Here’s the good new / bad news about WordPress. It’s relatively easy to learn the basics. Italics because the operative word is “relatively”.
Months ago I read a great blog post making this point better than I could hope to. If you’re reading this and it was you, apologies. You’re welcome to remind me. 🙂
Where I got it wrong
The point being made was that WordPress IS NOT easy. And that’s the trap many fall into. Frankly, honestly that may be where I myself unintentionally may have misguided people myself. For this I apologize. Sad secret, I can’t code my way out of a wet sack. Thankfully I know some very smart people who can. So I figured, heck if I can do this WordPress thing surely I could coach others. I was wrong. It’s simply beyond what many have the time and interest to build the skill set or discerning eye to see. The devil in the details stuff.
The fact is unless you’re doing more than basic things, unless you’re working it on a regular basis, done well WordPress still takes a lot of time and effort to master. Further, it requires some expertise developed out of experience. WordPress is NOT easy. It is simply easier than other full featured CMS’s. It’s relatively easy. Yes, you can find easier canned web solutions but lord help you if your needs fall outside the lines of specifically it has been designed to do.
And here comes the disclaimer. Agreed, it still and has always come down to right tool for the right job. And there are certainly applications and client circumstances where another CMS solutions would be a better choice and WP would not be advised. That however is a thick topic for another day.
WordPress is relatively easy, particularly to update once a site has been expertly designed for you. This when compared to other full CMS platforms.
WordPress is easier to learn and customize for general or individual needs.
Sirens Song of WordPress
Given that WordPress is relatively easy many brave souls are seduced into thinking… hey, yeah! I’m going go pick out one of those beautiful templates and build me a website. I’ve seen late night commercials. Kids do this right? It looks easy enough, it’ll take me a few hours and I’ll be in business. Besides, WordPress is open source and Free anyways, right?
Or the other dynamic is honest, hard-working, well meaning people interested in launching into the world of “professional” web development will start pounding out website for others.
The Unfortunate Part
The unfortunate part of WordPress is that with a lower bar of entry also comes a higher volume of do-it-yourself-ers and “professionals” who’ve not quite yet mastered the subtle complexities of web design and customization. This or they don’t quite yet have the horsepower for the needed follow-through. WordPress is not… take a breath… a set it and forget it platform. As much as you might wish it to be so it takes care and feeding. It is an evolving platform and that’s a good thing. You will need to either master updating and maintaining the site or have it done for you. Set it and forget it? That’s how sad things happen.
The WP paradox that leads to Job Security
The reason why all this comes to mind is we keep getting website owners (or other developers) coming to us who’ve gotten themselves in a pickle or in over their head. This is not a failing of WordPress. We’re huge fans ourselves and absolutely believe it is the right tool for the job for most folks we speak with. When it’s not we’ll admit that and refer you to some trusted experts. Even for those coming to us with broken sites it’s still the right platform for them, they simply need greater expertise.
A final note of caution though. Each of these folks we’ve helped get back on the rails and moving forward, every one of them had already paid someone else once already. Now they’re paying us to fix the mess, that is if it’s not a total train wreck and its not quicker and cheaper for them to have us redo it from scratch. Job security? Between our own clients and fixing other’s messes WordPress may be the gift that keeps on giving.