311 – Summing up the WP Builds ‘WordPress Business Bootcamp” series

‘WordPress Business Bootcamp’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

These shows notes are best read in conjunction with the podcast audio.

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GoDaddy Pro

Welcome to the last episode (sigh) in our Business Bootcamp series.

Over the last year, we have been attempting to question everything we know about building WordPress sites and running a web design businesses.

We looked at the entire process, from meeting our first client to helping them to support their site.

We’ve tried to contrast approaches by looking at the traditional project (waterfall) where we are hired to build the finished (website) “product”, and an agile approach, where we will try to use online SEO and UX data gathered, to iteratively improve the site as an ongoing collaboration with the client.

Want to get your product or service on our 'viewed quite a lot' Black Friday Page? Fill out the form...

Here we have set ourselves a few questions in an attempt to sum up what we have learned over this series and, more generally, our time in the website building industry.

If that only takes five mins of awkward silence, then we’ll have even more time to introduce our controversial next series of bi-weekly chats!

Nathan failed to update the show notes with answers to the questions below, so you’ve only got David’s responses!


The agile movement is over 20 years old. It’s dominated software development for a long time and seems increasingly becoming policy for anything web related for enterprise companies and clients. Should it be our direction?

For me it has offered more interest and a (friendly) business approach that suits me. I think it is a mistake to not understand what agile is solving, but much of our work is suited to a traditional approach.  


What do we wish we had known when we started?

Mostly, to have trusted my gut, think more like a client, and focus on that relationship. Too much “imposter syndrome”. Making me use big concepts and words I barely understood.

It has taken me a long time to work out that I like what the web can do for people generally, more than I like the technical side of building. I love that too, but need not be defined by that. Basically, I got pigeon holed. If the client thought they wanted a developer, I was the developer only.


How have changes in WordPress altered our approach?

Not just Gutenberg, but the general move to serving DIY users. Acquisitions and endless need for features.

Gutenberg threw me, but it was a good thing. I think I can evaluate it with more balance.


Do we think web design is still a good (safe) business?

I do, but I think many of us have to repackage the offer considering the page builder. But I also think folk have yet to fully see the downside of DIY.


Who won this series?

Dunno – not the audience!.


Is there a ‘best fit’ for either / or Agile / Waterfall in this industry?

Yes, waterfall for rubbish clients and designers! 😂


Is Agile only for ‘engaged’ clients, as opposed to people who just want you to build them a site fast?

No. They don’t always need to know you are going agile. Probably best avoiding the term until questioned. With agile, a site might be out the gate, before the traditional brief and contract is finished.


Can you have aspects of both Agile and Waterfall in the same business / project?

Yes, but I would say it is best to present options and indirectly some pros and cons of approaches.


What’s next – ‘Thinking the unthinkable’

The idea is we will take (or rather invent) some provocative and challenging statements about WordPress, its community and the web design industry in general to see if between us we can find a (hopefully) balanced perspective.

Of course, It will produce some clickbait titles. It may even get us cancelled, but more likely folks will tut quietly at us as I am sure they have been doing since 2016.

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…


Omnisend is the top-rated email and SMS marketing platform for WordPress. More than a hundred thousand merchants use Omnisend every day to grow their audience and sales. Ready to start building campaigns that really sell? Find out more at www.omnisend.com

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! Find out more at go.me/wpbuilds.

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Transcript (if available)

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

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[00:00:02.010] - Nathan Wrigley
Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Now, welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.

[00:00:21.410] - Nathan Wrigley
Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast. You've reached episode 311, entitled summing up the WP builds WordPress business bootcamp series. It was published on Thursday, the 19 January 2023. My name is Nathan Wrigley and in a few moments I'll be joined by my good friend David Waumsley to have our very final recording in the WordPress Business Bootcamp series. As you've heard, we're summing up what we thought about it, but before that, a few bits of housekeeping.

[00:00:55.800] - Nathan Wrigley
If you didn't know, the page builder summit of version five is just around the corner. It's actually taking place in February. In fact, the dates, to be more specific, are February the 20th until the 24th. That's 2023. February the 24th. Put that date in your diary. But this is just to say that we are really keen to get some sponsors on board. So if you are in the WordPress space, maybe you've got a plugin, a theme, a hosting company or you're connected in some way, we'd love to hear from you. The best page to go to is Pagebuildersummit.com Sponsor. That's Pagebuildersummit.com Sponsor, and you can check out all the options there.

[00:01:40.220] - Nathan Wrigley
Feel free to email me, it's [email protected]. If you want to get in touch and talk through some options, we'd be delighted to get you on board. It's a pretty big WordPress event. In all honesty, we have a fairly large crowd of very committed WordPress, most of them obviously using page builders. So if that fits your scenario for marketing in 2023, please reach out.

[00:02:04.980] - Nathan Wrigley
The only thing that I want to mention otherwise is the WP Builds Deals page wpbuilds.com forward slash deals searchable filterable. List of deals go check it out.It's a bit like Black Friday, but every single day of the week.

[00:02:19.790] - Nathan Wrigley
The WP Builds Podcast is 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. That's go go.me/wpbuilds. And we really, truly do thank GoDaddy Pro for their support of the WP Builds Podcast.

[00:03:00.810] - Nathan Wrigley
Okay, as I said, this episode is the final in a pretty much year long series called The WordPress Business Bootcamp. In this episode, we're really just summing.Up what it is that we've learnt during that series.The whole thing was all about having a client who'd never used WordPress before, never built a WordPress website before, in fact, never had a website before, and.How we might run them through the process, how we might have our business aligned. David, throughout the entire series has been using an agile approach. I've been using a waterfall approach. And so in this series, we've picked all of the pieces apart from start to finish. And today we're asking questions like what do we wish we'd known when we started? How have changes in WordPress altered our approach? Do we think web design is still a good or safe place for our business? Who won this series? Is there a best fit for projects using agile or waterfall? And a whole bunch of other questions as well. I really hope that you enjoy it.

[00:04:00.380] - David Waumsley
Welcome to the last episode in our business Bootcamp series. Over the last year, we've been attempting to question everything we know about building WordPress sites and running web design businesses. We've looked at the whole process from meeting our first client to helping them to support their site. We've tried to take contrasting approaches by looking at the traditional project, where we're hired to build a finished website or product, and the Agile approach, where we try and use online SEO and UX data gathered to iteratively improve the site as an ongoing collaboration excuse me, with clients. So here we've set ourselves a few questions and attempt to kind of sum up what we've learned over this series and perhaps more generally over time that we've been in the industry building websites. And Nathan, that might only take five minutes of awkward silence. So we'll probably introduce as well the next series.

[00:05:00.990] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, that's right. Firstly, well done for getting through that introduction. Quite a mouthful. So, yeah. Has it really been a year? Have we been at this for a year? That's amazing. And by good coincidence, I don't know exactly when this episode will go out, but we are approaching the end of the actual year, so it kind of feels like a nice time to sort of sum it all up. So, yeah, we've written a bunch of questions. We're comparing, really, the knowledge that we've gained over the last year, the chats that we've had over the last year, to sort of decide which is better, agile or waterfall. And at the end of it, only one will be left stunned. The intention of this episode? No, that's not the point. So how do you want to play this, then? Should we just go through the questions that we raised and chat through them one at a time?

[00:05:49.310] - David Waumsley
Yeah. So the first thing, the agile movement is something which was, I guess, started this whole reevaluation because it's kind of something new to me. It's over 20 years old, it's dominated the software development industry for a long time and increasingly it's becoming policy. We've mentioned it before, but without really understanding it, that it's affecting kind of webrelated work, particularly at enterprise level. So the question we're asking really here, should it be our direction? Because that's what we've been contrasting all the way through. But in all honesty, when I'm talking about it, it's my way of being more agile than the work that I do. And often when you're talking about it, taking a traditional approach actually a lot more agile than it implies, I think.

[00:06:41.630] - Nathan Wrigley
I think it's a bit of a spectrum, isn't it? This I think both of us, if we were both to compare our work, Practises if you like, I'm pretty certain that you have definitely thrown yourself into the Agile approach. Talking to the client, iterating on things, going back with data, all of that. I'm pretty sure that you will be further along that spectrum. But equally, I'm sure there's little bits in my Practise that would be creeping in that are agile. Whether or not that's just feeding back halfway through something which I'm not sure about, just sort of to get the clients interpretation of whether I'm going in the right direction, I'm sure that there's a bit of that. I would imagine that for people like you and I, who were basically just solo freelancers, you've got to have a bit of both, you've got to throw a little bit of both together. But I have to say that over the course of the year you have convinced me on a lot of points. I think there's a lot of stuff in agile which just makes perfect sense. Not only does it save a bunch of time that you might waste because you didn't fulfil the expectations at the beginning, you forgot to write things down, you didn't ask the right questions.

[00:07:56.260] - Nathan Wrigley
You left half sure, half onshore, six weeks into the building, you've only got two weeks left, and all of that dilemma. But also I think that your system really does generate far more work security. In other words, your clients hopefully at the end of the process. Well, there isn't an end to the process with mine. There definitely is. You know, day day 55 arrives, we hand it over and more or less we're closing the door on that. We've then got to restart the whole thing, try and persuade them to to do other things like care plans and so on. Whereas your approach is much more kind of like a revolving door. You know, they've gone out the door, but they're immediately coming back in again because you've got things you want to tell them. They've got an expectation that they can change things with you. They haven't shelled out a tonne of money, they've just been shelling out little bits of money along the road. So I do think not only is it saving a bit of time, I do think it's generating more security for you because your clients hopefully will stay your clients for longer.

[00:09:00.190] - David Waumsley
Yeah, I think it's really a difficult thing to kind of sum up these two different approaches because for some they'll think of Agile project management, something which is often enforced in some companies and they don't really get why they're doing it. And it's this whole procedure. We have this sort of scrum team work and stuff. I'm skipping all of that. I'm just getting back to the basics of why it became a movement over 20 years ago in software development. Because it picked up on the fact that well actually when you start these projects that have a deadline, nobody really knows what they need at the beginning. You can never nail it down. So there's always friction built into that. So it's the idea let's just do it bit at a time and work out because things are going to change. And I think when it comes to web development, and it's true of course, in software development there's a key thing about our medium, which is that it's the only one really that gives you some live data about how you're doing and you should be responding to that. So all I've tried to do is to do my traditional approach but build that conversation about how the web is and what we could use in it right from the very beginning.

[00:10:07.850] - David Waumsley
So we think in that way we won't invest too much in the first place. We'll see how we go. And that's pretty much it for me.

[00:10:15.750] - Nathan Wrigley
I guess there are going to be scenarios where okay, let me start that again. There are some properties on the web which by definition will never terminate. You know, the minute they were set up, the intention is that they're going to be there for decades probably, maybe even, goodness knows, I mean, possibly even hundreds of years. So I'm thinking in terms of things like government websites, things where I have to pay my tax on my car or I have to access health services or whatever. The intention is that that's never going away. And as soon as it's gone online and people start using it and they get familiar with using it, it's always going to be there forevermore. And the idea that that can stay static is nonsense. You know, all, all the users are not going to be doing accessing it the same way ten years from now. You know, at the minute we're all using mobile phones, we're on desktops, who knows what new technology will come along, what interface we're going to have. And so that's really important. But thinking about like the, I don't know, a few weeks ago I went to a village, Fate, nearby, they had a website.

[00:11:22.600] - Nathan Wrigley
It was actually pretty good. I don't know who did it, but it was a good website. But it was, it was a moment in time. They've got this one off event it's going to happen, then it'll be over. I don't even know if it happens on a regular basis, but it happened. There would be almost no point in a way in doing that in an agile way because it was, it was so constrained in what it wanted to do. It basically wanted to put some pictures up there, have a telephone number in case you wanted to contact the organisers so that you could help volunteer and all of that kind of stuff. And that was it, it was just a moment in time.

[00:11:52.200] - Nathan Wrigley
And so for that, I'd be really surprised if they had some sort of iterative agile approach. They don't need Google Analytics data, they don't need any of that. They just need something up running quickly so that people who want to be involved in that event are aware. But I do think you're right, this is not going away. And there's a tonne of properties out there on the internet that absolutely need to be explored, investigated on a day by day basis. And for that, Agile just makes the most sense. I do wonder, I don't know if we ever even discussed it, because you talked about where Agile came from, like 20 years ago. I wonder who had the first idea, I wonder who did it the first time. I wonder who was the first mover, who sort of said, yeah, I'm going to take my business in this direction and I wonder if they're still in business.

[00:12:42.470] - David Waumsley
Well, there is a long story because I'm really agile was named when 17 developers got together after talking about their shared frustration with traditional projects and how they were failing. But they were all they were all coming in from different angles, these people, and they'd all written books or something, so they all had slight variations on it, but basically they came up with a manifesto which summarised what their kind of key values were for this movement. So basically, since the web's been there, it's been an issue that people have spotted building for the web. It's ultimately a changing thing where we have this extra data and it's just so interesting because we come from generally our business is built around the tradition of design, graphic design, so our model is going to better reflect what you would have done if you made business cards for somebody or made them a poster or something. And that's carried on because for many people and actually, you just answered one of the questions you added in there, is there a best fit for either Agile or waterfall? And I think you've just given a good best fit, was that kind of landing page thing where clearly even I wouldn't be talking about if that's all they ever wanted to do.

[00:14:01.890] - David Waumsley
And they say, can you make this one page for this one event? It's pointless me talking about the things I want to talk about in this whole series.

[00:14:11.000] - Nathan Wrigley
We've been talking about this fictional person, Miss A, who is a lawyer and has no experience. I do think her aspirations right from the start, so she's graduated from law school, she's beginning her business, she needs a website. That's basically all she knows. I am convinced that she doesn't want the business to be disappearing in ten years time. She wants to be doing this until she retires, potentially. She wants it to be a success, she wants it to blossom. She probably has aspirations of retiring early and all of those kind of things. And I do think that at the outset, the whole agile thing, she might be persuaded of that, because who doesn't want to have a business which is thriving? Who doesn't want to have a business which is sucking in data and improving itself? But also, I do think she is maybe a candidate for the waterfall approach, because she's busy, she doesn't want to be too involved. She's probably got a bunch of clients and she's probably servicing those. And when she goes to sleep at night, the last thing she's thinking about is the website. She's probably thinking about going to court and getting her arguments summed up and filling out the paperwork and managing things on time.

[00:15:27.790] - Nathan Wrigley
And maybe she just wants to say, no, David, wait, I haven't got the time for this, just build me a website. My interest is the business. I know that the website is part of the business. Thank you, I get it. But I just want to pay you some money and be done with it and we'll come back in a couple of years time, because that's the approach that I'm familiar with. So I think she could easily be persuaded, but I think you'd have to line up all your arguments very cleverly to get through to her, because I'm not sure she's the perfect candidate for this. And also, she's probably quite good at sophistry so she's not going to be persuaded by your clever arguments too easily.

[00:16:11.990] - David Waumsley
Yeah. No, I agree. And she does seem water. Well, in some ways, this is where I don't think I'm really one or the other, it's just that effectively how I learnt web design, there was one way to do it. This is how you manage a project. And then suddenly realising there was a movement that's been around for a long time, which contradicts that entirely, then I feel like it's quite important to have that you can present to the client kind of this sort of two sides, so maybe with her that she might not I wouldn't even mention agile. I don't to clients unless I was forced to. You're just talking about how you might go forward. So probably you've built it with WordPress, so it's likely to be an ongoing relationship, because, particularly if it's built with a page builder, you'll probably need to have them on a care plan, so there'll be something ongoing. I'd probably say, look, we'll roughly we'll get this. None of us ever know when we start these things, how they'll work out, so let's probably skip the BS with that one and we'll put an approximation on it. So it leaves you some room to change your mind on things that you might want and for me to throw in things.

[00:17:15.200] - David Waumsley
So we'll try and stick to that and do that. But also can we build in a little bit of money just to see how it's doing for monitoring afterwards, to see how it's been picked up by Google, see which pages are getting visited so I can give you some feedback and see if it's worth it's? Just something we can do a bit better when we've got that feedback. That would be more than I ever did when I started, because I really ended the project and it would be the end. And they just paid me further the hosting and care. I've never introduced the idea that there might be some monitoring, so it'd be Waterfoil waterfall with a little add on monitoring stuck on the end of it.

[00:17:48.780] - Nathan Wrigley
So that's interesting. You're sort of sneaking agile in by the back door a bit there, which I kind of think is nice in that you've built it. Potentially, you might build Miss A's website just as a one off, and then silently in the background, you're collecting the data and then maybe picking up the phone. Miss A is not picking up the phone to you, it's you picking up the phone to her and saying, right, here's some interesting stuff that you didn't know about your website. That I think is quite an interesting approach. A couple of things. Firstly, I didn't even know what I was doing when I started. I literally was making it up. It started with friends, it started with throwing out a website by working in the evenings and just doing it for mates, and then finally figuring out, actually, do you know what? There's money to be made in this. I could actually make a living out of this. But there was nobody giving me guidance. I genuinely think even at the beginning, I didn't even know there was a community of people. I wasn't using a page builder, I wasn't using a CMS, I was just writing the HTML.

[00:18:55.410] - Nathan Wrigley
I think the community that I knew about was stack overflow or something equivalent to that. I can't even remember if that was around in the day, but all I did was look for technical solutions to problems that I had. Like, how do you get an image to, I don't know, change when it's rolled over or hovered on or whatever it might be? And so the idea that I would have a process just was nonsense, was just making it up as I went along. And so that leads me to your second question, if you like, what do we wish that we'd known when we'd started? In my case, I think, okay, two things. Firstly, I'm sure it'll be harder now to make a living out of the job that we have than it was when we did it, because it's become professionalised. Everybody's got really high expectations of what is possible on the web. But also, I think the flip side of that is there's way more help out there. Here we are talking about agile as an example, there's countless, probably hundreds of thousands of websites with tutorials of how to do things. There's tools which make the job ridiculously easy in comparison to when we began.

[00:20:12.050] - Nathan Wrigley
So I think it's a bit of swings and roundabouts. There's more competition, there's more expectations from the clients, but there's also a tonne of tools and tutorials out there. So in terms of what would I have wished I'd known when I started? I don't really know. I haven't really got an answer to that.

[00:20:32.250] - David Waumsley
Yeah, it's interesting, because you mentioned you started without a process and then I wrote down my little notes on this one that I wish I'd have trusted my gut a little bit more. But partly that is also true of when I accepted a process. So when I started this imposter syndrome with me, so that made me pretty bad with clients, because I would use big terms and words that I barely understood to show that I'm some professionals. So that created a sort of boundary between me and the client. But also it led me to look to people for when I realised people had processes and I had none, to follow somebody's process, particularly when a lot of people said the same. And I wish I trusted my gut and just saying, actually, what I ended up doing with a lot of clients is following somebody else's process that worked for them, because I thought that was the process for making websites. And agile has been, if you like, a relief, because it's like, that actually didn't work for me. And this actually now I understand that there are other people who have a different view.

[00:21:36.750] - David Waumsley
It's more in line with my own gut. So I've amended it to as I say, it's a kind of hybrid that I'm doing here. But it's just the fact that there is something other than a set process, which I think when it comes to people building web design, it very much is anchored in graphic design and traditional projects and doesn't have much room for anything other than starting off absolutely. Getting it nailed down, what the client wants and costing it. And that's the only way to do it and contract them. And I've never liked that. And I wish I trusted my gut a little bit more.

[00:22:14.540] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, that's a really interesting point. I think all we had to go on was our gut, though, wasn't it? Because there really was right at the beginning. I do mean right at the beginning. If you go back ten years already, there was stuff in the market to tell you how to manage your business. And in fact, I even remember buying at one point a great big a four lever arch file from a company which basically in about 100 pages, claimed that it would make my web design business sorry, website building business. Not just design, but web building business successful. Do you know how many pages of that I read? Not even one. I opened up the package and looked at it, put it on the file sorry. Put it on the sideboard and never looked at it again. I don't even think I possess it anymore. But what I'm saying there is that ten years ago, people had sort of commoditized and were starting to sell into the market the way to do this. But ten years prior to that, when we were votes beginning, that's all you had is you got there was absolutely nothing else to rely on.

[00:23:16.370] - Nathan Wrigley
It was just I made up the prices, I made up the structure, I made up how to do a website, and in some senses it worked really well. In some senses it was a complete disaster. But it was probably more agile than I was towards the end because I didn't know what I was doing. So it was constantly on the phone to the client saying, what do you think about this? Do you like this? But it wasn't really agile in sense of data driven, it was just agile in the sense of having a clue what I'm doing.

[00:23:44.530] - David Waumsley
Yeah, yeah. But I think ultimately we've probably gone full. There may be periods, or there certainly was for me, where you do start with your gut and you trust that, and then you start to get influenced by other people. But ultimately we end up always going back to the same thing, that the client relationship is probably the key thing to this business, as it is with all colour businesses. If people don't like you, why are they going to use you again? And I think one of the key things of the agile thing is it gets that focus a little bit back on the client collaboration, about adjusting with the client, accepting their changes as you go along, where the traditional approach, particularly as it's got more professionalised, has gone into how do you control the client from not changing their mind from that initial brief? And I just think, yeah, it's a relationship of potential friction, although the way along, unless the project is very clearly defined and everybody knows what they want.

[00:24:41.470] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, it's interesting. And I do think that our lack of the fact that we aren't agencies, the fact that throughout our entire careers we have been one man bands, for want of a better word, probably does give us we've got the room to manoeuvre there. We don't have to act professional if we don't fancy it. We can take time off and all of those kind of things. I do think that's quite important and I think that the kernel of this, for me, probably the kernel of moral, is everything in life is a bit of what you just said. It's about having that nice long term relationship, it's about chatting with clients, turning them into your friends, certainly not trying to squeeze them for every penny they've got and all of those kind of things.

[00:25:24.700] - David Waumsley
Yeah, building trust. You kind of touched on one of the other questions we got. Do we think web design is still a good or safe business? And in a way, you just mentioned a bit earlier about the fact that you thought it was more difficult now.

[00:25:40.670] - Nathan Wrigley
You know what? Okay, let's ask the question in this way. If you could rewind the clock 20 years, but that 20 years started today, do you think you would go into this business now?

[00:25:57.250] - David Waumsley
Oh, that is a good one, because you kind of said I slipped in it. Because I think most of us do, because the web was exciting. We wanted to do stuff with it, we wanted to get on board with it and experiment ourselves, and then we thought, it's quite useful for me, it might be useful to others, and you end up wandering into it.

[00:26:17.370] - Nathan Wrigley
It was easy back then, wasn't it? There was very little knowledge to learn. And I do wonder now if the impediment the requirements, obviously with WordPress, that strips away a load of the problems. But I do wonder if the requirements to be a successful web developer, I wonder if you've got to go through quite a lot of stuff prior to being able to launch a business. I don't know. Look at tools like page builders, things like Elementor, which has probably turned hundreds, if not thousands of people from complete novices into in inverted commerce, web developers overnight. I don't know, maybe it's easier now, maybe, I'm not sure.

[00:27:01.030] - David Waumsley
It feels like everyone's a web designer now. It feels like in the same way that we did, it felt easy at the time, but now with page builders, in fact, it's very well marketed as being very easy. And a lot of people now will turn web developer, I think, without not in the stuff that we needed to know, and we'll be up and running. And I think they might have more difficulties along the line which they can't detect. I think we were lucky in some ways because we had to learn at least some basics of the web, something about HTML and CSS to begin with, where now you could start your business without knowing any of that, and it may trip you up down the line. Yeah, because you do become dependent on a tool that gives you that.

[00:27:49.030] - Nathan Wrigley
What was kind of interesting to me oh, sorry, I interrupted. Sorry.

[00:27:53.430] - David Waumsley
No, I finished. Really?

[00:27:55.720] - Nathan Wrigley
Okay. What was interesting to me, looking back on all of this a little bit, is that not only did I really not know what I was doing, but also the clients didn't know what they were doing. In other words, they would come to me and really they would just say, I want a website. And they didn't even know what that meant. They had no conception of how much money it would cost and how much time it would take and what their responsibilities were. In terms of getting things to me. So that was kind of a nice period, really. It was almost halcyon days because we could model our way through it together. I would say, oh, it'll probably take me a couple of weeks and then it would take me five weeks. And they were probably okay with that because they didn't know. And I would phone up and say, can you send me some images? And they'd be like, yeah, okay, yeah, I'll go out and take some photos and things like that. It was very much a cottage industry back then, so the expectations from the clients was far less, which was nice.

[00:28:56.250] - David Waumsley
Yes, you're right actually. And you didn't have so many people. The client today either started to learn some stuff themselves or they know somebody close who might start to interfere in the project that you're doing. And in those days you really didn't. You were one of a few people who got into building this web stuff because you pretty much needed to do it manually and there wasn't any products that sold it to you out there.

[00:29:23.110] - Nathan Wrigley
But you know what?

[00:29:24.070] - David Waumsley
I think there is an opportunity. Again, I'm almost feeling like perhaps the drag and drop, easy to use page builder. We'll talk about this perhaps in our next series. But the golden era of that might be over sooner, I think, where people just might look for people who can build the thing from the ground up a little bit again, because there's a lot of people doing it themselves now. So they think they can web design, but they are tripping up because they've got maintenance that goes with it and they don't know how to do some very simple thing. When tools do everything for you and you don't know the basics, you are limited in what you can do. It's what the tool can do, not what you can do. So I think I think for me, I'm very optimistic about kind of building websites as a good business. I think it's a little bit under threat by page builders, but I think that will go the other way eventually.

[00:30:25.250] - Nathan Wrigley
I think the whole web thing is about to undergo some dramatic changes. So I'm not sure if like, website will be the term that we're throwing around. So I'm thinking about the fact that everybody is using apps on their phones and so I'm sure that that will continue to grow. People who want websites where you can interact and they'll want to be able to have AI chatbots that will be able to answer questions of potential customers automatically and route them to the correct person in your switchboard, I think voice will be potentially quite interesting. I think it's a complete flop at the moment, but I'm not sure in the future that we won't be doing a lot of stuff just by talking. You'll be walking down the street and your headphones will be plugged in and you'll say something to your device through your headphones, okay, show me some plumbers where I'm near, where I'm standing, or within 10 miles, and some voice interface will come back to you. I wonder if, you know, we'll even get into the realms of kind of AI. Sorry, not AI, what's it called? Augmented reality, those kind of things.

[00:31:34.530] - Nathan Wrigley
So I'm not sure that the website will be the mainstay of the internet in the future. I don't mean to stare into a crystal ball, because obviously I, much like everybody else, have absolutely no idea where that's going to go, but for 20 years it has been websites. Nothing as yet has supplanted it. But I do feel with especially AI and the way that that is just dramatically upsetting all sorts of things. I do think learning those kind of skills, skills could be really important in the future.

[00:32:09.690] - David Waumsley
I think so. And I think it's true of all of us, really, there's very few of us who just build a site or designer gives us it, and then we just build it on the tools that we are. And that's the end of the job. Everybody gets involved in some form of ongoing business stuff, which is the agile stuff, in a way. We all learn a little bit about SEO, we all learn a little bit about what you can monitor. We all learn about we were talking about funnels and things like this, all these various tools. So I think there is room for someone who is a designer who can help businesses through a multitude of things, be that safe centre to help guide people through all of what might change, including all of the things that you're talking about, which inevitably we will start to learn as well, because we're just into this stuff. So I think there's always a need for people like us who are kind of intrigued where the web is going and understand a little bit about how it technically works.

[00:33:09.130] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, I guess the mantra is as long as, you know, like 10% more or 50% more than the person you're speaking to, you're probably on solid ground. But yeah, I do I do think the idea of a website will be, you know, give it 50 years, I wonder what the Internet will look like. And yeah, I have no idea, but it certainly will be fascinating.

[00:33:32.450] - David Waumsley
On the other side of that, we were talking about Jamstack and how that's kind of moved about this idea of static content going out. HTML has become the kind of key thing now. It's almost like a little bit like we've gone back to the basics in a lot of stuff in web development, jamstack is very much based on that getting back to static HTML being sent out and functionality comes in separately. So there's almost a return to where I began with that movement.

[00:34:03.550] - Nathan Wrigley
So I wrote a question down here, which is there well, it's kind of like I'm amalgamate a few questions together, but is there a best fit for agile or waterfall in this industry? And what I'm really meaning by that is, can you successfully be both at the same time or do you need to go down the route of one or the other? But also I wrote a question about are there sort of types of clients that are best fitted as well? So, in other words, if I come to you and I'm a government website, I need something built on behalf of the government and I know that it's going to be needed for decades to come, there's an obvious agile, there's a route to go down there with the agile thing. But if I am a plumber and I've got a successful business already and I just want to put my telephone number online, I'm not sure that the whole agile thing is suitable. In other words, I don't think waterfall is dead, but I also don't think it's for every project.

[00:35:09.010] - David Waumsley
Yeah, well, I agree and I think you have to be agile over which one you're picking. But I think yeah, clearly. I mean, ultimately we were talking before and you really gave builder somebody that you knew, but you mentioned plumber here someone who doesn't really care. And I think that's the thing. If they just really don't care how the website is going to do at all, you can't convince them that there is some interest in the web. This is what it does, it allows you to see how well you're doing and amend as you go along. If they're not interested in that because they've already got so much business, then you're just going to build them the site and then they're just going to change it when they want to change it, because they didn't need anything from the web in the first place.

[00:35:53.490] - Nathan Wrigley
Would you turn away work if you were like, fully into the agile methodology, would you turn away that plumber or would you take on their work if they just said, no, just build me a site. Here's some money, x amount of pounds, but I don't want to be engaged with it. I'll send you the assets, just give me the proposal, I'll sign it, I'll pay on time. You're going to turn that work away or are you going to be happy to bend your agile will to the client?

[00:36:23.850] - David Waumsley
That's a good question. I'll answer this one if you answer this one in reverse. You'll have to imagine this to a certain degree, but if somebody came to you and wanted more agile, where would you do it? But I think my answer is not necessarily, but I think on the whole, I am moving towards long term relationships with people who do appreciate what the web could do and some of the things that I'm interested in. And I wanted to be linked up with that. So I might turn them away if they just do this job and build it. And I just don't think they're that interested in stuff that I'm interested in. And I'm not sure if I might avoid it, but I wouldn't necessarily throw it away. But, yeah, so I have turned down work like that quite a lot, actually, because they're really not on the same page as me when they're looking at what they think they want.

[00:37:18.650] - Nathan Wrigley
And in reply to your question, I would take that work every day. Yeah, definitely. I mean, goodness knows how many clients are going to come to me and say, do you operate with an agile methodology or are you more into the waterfall approach? If they said that to me, I'd probably faint and then I would say, yeah, okay, if you want to do it in an agile way, that's fine by me. I'll go away and figure out the pricing and I'd probably listen back to this podcast series to figure out what I would do then. So, yes, I'd happily take that work. There's been so many aspects of what you've discussed over the last year that I thought, well, that just makes loads of sense. I can't claim to have done it your way particularly, but it definitely fits with me, like my personality, the fact that I like being on the phone to people, that I like solving people's problems, that I actually hate deadlines, and there's always that crunch point where you realise you're going to fail to make the deadline. I hate those moments. And so having little more mouths, little bite sized bits of a project, feels to me like a bit of a win, to be honest.

[00:38:30.450] - David Waumsley
Yeah, I guess if somebody I mean, they would never come, I guess, asking whether you go agile or waterfall, but I think there would be cases, I bet you've even had them, where somebody goes, okay, this is going to be key to our business. All of our business is going to come from this website, so we need to know that it's going to do well and do the best we can to make this website succeed. Then you're really going to have to introduce them to how you might measure this in the long term to see how well it is succeeding. And you would need to step by step, try and improve it. So you would already automatically with that what they come with be led to some sort of agile approach, wouldn't you?

[00:39:11.780] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, I'm not disagreeing. I think there are bits of it which would have definitely been identified in the work that I've done as agile, but definitely always got paid at the end of the project, always got a percentage as a deposit, always got a contract, always put in a proposal. It's just the way I did it. And always was looking for ways to figure ingenious, ways to figure out how I could keep that relationship going. And in some cases it worked. In other cases, they didn't want anything to do with care plans or anything like that, and quite often never heard from the client again. Just from an economic point of view, that's just a bit silly, isn't it? You're sort of leaving a relationship on the table that could be ongoing, and if you can build a website which generates the money and makes their business sustainable, why wouldn't they come back? It's such a good idea. So, in summary, you win, I think.

[00:40:10.930] - David Waumsley
Yeah, there's no winners here, certainly not the audience, as we wrote down. But there was one other point I wanted to make. So when I did the kind of waterfall, when it was just projects and we dealt with that and I was quite happy because it's all I knew that Young got paid at the end of it. And often I was frustrated with what we did because I did what we could in the time, but also because I had those earlier conversations. What often happened? That the clients would get agile without me, in a way. So they decided that they weren't getting enough business from it. So someone told them about SEO and that there's a guy who will do it, or about Google AdWords and the person who would do it right. All of these people who potentially do some of the stuff that I do as well. Do you know what I mean? I've often felt that in some ways, you need to present both ways of doing stuff to the client in the first place, rather than just, you need to tell me exactly how you want this bill. At the beginning, we'll agree it, and then that's our deadline and end it.

[00:41:10.730] - David Waumsley
I feel everybody needs to be a little bit more agile, even if that's what they end up doing in the end.

[00:41:17.590] - Nathan Wrigley
I always felt like sort of, in a way, a little bit ashamed that I didn't know how to do everything. When SEO came on the scene, I sort of bluffed my way through it a bit, read a little bit around it, and figured out that I knew the bare minimum of how to do it and how to carry out some basic keyword research. Whereas I think your approach sorry, so when the client said to me, can you help us with getting higher up? In Google, the words SEO didn't really exist, but they would ask those similar questions. I always felt a sense of guilt that I needed to go and learn another skill. Whereas I think your approach opens the window to being able to say, I'm not sure how to do this most effectively, but I'm going to learn it as we go. I wonder if there's a bit of that in our jal as well, or do you still need to present yourself as the professional in every case, or are you allowed to be learning on the job?

[00:42:10.570] - David Waumsley
Yeah, I don't want to do any bullshit at all with any of it. So it's a bit like I learn a little bit of everything about this because it all interacts and it's very difficult because there will be experts who will all step on each other's toes. And what I would like to be is, as I'm doing your website, which is going to be key to it, I'd like to make sure that I look after that and that if you need somebody who's more skilled than me on a certain area, we'll get them in. But otherwise, you can probably use my basic skills to employ a little bit of this idea. So a little bit of on page SEO. I know enough to do keyword research to do it myself. I might need an SEO at some point, if it requires it, but I think that's the point to get over, really, with it. If you're going Agile, just say, acknowledge that you can't be the expert in everything, but what you're trying to do is to be that person who's going to look after them and present the fact that there is so much you can do with your website other than just build it and see how it does.

[00:43:12.690] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, the World Cup is currently on and so I wonder, in terms of Agile versus waterfall, I wonder, is it a six nil victory for Agile or is it more like three two? I think it could be close, given a certain situation, but I think, on the whole, Agile is the winner. But maybe it was decided in penalties, I'm not sure.

[00:43:38.790] - David Waumsley
Yeah, I'm sure people are tearing their hair out when I talk about Agile because it's just not what a lot of people would think it really is. It's just bringing that philosophy into what we do, which I didn't have before. And it's dominated, doesn't it, this whole year and the conversations we've had. But I think it's been a good thing.

[00:43:58.060] - Nathan Wrigley
It has been, but it's time to move on. We're putting that one to bed. Yeah. And we're going to totally launch another one, another different series, which well, you introduced it because it was your idea.

[00:44:10.290] - David Waumsley
Yeah, well, we're going to call it Thinking the Unthinkable, because we're quite mild people who never caught controversy and have very, very boring titles for our discussions, we thought we might go for a bit of clickbait titles, just to gears along a bit. So we're going to come up with some kind of silly things. I mean, one of them, which is very contentious and could get us cancelled straight away, is is WordPress too woke? Also, there's lots of these kind of conversations at the end for page builders or stuff like that. These are the types of questions that will set ourselves and we'll see how much we agree with these statements, how much we want to challenge them. So we'll start with something provocative and then in our usual whale, we'll find some sort of mild balance. Can't wait to turn off, really.

[00:45:04.530] - Nathan Wrigley
Instead of calling it Thinking the Unthinkable, we should entitle this series thinking the Thinkable, we'll see where we go. So who knows how long that series will be? There's no sort of boundary to it. It could go on for weeks, or it might get cancelled straight away. It might take less time, but, yeah, that'll be starting in a couple of weeks time. Well, in theory. I don't know, maybe the Christmas holidays will coincide with this. I'm not too sure. But, yeah, that'll be fun. I'm looking forward to that. But thank you for guiding us through this whole agile waterfall conversation. That's been a really enjoyable year. I've loved it. Thank you.

[00:45:40.770] - David Waumsley
Yeah, I've really enjoyed it. Yes, thank you, too. Okay, we're done, aren't we?

[00:45:45.310] - Nathan Wrigley
Yeah, I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

[00:45:47.680] - David Waumsley
All right, bye.

[00:45:49.160] - Nathan Wrigley
Well, I certainly hope that you enjoyed that. Always a pleasure chatting to my good friend David Walmsley. And it is with a tear in my eye that we say goodbye to the WordPress Business Bootcamp series. It's been with us for pretty much all of 2022, a whole year long series. I really hope that you've enjoyed it and you've got things out of it. We've had lots of commentary along the way to show that many people did. If you've got any comments that you'd like to make about this episode, head over WP Builds.com, search for episode number 311 and leave us a comment there. Alternatively, join our Facebook group, wpbuilds.com / FACEBOOK, and you could find the thread in there as well.

[00:46:28.910] - Nathan Wrigley
The WP Builds podcast is 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 once again, thank you so much to GoDaddy Pro for their ongoing support of the WP Builds podcast.

[00:47:06.550] - Nathan Wrigley
Okay, just a reminder, page Builder Summit is coming up. It's happening in February 20 to the 24th. If you're interested in sponsoring the event, reach out to me. You can find a contact forum on WP builds. Alternatively, you can go to pagebuildersummit.com sponsor and you can find all of the details there. Okay, that's it. We'll be back next week. A chat with David Waumsley this week means that it will be an interview next week, and it's probably going to be episode two, part two of my chat with Zack Swinehart, and I hope.

[00:47:38.290] - Nathan Wrigley
That you're going to enjoy that. Don't forget to join us on Monday. Every Monday. wpbuilds.com/live for our this week in WordPress show. Come and drop us some comments, we always like that. But as always, I'm going to fade in some cheesy music to round off this episode and say stay safe. Bye bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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