333 – No one cares what your website looks like!

“Thinking the unthinkable (TTUT). Episode 333: No one cares what your website looks like!” with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

These notes as best read in conjunction with the podcast audio.

WP Builds is brought to you by...



GoDaddy Pro

It is the 11th episode of our “Thinking the Unthinkable” series, and today’s thought provoking title is “No one cares what your website looks like!”.

There’s a number of articles with this title and similar sentiment expressed by many UX designers and SEO’s.

With limited ways to judge the abilities of a web agency, many clients are likely to approach websites as if they were a piece of work in an art gallery. This can see them getting ripped off.

It is hard for us not to do the same. We know first impressions matter, and we are always searching for visual inspiration too. 

Talking points

Looks are not important

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

SEO and UX people are not wrong. Who wants a beautiful site no one visits or does not help the user to take up your call to action.

Without traffic and conversion it might as well be in a frame in an art gallery. “Build it and they will come” is still very much alive.

Getting ready to build a site still often depends on the approval of a visual design.

Small agencies and freelancers will struggle to get client willing to give time and money to a ‘ground up’ approach to design (Aims > Structure > Copy and Content > Branding).

Clients still come with the solution, not the problem.

What can you fit on a mobile is also important.

Looks are important (if not polishing a turd)

  • Branding 
  • Colours for accessibility
  • Changing fashions / visitor expectations 
  • Whitespace
  • Readable fonts fitting the personality of the copy.

Our thoughts:

We talk about:

  • Donald Miller’s Story Brand Framework
  • Laura Elizabeth
  • AI, how could we not!

I have learned to say it is important but it often comes last in the UX process (unless clear branding is the priority – mostly for offline), or as a result of doing the other essentials.

This is because visual and UI design is about making the necessary more delightful. We are designing for purpose.

Stuff your business aims into a template that looks nice is certainly easy for the designer but misses the point of the website.

Now I have some experience with my new approach, I can explain it simply. We need traffic and conversions so start with the feasibility of getting traffic (SEO/Competition research). That will hint at site the structure and copy.

Then we move to UX and how to make them feel that they are the hero of the story and want to get to the CTA. As mobile is first, design has to not get in the way of the message and interaction. There is little room for it so it comes last.

The key thing is to stay on budget if there is the time and the site is marked up well we can embellish later.

The most recent client was almost in tears over my explaining the approach.

She had contacted other agencies who confused her on what she needed to do Then she decided to ‘Do IT Yourself’ with WordPress (which she had some experience with a years back).

That ended quickly as she did not understand the new WordPress at all.


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.

The WP Builds Deals Page

It’s like Black Friday, but everyday of the year! Search and Filter WordPress Deals! Check out the deals now

Transcript (if available)

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

Read Full Transcript

[00:00:21] Nathan Wrigley: Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you've reached episode number 333. Ooh, that's a good number, entitled, no one cares what your website looks like. It was published on Thursday, the 6th of July, 2023. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined in a few moments by David Waumsley to have our chats.

Before then just a few little bits of housekeeping, not much dimension this week. Did you know that we have a deals page? It's a WP Builds.com forward slash deals. Over there. You'll be able to find a significant amounts of lots and lots of WordPress products, themes, blocks, all sorts of different things. Plugins of course, go there, search and filter for your favorite thing. See if it's there. And if it is, you never know, you might be able to make a saving this week. WP Builds.com forward slash deals.

We would also encourage you to subscribe to the podcast. You can do that with your podcast, player of choice, just search for WP Builds. And then go and click the well, whatever button it is in your podcast player that allows you to subscribe. Also, if you had to our subscribe page, WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. It's got all of the information about where you can keep up to date with us. So for example, things like our mustard on install. YouTube channel, Twitter feed and so on and so forth. And there's also any email list and we will send you two emails a week when we produce new content. We also have the live show on Monday. We call it this weekend. WordPress, please come and join us. It's much more fun when there's lots of people in the comments, people from all over the world, typically joining us on Monday. 2:00 PM UK time.

We've got to show more or less every week. So we'd love to have you there. We talk about the WordPress news. From that week. And also we had a few comments coming in this week on the WP Builds.com website. If you fancy using the old fashioned form of commenting on a website, go and search for this episode. Number 3, 3, 3, and leave us a comment there. I really find that quite refreshing when people do that, rather than sharing things on a whole variety of social media platforms.

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 heading to go.me forward slash WP Builds. Once more, go.me forward slash WP Builds. And sincere honest thanks to go down to GoDaddy Pro for their continuing support of the WP Builds podcast.

Okay. What have we got for you this week? It's David and I, with our thinking the unthinkable series it's episode 11 of that series and this episode entitles, no one cares what your website looks like. Is this true? Does it really matter to clients? What the website looks like so long as it's doing what it's supposed to do?

If it has the right UI and UX and people are doing all of the things that you want them to do, buying your clothes, searching for your email list, subscribing to whatever thing it is that you want. Surely that's enough. We have a chat about that today. There's lots and lots of talking points, things like UI UX, SEO, branding colors.

Changing fashions and all of that. And yeah, it's a really interesting podcast. I hope. That you enjoy it.

[00:03:56] David Waumsley: Hello. It's the 11th episode of our thinking the unthinkable series and today's thought-provoking title is, no one Cares What your Website looks like

[00:04:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah.

[00:04:08] David Waumsley: this is gonna be a good chat actually, cuz I've struggled with this one. There were a bunch of articles out there with the, a similar title and expressing this kind of view, and I think it's from frustrated UX designers and SEOs who think clients perhaps focus too much on the looks.

And I think, Didn't you And I probably have both really sold websites often on the look of it to a client and they are viewing it a little bit like a piece of artwork in a gallery. Instead of. Necessarily seeing it as a tool which will help them to gain more business to get traffic and conversions.

So I think sometimes it's very easy to rip off clients, particularly if you just sell 'em, your portfolio of beautiful looking sites and don't help them to get business with their websites.

[00:05:00] Nathan Wrigley: I think that's so true in that my process very often the first, you talk about objectives and things like that, but then really the first step in the process of actually delivering things back to them, I. Is showing them a design and then that, that then becomes the bedrock of everything else.

And if they've got a multiple if you give them two or three designs, even better, oh, I could have a bit of that and a bit of that and we could amalgamate them all together. And yeah, I think that's completely right. And I can imagine that in a tiny proportion of cases, that's actually what the client wants.

They really do want something to look. Amazing. Maybe they're in an industry where that really, the coolness factor really does count. I don't know, you're a musician or something like that, and you're just trying to promote your brand and the website really encapsulates that. But for most people that you and I have ever built websites for small businesses, basically the pur, the purpose is really just what can it do for me?

What am I gonna get off the back of this website and okay, maybe the way it looks will help that. But I imagine during this podcast episode, we're gonna talk about all the ways that, that there are things that come before the way it looks, shall we say?

[00:06:23] David Waumsley: Yeah, we're still very much stuck in that early notion of or many clients are, particularly small business clients. The type of people that I would get. These days are still stuck in the early days of the web where it's build it and they will come. So if they've got a booking form on the site, then people will book.

It's that kind of thing. If it's there, then it will get used and then they get a bit disappointed. So should we talk about

[00:06:48] Nathan Wrigley: about that though? Sorry to interrupt

[00:06:49] David Waumsley: yeah.

[00:06:49] Nathan Wrigley: there, is that if you imagine your habitual use of the internet, You imagine that you are typically, you've probably got a couple of news websites that you go to. There's probably a few technology websites that you go to, probably a few WordPress ones, that's your internet.

That's stuff that you use. And occasionally you'll go to Google and you'll discover something else, but can you imagine the hundreds of millions of web pages that there are, that are out there that you will never, ever come across? And I really, I think that's incredibly hard to imagine. And so the notion of build it and they will come is so plausible in people's heads.

Because if you've paid for a website, You are gonna, you are gonna be checking your own website. If you, David, if I come to you, you build me a website, I'm gonna be looking at that fairly frequently and mulling about it and thinking is it exactly what I want? So in other words, it's become part of what I think the internet is.

The, everybody's going there cuz I'm going there, nobody's going there. And it's really difficult to imagine the scale of that problem. And I think you perfectly, A perfect example is the booking form. Throw a booking form up and then wait. And wait some more and a year later you are still waiting for the first person.

That wasn't you to fill out the booking form because you didn't do all the other stuff because the other stuff is uninteresting, whereas the way a website looks, that actually is very interesting indeed.

[00:08:33] David Waumsley: it. That's all you've got as a client, isn't it? Who just uses the web. You've got what it looks like, wants to look professional. So I definitely want it looking nice and I definitely want it to do these certain functions and then that's all they need to know. They don't really need to know how traffic and conversion works, but it do you find yourself and I do this all the time If somebody shows me a website they've built, used to get a lot of that in the groups that I was in, and you would look at it and you look at it like a piece of art gallery work.

Literally, I don't it, it's not in any way like how I use the web when I'm trying to, when I'm task focused and I want to find this and get this job done, I look at somebody else's work in the way that I wouldn't use it.

[00:09:21] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that's fascinating. And I'm ex, yeah, exactly the same. So my children will show me websites and because that website isn't, Applicable to my life. I didn't go there. I have got more or less no interest in it outside of the fact that my kids are interested in it. I start doing things like. Inspecting the source code and pointing out that I think that image could have been better used and look at the amount of honestly, this happened to me about two days ago.

I went to a website. Oh no I didn't. My son took me to a website for something that he needed to do and I just literally said the words, can you see how big that purple rectangle is and how much space it's using up and it's doing nothing? And he was like, yeah, dad. And, but I did, I started to do that.

I started to picket to pieces, but if I'd have gone to that website and it was something that I needed to do, I think it would've been a different experience. That's interesting.

[00:10:21] David Waumsley: Yeah, and I think that's what I, the frustration, I think with the SEO people that they, obviously keywords are going to, and the type of content, the written content is going to be. Their priority and to get you the traffic there in the first place, that's gonna be their main concern. So they're gonna want you to be thinking about the words and not the look all the time, because that's gonna get you your initial traffic.

And then the UX people, of course, they're gonna be looking for the conversion, is this. To, is this telling me what is here and is it giving me a reason to go to that call to action button? Is it what I want? Is it explained itself in the simplest, least words. So they're up against the SEO people who probably like to stick more in, and none of that is.

Anything that I look at when somebody says, have a look at this site, what do you think of it? And I look at, it's an art gallery. I go, oh yeah. Nice choice of colors. Yeah, that's nicely spaced. Yeah. What a great image there. Oh, I like that. Bit of animation, blah, blah. Yeah.

[00:11:21] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it's, Is, it's really interesting how each of us use the web differently depending on the scenario that we're in. But I, although it's a boring conversation to have, With the client, because it's not a design, it's not colorful. You're not showing them a, a brochure basically. And by that you're not picking up a magazine and showing them this is what your website could look like.

It's all about, okay, we've gotta decide what is it you really want this website to do? And from that, how can we capture that traffic? And then once we've captured a proportion of that traffic, how can we. How can we guide them to do the thing on the website that you really want them to do? It's, that's, I think you've developed a fairly fine art in explaining that to your clients recently and maybe the, there's the conversation we could have around that.

[00:12:12] David Waumsley: Yeah it's been since I've tried to think about my approach with the web and clients and I've not been happy with the work we've done in those first conversations. I seem to have managed to nail it now a little bit. And it's. Often the first thing that come is they build it and they come.

They say they, they want this website and it wants something like a bookings form, something like that. It's often first in their mind what it must do, and they often say something about it needs to look, professional or something like that. And usually I end up just going, look, I'll just, this is my experience with the web.

And this is what I think my job should be for you, is to help you to try and, help you get business from the web. And that starts with getting people to come to your website. So from that point of view, we look at the seo, do a bit of research, see what's feasible, which keywords you can compete for, what your competitors are doing.

It might determine our strategy for the website, whether it needs a blog and whether we're gonna put our. Money into that a little bit in the content rather than perhaps so many pretty pages. And that kind of leads on to that. And then I said the other side of it is, it's okay if we get them, but if they dunno where they're going or they come to your blog post and that's their entrance and their exit, without doing anything, we've wasted our time.

It might have boosted us. Let's try and make sure we. Go. The UX wrote, and there's clever people who tell us how to do this, but the UX is really user experience. We put ourselves in the shoes of the user. Imagine your visitor. See how we can communicate that in the best possible way? Tell them the story where they are the hero of it, which leads them to want to take action, the action you want.

And they get that straight away. And I said, all the rest of it is all the technicalities, which is really my job to. To be responsible for all, but let's start off with a bit of fact, shall we about the traffic? And then that will have some shared understanding of where we want to be based on something rather than guesswork.

And that seems to have really worked and the conversations have gone on from there really. And I say to people with it now cuz I don't wanna undermine them, this is my mistake. Before I used to take this sort of view of the. Looks are important cuz I wanted them to concentrate on other stuff. But what I now just agree with them in the beginning and say, looks are really important.


[00:14:33] Nathan Wrigley: hold on a minute. Yeah.


[00:14:34] David Waumsley: but, but, But I, it's in context. I said I think it naturally comes out the process cuz once we've decided what stuff we're putting on there, we design it in a way that it comes together and helps to drive the message. So we're designing for beauty, but also to enhance the message and. Also that we often, when we think of websites, we're thinking of a desktop view and a lot of the traffic now is mobile.

So we've got limited space to do too much of a design when we have to get the key things about what is here and what you need to do next. So

[00:15:11] Nathan Wrigley: that's a really important point, isn't it? The whole mobile first, where. You could really spend a very large amount of time thinking about the desktop and making that, ugh, utterly sublime. And then you've just lost most of it as soon as you go to the device, which is now the thing which most people are consuming the internet on the the mobile.

But just to get back to your process, do you manage to, do you manage to get elements of. Visual design in fairly quickly, because I imagine that at some point they're gonna want to see something. And having a discussion about seo, you could probably go on for weeks about that. But I'm imagining most clients, typically at some point, they're just gonna say, can I see the fruits of this labor?


[00:15:58] David Waumsley: Yeah, no, it's a really good point. And yeah, what I've realized now is that I have to. Make it look visually good as I'm showing. So the structure now is going that I will do this sort of, kind of competition SEO thing to say, look, this is where the traffic's working. This is who you are up against in your population.

If it's a local area competition that we've got. So we've got some sort of ideas and that might suggest what structure we have. So in, recent case, it's been, let's not just have all these pages let's actually focus on blog posts here and we're doing some YouTube. Bits and pieces as well.

So that's really where, cuz that's just seems like what's missing and how they can get a lot of stuff on there and introduce themselves as well, visually to the people, cuz it's very person to person type of business they have. So that seemed like the plan. So that gives us a direction and who we're trying to beat and what we're up against.

But when we go into, let's try and get this. Homepage done, which is your main message where most of the traffic's gonna come in and see if we can clarify when I'm doing that. It's a visual because I try and put in some fonts and we'll decide that together and we'll try and pick some colors. But what I'm trying to say is this should look nice as it is if it's spaced.

Okay. And it does generally, I think, but we're still moving around the structure. But then we'll decide together maybe some fonts and some color choices that might go in there and try and put it together. Because often we're, if it's a new client, there's some branding's, gotta be done. You said something.

And I think that's a key thing. We, I nearly, we will skip over it. And that's brand. There are, those people aren't there, who brand is going to be everything because they're not just online, it's offline. Their product is out there. And if you are Ben and Jerry's ice cream, it needs to have a certain style.

You need really good designers who are going to, when you look at that packaging, it's going to say, this belongs to these people

[00:17:53] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, but I think they're few and far between, aren't they?

[00:17:56] David Waumsley: They're not our clients, are they? They're not the people who come to us. So from that point of view, the branding for me is something that he introduced through the process.

So when we're structuring it, there's some element of the design coming in,

[00:18:10] Nathan Wrigley: So you're talking about things like fonts and you're talking about color palettes, but you're not handing over a full on PDF of. What the site will look like when it's finished on desktop, tablet,

[00:18:21] David Waumsley: No we're largely doing it with the homepage we're doing it, we're putting the content into the area, making sure that the text, cuz actually I missed a step in here because once I've done the report on that, I say let's try and get our. Let's get our copy. Our copy is the most important thing.

I think it's interesting cuz a lot I think a lot of our listeners will have heard of Donald Miller's story brand, which is about telling making sure that you have a story as part of your homepage. So I try and follow the basics of that with the client and say, okay, so you know, we have.

The our hero. Our hero is the person who's coming to us who has a problem. And that then that prob that person meets a guide, which is you,

[00:19:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yep.

[00:19:09] David Waumsley: and then you show them how this plan will work, and then they take this call to action, whether this succeed or they'll fail. So I'm building and basically Donald Miller's story brand is nothing more than what has already been available for copywriters as they're wary of.

Writing out some kind of article that's led to do it in a sales page or something like that. So that's the next stage with the client. So when you are then sticking that into some sort of design and some sort of arrangement, then we're moving into design straight away because we're just structuring it on a page and where that might have a little call out where that section might be colored and moved over to the left or the right or whatever.

[00:19:48] Nathan Wrigley: Do you or have you had any pushback from clients who really have got the. The bit between their teeth about the design and they just can't let go of that idea. The idea of let's work on the SEO and the UX and all of that. Let's do that right at the beginning, who just say no, David, what? No, I wanna see it.

We'll do all of that later. Have you had any clients that you've had to in inverted commas, let go?

[00:20:17] David Waumsley: Yeah, I have, but I still, I, it's bugging me so much. It happened quite recently, somebody I'd done some work for a long time, and the person I dealt with tended to think like me, but they were replaced by somebody else who saw everything, saw the solution. They needed a redesign, which I agree they did need one, but it was really difficult.

And it's, I, it's my poor communication, I'm sure of being able to explain. This kind of foundation that we need to do, and the design should come outta that from their point of view. In fact, the first thing they asked me is, could we change the theme? Meaning that they just wanted a new look and everything would be sorted out, and that for them, was it?

And I I feel bad because I bailed out because I couldn't find some way of communicating to them what I needed, but. Essentially it was impossible because I was dealing with a staff member, not the bosses, and I could only really get, I think, this message across, if you're dealing with the owner of the company because they've got business aims and know you wanna make sure that the money they're gonna spend on me doing stuff is in line with what they expect to come out of it.

[00:21:24] Nathan Wrigley: So how did that conversation go where you felt that you'd reached the end of the road? I dunno if you ended up saying, look, I need to speak to your boss, cuz that probably wouldn't go down all that well. Or did you just say, look, I it's me. I'm not, we're not suited.

[00:21:41] David Waumsley: No, I I did, I said it in a, I said, look I work in a particular way, which is agile, and I explained a little bit about the fact that it needs to link up. Just obviously they don't need to know the technicalities. They were saying, oh, they don't need to know this. They don't need to know cause they don't technical.

I said, I don't wanna talk about technical, just the, just to make sure that what we're doing together, The technical kind of side of stuff and design is in line with it, and we do this for every little bit of work. It's the only way I can work because I've seen impossible situations where I'm caught.

Where in fact, even within that organization where the boss comes in at last moment and throws in perhaps one of the, considerations, which would've been the first things you would've talked about. We go back to square one because they weren't aware of what we've been doing all this time, because again, They think the website is just technical.

You build out there and they'll come along and change it visually or whatever, or add in a new bit of functionality they want. So I had to drop it in the end because they weren't really keen to do that. And I just said, eh, it's not gonna work. But what I'll do is I'll build it out if you get a design to do that.

So I could carry on, but I wouldn't do the design because I think. Looks are so important to you. And I wouldn't say it's my strong point. So that's how I got out of it. But actually I feel bad about it because I feel I. If I'd have started it properly. I think if you just start with look, let's, are we solving a business?

Is this to solve a business problem? Are you paying this money to solve a business problem? In which case, let me tell you about what I think is important about the net and what people specialize in and what I copy and we'll start with their priorities of which looks become important cuz it has to look creditable and branded.

But it's, it should be. It should. It should be designed to something for something. It should embellish what's already there, and that's the stuff that's going to get traffic and convert.

[00:23:38] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you can't win 'em all, David, so I guess, don't be too hard on yourself because in the conversation that we had prior to this, it does sound like you've managed to. Really start convincing quite a few people to go this route, to do the SEO first, to do the UX first, and worry about the design as a, as an iterative, agile approach.

[00:24:00] David Waumsley: Yeah, it was really interesting for me. It's been really interesting. I'm very excited about working with clients again like I've never been before because I've had a recent batch of work thanks to somebody else who's been passing it on to me, and so I've had a lot of first time chats with people, and one particularly, she was almost in tears with it because

[00:24:20] Nathan Wrigley: Oh no, David, what are you doing wrong? Oh, no.

[00:24:24] David Waumsley: no, she was tears of joy, and it was lovely because she, because when I explained what she was doing, she'd go Oh, she said, I've been talking to people about getting my website and they've been saying, I need to get this, I need to get this, we'll need to do that.

And I don't understand what they want me to do. I don't get credit. And she said I tried to build some websites, WordPress years back and I went back and it's all changed and I've not been able to do that. And what I said to her was exactly what she wanted to hear, cuz it was all about how I'm just going to get this new.

Practice going up for this new type of work that I want to get. And just explaining it the way that we would do it in steps just made sense to her. And I thought, oh, last I've got it right. Proper conversation with a new client.

[00:25:10] Nathan Wrigley: That's lovely. That's really nice. So do is your premise now is the thing that you are pushing, first of all, let's figure out how traffic's gonna come. I e, some kind of SEO type thing. Let's figure out where we can get the best value for. For the seo. And then from there, the ux and then the design comes along afterwards.

So the episode that we're on now is called, no One Cares About, about what your website looks like. Not entirely true, but it's lower down the list than number one. So there's seo, ux, then kind of design and iteration comes after that.

[00:25:48] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think unless it's essential to branding in the first place, there's a real character where it needs a designer that you're coming in. It should naturally come out of the, and I think UX designers do that naturally. I think you, you were talking about Laura Elizabeth and she's very much teaches that to.

Developers, we've mentioned her before and I loved how she did it, but now it's part of my practice because, once you start to say, okay, this is the content that needs to be on this page to tell this story for conversion and for seo, once you've got that basic text, you are basically arranging it in a way that's gonna be dependent on the device.

Easy to. Chunk as information so you can understand it very quickly. And then from that means you're gonna introduce some colors and you're gonna have a certain type of typography and you're going to, and from the, if you like, she takes you through designing a page by slowly embellishing all of the earlier work, which was done on the.

On the copy and the seo. And I think, it naturally comes and the last thing for her in her process is actually color, cuz she finds that tricky. And also it's the final, background embellishments that you might put on something and the icon sets that you might choose to help.

Readability with things, and I just think, yeah, she really shows you how to design in a UX way, which you think is pretty typical. So within that design, yes. It comes last, it's a high priority, but it's last, you

[00:27:20] Nathan Wrigley: It's really interesting watching her cuz she did a few she did a few bits and pieces, one of which went out on the Page Builder Summit, which may be the one of the ones that you are talking about. And she she did exactly that. She had all of the text, so the s e o work and all of that had been done and then she just, Built the site around all of that.

And it was really fascinating cuz I never did it that way. It was always

[00:27:46] David Waumsley: I know.

[00:27:46] Nathan Wrigley: right. There's a bit of loam there and there's gonna be an image on this side and somebody will come up with the text for that bit. That's fine. I'll just leave that as loam. And it. It the two things never coalesced because the text that was provided was too small or too short, should I say, or too long to fit into the design that I had, or vice versa.

So I had to have a rethink about the image because the image needed to now be taller than it was. You get the message. Whereas if you're doing both at the same time, if you, if got the text, the SEO piece in place, and then you design around, it turns everything on its head. But it was fascinating watching her do it.

[00:28:25] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think so. And also I think it makes it, it does allow it to be a bit more collaborative if you want it in the design process because as, as long as they of what that page is trying to do in terms of getting traffic and conversions I think that's going to. And also the fact that the more you stick on the page, the more chance you have of confusing the visitor.

As well. One of these kind of things from ux I think you've got a, you can work with a client and help to get their visual background their visual input as well, which I think helps, without them. Pulling you off in strange directions. At least it's based around what they're trying to do, rather than something they've seen on the internet, which they would like to stick in their site.

And I think where I think people can get a bit ripped off, one of the clients that I've got I assume is we've yet to start on the project. He was quoted, he wanted a new website and it was quoted six grand to effectively, they said, we'll we basically, this is the template we'll use and we'll be adding your content to this.

And I thought, Wow, that's really expensive because, and all he showed me and I said, but I don't understand it. I, your surely yours is more personal brand and it's you are the center of what you sell here. And this is some animated thing for a big corporate company. It doesn't seem to match what I thought you'd won anyway.

And it's like when we talk about what you're trying to achieve, then you realize that if he had spent this money on this design, it would've been entirely wrong. For what he wants to achieve.

[00:30:01] Nathan Wrigley: What's your gut feeling about what you've just said there? Do you, did you, do you get the impression that whoever had said, look, we're gonna charge you six grand and here's a template.

[00:30:11] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:30:12] Nathan Wrigley: I'm struggling to understand the motives of that business. Do you think that, I don't wanna put anybody down, forgive me, but.

It feels there as if just, we just wanna push this through our conveyor belt of projects and here's a template. It feels like the best one. Just give us some content and we'll, we'll get on with our next project.

[00:30:33] David Waumsley: Yeah, that was how it was going with that. I dunno how much custom work they would've done to have tailored that. I'm assuming there was some page builder so the content could be arranged. But basically they gave him the design first, which. Honestly, it looks really good,

Oh so I can

[00:30:50] Nathan Wrigley: that's something. Yeah, that's good.

[00:30:51] David Waumsley: In that case this is the case where the, where you want to scream at somebody, no one cares what your website looks like.

Cuz it's suddenly don't pay all this money because none of the things that are probably going to get you business are in that proposition, you know?

[00:31:08] Nathan Wrigley: that's, yeah. Really interesting. I guess if you, if that is your approach, what would be the number one ux? The SEO side of things is fairly straightforward. You've gotta find a. Find a set of keywords where you can do well, so that we know. But in terms of the ux, what's the one thing that hits the top of your list?

I know Peach, we do this ur ux show where she dissects websites. You can find that actually on our WP Builds YouTube channel. But she her thing is always, as soon as she lands on the page she always says, tell me what to do. Show me what I've gotta do next. And I always think that's a great way to start because okay click a button, fill out a form, whatever it is, go to this page, read this, whatever.

But just tell me what I need to do now. I always think that's quite nice.

[00:32:00] David Waumsley: I think so the call to action is key. I think the value proposition and the call to action are the key things. What's in it for them. The Donald Miller framework is a very good one in the sense that, they've gotta be the hero. So that thing has got to say, how it can make their life better.

And sometimes you need to justify that or get rid of the cynicism with perhaps social proof, something that shows that you've. Got the competence or something that tells 'em what life would be like if they didn't choose you, if you didn't choose this product. Do you see what I mean? It's got to, it's got to answer those.

And I think all of those things are the key things. And our design should be embellished in those, shouldn't they? And very much thinking about mobile first now and what space we've got to visually embellish that messaging. It's become key to me. It's interesting though, because n none of this I did before and recently I started asking much better questions of people.

Often they give me an existing site, which is really doing quite well in terms of traffic. And you think, okay, there's nothing to do there. It just needs a bit of organizing. But when you think about it, when I ask the question, there's a lot of stuff here, What actually do you want to be doing in your life with this?

And you, as you find out that a lot of it is stuff that they'd be wanting to wind down. They want to move in a new direction anyway with this website. And I would've missed it entirely if I asked that simple question, and it does. It does change a lot about when you are you, if I didn't ask that question, a lot of the things I might want to be focusing because I'm looking at an existing site might be not what they haven't told me, but they don't want to be their main feature.

[00:33:46] Nathan Wrigley: It's interesting because, so we've established that seo, ux, all of that. There is a solid argument to put that first and to worry about the design less or later. Depending upon how you look at it, but I guess we shouldn't ignore the fact that. A truly ugly site is not gonna, it's not gonna do you any favors, is it?

If go to a website which is highly optimized vs for SEO and it's got a very clear call to action, but man alive, what is that font And that color of the background is exactly the same as vomit. It's not gonna, do you any favor, sir? This cannot be ignored. So our title, no one cares what your website looks like.

Yeah, they do. Yeah, they do.

[00:34:34] David Waumsley: I I do, you know what? I think there is an element where I think, if you do tra because I've got no talent, I've got no creative visual skills really, but you can make something look. Decent. If you follow some basic rules of visual layouts, if you've got some consistency to, your line heights, your space in, and you think about accessible colors that have got enough contrast, then it's gonna get you outta trouble.

A lot of it, a lot of the basics is consistency, isn't it? So I think, anybody like Laura Elizabeth often says, anybody can make something look nice if you just follow some rules.

[00:35:15] Nathan Wrigley: And I think also there's it, the idea of global colors and palettes and fonts and things like that which have crept into. Page builders and WordPress itself, and themes and so on. That really does help if you can just get yourself onto a solid start and just stick with those things.

You, you've put a bunch of different things in the show notes, which I'll copy in, but yeah, I think Laura Elizabeth has really got the right answer there.

[00:35:41] David Waumsley: Yeah, she has. And I think it's just, I mean I was unaware of this world really, but there is a, but it does feel, for me at least, that there's some sort of structure. But it, boy hasn't it turned, I dunno what you used to say in the early days of this podcast, but I'm sure it is the very opposite to what I've just been saying today.

[00:35:59] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, get more on the page. Make it look brilliant. Worry about the design and the SEO stuff you can do later. Don't worry about the UX at all. Yeah, I think that probably was the case. Okay, so I think we've probably wrapped it up for today. What do you think?

[00:36:14] David Waumsley: I think we have, we could touch, no, maybe it's for another time. AI always comes into it cuz it's our biggest disruptor at the moment. that's another thing that's I'll just briefly mention it. That, that, because it is something I'm now starting to talk to clients for because the only I'm aware of the fact that I'm saying, Often I'm starting people off with the keyword research, but I'm also having to acknowledge, that's what we got at the moment.

Google is the king at the moment, but AI probably is gonna disrupt this. So I'm starting to say to people, we might need to think about all the stuff that. AI articles, can't do all the news type stuff. The opinion stuff, reviews, the, so when we're thinking about our strategy, I'm starting to think about what AI can't do as well.

[00:37:03] Nathan Wrigley: Are you talking there? There about what AI cannot do? You're

[00:37:08] David Waumsley: Yeah, I'm thinking we should focus on it. Yes. Because I think, should Google go down the pan, which is hard to conceive of at the moment as I'm talking a lot about Google in the first place with them. I'm also trying to acknowledge the next step where, you know, a lot of these articles which we can now create with ai maybe not the type of stuff that we need to be thinking about for the future.

We might need to do stuff that's A little bit more adaptable, a little bit more with personality in it.

[00:37:38] Nathan Wrigley: It's quite possible that the SEO of the future will not be the seo. In fact, it may not even be called SEO of the Future. Who knows? S Search Engines might, certainly, the talk at the moment is that it, chat g, PT and it's various rivals are gonna disrupt the way that we do things.

And we'll go out to see, search and answer, not to search for a list of possible websites that we can visit. Yeah, that'll be interesting. But, Have your clients then picked up that AI is now a thing and they're actually bringing this conver in what context are they asking you about it though? Are they saying if we make a blog, can we do stuff with AI to, to pad out where we haven't got the time to write long form content?

What? What are they questioning you about?

[00:38:24] David Waumsley: Yeah they're not so much, I just mentioned it as I'm talking about, we'll focus on the traffic first and that first at the moment is what Google's doing. But I think we should also bear in mind anything it tells us about if we decide content making is a good thing, which if there's the time.

We should try and do that, but I think we also need to think about the type of content that AI can't disrupt, if you like. As well, while with, and that's all I'm saying at the moment. So what's happened recently? Interestingly enough, so I'll tell you just what I did with client. I think I mentioned this before, but I've actually done it now.

So I suggested with one client how we could make a lot of a keyword, good articles was to do an interview, but we get AI to give us the basic script for this, and then I would pass it over to the client. The client goes and adapts it to what they would actually say, and then we go and record it.

And I'm asking straightforward questions. We put it on YouTube and then we put the article. Because of the way that the AI structures this stuff, it's quite clear. So it's like headings of a blog post and it's it's been a lovely new way of using AI to create some very humanistic Content and put it out.

And this means we did six of these all in one day, and that's over 6,000 words, which are going onto this website, which we'd never been able to do if the time had gone on these individual sales pages for these individual topics. Yeah.

[00:39:55] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, it's really interesting. The whole AI thing I think is probably fruitful for another discussion, but

[00:40:03] David Waumsley: yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Fascinating. Speaking of another discussion,

[00:40:07] David Waumsley: Yeah, next time.

[00:40:09] Nathan Wrigley: heck, Okay.

[00:40:10] David Waumsley: Oh dear. We're gonna be in such bother with this one. So we decided at the moment affiliate marketing in WordPress is bad for users. Is gonna be our topic.

[00:40:18] Nathan Wrigley: Something along those lines. It's gonna be along the lines of whether affiliate things are good or bad or indifferent. Who

[00:40:25] David Waumsley: We're gonna state it as something objectionable.

[00:40:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. Yeah. Link click bait,

[00:40:31] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:40:31] Nathan Wrigley: we're doing good SEO there, David. Yeah. All right. I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

[00:40:35] David Waumsley: Okey doke. Thanks a lot. Bye.

[00:40:37] Nathan Wrigley: I hope that you enjoyed the podcast. Always an absolute pleasure to chat to David Walmsley about these things. If you have any comments, like I said, at the beginning of the show, it's a pleasure when people go to WP Builds.com and fill out actual comments on an actual website. Good grief. That's so amazing. It's episode number 333 that you've listened to today. So go there, search for that and leave us some comments. That would be lovely.

The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domadomain, SSL 24 7 support. Bundle that with the 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 heading to go.me forward slash WP Builds. And we thank GoDaddy pro for that ongoing support of the podcast.

We will be back next week for an interview episode. Remember though we're always back on a Monday for the, this week in WordPress show, please come and join us on an international range of commenters. It's lots of fun. 2:00 PM UK time. It's at WP Builds.com forward slash live. So we'll be there for that.

And hopefully you will have a safe week. Please do stay safe. Have a good week. Bye-bye for now.

Support WP Builds

We put out this content as often as we can, and we hope that you like! If you do and feel like keeping the WP Builds podcast going then...

Donate to WP Builds

Thank you!

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!

Articles: 881

Please leave a comment...

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • Plugin (22)
  • WordPress (10)
  • eCommerce (4)
  • SaaS (4)
  • Hosting (2)
  • Lifetime Deal (2)
  • Other (2)
  • Security (2)
  • Theme (2)
  • Admin (1)
  • Blocks (1)
  • Design (1)
  • Training (1)

% discounted

% discounted

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • WordPress (39)
  • Plugin (33)
  • Admin (30)
  • Content (18)
  • Design (11)
  • Blocks (6)
  • Maintenance (6)
  • Security (5)
  • Hosting (4)
  • Theme (3)
  • WooCommerce (3)
  • SaaS app (2)
  • Lifetime Deal (1)
  • Not WordPress (1)
  • Training (1)

% discounted

% discounted



WP Builds WordPress Podcast



WP Builds WordPress Podcast