. Now you could be really hardnosed about that and say, if you don't get it, you've failed and you get.

Penalized financially for that, but it, really, we have to work with the clients to, even if you're going traditional and you're hard on this one. So you end up possibly getting into image manipulation and copywriting and all those sorts of stuff. Yeah. Anyway. Yeah. And it's really outside of the traditional view of what our website should be about or what designer does.


[00:43:28] Nathan Wrigley: I, yeah, I think the difficult thing is once you've become the tech. It's hard to not be the tech guy. If you have come and fix the printers and you have enabled their email and all that, then you've set your stall out a bit. Haven't you. And it's gonna be difficult to walk that back and say, actually, sorry I crossed the boundaries before and I shouldn't have done it, but I did it because I was trying to be helpful.

If you're clear at the beginning with all of that, maybe that's the best way to go, but just be sure that what your boundaries are. And I didn't, because I was making the job up as I went along, as most of us were.

[00:44:05] David Waumsley: I think, yeah, I think you still are. And I'm almost embracing that in a way with the kind of agile, cause at least I know I've got a philosophy for why it's this ongoing cuz it's part of the relationship growing as well.

So yeah, I'm quite keen to stick at the center of things. So if they see me as the tech guy or the person who does stuff way beyond what I really do, I don't mind. I think I'd rather than come to me just so I can hold onto that sort of central role as being their. Consultant, if you like over their future.


[00:44:37] Nathan Wrigley: right. That is right. If, and even if all you are doing is acting as an interface to, to distribute the work to other people. Yes. At least you are at the fulcrum. Whereas if they're, if they immediate printers we won't. No we won't ask Nathan to do that. You never know who's gonna walk through the door and beguile them with their web design skills.

So exactly. I think you're right. I think it's probably good to nurture those relationships and be the center of it all. Even if you're not executing the work. that's

[00:45:07] David Waumsley: it. And then, and for the reason, cuz I think there are just so many more people who believe they can build web designs or do it that do web design.

So build websites because they do it in their spare time. I think we're under threat more than

[00:45:21] Nathan Wrigley: we've ever been. Yeah. And given the economic climate at the moment, I'm imagining that ancillary things like care plans and all of that I think will be under the microscope more than.

In the last 20 years. So it's time perhaps to be a little bit more flexible and a little bit more accommodating. Exactly. And be the person that can offer all of these solutions and offer the support and offer the training and all of those kind of things, because it may be that just keeping your clients is gonna be the toughest job that you've got over the next three or four.

[00:45:54] David Waumsley: It could be, yes. I'll fix your print term by the way. That's does your windows that's right?

[00:45:59] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Get whilst I'm here. Yeah. I can buff you buff your shoes if you like. That's no problem.

[00:46:04] David Waumsley: Anyway, so next time we'll talk about this could be a bit boring, so we might make it short. We website

[00:46:12] Nathan Wrigley: documentation.

Oh yeah. Documentation. Yeah, that do you know what? I think that there's more to this than meets the eye. Okay. So I think there's a discussion to be had, so I'll see you in a couple of. Okay.

Nothing. All.

[00:46:25] Nathan Wrigley: I hope that you enjoyed that. Always a great pleasure to chat to David Waumsley about these bits and pieces.

If you do the process of giving some training materials over to your clients, if you do it differently to any of the things that David and I described it'll be lovely to hear from you. Head over to WP Builds.com. Search for episode number 293 and leave us a comment. Alternatively go to our Facebook group. WP Builds.com/facebook. And you could write a comment in the thread there.

The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting. That includes free domain, SSL and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients and get 30% off new purchases. You can find out more by going to go.me/wpbuilds. And we really do thank GoDaddy Pro for their continued support of the WP Builds podcast.

Okay, we'll be back next Thursday. That'll be a podcast episode, which is an interview, but we'll also possibly be back on Monday. There might be a little bit of a hiatus in the, this week in WordPress show because I may or may not.

Haven't quite decided yet take a week's holiday. So we'll see how that goes, but hopefully we'll be back in your podcast feed very soon. Okay. All that remains for me to do is to say, have a good week, stay safe byebye for now. Cheesy music fade.

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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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