Episode 4: How 3 Sites Create Unforgettable Experiences

An effective website creates an immersive experience that audiences want to revisit. What are the secrets to creating experiences that uplift your brand and sell your products? This week, Hannah, Ben, and Kathy review three sites that make impressions and unpack why these experiences worked for them. There are definitely some lessons that all site owners can learn from. We also discuss the new Kadence Google Maps Block, the WordPress performance team’s new feature plugin, the Gutenberg plugin’s multi-block selection capabilities and updates in WooCommerce 6.3.

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Transcript for Kadence Beat Episode 4

Kathy: Welcome to episode 4 of The Kadence Beat. This is the podcast about creating effective websites with WordPress and Kadence. I survived Disaster Week, you guys.

Hannah: Congratulations.

Kathy: So proud of myself.

Hannah: I’m proud of you.

Kathy: Thank you!

Ben: Did any sharks show up in the marketing at all?

Kathy: No sharks showed up. When I had to go live, I did change my Slack emoji to a shark, just so people knew.

Hannah: That’s awesome. Was it as fun as Shark Week?

Kathy: You know what? I geeked out a little bit, in my dual life as a Kadence aficionado, as well as a security geek. I did geek out on incident response a little more than I should be proud of, but it was fun. I basically created these presentations, the first one was Star Wars themed, and then the second one was themed by the movie Airplane.

Hannah: Amazing.

Kathy: Don’t call me Shirley. So I try to have fun with security, but we’re done with that now back to Kadence, I am back on the Kadence bandwagon and excited to be here.

And we’re going to talk about effective website strategies again to start things off. We had a question of what’s your favorite website or a recent website that stood out or engaged you? Hannah, do you want to go first?

Hannah: I’m a, bit of a travel guru. So a website I find myself on often is Airbnb. And actually I was on there a lot today because I’m feeling a bit of cabin fever and trying to figure out where to go next. But I loved what they had on their homepage today. It was a banner that said help house refugees fleeing Ukraine.

So instantly I’m pulled in because, you just want to get on board with people who are helping other people. And so they’ve got my heart already, but I love Airbnb because you don’t just go on there to rent a condo somewhere in the world. They want to give you an experience.

And you’re scrolling on the page and there’s houses that are like, here’s a tree house in Columbia or here’s like this magical boathouse on the beach in some exotic place. And then Airbnb is always showing, “You like this. Okay. Look here.” And I’m like, okay, maybe I’ll go there, too.

So I think they do an incredible job of drawing people in, especially people who love to travel and explore an adventure. And then not just here’s a place where you can sleep, but like here’s an experience we want to give you in this cool place. So they win me over a lot.

Kathy: Cool! Do you feel like when you’re on that site and you’re looking at all of these experience that it’s like a take me away experience, like you’re actually having that experience when you’re on the site, looking at pictures?

Hannah: Totally. Yeah. I’m like already there laying in the bed with a glass of wine on the cute table. Looking out the window into this magical city or wherever. It takes me there. It’s fun. I love looking at your piece. It’s weird.

Kathy: What I do is, and this isn’t my site, but I have that same kind of experience with Zillow. Like I go look at like $7 million houses or houses in Pebble Beach, California literally, like $40 million. And I imagined like that I’m living there, same type of thing, but nobody’s going to rent it to me on Airbnb.

Hannah: That would be so sad because you actually can probably never fully live that experience versus Airbnb, you can.

So you’re like, this is going to be my real life in this amount of time, and it’s pretty fun.

Ben: I wonder, I’m not like a host on Airbnb, I wonder if they do something to get better pictures. Because I feel like in general, they have a lot of good pictures. You get on Zillow sometimes, and you’re like, wow, this person did not know how to take pictures of their house.

I wonder if they like coach for that.

Hannah: There are lots of people who don’t know how. But people who know, you can post, put a nice filter on your photo and I’ll pay a hundred dollars more a night for it. Put some cute, the cool decor, I mean. It’s not that hard.

Kathy: I wonder if some of our customers can use that technique for the photography on their site, create that immersive experience because it really draws in people.

Hannah: Pay a good photographer. It’s worth it.

Kathy: Ben. What about you? Do you have a website that really engages you?

Ben: Yeah. There’s a couple of sites I was thinking of, but I think one that I constantly go back to is Patagonia. And what’s interesting is, it’s never really engaged me because of the design. What it engaged me on is the activism and just the type of person that they’re selling. The type of person that uses Patagonia is also the person that mountain bikes and rock climbs, and is also the person that is active in land conservation.

And doing things to preserve the outdoors in the wilderness and pass that on. And so what always gets me about Patagonia is this lifestyle identity, and I think that’s an important part. If talking about what engages me on a website it’s like present to me like a persona or like somebody that I want to be, And that’s going to get me in. I want to be that rock climber. That’s sitting on a cliff. And so when you can create images and then also back it up with real, not just a whole bunch of stock images, but a real sense of “we’re involved in the people that do these things” and we’re involved in just the different stuff that goes on to make sure that this stuff is around for our kids and our grandkids. Now I’m not just buying a jacket, I’m buying into this whole this whole identity of ” oh, I’m one of those types of people.” I’m the type of person that wears Patagonia.

And I’m also the type of person that does all these things that this brand stands for. When I think about an engaging website, it’s a website that’s been able to pull that off, being able to like really present an identity and just this aspirational identity and say like here buy from us because you want to be like this.

And I think that’s an easy takeaway for people is to consider your website and go okay. What aspirational identity can I bundle with what it is I’m selling or what it is I’m offering to the world. I did a website for a coffee company, a coffee roasting company. We talked a lot about this like aspirational identity, this like person who drinks, good organic roasted coffee and they’re the kind of person that’s like… you can have two mornings, like I can have a morning where like kids are crying and my wife’s mad at me cause the dishwasher didn’t run last night and I was supposed to start it. And you finally grab a cup of coffee as you’re like running out the door.

Or you can be like, I got up and I sat on the back porch and I watched the sun come up with this gourmet cup of coffee. Like, you want that identity. You don’t want the other one. And so if you can sell that identity, you’re going to be by getting into this product, you are going to be this type of person.

You’re going to be the type of person that gets up that sits on the outside and drinks this wonderful cup of coffee. All of a sudden I’m much more engaged and want to buy because I’m like, “I want that. I want that. I want not just the coffee. I want that lifestyle.” And I think getting in your website, I think is a really powerful tool.

Hannah: Yeah, those are good points.

Kathy: We want people to feel like we are creating an experience that they can have, that they can immerse themselves into. And it makes them feel a certain way. It makes them feel a certain way about themselves and who they are.

I have a ton of favorite websites, but I wanted to talk about one that I had a really interesting experience with. And that was Pier 1. So I ended the day busy, tired, and I’m just on Instagram and I’m scrolling. Just take me away for a moment, anywhere.

It catches my eye, an ad… Now I’m very much into decorating and home and everything. I’m just in a different stage of my life. I’m not going on an Airbnb anytime soon, but I’m going to make my home… I’m going to make it as Airbnb as I can, because this is where I am for right now.

Pier 1 catches my eye, and Pier 1’s gone. They don’t have storefronts anymore. They’re just online. And they have this chair. And this chair is going to fit in the office in the perfect place. I want this chair. So I click, I go and I look at this chair and then they pop me an ad, a Kadence Conversions ad perhaps. They brought me in an ad and say, we’ll give you 10% off if you give us your email. So I give them the email and then I go looking for this chair. And then later in that day, They email me and say, you forgot something. And they show me the picture of the chair. Again, it’s a very personalized experience.

But the experience was so personalized to what I was looking for. And to me, I was started thinking about that experience and what you were talking about in episode three, Ben, when you were talking about really choosing a target market. And here, Pier 1 had chosen not just a target market, but a target product, and they sold this product and it was very personalized to my specific need. Maybe they only got 10 people with this chair who actually clicked on this ad, but those 10 people wanted that particular chair. And so they took a risk. They did an ad for this one chair and it created a personalized experience that ended up later when I was off and had forgotten about it and doing something else.

And checking my email in line at the grocery store and there’s that chair again. And they just stayed in front of me and they created this personalized experience about this one specific product and it paid off for them. And now they’re in my email all the time. I still haven’t bought the chair, but they have created a more personalized experience.

They got into the email box. It’s not just an ad that gets scrolled by anymore. So they took a risk and it paid off. And they hooked me. So that was my memorable experience, not a favorite website, but an experience that really got me. So that’s why I share.

Ben: Cool.

Hannah: Kathy, at what point do you think you’d go back and buy the chair?

Kathy: Now I’m going to have to. Exactly. I don’t know, but it was so cool.

Hannah: We know you’re gonna buy it.

Kathy: I am going to have to, but the email that they sent me is “you forgot something” and yeah, I did. I want that chair. Like I have to have the chair. My Airbnb experience in my house is ruined. I can’t drink my coffee without having this chair. So it’s, but it was a very personalized experience and it really drew me in. For me, that’s one thing that I would like to share. Just as something as an experience, it was very targeted and it got me.

Anyway let’s move on now that we have talked about that, let’s talk about what’s new and what’s upcoming at Kadence. And in this last week, we’ve talked about it a couple of times that it was coming and it dropped finally. And I updated my Kadence Blocks on my site and Google Maps block is now there.

So I got to play with this. And I really like the implementation. There’s a lot of different ways to put Google Maps on a site, but I really liked the implementation here with what Kadence Blocks did. And it’s in the free plugin. If you update to version 2.3.0 or later, you will get that particular block in your Kadence-enabled site.

And you load up with a map of the Golden Gate Bridge. All you have to do is start typing in a location and other locations start showing up so quickly and you can zoom in or zoom out depending on what you’re trying to communicate. I thought this was really cool. Ben, what was some of the thinking that went into all the customizations that you’re providing here?

Ben: Yeah. Starting with how we wanted to embed the maps. There’s a couple of different options and that’s because Google offers different options. So we simply do an iframe embed as the default, and that uses an API key, that actually is connected with us. But it’s free. They’re there embed is free.

But if you want it to go further, so like with the embed map, you’re going to be able to choose location and zoom and you can even do filtering on it in terms of if you want a black and white or things like that. But then if you want to go further and be able to control the map more, actually do things like what Snazzy Maps can do, which is like create not just a filter on the map, but actually like really create unique looking maps, you need to get your own JavaScript key. So we have an option for you to put that in. And then you can instead of an iframe embed, you’re using the JavaScript. So I think for us, it was, it was talking through like how we wanted that flow to work. And then also essentially we didn’t want to force you to go get a key just for a simple embed, but then also providing those options and then providing the ways to like, add that was a key part of this block.

Kathy: Cool. And I think it’s just great that we are releasing so many new blocks to the free plugin and really giving free users, a lot of new features. I think, it’s just great that we have so many paid Kadence users that are funding, this kind of development that’s lifting up everyone in the WordPress space using Kadence. So very exciting. Anything else new that we should be excited about coming down the pike?

Ben: I think, in the next couple of weeks we’ll have another block-out we’re going to, we’re working on a read more, text expand block. And then quite a few features that we’re working on. Timelines are hard. Just because we, we have a lot going on. But I think in general, as I look at the end of this quarter and even into beginning of next quarter, getting us to Kadence Blocks 2.4, which will have the the new and revised row layout block and things like that are stuff that’s on my mind, we’re busily trying to do. I think there’s a few places where we use a JavaScript library called Slick Slider, and that is being replaced. So Basically slick uses jQuery. So if you load a carousel of images, you now are loading Slick, JavaScript and jQuery.

And so like just for performance, we’re moving that, switching over to a different library for the carousel and things like that. So there’s lot going on in blocks.

Kathy: Great. And there seems to be some stuff going on in the WordPress world, too. The performance team released a new feature plugin for testing improvements. So this is basically a beta testing plugin. Not something that you would want to put on a production site, but it allows you to basically help the core team with this plugin, test performance improvements.

Ben: Yeah, I think it’s a great initiative for core to start doing things like this, because essentially like in the past, stuff would live in an issue and get developed there. And unless you were aware of the issue or happened to be searching for that issue, you didn’t really know what was happening or if anyone was working on it and then it would get pushed into, a beta release of WordPress.

And by then, it’s pretty late in the development for anyone to actually come in and be like, oh, I have expertise in this area. Why don’t we do it this way? Or things like that. I think the more that core can do these kinds of spinoff plugins where they can get feedback really early in the development and also get just more people involved in the development.

I think it’s awesome. So this is a cool initiative.

Hannah: I I think that’s a huge thing is allowing people to be involved. Cause people love to be able to provide feedback. And so I, just giving people the opportunity to here, download this plugin, and then you have enough to need to give insight into WordPress core. People love that.

And I think it’s just a great thing for WordPress to do, to invite people into that space. So I think it’s cool, I hope it becomes a big hit.

Kathy: Definitely. And Gutenberg started that way as well. And we have Gutenberg development happening outside of core with the Gutenberg plugin. Gutenberg 12.7 is adding multi block selection in the list view, and it’s bringing margin support, but I’m more interested in this multi block selection. So you can basically in the list view in Gutenberg, you can now select multiple items for moving things around and whatnot. Now this isn’t in core yet, but it’s being tested within this Gutenberg plugin. So we can see the writing on the wall that this will eventually end up in core.

Ben: Yeah the list view, there’s a few things I want to see into the list view, this be one being one of them. I also want to see it automatically scroll to the block that you currently have selected when you opened the list view. I’m hoping that comes too, but let’s use a really great thing that they added just to make editing and moving content around a new website so much easier. I love that you can now drag blocks around in list view. And yeah, I think it’s an area I hope they keep focusing on improvements in. And if any core developers are listening, please have it auto scroll to the block that’s selected when you open the list view instead of having to scroll and find where I’m at on the page. Yeah.

Kathy: That would be very helpful. And WooCommerce also is using this sort of ancillary plugin development pattern. And they also had WooCommerce, 6.3 released and these feature plugins also had releases as well. So WooCommerce blocks, so blocks is eventually coming to WooCommerce. I haven’t used this feature plugin yet. So they have some updates happening there. And WooCommerce admin also has an update as well. And in WooCommerce 6.3, we have product attributes look up table. So they’re adding to database indices to product attributes to improve performance. So this seems somewhat of a maintenance type of release. Cleaning some stuff up and adding some better performance to WooCommerce coming our way.

Ben: Yeah, I think that’s the attributes is primarily targeting kind of the larger stores that use a lot of attributes. I know with the blocks update, we’re primary looking at blocks, you put into your page where you want to show your featured products and things like that.

And I know that the blocks plugin has done a lot with their checkout block. So that’s something you can also see in the latest version.

Kathy: Great. That’s all we have this week on Kadence Beat. But we will be back next week to talk more about creating effective websites. It’ll be interesting to see what questions we’ll have. So make sure you tune in and we’d really like to get some feedback from you, our listeners. What would you like us to talk more about? Do you have a question that you would like us to dive deeper on? Are there challenges that you have in your business? That you would like us to posit perhaps some opinions or experience.

Answering your question might help somebody else in the Kadence community. If you are not following us on your favorite podcasting app, please make sure that you are, and we will be back next week with more from The Kadence Beat. Thanks for listening.

One Comment

  1. Brand identity is really more important than how your logo and design looks like. A good brand identity can really give users or visitors a unforgettable experience and impression.
    Looking forward to more features from the new row layout block.
    Improve carousel JavaScript performance is helpful to pass Google Web Core Vital.
    Love this episode.
    Can you please talk more about the functionality differences between blocks and theme? Because I think lots of new users and potential users always get confused when they want to buy Kadence products.

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