WordPress support: Who you gonna call?

Support for your WordPress site

Support for your WordPress site (Image Alan Cleaver via Flickr)

When something goes wrong with your website (and our focus here is WordPress websites), who do you call?

This is worth pondering and, in fact, two events have brought it to the surface this week:

If you have ever met me or done one of my WordPress workshops, you will know that I am a passionate advocate of business people embracing WordPress because Google and the search engines know how to reference WordPress website contents AND you will be in control of your content, able to add, delete and modify words, pictures and video to your heart’s content without being fleeced by old school webmasters who feel obliged to lock your content down and hold all the keys.

At the same time, I always get some puzzled looks when I suggest that while WordPress is easy to use, it is best to have somebody BUILD your site for you (unless you are part or fully geek).

This is because there are many little tricks and tweaks that experienced WordPress builders know and implement for you quickly, along with being able to avoid the traps for young players.

This week’s comments have underlined my preference for you using Baker Marketing or another WordPress team in building your site – you get a living connection to someone or a team who understands your site.

Let’s explore this more closely.

Our non-geek expectations are high

In this age of amazing software that lets us mere mortals do things that once could only be done by experts with their 10,000 hours of experience, there is always a danger of our expectations racing away from reality.

For example, easy to use software makes it possible for all of us to edit video these days, but we will still hit a certain level of output that only an expert can surpass. We are then trained to grumble at the software for letting us down, even though it is merely a case of us outstretching our areas of expertise. Many times, an expert knows what NOT to do, and that is often more important that what TO do.

The same goes for site building in WordPress. Just because we have tens of thousands of plugins available, an experienced hand can decide whether a plugin is needed, which is best, and whether the task is better done by some modified coding. Little decisions like this can make all the difference.

In the world of business, especially small to medium business, where building a website is outside the core competencies of the team, we are possibly being unfair on ourselves to expect that our creation can match or surpass something done by an expert.

Our challenge is to get a clear grip on our expectations and decide when outsourcing makes more sense.

The support question

Supposing you do get a WordPress site up by yourself, the nature of the ever-changing web means that challenges will come that require responses. They could be new hacker threats, changes to your web hosting environment, etc.

Here is the mindset I try to cultivate among our clients:

If the matter is not urgent, try googling your problem or solution, being sure to use ‘more search tools’ down the left hand side of the search results screen and choosing ‘past month’. This makes sure that any WordPress tutorials or videos you see relate to the latest manifestation of this ever-evolvoing software and you’re not looking for buttons or parts that were superceded back in 2005.

If that fails, or the job is urgent, talk to your webmaster – Baker Marketing or your local WordPress expert.

This two pronged approach means that most clients and WordPress users can be quite self-sufficient, only needing to reach out and pay for support when time is the enemy or when their research misses the mark.

I will leave the final word to Azhar from Global Glimpser, whose comment spawned this article:

One thing I would like to add though is Support:

Yola: Great Support team even if you are using free Yola. They respond quickly. There is a Yola blog with some well written clear help articles/tutorials. Additionally, there is a forum just for YOLA.

WordPress: A lot harder to get direct email support but that isn’t a problem when you realise that there are forums (plural) apart from the official forum as well as multiple blogs just about WordPress. The number of WordPress users is so large that you can always ask/find what you need. If your problem is with hosting then all you have to do is contact your host.

 

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