A few weeks ago I published an article entitled ‘Does WordPress Scare Your Clients?’. In this article, I discussed difficulties I’ve experienced when using WordPress with clients, both as blogging software and as a tool for managing site content on a regular basis. With over 30 comments, I read many stories and suggestions about how other developers have tried to make their clients more comfortable with WordPress. Here’s a wrap-up of the best and most common suggestions I found.
One popular solution to making clients more familiar with WordPress is letting them use the CMS, hands-on, before the site is even finished. Dummy installations can let the user see how to write new posts, publish and edit pages, and more, without feeling they’re breaking anything or doing it wrong. Let them learn from any mistakes they make, and have the client begin managing their new site feeling comfortable with WordPress.
Possibly the most common method of WordPress training is sitting down with the client and walking them through the WordPress interface. If you are able to meet in person with the client, this is probably the best way to help them become accustomed to WordPress. Sit down with them at their office, the local coffee shop, or somewhere else out in town and give them a full walk-through of the tasks they need to perform to manage their site.
Several plugins for reducing the clutter of the WordPress admin were pointed out by our readers. My favorite, and probably the most functional, is WPlite, a plugin that strips down the write and edit pages for certain user levels via an options page. Using WPlite, the new post page can be stripped down as far as the title, post content, and excerpt boxes.
Repetitive tasks can be written, printed, and handed to clients, says commentator Rich.
“I have been printing out cheat sheets for common tasks on nice stock photo paper…I tend to print a dozen or so copies depending on the amount of users that will have access to the back end, and then I also email the contact with a .pdf of the same cheat sheet. It eliminates obvious questions, but has yet to be the end all solution.”
For clients who still like to have everything on paper, this might be a great solution. Rich’s idea might call for another WordPress Help Sheet…
This is the alternative, more interactive version of WordPress cheat sheets. Using screencasts, clients can watch how a common function is done, such as moderating a comment, and then apply that method to their site. Commentator Gabe Hernandez pointed out a great site, WP Screencasts, which publishes free training videos on managing your website with WordPress.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Have you found alternative methods to making your clients comfortable with WordPress, or are you stuck doing everything yourself? Sound off in the comments.