339 – Are web design clients only interested in what they can see?

“Thinking the unthinkable (TTUT). Episode 14: Are web design clients only interested in what they can see?” with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

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It is the 14th episode of our “Thinking the Unthinkable” series.

The idea for today’s topic came from our last episode in which we were talking about the pros and cons of no code builders. Here we’re asking “Are web design clients only interested in what they can see?”, but it could have been “Are web designers responsible for the growth in DIY sites?”.

Talking points

Assumptions on growth

The popularity of code free page builders is probably not coming from long standing agencies with frontend coders.

That said, many turned to WordPress as a CMS and some with knowledge of React (see https://10up.com/) stick with WordPress and have no shortage of coders.

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The agencies who are code free probably started with their own DIY work and grew from that.

This is anecdotal (but made public in a group), but an affiliate marketer was asking a popular seller of WordPress plugins and themes about their customers.

They said over recent years the growth had been in single licences for (no agency) businesses owners. That probably explains why they did not remove their agency lifetime package as they said they would.

It could be that the agency still did the build and preferred the businesses to own their own account, but this is unlikely to be the majority as most like to sell care plans.

The problem of businesses doing it themselves

  • Limited  UX, usability, performance and accessibility knowledge.
  • Limited understanding of how to monitor sites for effectiveness or problems.
  • Limited attention to legal responsibilities of businesses on the web.
  • Little understanding of technical debt, scalability or what to expect long term from their investment.

Of course,  all of this can be true if they have hired help.

Why DIY might appeal to clients more than agencies

Are agencies not good at selling the business benefits of UX, usability, performance and accessibility or clients are not good at listening (adapting)?

They introduce products that clients are now told does not need a web designer? (The old Elementor advert used to show how someone just dragged and dropped a beautiful business site. It would have convinced me that was all there is to it)

Agencies have typically set up short term contractual relationships to complete a specific job rather than provide business with a plan to keep harnessing what web technology can do for them as it continues to evolve.

Bizarre pricing and absent developers is probably the main issues we hear reported with client gripes.

Most will not know that they could have had more business. 

A temporary problem?

Sometimes DIY is right. Start up budgets are low and they need to get something out. I (David) have clients who knock up their own landing pages for temporary promotions.

Most SMEs to me seem where they were in the early 2000’s.

Overall, things are changing at the high end. Agile is growing and so too is the focus on performance, accessibility and security.

Final thoughts from David:

An ex colleague of mine lost business to DIY, thinking they could do it themselves diminishes their standing. I saw the same which spurred the change. There is a difficulty with using a page builder. WordPress is more tough. Is it seen as a Wix?

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Transcript (if available)

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you've reached episode number 339, entitled our web design clients only interested in what they can see? It was published on Thursday, the 24th of August, 2023, and is the 14th episode in our thinking the unthinkable series. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined in a few moments by David Waumsley to have that conversation.

But before then a few little bits of housekeeping, the first thing to say, and I've said it over the last few weeks is we are running the page builder summit once again. Loads of speakers spread out over a whole week. It's happening in late September. You can find out more by going to page builder summit.com and you can join our wait list there. But this message really is to anybody who might be interested in sponsoring that event. It always helps to get those events across the line. If we have plenty of sponsors, And the best way that you can contribute is to go to page builder summit.com forward slash sponsors and see what you will get to in exchange for your sponsorship deal. Page builder summit.com forward slash sponsors. We'd really appreciate that.

The next thing to say is this episode is going out, but I'm having a week off next week. It's the second of my weeks off during the month of August. And so, yup, there'll be a gap in your podcast feed, but I'm sure that you're going to cope.

Another quick one to mention is that if you enjoy what we do, you can subscribe at wpbuilds.com forward slash subscribe as all of the links to the various platforms. You chew Twitter and so on, but also if you fancy making a comment, it would be really nice if you felt like doing that on the WP Builds.com website. So if you listen to this episode, you're curious about it and you want to leave a comment. Go to WP Builds.com. Search for episode 3 3 9. And leave us a comment there. Some more of you have been doing that recently, and I really appreciate it.

Before we get into the podcast, just a quick thing. Last week's episode, which was Calvin Alkan all about security. It does seem to have stirred up some conversation on social media. We will be doing that every couple of weeks, I'm going to release the four episodes spread out over two weeks. And the reason for that is because we always do an interview episode, which Calvin's episode was. And then I have a chat with David than an interview chat with David and so on. So the next episode will be three 40, but as I said, we're taking a week off, so it will be and a couple of weeks time. So hopefully if you're interested in that little mini series of four episodes, you've now got a full understanding of how that is going to come out.

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 heading to go.me forward slash WP Builds. That's go.me forward slash WP Builds. And we sincerely thank GoDaddy Pro for their continuing ongoing support of the WP Builds podcast.

Okay, let's get into it. Episode 14 of the thinking the unthinkable series, the title is, Are web design clients only interested in what they can see? Well, pretty obvious really, do we have to bang our heads against what clients think that they ought to have on their website? As opposed to what we know as professionals they should have on their website is website building simply a visual experience as an exchange between you and the client, or is there a lot more going on under the hood? I hope that you enjoy it.

[00:04:11] David Waumsley: Hello, this is the 14th episode of our thinking the unthinkable series. And the idea for today's topic came out of our last episode, where we were talking about the pros and cons of no code builders. So here we were still working out what our title should be.

There was two options that we had, which is really. Are web designers responsible for the growth in DIY sites and are web design clients only interested in what they can see? Both are relevant to this discussion, aren't they?

[00:04:41] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I guess we'll settle on a title after we finished and then we'll know. What we talked about.

[00:04:46] David Waumsley: we'll just call it so controversial, it couldn't be titled

[00:04:50] Nathan Wrigley: right. Or alternatively, we could just call it what a load of waffle. It's just far more likely. No, seriously. Interesting topic. David and I, as always, I've had a lengthy chat before we click record. So I'll let you kick us off anyway.

[00:05:05] David Waumsley: Okay. We'll start a bit about whether our assumptions are right, that there is growth in DIY because we don't actually know it. But we were talking last week about. Elementor and how it's 13 million and growing still as it seems to be. So we've got that, but that's an assumption because agencies use that as well, but I did, there was something and it's anecdotal in one of the Facebook groups that was in, there was somebody there who does affiliate marketing.

He was asking one of the popular sellers of. for WordPress plugins and themes about their customers. And they said over the recent years, there's been a big growth in single licenses, not their agency business. Package that they sell, which they were going to put limited and have continued that, that we had a lifetime and it was going to be limited and then it was going to be yearly and it's still continued to be a lifetime.

And I think I'm second guessing a little bit here is that because this is increase they've seen on what they assume is businesses doing themselves, going to them to buy it and skipping the agencies altogether.

[00:06:13] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I think that must be true, but that's just based upon only what I might call my Spidey sense. It just feels that's the way the internet as a whole is going, everybody can now create video content, everybody can now create audio content, everybody can now... create a website. You're getting so much information all over the place.

If you scroll through a typical Facebook feed, you will be sold the delights of building your own website and saving money and just click here and you'll get a website which is built around the industry that you're in and so on and so forth. I think that would be hard to ignore. And we live in an economic climate at the moment where The purse strings are a little bit tighter than they were several years ago.

So the idea of bringing somebody in your team out of the, dusting somebody off and saying, Okay, you know what a computer is. You can build the website. I'm sure that goes on all the time.

[00:07:13] David Waumsley: Yeah, exactly. And I think I'm going to take responsibility. I feel now with having clients now that are stretching to a 10 year period is that because I introduced a lot of those clients to the page builder and, not everybody does this, but I was really a big fan of the ideas that, yeah, this is a real benefit for the clients.

If I'm going to have this one, let them use it, let them learn it and all that stuff. But I'm starting to see the downside of this is the fact that. They, because I think with the rest of the marketing and the expectations to be able to do it themselves, now they're going in and getting a little bit too overconfident and devaluing.

I guess.

[00:07:53] Nathan Wrigley: I think I share. Your sentiment there. I think also we all blame you for that happening. The fact that there is a move towards DIYing your own websites. Yes, it is singularly your fault, David. No, but it is interesting because I very well remember the conversations we had, if you rewind and listen to episodes from years and years ago, that was the thing at the time, right?

You were really into the idea that you could spend time with the clients, upskill them on. How the beaver builder interface went and all of that. And so you're not doing it anymore. That, that ship has sailed. You've decided that probably was a mistake. You get things just as broken as they would be if you gave them access to a, an IDE and allowed them to write their own HTML.

Perhaps in fact worse, because the ability to mess stuff up inside a page builder is it, you don't feel quite so afraid. Whereas if it was actual code that they were tinkering with, you imagine that most people would immediately back out. Cause just the mere presence of code, HTML, CSS, whatever is just going to be such a tall order, they're going to back away before they actually do any damage.

Whereas, just clicking on buttons in a page bar and then suddenly pressing the publish button and realizing, Oh. And then not knowing what they did. Yeah that's inevitable.

[00:09:18] David Waumsley: I think why, I used to debate with people who used to say I never let, I built the page builder is for me to build the site with it and to be able to change, make the changes quickly for them and I don't give them access to it. And I used to go surely, they're paying for this thing and the maintenance of this stuff.

Surely they should have access. And that was always my stand on it. And I thought, and I had. What I thought was success stories out of this, teaching people how to do it. What I hadn't figured is the fact that the person who the staff member who might be looking after that site might change and someone else will come in with a different set of expectations.

And one, I think that I set outside of what I would have set for them. Ones that I set by advertising, let's say it's easy to drag and drop and stuff. And they literally come in then as the new person. Having, Oh, there's a page builder in there. I'll have a move around and then, Oh, I'm a bit stuck. And then we'll contact the people who look after it and it's working that way.

So I haven't really reflected on the fact what happens when this site goes on for some time and the staff change, know?

[00:10:22] Nathan Wrigley: Well, interestingly, we probably should have seen this one coming a little bit earlier because of the rise in tools and also inside the page builders themselves to lock clients out when. When Beaver Builder started, everything was available to those who could access Beaver Builder. And then you got the ability to change things in line.

And then I remember there was a plugin called Wallace in line, which enabled you to lock things down. And then some of those components got sent into the Beaver Builder plugin itself, and then same thing over on all the other ones, you can lock clients out and the idea was. Okay, if you give them the control of everything, they're gonna mess things up, so we need to rein that in.

And that became a feature of page builders, and I actually still think that's got utility. So long as you can explain why those limitations have been imposed and, but you've still got to do the process of saying, no, you can't change that because I've set it up so that you can't change it.

Because if you change that, there's going to be unexpected consequences. The whole site will now look terrible and blah blah blah. But I think that we probably should have seen that coming. And yeah, you're right. I had quite a few situations where a new member of staff came on. Luckily in my case. I never got the I'm gonna tinker.

I simply got the phone call. I don't know how to do this. Will you do it for me? Which was great because it meant that I was still in the game.

[00:11:42] David Waumsley: Yeah, it's hard. I may have mentioned this before, but one, one side that I look after, then they got a new staff member and she's actually employed because she used to work for a web agency, but obviously their web agency wasn't how I did it. Because one of the words was, can we just swap out the theme?

We need a new, we need a new modern look. And. From what I understand, that was, she, she thought that was it. That's what you did. You just basically the content, which is how earlier WordPress sites would generally set up, weren't they? You changed your theme, your content stayed in place.

The theme did the styling and you got a new look. And I think,

[00:12:18] Nathan Wrigley: I guess given real Limitations on what you were amending then you could do that couldn't you but broadly speaking That's not the solution if you've spent even 10 minutes modifying the site

[00:12:31] David Waumsley: No, it was all in the page builder, not the theme. And it was all custom and there's no way, but it just suddenly thought, wow. Yeah. And I just think I'm now countering these kind of. These expectations that are out there about the, how they can do it themselves. And certainly, my old colleague was losing business too, because that's what she was selling.

The look of the site early days, she was there back in the early 2000s, the only person who could put HTML together to get the site out there. But, so many of our clients, moved to DIY on that.

[00:13:10] Nathan Wrigley: So given that several years ago, you were telling everybody that was onboarding into your business that they were going to use page builders and given that you've now decided that page builders are not where you want to be, and you'd rather do the work of writing the HTML and the CSS and possibly a bit of JavaScript by hand, how are you doing that with the old clients?

Are you slowly shedding them or refusing to amend their sites? What, how is this transition? Working its way through.

[00:13:41] David Waumsley: yeah it's kind of case by case. I think most of them I am going to lose because I think their expectations, because there wasn't the same beginning. There wasn't the same I'm only doing it with the basic stuff. So we have this. to be agile over a period of time and we'll do the design because I haven't had that discussion with them.

The reason for why basically doing it a more complex way rather than a kind of easier way is for the longterm. I can't really change that relationship with people. Some of them, I I will. Some will, I think, when I want to convert, if my page builder needs changing. Beaver building is changing on some of the sites, which it doesn't in the future.

Some of them are prepared for the fact, Oh yeah, I'll just let you do it. And you can just rebuild it with something else. That's fine. But some of them I've now got real high expectations of their page builders. And I should imagine they may go to somebody else, but I think they will go wanting somebody to build them a another page builder thing so they can do it all themselves and change their designs and make their own landing pages as they want,

[00:14:46] Nathan Wrigley: But are you refusing to do the work in a page builder Now, somebody says, okay, David, we haven't spoken for a year or so and we just, we've got this campaign coming up for Easter or something. Can you build us something, work with us to do that? Are you even getting, are you carrying on maintaining relationships with those people?

[00:15:07] David Waumsley: Oh, that's a really good question. Yeah. Cause that's the interesting thing. I've just had somebody who, they had a staff member change in their site and they pretty much knew it because I. I explained what they needed to do and everything was bumbling along and they've gone. So the owners come to me and I really had to have a chat with him first to just say, look, I'm actually not going, if you want to invest more money into the sort of design of this site, then I would say, then it's, it's gone five years.

Let's redesign it. But if there's no reason to do that, then there's no reason, the site's not going to break. So if it's just content changes, we'll carry on. So we had to come to this agreement and largely in their case, they said 90% of their work was coming from offline referrals anyway. So there wasn't a big incentive to do a rebuild.

So I said you'll be fine for some time. So we'll just keep looking after it and doing content stuff. So I'm having to have this discussion depending on where they want to be in the future and resetting the relationship with them a bit, you know.

[00:16:07] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. And I was thinking about clients who have things like, a blog that they're updating, obviously that's going to be something that, maybe out of reach for what you're planning to do in the future. So yeah, just really interesting.

[00:16:22] David Waumsley: yeah, it is for me because, that's why I'm having to do it because I'm really I want to stop people with Beaver Builder, I'm thinking, it's done coming to nine years for some of these clients of business do if do we want to redesign with the same tools again now? I'm not really going to do that.

I don't think so. I've seen, no, if we're going to rebuild it, let's do it the way I'm now doing things. But if it's just a case of keeping it running because there's content changes, then don't go for rebuild if it's doing what you need it to do. So that's how I'm having to deal with it. But I'm going to lose people along the way, obviously.

[00:16:58] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. So you, you're prepared to do that in your new business. Okay, that's fine. But can we assume though that the DIY way of doing things is still growing? I know that you said about Elementor growing. I think anecdotally it feels like it's still growing for all of the reasons I said, I'm seeing increased amount of advertising on Facebook, even on the TV in the UK, we're getting Squarespace and Wix commercials.

That to me. Is a thriving industry, not a declining industry.

[00:17:29] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think so. And did we, I guess the question we're asking here did we cause the problem as people who build? We'll get, but potentially losing business or the nature of our business has to change a bit, cause if we decide that we will set people up with a good DIY solution and then help them when they get stuck, that's what a lot of our businesses have ended up becoming, I think, and that's where I feel mine's gone.

[00:17:59] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, I think there's two strains to this. So firstly, there's the way that you did it, which I think is the vast minority. That is to say that you use the page builder and you worked with your clients. I'm not sure that was a model that was particularly popular. I think most people did this sort of get the brief, figure it all out.

Build it with a page builder and then show it to the client and get the approval. I think that was the model. But also I think that because we all started to buy licenses for these products

[00:18:35] David Waumsley: Yes.

[00:18:36] Nathan Wrigley: became viable and in some cases quite wealthy. So they were then able to start marketing. Into the DIY space for the product that they had, had Elementor and Beaver Builder just been used by a tiny fraction of the community of people building websites, there would have been no money to advertise it, but they were successful, so they were able to then push their marketing clout into the spaces, non traditional, non agency, non freelancer, just DIY, and that gives them What if you were working for one of these page builder companies and you could spend 10, 000 and get a thousand new clients who were gonna, just out of the blue in, in, and they weren't traditionally the people that you were talking to.

They were just business owners. You'd do that, wouldn't you?

[00:19:29] David Waumsley: yeah, and I think, WordPress itself with the block editor, it's a slow growth in that compared to some of the page builders that are more accessible because there's time needed for that to grow, but it's obviously, once upon a time, when you went, you To WordPress, no one could really build a site on this blogging platform that would do what most clients needed to do.

So it needed some expertise to introduce people to WordPress. That is slowly evaporating. So I think if you're like us, where you started with a bit of code in the first place, and then. Jumped into something like WordPress. You've, I think we're being forced, and this is what I didn't like.

And why I've changed things into either saying, okay that's it. This is a tool that we can all use. I might be able to set it up better for you and help you and advise you, but then that's my role. And effectively the client then becomes the designer of the experience for visitors, and that's what I find difficult.

And. So I'm repositioning it. And I think this is the problem. We put this as a thing for businesses doing it themselves is that they are very limited on what they know about user experience, usability, accessibility, all those kinds of things.

[00:20:42] Nathan Wrigley: I think I've just had this revelation David and it's this I know that the whole block editor full site editing Block based themes blocks themselves Gutenberg is not something that you're interested in But I'm just wondering if it's a piece of if it's a piece of genius in that it's difficult enough to use That no DIYer is gonna go near it And so in a way, it's preserving the agency owners because you can say we're going to use the the Gutenberg editor and the clients go, Oh, no, I'm not going near that.

And you maintain your business. So really the difficulties of using the block editor are a feature designed to keep us all employed.

[00:21:31] David Waumsley: I do not, I watched or no, I listened, sorry, to a podcast where it was developers who haven't been using WordPress for some time, talking to somebody who worked for 10 up, which is a big agency out there with something like 300 developers working on it. And they do some really clever stuff.

They have knowledge of react and all of that stuff. And they're building custom blocks and all of that stuff. And it was quite interesting listening to that. From my perspective as well as somebody who ignored Gutenberg how they're jumping on that. But what I think was telling for me about it was the fact that they still have a very good business because of the name of WordPress.

So the clients want the CMS, even though they're, they're really designing all WordPress. It's fueled by the demand by the clients to have a WordPress site.

[00:22:23] Nathan Wrigley: I actually think despite the fact that there are some metrics pointing to the decline of the beginnings of a decline in WordPress adoption in there's caveats all over that sentence, it's, there are real areas where it isn't and so on, but I still think that in, in the sort of like water cooler chat, I still think WordPress is.

Is a word which is being passed around, Oh, I want a website. Do you know anything about websites? No, I don't know. The first thing, why don't you have a look at WordPress? I know a guy that does WordPress websites. I'll give you his number. I still think that sort of stuff is really still out there.

And I don't see that changing any time soon. Because it's just the default. It's become the default. Maybe in 10 years time, I'll eat those words, but it doesn't feel like it to me. It still feel feels like the word WordPress is synonymous with, I just need a WordPress, sorry. I need a website relatively quickly.

Do you know somebody that can do it? Yes.

[00:23:22] David Waumsley: Yeah, it's going to be the number one CMS for a long time. And while clients want CMS, that's what they're going to say, WordPress, isn't it? And I think from there, you can either get people like me who are using page builders to make it accessible, or you can get people like the 10 up with bigger clients, maybe on the whole who are doing all this custom work.

Now it probably means that their customers are not, the people who know nothing about UX usability, performance, accessibility, all that kind of stuff. They're probably people who do know about that. It's just that they've chosen the number one CMS out there, to give their business to. But I do think that, for us, people like us, I think that's what we've got now Hmm.


[00:24:06] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, I think there's a real split there. If you're on the, you were mentioning Tenop being an agency there's lots of agencies similar, big agencies. They can take in enterprise clients. I think on there, if they do use page builders let's imagine that they do and let's lump Gutenberg.

The block editor into that category, then they are going to have the budget and the expertise to worry about those things. The UX usability, performance, accessibility, all of that stuff. But then I also think there's a massive base of people. And you mentioned it in terms of the people who were buying the single licenses of this product earlier, who just don't care about that at all.

They just want a website. They want it to be, 500 out the door several hours after it was started. It was finished. A template is fine. We just need a presence. UX? I don't really care. Usability? Not really that bothered. Performance? Does it load in under 20 seconds? You're on. Accessibility?

I'm not bothered about that. I bet that's still a huge swathe of the market.

[00:25:11] David Waumsley: I think so, and the legal thing that I've not seen many businesses sweat about. I always talk about GDPR and accessibility laws, whether they might apply to them. Most, mostly it doesn't, but it doesn't seem to, it is very much, but I think the one thing that might. It's coming up as a bit of a surprise as some people's sites, some new work that's come in where their WordPress sites have died after so many years, because so much change has been going on that the plugins are no longer supported, that they need a rebuild.

And it's come as a surprise, but we were saying I've yet to meet a client who's talked to me about the long term from the beginning, they've only, I think, envisaged what their site is going to look like when it launches.

[00:25:59] Nathan Wrigley: Right. Yeah. So there is no thought of any longevity. It's simply pay the bill, get the site, launch the site, then. Basically forget about the site. That's all. Yeah. And do you know what? That's a totally legitimate thing, isn't it? In that there's all sorts of things that I purchase and I want to use it very infrequently.

I just buy it and use it this one time and then I Put it in a cupboard and probably won't need it for several years and out it comes again at the time that I'm needing it. We do have this sort of snobbery, don't we? Because it's our business. You need to worry about the UX, usability, performance, all of those things.

Whereas most people... Don't need to worry about those things. It's a utilitarian thing. They just want to have something on the internet. They want it to be there. They want to be able to point people in the direction of their website. People who are quite prepared to sit there for 90 seconds whilst the homepage loads.

It's just fine. And I think that sometimes because we're into it and we know all about the SEO, and we know all about the lighthouse scores and all that we. We position that as being terribly important, whereas to most clients it's like, Yeah, I, David, just stop talking about that now. Can you do it for 500 quid and will it be ready tomorrow?

Yes, great, let's do it.

[00:27:18] David Waumsley: I think some of the, I think some of the DIYers will find that, the issues of technical debt and scalability will become part of their issues, if they've used a very complex solution to quickly DIY something it's going to be very difficult for them to change what they want to do with that same site without having to rebuild if they've not planned that, thinking about the longterm and which is why I think these days I talk.

Straight away about what we're trying to do long term. 'cause if I'm trying to justify spend it a bit more time to code it up a little bit better front end coding, I need to justify why it's taking that time because it's for, it's to give them that agility over a longer period of time. So that's how I try and sell this move to try and do stuff that I personally want to do, if you like.


[00:28:09] Nathan Wrigley: the exact moment where I suddenly realised That websites that I were building needed to be more long term, but I know that there was a moment when I suddenly, and this is in the WordPress context with, buying licenses and then handing them over to clients who sometimes might, walk away and carry on with a different agency.

I do remember suddenly thinking. Oh, there's that part of the puzzle as well. I hadn't really given that any thought. How do I handle the licenses? How do I handle all of that? And actually, curiously, you and I just looked at a website, which I built a long time ago, who got, it got taken over by another agency.

And I think it's fair to say that website is the same now as it was. So they've just, they haven't, I don't think updated any of the licenses and yet it's the fulcrum of their business. A lot of their business comes through that website, and it's working on old plugins, out of date software. I've no idea how out of date most of it is, but we found that some of it was out of date.

And it just goes to show, we're worried about the long tail of it, but some of the clients aren't. Is it still there? Yes, that's fine.

[00:29:17] David Waumsley: Yeah, and, and it's hard. The route I want to go in some ways there's some jobs I now wouldn't want to do, cause I'm quite into the idea of doing a lot more front end stuff. And and I've got one client probably, who spent the least money when it was with my colleague, who's probably has the best return on investment for his website.

Cost him just a few hundred quid basically to get a pretty awful site up there. But because his business is something which is just selling off parts that people want for something very specialized, he's got. Constant trade because it's now reached a global market, which the net couldn't done. In his case, I've thought about it and thought, does he need it?

He really could do with that site being sorted out. But you just think, I don't even think I'll go and ask because. It's, I don't see, I'll see a return, but then there's some other people I've got where, and this is often how I start, let's do some competitive research to see how well you can do on the web, because I'm doing a lot of sites for people where there's a huge amount of competition online and the chances are, and that's seems to be the case that many of them have had sites for, five years and not had a single inquiry off them.

Because there was so many, so in those cases, I can justify this longer term approach, focusing more on that kind of usability for conversion, on that SEO for getting the traffic in and for being able to adjust over time as well, to, to just keep one ahead of the competition.

[00:30:53] Nathan Wrigley: That, that is such an interesting observation. You've got the guy who spent a few hundred pounds and is making seemingly a real great return on that investment. And then you've got others who spent probably thousands and put time, blood, sweat, and tears into it, who are making nothing back. There is no justice in the world.

[00:31:14] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:31:15] Nathan Wrigley: It doesn't matter what you put into it. Interestingly, I just had a conversation on Mastodon and it's nothing to do with this particularly, but it's somebody who just posted the statistics of Facebook ads and they, they spent a bit of money on Facebook ads and they got one lead from it and they were promised.

Hundreds by the Facebook algorithm and it's a bit like that, you could spend that money on a handful of Facebook ads and make absolutely loads back or it could just fall on deaf ears and really, who knows what the formula for that is. If you figure, if you do figure that out, I suspect that you'll be living in Barbados drinking pina coladas.

[00:31:55] David Waumsley: It's, but even in our, even though I'm trying to keep hold of my business by focusing much more on these things that a DIY I wouldn't have thought about, there is an element where I see the switch as well, where people come to me for functionality that WordPress could do with a plugin. And it would cost them where often I'm saying I'm just going to pick up this kind of bookings type system or something from AppSumo and stick that in.

So it, it's a really odd, because I think you have to get to the job that needs to be done really most of the time. And I think that's often where we might go wrong with clients. I think we might lead them to DIY stuff, partly because we introduce them to it sometimes like me. But also because we don't get over. The benefits to their particular business, if you like, who would care about UX, if it does what it needs to do that the guy with selling off his parts for that kind of niche thing, he's not going to care. It's not gonna make any difference. He's got enough coming in, but somebody else will need to do that to be able to beat their competition.

And I think that's part of our job to identify that and align the right kind of clients to us.

[00:33:13] Nathan Wrigley: I suspect that a year from now, David, you'll have brushed, dusted down your Code Canyon account. And you'll be you'll be downloading those booking scripts. You'll be downloading those PHP form scripts. You'll be having a great time over there.

[00:33:32] David Waumsley: Do you think though, if we sent people to DIY, I was showing you a site, wasn't I? And there was a long story. I've probably mentioned them before, but it was somebody who they had a designer who built their main site and they were a nonprofit getting funding from all sorts of government bodies and they didn't want to pay the money, but they needed it to be fully accessible.

To a kind of top level, because I think that's just part of the nature of what they do legally. They need to do that, they didn't really want to do that and they didn't really understand the law. So effectively my colleague initially made them, they basically DIYed it. She helped them to DIY it.

I don't know where I'm going

[00:34:18] Nathan Wrigley: No, sorry, I can interrupt you there because I know where you were going I think the I don't think I Had any idea of the law around anything? So you showed me a site which? clearly wasn't What it should be, but it was in receipt of public money to be built. And so in, in the UK, my understanding is that if you're in receipt of public money, then you must adhere to certain guidelines.

This website hasn't done that. And so what do you do, as a DIYer? You are constrained. You've got to put in a proposal that's going to be, allow you to do all of those kinds of things. If you are genuinely a DIYer and you don't know, I think increasingly you are going to be the half, you are going to have to be the sort of person that either outsources that to somebody else or says, I can't do it because.

My impression is that the ambulance chasing lawyers are gonna start coming to get us in the fairly near future. That website was for a fairly big event, it looked like. Now maybe they'll slip under the radar. Okay, great, you've slipped under the radar, you've got away with it. But there will come a point where you won't.

And if you're... Truly a DIYer and you don't have those, that skill. You don't have the knowledge about accessibility would be the perfect one to talk about. You are going to be launching these projects with little expectation of completing that work. And at some point it probably will come to catch you.

And I don't know... Where you stand in terms of, I don't know if it's, will the lawsuit be against you or will the lawsuit be against the person that's launched the site and they therefore counter sue you? I don't know, but I do think To be a DIYer now is going to be more challenging than ever.

And UX, usability, performance, accessibility, UX and accessibility, I think people are going to come and get you in the future for those.

[00:36:25] David Waumsley: And I think in this case, what was interesting, I stumbled across it. It went to somebody else and they rebuilt it. So it's nothing to do with me, but I've looked again some years on it and they've got an accessibility overlay put on it, which wasn't there when it was rebuilt and it hasn't been there for some years, so I'm guessing that somebody Got onto them about accessibility.

So they bought their solution in on top of that, which was cheaper. Now, my own advice to these people when they came to us was actually, I know it's expensive, but I think you need to go with your original designers who built your other site because they are good. They build with WordPress really properly, and that's probably what they need.

But. All I'm saying is that they went the DIY route because probably that initial agency just hadn't managed to get over what they actually needed and why it cost that,

[00:37:17] Nathan Wrigley: do you know, I think that's going to be really a difficult sell because at the moment, more than ever in my lifetime, the purse strings are so tight that money is the thing and I made the analogy before we started recording that a lot of the stuff that you're talking about now, UX, usability, performance, accessibility, it's a bit like a plumber who comes into the house and the website, if you like, is the taps.

It's the bit that you see. You've got these lovely shiny taps. They cost you a fortune. They're made of silver. They're beautiful and you turn the faucet and the water comes out. It does its job. It's perfect. Behind all of that though it's just a bunch of terrible plumbing, the joints aren't insulated.

So you're losing loads of heat. The soldering is done badly, or the, whatever it's called, where you join hot water pipes together. All of that's done, there's potential for leaks to spring, he sourced cheap materials, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so it's a little bit like that. But the thing is, it's very difficult for the plumber to come to me and say, Okay, I am gonna buy really expensive pipes.

I'm gonna use copper, and the bits that I join the copper pipes together, they're five quid each, but they're lifetime guarantee. They never ever leak. It's difficult to sell that to me, because all I want is the water to come out my shiny tap, and I'm not really that bothered about the other stuff in the background.

[00:38:46] David Waumsley: Yeah, no, it's a good analogy. I do think, this is the problem, isn't it? Like we said, there are different needs out there. There's always, I think DIY is going to be right for some people. Just temporary landing pages that are going out to, one of my clients who earlier I claimed and still to a degree think.

They are right to have a page builder because they've been building their own little landing pages, which they use, which really is only for their own crowd. So maybe it's not so essential

Is of good quality and that it's accessible because maybe it doesn't really affect people or they can send it in another form.

So I think there's always going to be that DIY, but I do think we, as people are trying to. Keep this profession alive need to be a bit better at getting over. Like you say the plumber, what do you, how do you decide which plumber you trust? When, cause let's face it.

And we do it with websites, as soon as you handed a site, somebody says you want to rebuild it, or they say looking at this site, do you think it's any good? You're going to go, the guy you had in here last was a bit of a

[00:40:00] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, dodgy.

[00:40:02] David Waumsley: Yeah, whoever you are,

[00:40:03] Nathan Wrigley: I think you are going to have to increasingly resort to scaring is the wrong word, but you are going to have to lay this stuff out. You are going to have to say, look, it has, if you want to rank in Google, we need to make it performant. We need to strip out all the croft, all of the extra divs that don't belong there.

These are things which have to be done. In terms of accessibility, here's the guidelines. We're going to follow as many of these as is humanly possible. You have to do that. And there's a cost for that. But we're still in that phase of the internet where it's just anybody chuck anything up because there's no law.

It was a bit of a wild west, wasn't it? When we started doing this work, there was literally no... And now there is, because it's become a crucial part of everybody's life. More or less, anything can be bought online, sold online, you can interact with everybody online. It's become a utility. And these things have crept in, and I think unless you are...

Pricing those things in you really I don't know. I don't think you should I'm not sure that you're a you're not doing your clients a service, but also you're probably not going to stay in the game for all that long, but equally how many people are going to pay for all that stuff. I don't know.

[00:41:19] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think, you and I think a similar background, cause we started, when people really didn't know what this internet web thing was about, even before we had proper search and stuff, so we didn't have a search optimization and we didn't understand how people access our websites particularly, or anything about usability and in some ways we I think there was maybe those early coders who stuck to coding and didn't go into other platforms and stuff.

Maybe they have developed along the way because there definitely is a growing trend towards a lot of bigger companies thinking more agile, thinking more long term about their internet solutions and about how they need to be kept as slim as possible in order that they can keep changing as the web keeps changing, but it's not in the.

Types of business that has traditionally come to the likes of you and I think so.

And I think,

[00:42:18] Nathan Wrigley: I I do think though that there is still an area for DIYers. I think that if you're listening to this podcast and you're just thinking about getting into building websites, I think there's still a, you can do it. There's totally an industry out there for you, but I do think your job is going to be harder than it was when I started, which was just throw and throw anything on the internet and that's how it is.

Now you are gonna have to worry about these other things. You are gonna have to be skilled in certain ways, but thankfully, things like a C M S will enable you to do a lot of these things without you having to learn all the code. But clearly David, , that's not where you are going.

[00:42:58] David Waumsley: No like I say, with 10 up and that, I'm sure they have all of those kind of front end skills and all of the knowledge that they need and they use a CMS, there's no issue. In my case, a lot of the time, whether the client actually needs a CMS and access to it is probably becoming no, because I've realized the problems of. Devaluing what I do, by allowing these people to have it. That's the struggle that I'm dealing with and it's it depends what you want to do. I think, you can be a web, because people need help to DIY, don't they? And that's a job, you know.

[00:43:37] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. I'm I think we can be sanguine. I think the industry will continue to allow DIYs to onboard, get involved, but I do think that you are gonna have to be more. More savvy with what it is that you are offering. So I don't know what the title for this episode is going to end up. But I think waffle would have been the right one.

[00:43:58] David Waumsley: Yes. Some vaguely controversial waffle.

[00:44:03] Nathan Wrigley: Should we go with that? Fake? No we probably shouldn't. But do you think we've, do you think we got to the end of that?

[00:44:08] David Waumsley: I think we have. Yeah. Do

[00:44:10] Nathan Wrigley: Okay.

[00:44:10] David Waumsley: we know? Should we talk about what we're doing next

[00:44:13] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, we can do you've written some suggestions down. Should we go with that? Number 15.

[00:44:18] David Waumsley: Yeah. We'll go with that.

[00:44:20] Nathan Wrigley: It's a hot topic, David. We could end up being we could end up being ostracized after this one.

Is the WordPress community overrated? I know in intake of breath on that bombshell. Should we end it?

[00:44:35] David Waumsley: Yeah, okay, a nice chat. Yeah, bye.

[00:44:39] Nathan Wrigley: Well, I hope you enjoy that. Always a pleasure chatting to David about these thorny issues. If you have a comment, like I said, at the top of the show, please leave that comment over on the WP Builds.com website. It is highly preferable given that we're WordPress people. We've got this great commenting system haven't we built into WordPress.

So let's make use of that. That's a WP Builds.com and search for episode number 339. If you can't do that, of course, there are the social channels where we would love for you to share it as well.

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 on 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 forward slash WP Builds. And we really do sincerely think GoDaddy Pro for that ongoing support of the WP Builds podcast.

Okay, as I said, at the top of the show next week we will be having a week off. After that we will be back. We'll have episode two of our little mini series all about security. So keep your ears peeled for that.

If you fancy visiting our deals page that's WP Builds.com forward slash deals. If you fancy subscribing forward slash subscribe. But that's about it. I will hopefully see you on a Monday very soon. WP Builds.com forward slash live for our this week in WordPress show.

But all that remains for me to do is to say stay safe, have a good week. Cheesy music fading in. 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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