Help Your Small BusinessClient Maintain Their Own WordPress Site Jonathan May
Agenda§ Introductions§ What This Is – and Isn’t – About§ The Four Steps to Self-Maintenance Nirvana§ Questions, Success Stories and War Stories
Introductions• Who are you??? • Freelance Website designers/developers • Small business or not-for-profit people • In-house IT guys • Tool developers (themes, plugins, etc.) • Not Sure/Other
Introductions, cont’d• Who am I? • Currently a freelance Web Hmmm… whatever marketer, designer, developer happened to and chief-cook-and-bottle- COBOL??? washer at YourPresenceOnTheWeb.com • I have been programming, project managing, consulting and loving/hating everything to do with computers and software for over 30 years *COBOL => COmmon • Relatively new to WordPress… Business-Oriented and loving it! Language
What This Is – and Isn’t – About• This is NOT about technology (very much)• It’s all about becoming a trusted advisor to your client • As a trusted advisor, you are: • More valued than a whiz-bang code jockey • More likely to obtain follow-on business from a client • More likely to be referred to other clients • The catch: It doesn’t come easy
What This Is – and Isn’t – About• The scenario: • You are a freelance Web designer/deverloper • Joe’s Tax Service wants you to create a WordPress site for them • Joe is just getting started in business, doesn’t have much cash flow, and – to keep ongoing expenses down – doesn’t want to pay someone else to maintain his Website • What should you do? a. Jump right in and hope for the best – it’ll all work out b. Walk away from this soon-to-be mess, or…. c. Take the Four Steps to Self-Maintenance Nirvana!
The Four Steps to Self- Maintenance Nirvana1. Evaluate the Risk2. Plan the Approach3. Execute the Plan4. Re-evaluate and Adjust• This is really “Consulting 101”
Pop Quiz #2A: Matt Mullenweg is the original creator of
Step #0: Provide Some “Escape Clauses”• Build at least a modest amount of “warranty time” into your development agreement• Consider offering the client a “bare bones” ongoing maintenance and support agreement • Small monthly retainer (perhaps at a discounted rate) for a minimum number of billable hours • Additional time supporting the site above and beyond the minimum to be billed at your standard hourly rate • Minimum duration of 3 – 6 months
Step #1: Evaluate the Risk• Before you start the project, assess how risky it would be to have the client self-maintain the site• Why do that? • WordPress is supposed to be the Website development tool for the masses, isn’t it?• Well, yes, but… • But it takes training, experience and some basic aptitude to avoid botching up a site • A botched-up Website will hurt the client’s business, and possibly your business, too• Before you sign up for this gig, determine if the level of risk is acceptable
Step #1: Evaluate the Risk• Scenario #1: Acceptable risk • Site design is relatively simple, e.g, a basic “brochure site” with • 6 – 8 pages • A few key plugins • Little/no custom code • No e-commerce • No plans to make major changes/enhancements to the site immediately after launch • Site owner has some computer savvy This could work!
Step #1: Evaluate the Risk• Scenario #2: Danger, danger, Will Robinson! • Complex site design • Owner will be depending on site to generate significant revenue • Big plans for ongoing enhancement of the site after launch • Site owner possesses little/no basic computer skills or aptitude Consider a different approach!
Step #2: Plan Your Approach• Provide ways to reduce how much time they need to spend in the tool • Example: submit posts via e-mail• Work with your client to determine how they will get the training and experience they need to become a self-maintainer • WARNING: Do not attempt this with someone who lacks basic computer skills/aptitude
Step #2: Plan Your Approach• Plan the Training • Create a simple inventory of the set of skills the client must have • Focus on the 80/20 items • Start early in the process• Training Resources • Books (Lots of them available, but probably better as reference guides) • You (in a limited way only) • On-line videos (now you’re talking!) • Free: wpapprentice.com and freewptraining.com • NOT Free: lynda.com and wp101.com
Step #2: Plan Your Approach• Create a practice plan • Set up a practice sandbox • To avoid conflicts with development, consider creating a site at wordpress.com • Start with simple exercises, move to more complex • Drive off the skills inventory with 80/20 focus • Again, start early – “doing is learning”• Last but not least: Make sure the site owner buys into the plan!
Step #3: Execute the Plan• Do regular progress check-ins with the client• Have them show you the practice work they have done• Your role should be primarily to answer questions and provide feedback• Make sure any time you personally spend on training them is focused on high-leverage topics
Step #4: Re-evaluate and Adjust• If the client is really floundering or just isn’t making any progress… • Time to “Have The Talk” • As needed: • Step up training/practice efforts by the client • Invest more 1-on-1 training time with the client • Suggest re-considering at least a bare bones support agreement