What Your WordPress Web Developer Should Tell You

Once you’ve got your hands on your spanking new WordPress-based website from your designer and developer to market your business online, the real work starts.

I find that one of the major problems with developing websites for small business start-ups is that they don’t have the budget and/or time and inclination to invest in learning how to use WordPress.

Because I work with it on a daily basis I have a tendency to forget just how confusing WordPress can be under the hood. Sure, it’s drastically improved over the years but if you’re new to CMS you’re not really going to know the first thing about plugins, SEO, security updates, etc.

Customer Service but Only Up to a Point

Now I’m very happy to help clients get started once we launch a website for them, even if we’ve signed off on the project. But of course there comes a point where the customer has to take it forward themselves because goodwill doesn’t pay the bills. Explaining the vagaries of the WordPress menu feature, no matter how easy it is if you’re working with something built on the Genesis framework, takes time and not everyone will grasp it instantly no matter how easy I think it is.

We launched iSrilankan.com in March 2012

What Should WordPress Newbies Focus On?

It’s only through using WordPress regularly and getting your hands dirty that you’ll learn how it works and be able to wean yourself off support and outsourcing to a webmaster. Or, of course, you can just leave it in the hands of a webmaster you trust and breathe easy.

At the very outset you should be asking your web developers as part of your initial contract to:

  • keep a hard copy of the launch site (or provide you with one) just in case everything goes pear shaped.
  • set up the WP BackUpWordPress plugin, which automates backups for you.

We factor in several hours WP training as part of every quote for clients because I know just how much it can take for a newbie client who intends to run the site themselves to get started.

My recommendation if you’re not sure what to ask for from a developer / web designer is that, if this is you, you ask to be shown how to:

  • backup your site (including photographs and media)
  • update plugins
  • update WordPress
  • work with basic SEO.

Backing up and updating is the most essential if you’re going solo; however, you should beware because WordPress is kind of sneaky. Nowadays it’s made updating so easy what with the 1-click updates; but there’s no 1-click backup as part of this process. Hence the need for a plugin.

What Else?

What kind of thing should newbies be kitted out with before they fully take the reins of their new WordPress site? Let me know in the comments?
Or why not leave some voicemail feedback by clicking the orange button on the side of your browser? I’ll then take this up on a future podcast.

  • http://alangraham.co.uk AlanGraham

    I’ve got to say the number one thing I see, time and again, is clients needing decent content-management advice.  Everything from image editors to copywriting advice.

    Sometimes developers will pour their heart and soul into making an amazing site for a client, however without advice on ongoing content production, it’s destined to degrade slowly until it’s just an expensive and ugly mess.

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Definitely ! That why I think there has to be an element of training involved but a lot of small businesses just don’t have the resources to pay for the full start-up kit. For example, it’s virtually impossible to sell copywriting advice to a start-up small business with their first website. They think someone in the company can take care of it, or if it’s a small biz owner themselves, they try it themselves. Then the website doesn’t deliver. The entry level for a business website is getting higher.
      How do we help small biz get off the ground without undercutting our own profits? It’s a very tricky one really.

      Jon Buscall
      Sent with Sparrow (http://www.sparrowmailapp.com/?sig)

      • http://alangraham.co.uk AlanGraham

        Yes. To be honest I tend to stay away from that whole market. Most of my clients require highly technical systems, or I partner with an established agency who include copywriting / SEO training as part of their overall package.

        I’m certainly not writing their content for them… well I could for a fee but they’d get far better results from a real copywriter.

        It’s not just copywriting though, photography and videos can be equally poor. Clients take photos direct from their camera, uploaded onto the site, often with the red-text date/time stamp on the corner. That sort of thing is all too prevalent. Ironically, it’s the very people who have invested the most in real terms who seem guilty of this… people who throw life savings or re-mortgage to get a venture off the ground, then poison it in this way. It’s really disheartening sometimes… which is another reason why it’s a market I tend to steer clear of. :o)

  • http://www.philwebservices.com/ cebu web designer

    I am looking for this information. It’s a great things that you were able to share this to us. Thanks a lot.

  • http://twitter.com/gregpettit Greg Pettit

    If the person managing the content is marginally tech-savvy, how to edit posts and pages with the HTML editor. If they are not, how to properly use the visual editor (so that they select title instead of highlighting body text, making it bigger, and making it bold)

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I find that it doesn’t take time for this if they are motivated.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • wanikadai

    Rize is one of the active members of the WordPress developer community and has developed and supported various modules based on WordPress