One of the things that often needs to be done with WordPress is client WordPress training in order to maintain the site. (Of course, this holds true for any CMS.) There’s a balance involved in this: The more capabilities the clients needs to do on the website, the more training is needed. There are ways to customize the editor/admin user interface to make things more obvious for the client in how to do what they regularly do.
However, if they are irregular users, sometimes more training is needed as well. Somebody who does something once every three months – or once a year – doesn’t easily recall what they did the last time. Documentation is necessary.
And… software keeps on changing. Any training provided needs to be kept current with any major changes to a plugin or core capabilities or requirements. New plugins require education as well.
In addition to turnover in software, we have turnover in people. You can provide documentation and training to a WordPress client, but if it isn’t retained or maintained, and if the person is replaced, and the new person isn’t versed in WordPress, you’re close to the beginning on training as well.
So, we see that client WordPress training is full of variables – time, people, software, needs, interest. And then there’s this: most budget-conscious clients don’t want to spend much on WordPress training.
So, considerably varying costs and generally low revenue – is it any wonder that client WordPress training is perhaps the weakest part of the WordPress economy, both in terms of expenditures and in terms of quality?
There are solutions out there for the savvy WordPress client. And if they are savvy, they can find training and teaching options in the WordPress environment that suits their needs.
But what about all the rest of the WordPress site clients?
This is exactly where open source displays a big weakness, in the continuing education for web site owners. It isn’t that there isn’t quality information out there, it is that it is often focused on the site designer rather than the site owner. It isn’t that people don’t try to teach their clients how to maintain their sites, it is that the economics of continuously doing so can easily surpass the web site owners’ desire to pay.
At some point there should be some quality surveying of web site owners in the WordPress space about their abilities to manage their sites, their interest in doing so, and eventually how much value web site owners see in training. I stress the word quality. This shouldn’t be about upselling training services, but to measure the depth of the hole of customer understanding of WordPress and what the reality is for filling in that hole. This goes to the long run viability of WordPress as a content management system IF we believe that WordPress should be more usable directly by the client.
I think most of us recognize there is a wide spectrum of interest – and time – by staff of a client about WordPress. Some want as much information as they can get to get the most out of it. Some treat web site work as a task to be completed as quickly as possible. Some simply do not want to do it at all, and are so irregular in using that they forget much of what they previously were trained on. It is time that we start getting a general handle on these client user tendencies to better develop WordPress.