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.
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 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.