Five Ways to Familiarize Clients with WordPress

22 Comments

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.

Dummy Installations

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.

Hands-On Training

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.

Simplification Plugins

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.

Cheat Sheets

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…

Screencasting

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.

22 thoughts on “Five Ways to Familiarize Clients with WordPress

  1. Usually I have found hands on training to be the most effective, but it is rather time consuming. Tools such as the getting started section in the WordPress Codex, as well as WP Screencasts are perfect for more web savvy clients.

    It all depends on the client, so these are great suggestions!

    -Nathan

    WP Limits – Pushing the Limits of WordPress

  2. This is a great idea. I like the approach of walking them through the tasks that they will have to accomplish. It really helps you get an understanding of what is happening under the hood.
    Nice job.

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  4. Really great ideas, nice one. Certainly Screen casting would be a very good solution. Walking them through would be brilliant, but I think Screen casting can eliminate many of the common questions and problems.

  5. Great post. I hadn’t heard of WP Screencasts, but it sounds a great way of introducing clients to WordPress. Much better than trying to explain it all by email which I’ve tried to do in the past. 🙁

    Thanks for the ideas! 😀

  6. It would be nice if Rich could lend his cheatsheet to us, so we can benefit from his experiences that attributed to it, without having to start from scratch.

  7. @ Wes:

    I’m working on a project right now for a photographer that requires either quite a few custom fields (or the freshPost plugin–I’m actually not sure which way to go now that freshPost has become flutter and a bit too beta)…but anyway, its definitely one that will require the client to take on a bit of a learning curve and if he’s cool with it, I might think about releasing that cheatsheet to the public with the launch of his site. I’m still working on the static mark-up of the site, but if people are wiling to wait a week or so, I’d be happy to rock something out. Maybe I’ll selfishly incorporate that with the launch of my personal site.

    Rich

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  9. wow these are really helpful wplite if definitely going to help a client I am working with now work with wordpress a lot easier.

    The screencasts link looks like its a good link i’ll definityly start giving it to people. This gets a bookmark and a thumb up.

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  12. I do find the screencast method the most effective, taking into account it spares you from travelling to the client´s place, which in many cases is not even on your own city…
    Anyway, a screencast should be carefully planned, rehearsed and plotted before recording it, so to avoid mumbling and hesitating wich can lead to confusing the listener.
    Good article!

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  14. I like the plugin “Adminimize” for hiding elements of the backend, “CYC” for having the login screen look like part of the website and a modified version of “Custom User CSS” for further backend styling/hiding.

    Great article… WPCandy has taught me a bunch… thanks!

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