How designers can offer the wonders of content-managed sites, without becoming programmers:
I’ve was raised in a printing and publishing family. I started with DTP in 1985 (Year 1) and mastered all aspects of design and prepress. In 1994, I switched to doing websites, and until the DotCom crash, did serious large-scale corporate sites.
Lately, I’ve been setting up occasional WordPress blogs, Joomla and Drupal sites, and creating custom systems, for friends and family, and eventually for small business clients, locally in Nevada County.
The process has always been a moving target, but it’s always moving in the right direction, particularly with WordPress. Recent experience with Joomla and others has led me to recommend WordPress to my clients over other Content Management System (CMS) approaches, in almost every case. The clean code makes it possible to get almost anything done.
Is this blogging we’re talking about?
In the end, all Content Management Systems (CMSs) are the same: A database, a bunch of HTML/CSS for presentation, and the code that connects those things together. After that, it comes down to three things:
- is it easy to learn for the user-level client?
- is it good on search engine optimization?
- is it easy to modify into a variety of configurations?
WordPress is among the best in all these areas. A blog is just a particular way of setting up a CMS. It lists the latest post (article) at the top, older posts (or excerpts of the posts) descend from there, there are archives of the posts accessible by category, date, and individually, and each post can be commented on by readers. How you use that determines whether it’s a chatty tell-all, a story of a personal journey, or a serious business tool. In any case, it works awesomely for getting found on search engines. (More on blogs, here, soon…)
Can’t people just create their own blogs or CMS sites?
Yes. Clients can explore WordPress by setting up a site on WordPress.com, or they can try Blogger.com or one of the other great choices. Once they ‘get it going’ and want their own domain, design, and custom features, they can get all those things by (if they’re technical) downloading WordPress, installing it on a server, pointing a domain to it, and configuring it. If they’re non-technical, they can hire me to do it for them…
These systems have a lot of complexity, and a lot of detail, and in the end, it’s over most people’s heads to get the results they want and need from the either the WordPress-hosted, or the self-help approach. However, whatever stage the client has reached, it’s easy for me to step in and extend that effort to create a better solution, up to the limits of the client’s needs or budget. This is because the content they’ve developed can be moved forward easily, and the code can be made to do about anything a customer wants or needs.
Getting it set up is just the first part…
What has become clear is that most people benefit from coaching. This is because there is a lot to know, and most people need to learn a little, experiment and experience, then learn a little more. Also, as mentioned above, the web is a moving target. What you learn today will have changed within a few months. Even your WordPress installation will have changed in a few months, if you regularly do the recommended updates.
I’m currently working up ‘packages’ for design, implementation, support, and hosting, specifically aimed towards providing WordPress services on a wholesale basis to designers.
- Design implementation
Your design, adapted to dynamic content.
We can host, or work with most hosting services.
Getting all the parts on the server, and all the settings and extensions configured
Teaching the customer how to use WordPress to power their business
- Coaching & technical support
Helping the customer climb the learning curve, keep up to date, and deal with the latest features and bugs.
I’ll be creating links from the above bullet list with details, soon.