The WordPress Paradox: If WordPress Is The Answer, What Is The Question?

WordPress is becoming easier for non-techies to build, run, and manage their own websites without requiring technical web services like web development, web design, website building, website maintenance, etc. This is the paradox of WordPress …

WordPress Paradox: More web service businesses are selling WordPress services to clients who could easily perform these services themselves!Consider this …

Give any teenager a brand new mobile phone and within minutes, they will have fully customized it, configured its settings and downloaded the apps they need to chat with their friends and play games.

The typical smartphone user is not a mobile application developer and doesn’t need technical knowledge or expertise of how mobile phone technologies work to get results using their mobile device.

The typical smartphone user can easily learn how:

  • Send and receive calls, video chats, and text messages,
  • Configure their phone’s settings,
  • Customize their phone with skins, screensavers, wallpapers, and other accessories,
  • Change the layout of their user interface by rearranging icons and folders on their screen top,
  • Enhance the functionality of their device by downloading and installing apps,
  • Update their software and apps automatically,
  • Backup all of their phone’s data and preferences,
  • Run a business from their phone,
  • And more … all without technical expertise or outsourcing the above tasks to mobile phone experts!

Smartphone users don't need technical expertise to use their phones.

(Smartphone users don’t need technical expertise to use their phones. Source: Pixabay)

We could argue, then, that smartphone users have complete control of their mobile presence without requiring technical skills or hiring technical experts because smartphone manufacturers and mobile software and app developers have created a user-friendly framework that supports and empowers non-technical users to engage with mobile devices.

In a similar kind of way, WordPress has also created a user-friendly framework that can support and empower non-technical users to engage with their website.

The problem, is that most non-techie WordPress users have not been empowered to take control of their digital presence and end up becoming hostages of technical service providers like website developers and digital marketers. This is explained in more detail in The Small Business Digital Manager.

The WordPress Paradox

Imagine giving a teenager a brand new phone and then telling them that they can’t use their phone unless they hire technical experts and pay them a monthly fee to customize the look and feel of their phone and to download and manage their apps or look after their text messaging.

They would look at you like you have just asked them to eat spiders for lunch.

Yet, this is exactly what most website owners do with WordPress. They hire website developers to build them a website they could easily build and configure themselves with no coding skills required and then pay them a monthly fee to manage and maintain sites that could be easily managed and maintained with a few mouse clicks or automation.

The paradox of WordPress is that WordPress is becoming easier for non-techies to build, run, and manage their own websites without requiring technical web services like web development, web design, website building, website maintenance, etc.

Pressure from market-driven economies and global competition demand that technologies become increasingly more user-friendly and evolve from being complex and complicated to simpler and easier to use.

Non-techies are the end users of the WordPress CMS platform. They are the target audience of tens of thousands of WordPress developers and web service providers and the reason why WordPress exists.

Like all technologies designed to service non-technical end users, therefore, it is inevitable that if WordPress wants to remain competitive and maintain its global dominance as the leading web platform used by millions of websites worldwide, it will have to keep evolving and become simpler and easier for non-techies to use without requiring coding knowledge or advanced technical skills.

As we explain in Keep Calm And Use WordPress, WordPress puts non-techies in complete control of their digital presence with customizable themes, fully configurable plugins, and integrated features and functions like wizards, visual interfaces, plug-and-play, drag-and-drop, copy and paste, shortcodes, widgets, ‘one-click’ updates and installations, and more.

With WordPress, anyone can build, manage, and grow a website without technical skills required and they can do this all at minimal cost. In fact, as our WordPress tutorials for non-technical users show, you don’t need to hire a web developer or learn how to code to do the following:

The WordPress paradox has another side.  As WordPress is becoming easier for non-techies to build, run, and manage their own websites without requiring technical people to provide web services like web development, web design, website building, website maintenance, etc., more technical web service providers are offering these very same WordPress services to non-technical users.

Because WordPress is 100% free to use, modify, and distribute, and completely configurable and fully customizable thanks to thousands of inexpensive plugins and themes, it creates an attractive opportunity for web service providers to build a profitable business selling high perceived value web services that can be assembled and delivered really quickly at a very low cost.

The increasing popularity and dominance of WordPress means that more businesses offering WordPress services will be started in the future.

The inevitable outcome of this paradox, then, seems to point to more businesses offering clients’ services they can easily perform themselves.

If WordPress Is The Answer, What Is The Question?

Just like teenage smartphone users, non-technical WordPress users can control all areas of their digital presence without having to become technical experts themselves or having to hire technical experts to get things done.

If WordPress is continually evolving to make it easier for non-technical users to build, run, and manage their digital presence without employing technical experts, why aren’t most website owners doing this?

The Self-Building Website

As stated earlier, pressure from the market and global competition demand that technologies become increasingly more user-friendly and evolve from complexity to simplicity.

Just like the process of building a home is becoming simpler and easier for home owners to access (see video below) …

(Technologies are getting simpler and easier for non-techies to use)

… so will the process of building websites and online businesses become simpler and easier for non-techie business owners.

Consider this analogy …

Imagine an app that is free to download and use and can instantly scan and repair all problems with your motor vehicle.

You download the app for free, click one button and in seconds, all your vehicle’s issues and problems are instantly and automatically repaired. Your car’s fuel, oil, water, brake, and transmission fluids are topped up, your tyres are perfectly inflated, your engine purrs like a kitten, all electronic and mechanical components work as new … even the car’s interior and exterior have been detailed and thoroughly cleaned. All you have to do is get in and drive (watch the video below – coming soon!).

Wouldn’t this be fantastic?

Now, here is the thing. If we apply the principles of the WordPress Paradox to this analogy, then:

  1. Every car owner in the world would now be able to keep their vehicles fully maintained and repaired for free with no automotive repair knowledge or mechanical skills, simply by downloading this wonderful app and clicking a button, yet, simultaneously …
  2. Thousands of new businesses would be started by both experienced motor vehicle repairers and entrepreneurial sales and marketing people offering motor vehicle repair and maintenance services to ‘non-mechanical’ car owners.

Now … you might be thinking “why wouldn’t every car owner just download this free app and repair their own vehicle?”

As a quick aside, this is exactly what someone who truly understands the power of WordPress thinks when they see a website owner putting their website developer in charge of their website.

Back to our car repair app analogy, here are the only possible reasons why car owners wouldn’t download the app and repair their own vehicles at the click of a button:

  1. They don’t know the app exists,
  2. They know the app exists but they don’t understand what it does or how it works,
  3. They know the app exists and understand what it does and how it works, but they are either just “too lazy” or reluctant to do it themselves and are happy to pay someone else to do it for them,
  4. They know the app exists and understand what it does and how it works but they would rather drive a car with problems than repair their vehicle.
  5. They have been told by experts that it’s better to ‘leave it to the experts’ in case they ‘stuff things up’ and put their lives and the lives of their family at risk trying to do things themselves.

Interestingly enough, these are the same reasons why most businesses don’t build, run, and manage their own websites and rely instead on outsourced technical service providers like website developers. This is also addressed in The Small Business Digital Manager.

Divergent Species

In “The Time Machine,” H. G. Wells’ classic sci-fi novel about time travel, humans have evolved into two separate species: the Eloi and the Morlocks.

The Eloi live on the surface and enjoy a leisurely existence playing and basking in the sun. They have no understanding of technology, as everything they need is provided for them by the Morlocks.

Morlocks live underground. They build, operate, and maintain the machinery and technologies that keep the Eloi alive. Morlocks also depend on the Eloi to survive, but for a much darker reason …

The Future Of WordPress?

(Is this the future of WordPress? Image: Britannica.com)

Is this the future of WordPress, then? A world where only those who understand technology can operate the machinery and those who don’t are destined to end up becoming entirely dependent on those who are tech-savvy?

The evidence seems to point to the contrary.

While many web applications and web technologies require tech-savvy users to install, manage, and run, this is not the case with WordPress. In fact, one can even argue that this goes against the greater implications of WordPress’ own mission to democratize publishing.

If publishing is to be truly democratized, then all who participate in the process must be able to understand it. Technological progress is often made when the end users themselves are allowed to participate in its improvement by contributing suggestions, feedback, and observations from their own user experience.

One of the problems as highlighted by the WordPress paradox, is that WordPress is designed to benefit users who don’t really care about how the technology works.

Simultaneously, the people who typically end up being responsible for training and educating users about WordPress don’t necessarily want users to become fully empowered to control their own web presence.

It’s like asking Morlocks to teach the Eloi how to look after their own needs when all the Eloi want to do is play in the sun and have things done for them. Morlocks need the Eloi to remain ignorant and dependent on the Morlocks to survive.

They are divergent species, much like technical and non-technical users.

There is no point trying to get non-techies to do ‘techie’ things like learn to code or modify CSS or php code in their web templates to create custom functions.  Non-techies just can’t get interested or excited about stuff like that. They are interested in getting results, not learning about all the machinery that goes into making their technology work.

On the other hand, techies aren’t interested in spending time showing non-techies how to use technology to be in complete control of their digital processes so they can get consistent results like drive more traffic, get more leads, and grow more sales in their business. Techies are too busy working and tinkering with machinery to focus on training, educating, and empowering users.

As we explain in The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching, And Training New WordPress Users, even if website developers wanted to go against their self-interest and help their clients become fully self-empowered WordPress users, most lack an effective system to educate and train non-technical users.

The WordPress Paradox, then, poses a number of challenges for the ‘WordPress Economy’ and affects not only the WordPress services industry and WordPress users, but the future of WordPress itself.

To better understand this, let’s begin by asking some simple questions:

Growth & Dominance Of The WordPress Platform

Q: Can WordPress continue supporting a growing services industry? 

WordPress is the world's most popular web building platform

(WordPress is the world’s most popular web building platform. Source: W3Techs.com)

WordPress is currently used by over a quarter of all websites around the world. It is also the world’s leading CMS platform. WordPress’ ease of use has contributed to a growing web services industry where tens of thousands of website, plugin, and theme developers continually help WordPress evolve and expand to make WordPress even easier to use.

Many industry experts and WordPress pundits predict that WordPress will continue to grow its current market share and eventually will power the majority of the web. This is not surprising, as many web developers and web designers love working with WordPress. They love the almost unlimited power and flexibility of its open source platform, its support community, its scalability, extensive plugin and theme libraries, and support for integrations with other technology platforms.

The significant increase in new website development businesses and agencies offering WordPress services is also fuelled by the fact that WordPress allows service providers to build professional and expensive looking sites with very low costs of production, high profit margins, and fast turnaround times.

WordPress, then, is without a doubt a fantastic platform for web developers and web service providers.

But … what about WordPress users?

Most WordPress Users Are Non-Techies

Q: Why aren’t more WordPress users starting, managing, and growing their own digital presence themselves? Why are they paying for services that they can easily do themselves?

For the WordPress services industry to remain viable and continue growing it needs end users who are willing to pay for web services. The obvious group of end users who are willing to pay for web services are businesses that need a web presence.

In The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching, And Training New WordPress Users, we use a very simplistic model to describe users like web developers as being technically inclined, and users who need help with technical areas like building, running, and maintaining their websites as being technically declined 

Are You Technically Inclined Or Technically Declined?

(A very simplistic way to classify WordPress users)

The WordPress Economy, then, is made up of both technically ‘inclined’ and technically ‘declined’ users.

Ultimately, non-techies make up the larger group of WordPress users. They are also the reason for keeping the WordPress Economy alive and growing.

Non-techies comprise of users like businesses that need a web presence and who are averse to learning ‘technical’ stuff like coding and web programming languages. They are end users who keep web developers in business by paying for WordPress services like website installation, WordPress setup, and WordPress maintenance.

Technically inclined users need technically declined users to sell services to!

(Technically inclined users need technically declined users to sell services to!)

Technical people like website developers need non-technical prospects and clients to sell their services to. They need users who depend on their web services to stay in business.

Non-techies, however, also expect their website developers to train them how to use their websites. Additionally, and for better or worse, clients of website developers also expect to be shown how to get better results online with their websites and have complete control of their web presence.

As we explain in the challenges of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users and in The Small Business Digital Manager, providing non-technical WordPress users with effective WordPress training that will help them get better results online with their websites and have complete control of their web presence is not easy for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is the inherent conflict of interest that exists between WordPress service providers and their clients.

WordPress Service Providers Vs WordPress Users: A Conflict Of Interest

For most non-technical users, their website developer is their main source of accessing information, help, and advice regarding their websites. After all, they are the ones who typically have helped them plan and build their website.

If a website developer builds clients a website, they are also responsible for training clients how to use it. When clients pay for a website, most expect to be shown how to use, manage and have control of their website.

Just like teenagers with mobile phones, if WordPress users can easily build, run, manage, and do just about anything they want with their websites without needing technical skills or outsourcing to technical experts, then there is no reason why non-technical users can’t learn how to do everything themselves with WordPress.

Empowering prospects and clients to build, run, and manage their own web presence, however, is a conflict of interest for businesses that provide WordPress services like WordPress installation, website building, web maintenance, etc. After all, these businesses need clients who depend on their services to stay in business.

Who in the WordPress Economy, then, is providing non-technical users with truly self-empowering WordPress education and training that will help them have complete control of their digital presence?

Technical service providers need dependent non-technical clients, but non-technical clients expect their service providers to empower them!

(Technical service providers need dependent non-technical clients, but non-technical clients expect their service providers to empower them!)

WordPress Service Providers Need Dependent Clients

Q: How do people who aren’t interested in ‘technical stuff’ like coding and building web sites become self-empowered WordPress users? 

Techie WordPress users generally don’t need to hire other techie WordPress users and pay for basic WordPress services. They can easily learn how to install, configure, manage, maintain, optimize, and protect their own WordPress sites by visiting the official WordPress Codex or using many free WordPress resources and tutorials that are available online.

Most techie WordPress users are, in fact, self-taught DIYselfers.

If the WordPress Paradox is true (and judging by the number of emails I get from people trying to sell me website development services it seems to be true), then we can deduce that a significant number of these technical users will start or are running businesses selling WordPress services to non-technical users …

Many techie WordPress users will start or are running businesses selling WordPress services

(Many techie WordPress users will start or are running businesses selling WordPress services)

If the WordPress Paradox is true, then we can also deduce that the first ‘port of call’ for non-technical users who want to start or build a business online is to hire a website developer, becaue they are averse to learning technical stuff, and believe that building and managing websites requires technical skills and expertise.

Hence, we can safely assume that most non-technical WordPress users will get most or all their WordPress education and training from their website developers …

Most technically declined users learn about WordPress from website developers

(Most non-techies learn about WordPress from their website developers)

If …

  • Website developers are the gatekeepers through which information about WordPress gets passed on to non-technical users, and
  • People like website developers depend on non-technical users to keep their businesses going,

Then …

  • Why would service providers who (1) depend on clients to stay in business and (2) control access to information about WordPress want their clients to be able to fully control and manage their own web presence without service providers being involved?

Therefore …

What incentive do businesses that depend on selling WordPress services have to inform their prospects or clients that WordPress:

  • Is 100% FREE,
  • Can be used to build and run professional websites for little more than the cost of a domain name and web hosting (i.e. less than $10 per month)
  • Can be installed in minutes with a couple of clicks on any hosting account with cPanel,
  • Works pretty much right out of the box,
  • Can make any site look professional and amazing using FREE or inexpensive themes that are easy to install, configure, and update,
  • Can be expanded to provide virtually unlimited functionality using FREE or inexpensive plugins that are easy to install, configure, and update,
  • Can add any type of media, including scripts into their content using a WYSIWYG editor, shortcodes, copy and paste, etc.
  • Can be easily customized using one-click tools, wizards, widgets, drag and drop, etc.
  • Can be easily kept up-to-date, backed up and maintained either automatically or using inexpensive automation tools,
  • Can easily automate and integrate services and processes that generate business results like online marketing, SEO, and traffic generation using many inexpensive plugins, free services, and SaaS tools,
  • And that all of the above can be done easily in minutes … with no technical skills required and at minimal cost in just a few clicks and with basic computer skills?

As explained in our WordPress Digital Business Blueprint, most small businesses can build a successful online presence using WordPress without spending much money to start with and only bring in technical experts when their business has reached a point where they either truly need customized solutions or when outsourcing makes sense.

Isn’t teaching non-technical WordPress users all this in their best interest?

The Paradoxical ‘Blind Spot’ Of WordPress

Q: Many website developers promise clients websites that they will be able to fully “manage themselves,” but do they actually show clients how to fully manage their websites?

As we explain in The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching, And Training New WordPress Users, many ‘techie’ service providers believe that non-technical users should best leave all things related to their websites in the hands of technical experts. Some even argue that most users will “stuff things up” if given a chance to manage their own sites …

Many web developers believe clients will "stuff things up" if they managed their own sites!

(Many web developers believe clients will “stuff things up” if they managed their own sites!)

Because no one is really taking the time to educate non-technical users otherwise, most non-technical users also believe that building and managing websites is best left to technical experts. This creates a paradoxical “blind spot” that prevents many non-techie WordPress users from learning how to manage and control their own web presence. It also keeps them dependent on using technical service providers to look after areas they could easily take care of on their own.

WordPress Paradox – The Proof

Q: How can we prove that non-technical WordPress users can be in complete control of their own web presence without requiring technical skills or the services of technical experts?

Just as we now know that dark matter exists despite the lack of visible evidence because of the effect it has on visible objects, we can also “see” the paradoxical ‘blind spot’ of WordPress by looking for sites that have been entirely built and configured, and are being maintained, managed, and marketed successfully by WordPress users who have no technical skills and who don’t require technical experts to manage their own websites.

Sounds impossible?

No … you’re looking at one of these sites right now!

WPCompendium.org is entirely built, configured, maintained, managed, and marketed successfully by a non-techie WordPress user who has no coding skills and no need to pay for basic WordPress maintenance and management services like installing and configuring themes and plugins, updating software, making site backups, etc.

This site attracts thousands of users from all around the world using a default WordPress theme and mostly free or very inexpensive plugins.

Everything here has been built by constantly asking questions like:

  • “Can a non-technical user do this?”
  • “Can a non-techie duplicate this process and achieve similar results if they follow these steps?”
  • “Is there a way to add XYZ to this site to create better results without touching code?”
  • “How can we implement this method or strategy without ending up as a hostage of technical service providers?”
  • “How far can this site grow without requiring technical skills, technical experts or investing in expensive solutions?”

WPCompendium.org, then,  is proof of the WordPress Paradox.

Using WordPress allows non-techies to build, run, and manage their own websites without requiring technical web services like web development, web design, website building, website maintenance, etc.

The entire process used to build this site has been fully documented over many years and turned into hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials specifically aimed at helping non-technical WordPress users take control of their own digital presence and get better results online without learning how to code or depending on technical experts for help with things that they can easily learn and do themselves.

For example, our step-by-step WordPress tutorials can show anyone how to do the following:

  • Install a professional website for business or personal use on their own domain that is completely customizable, flexible, scalable and fully configurable using one-click WordPress installation software and a web hosting server with cPanel management software installed.
  • Add any type of content they want to their web pages (text, images, videos, audio podcasts, webinars, etc.) using a familiar and intuitive WYSIWYG editor, built-in publishing tools, and powerful features like shortcodes,
  • Easily manage all of their content using a powerful content management system (CMS) that works right out of the box,
  • Instantly add any type of functionality they need or can imagine to their site using WordPress plugins,
  • Instantly change the entire look and feel of their site’s web design using WordPress themes, or change the layout of their site using widgets,
  • Automatically deliver web content optimized for mobile device users (using mobile-responsive WordPress themes)
  • Add various ways to interact, engage and communicate online directly with site visitors (using plugins),
  • Instantly improve their site’s SEO,
  • Test, split-test, compare and tweak different website elements and measure results of these changes to improve site conversions (using plugins and advanced features built into many WordPress themes),
  • Automate sales and marketing strategies, e.g. add lead generation, e-commerce sales and payment processing, membership site registration, newsletter subscriptions, etc. (using various plugins),
  • Automate management and maintenance of their site’s files and data, including updating all software components, scheduling backups, etc. (using backup plugins),
  • Immediately get newly-published content picked up by search engines and shared across all major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.) and dozens of authoritative online directories and web information outlets,
  • Integrate their site with third-party business software applications (e.g. to allow visitors to calculate quotes, make bookings or reservations, register and pay for courses or events, or invoice clients, generate reports, etc.) using plugins and solutions designed to interface seamlessly with WordPress,
  • Manage and maintain all aspects of their website,
  • Optimize their site’s speed and improve site performance,
  • Secure and protect their site’s data and files,
  • Easily restore site files and data if required,
  • Troubleshoot common WordPress errors and problems,
  • Run various online marketing strategies to increase traffic and get more sales, leads, and subscribers,
  • And so much more!

How To Resolve The WordPress Paradox

Q: If users can easily install, configure, manage, maintain, and expand their websites without requiring technical skills or expertise just by clicking a couple of buttons, why do they need to hire people for services like website building, web design, website maintenance, etc.?

There are no simple answers here. Part of the reason is that non-technical users don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know that they can do it all themselves.

Another part of the reason is that website developers don’t want their clients to know this and have no incentive to inform, educate, teach, train, or empower non-technical users to have complete control of their digital presence.

Most WordPress users want ‘self-empowerment.’ They don’t want to be “held hostage” by their web service providers. Service providers, however, need clients who depend on their services. Many service providers believe that dependency is good for their business and that empowerment is not.

Empowerment Through Better WordPress Education And Training Is The Key

The key to resolving the WordPress Paradox is to empower users through better WordPress education and training.

We do a huge disservice to anyone and everyone who participates in the WordPress Economy if we fail to educate users about all the benefits and advantages WordPress has to offer and hold back from teaching people all the ways they can use WordPress to work more efficiently and improve their results and/or their bottom line.

A Disservice To WordPress Users

Keeping WordPress users ‘hostage’ and ignorant of all the ways they can benefit with WordPress can end up costing them thousands of dollars. If we truly help users understand all the ways WordPress can help their business grow and show them how to do this, users can then choose to do things themselves and save money, or outsource the work to others and save time.

A Disservice To WordPress Service Providers

WordPress service providers that don’t empower their clients will eventually lose them to those that do. Promoting abundance, growth, and expansion helps create success, while acting on scarcity and fear of loss typically leads to failure.

A Disservice To WordPress Itself

The WordPress community is continually developing new features, plugins, themes, and solutions designed to make things easier and more intuitive for technically declined users. The more we help people learn about WordPress and all it can do, the more WordPress products and services they will want to use.

The more you empower people to use WordPress, the more WordPress products & services they will want to use!

(The more you empower people to use WordPress, the more WordPress products & services they will want to use!)

It’s All About Giving Users A Choice

Ultimately, it’s all about giving all WordPress users a choice!

If users are given the choice between learning how to build, configure, maintain, and market their own websites and then shown that they can actually do all of this themselves without technical skills and at minimal cost, most users would still probably choose to outsource the work.

The difference is that by empowering users with the knowledge, training, and education that they can do it themselves, users would know that they have a choice.

Many non-technical users dont know they have this choice. Not having a choice can lead to many important decisions that affect their business being made for them by people acting out of self-interest who are not part of their business and who ultimately have no vested interest in their success.

Online business decisions, choices, and assumptions are not a website developer’s to make. They are the user’s. After all, who are website developers building a website for?

Paradoxically, by truly empowering WordPress users and giving them the choice of doing things themselves or outsourcing the work, WordPress service providers will actually create more trust and loyalty with clients and sell more services.

As we explain in our guide on how to effectively train new WordPress users, service providers can empower users by educating and training them how to use WordPress, then giving them the choice of saving money by doing things themselves or saving time by outsourcing the work if they are too busy or don’t want to do things themselves.

Empowering new WordPress users, however, is very challenging. We address many of these challenges in The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching, And Training New WordPress Users and in The Small Business Digital Manager.

In Summary …

WordPress is becoming easier for non-techies to build, run, and manage their own websites without requiring technical web service providers.

The popularity, power, flexibility, scalibility, low cost, and open source nature of WordPress, however, means that more users can now also run businesses selling WordPress web services.

The paradox of WordPress, then, is that as pressure from the market and global competition are making WordPress easier for non-technical users to build, run, and manage their own websites and perform services like website building, web design, and website maintenance on their own without getting technical experts involved, more businesses are selling WordPress web services to clients who could easily perform these services themselves.

This also creates an inherent conflict of interest between clients that expect to become empowered to run and manage their websites and businesses online with full control of their digital presence and web service providers who need clients to remain disempowered and dependent on their services to stay in business.

One way to resolve the WordPress Paradox and create ‘win-win’ outcomes in the WordPress Economy, then, is for WordPress service providers to inform, educate, teach, train, and empower new WordPress users.

The empowerment of non-technical WordPress users is the key to helping millions of new WordPress users build more successful  business online, which will ensure the success of WordPress service providers, the WordPress developer community, and ultimately the success of WordPress itself.

WordPress Paradox: More web service businesses are selling WordPress services to clients who could easily perform these services themselves!

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users

Empowering new WordPress users to get results from their WordPress websites is challenging and requires an effective WordPress training and education system!

Do You Sell WordPress Services?Do you build WordPress sites for clients or provide services that require you to educate and train people to use WordPress?

If so, no doubt you’ve probably experienced some of the challenges of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users.

Search online or visit forums and discussion groups frequented by WordPress service providers, web developers, web designers, etc. and you will see that the question of “how to train WordPress clients” frequently comes up …

How Do You Train Your WordPress Clients?

(“How Do You Train Your WordPress Clients?” Source: WordPress Experts – LinkedIn Groups)

Having spent well over a decade as a WordPress educator and trainer working with businesses of all sizes, I am well aware of the challenges of educating and training new WordPress users.

In fact, I have spent years systematically trying to address these challenges in order to develop an effective system for training and empowering WordPress users.

This article explores the challenges of not only educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users, but also how to do this in a way that will empower users to get better results online using WordPress.

Info

In addition to this article, see these additional posts:

The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users

WordPress is easy to use when you know how but hard to explain to someone who has never heard of WordPress before.

Learning how to use most technologies often requires undergoing a steep learning curve and WordPress is not different.

The real challenge with teaching someone how to use WordPress, however, is not showing them how to post content on their website, but teaching them how to become a self-empowered WordPress user.

A self-empowered WordPress user is someone who is in complete control of their digital presence and who can achieve better results online by knowing how WordPress works and how all the different features, functions, options, settings, integrations, enhancements, add-ons, etc. can be used to achieve the results they want.

Most current WordPress training sites, methods, courses, and resources aren’t designed to truly empower new WordPress users. At least not the WordPress end users, i.e. the businesses who own a WordPress site and should be in control of their digital presence.

As explained in The WordPress Paradox, WordPress allows anyone to be in complete control of their digital presence and create the results they want with WordPress without requiring technical skills like coding or programming.

A self-empowered WordPress user, then, is someone who does not need to depend on people with technical skills to get basic things done, like:

  • Add new pages and posts.
  • Publish and edit content.
  • Upload files, add images, videos, downloadable files, etc. to their site.
  • Manage and maintain their site and their content, software, files, and database updated and secure.
  • Perform file and data backups.
  • Install, configure, and update plugins and themes.
  • Configure, tweak and optimize their site’s settings.
  • Use widgets, shortcodes, RSS feeds, etc.
  • Automate management and marketing processes.
  • Troubleshoot common WordPress errors.
  • And a whole lot more.

Helping new WordPress users become self-empowered so they can perform all the above processes and activities themselves if they had to, however, is very challenging.

WordPress requires an effective training system that will:

  • Fully educate users about WordPress and the practical benefits and advantages of using the WordPress platform,
  • Show users how the unique and powerful features of WordPress can help them achieve the results they want, and
  • Empower users to have complete control of their web presence.

Put more simply, an effective WordPress training system should help users answer the following questions:

  1. Why WordPress?
  2. How Do I Get Results Using WordPress? 

A lot of content has been written about WordPress, but as we’ll soon see, most of it is not specifically directed at the audience that needs it the most. The challenge of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users can be broken down into the following sections:

  1. Challenges of identifying WordPress end users and their needs.
  2. Challenges of providing WordPress education and training services.
  3. Challenges of creating effective WordPress training resources.
  4. Challenges of implementing effective WordPress training methods.

Let’s go through each of these sections …

The Challenge Of Identifying WordPress End Users & Their Needs

The first step to addressing the challenges of educating, teaching, and training people about WordPress is to work out who needs to learn what.

Who Needs WordPress Education & Training?

For the sake of keeping things simple, let’s divide our audience of WordPress users into two main groups:

  1. People who are technically-minded (we’ll call these WordPress users technically inclined)
  2. People who are not technically-minded (we’ll call these non-techie WordPress users technically declined)

WordPress users tend to be either technically inclined or technically declined

(WordPress users tend to be either technically inclined or technically declined)

The WordPress Economy is made up of both technically ‘inclined’ and technically ‘declined’ people.

Technically inclined people typically don’t mind spending time learning how things work. They also tend to be autodidactic (self-taught) and can easily learn WordPress using free resources like the WordPress Codex, searching online for answers, going through tutorials posted by other WordPress users, and by participating in forums, user groups, online discussions, WordPress meets, etc.

Technically declined people, on the other hand, want websites they can be in control of and manage themselves, but most are averse to learning ‘technical’ stuff. They don’t want to learn how to edit code, learn web languages, etc. They just want to get better results online with their websites.

As we explain in our guide on how to effectively train and empower new WordPress users, technically declined users don’t want to learn how a fishing rod works, they just want to “catch fish.”

As a general statement, then, technically inclined people (e.g. website developers) provide web services to technically declined people (e.g. small businesses). This creates an interdependency.

Technically inclined and technically declined users

(Technically inclined and technically declined users … one of those “circle of life” things!)

As we’ll see in a moment, this interdependency adds to the challenges of educating, training, and teaching new WordPress users.

Sticking with our simplified classification system for now, let’s further divide technically ‘declined’ users into two subcategories:

  • Technically declined people who do not use WordPress (yet), and
  • Technically declined people who will need to use WordPress in the future

Technically declined users are your prospects and clients

(Technically declined users are your prospects and clients)

Technically declined people who are not using WordPress yet are your prospects. This group of people need to be educated about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress. Some of them may have never even heard about WordPress. This group includes most business owners, people planning to start or take a business online, would-be bloggers, etc.

Technically declined people who have a WordPress website or blog are your clients. This group of people need to be educated about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress and be taught how to use the many different features and functions of WordPress to achieve better results online using their websites or blogs.

So … prospects need WordPress education and clients need both WordPress education and WordPress training.

Technically declined users need WordPress education & training

(Non-techie WordPress users need WordPress education & training)

So far, we have identified two different groups of ‘technically declined’ users who have different WordPress education and training needs.

Let’s go back to our technically inclined users for a moment.

Technically inclined users can also be divided into two subcategories:

  • DYIselfers who want to learn WordPress in order to build, manage, and grow their own web presence, and
  • Website developers, web designers, etc. who want to learn WordPress to help other people build, manage, and grow their web presence.

Technically inclined WordPress DIY users and service sellers

(Technically inclined WordPress DIY users and service sellers)

We don’t need to be concerned about DIY WordPress users here, as they have the drive and motivation to seek answers for themselves and can teach themselves everything they need to know about WordPress from the myriad of WordPress resources that are currently available.

The important relationship to focus on here is the interdependency between ‘technically inclined’ WordPress service sellers who need ‘technically declined’ prospects and clients to sell their services to.

Techies don’t need general WordPress services like website development, WordPress maintenance, etc. as they can easily learn how to do all this themselves.

People who provide general WordPress services, on the other hand, need non-technical-minded prospects and clients who will pay for their services and keep them in business.

So, if one website developer needs 10 clients to stay in business, then, logically, the “WordPress Economy” must consist of a much greater number of technically declined end-users …

Non Techie WordPress users make up the bulk of the WordPress Economy

(Non techie WordPress users make up the bulk of the ‘WordPress Economy’)

Clearly, then, non techie WordPress users make up the bulk of the WordPress Economy. They are the largest group of end users who will consume WordPress products and services. Non-techie WordPress users, therefore, are the ones ultimatey responsible for keeping the WordPress industry and WordPress itself alive and growing.

Most WordPress developers, plugin developers, theme developers, etc. ultimately need non-techie WordPress users to stay in business.

The main challenge with educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users, then, is found in the interdependency between techie service sellers and their non-techie prospects and clients …

Technically inclined users sell WordPress services to technically declined users!

(Technically inclined users sell WordPress services to technically declined users!)

Technically Declined WordPress Users Want Self-Empowerment, Not Dependency

Most non-techie WordPress users don’t care about the technology that powers their website and have no desire to learn technical web stuff. They don’t want to become web developers and they are not interested in messing with code and scripts and learning web languages. That’s why they pay people like website developers to do technical stuff for them!

Most website owners don't want to learn technical stuff, they just want results!

(Most website owners don’t want to learn technical stuff, they just want results!)

Most non-techie WordPress end users, however, care about getting results. They don’t care if their websites are built with techno poop as long as it brings them more customers, more leads, more sales, more subscribers, etc.

Non-techie WordPress users don’t just want better results, however, they also need to feel that they are in complete control of their web presence.

If I buy a car, I want to feel that I own it and that I am in complete control of my vehicle. I should be able to drive it anywhere I want to go without having to be chauffered around by someone else and I should be able to drive it alone when I want to, instead of having to bring along a whole load of mechanics as passengers to get to my destination.

If you own a vehicle you should be able to drive it anywhere you want to go!

(If you own a vehicle you should be able to drive it anywhere you want to go!)

That’s not how things are with most website owners, however. Although businesses pay to own their own website, they are not taught how to drive it. They can’t go wherever and whenever they want to go alone, because most don’t know how their online vehicle works. They are not self-empowered.

WordPress education and training that empowers users to be in complete control of their web presence begins by helping your prospects and clients understand why they should be using WordPress. It involves  teaching them about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress and all that WordPress can do.

For example, we have created an entire Introduction To WordPress training module devoted to explaining to non-technical users the benefits and advantages of using WordPress. We emphasize opening with the benefits when training new clients as described in our guide on how to effectively train and empower new WordPress users.

Some of the benefits and advantages of using WordPress that your prospects and clients should know about are covered here:

If you sell WordPress services to non-techies, then, ask yourself:

  • What systems, tools, resources, and content do I need to create or access to truly educate and train non-technical WordPress users so they can be fully empowered to get better results online in their business?
  • Are the current methods I am using to educate and train my prospects and clients enough to help them become self-empowered WordPress users, or are there things I am not teaching them because this would adversely affect my business? 

This brings up the next challenge …

Challenges Of Providing WordPress Education & Training Services

Technically declined users “don’t know what they don’t know” about WordPress and websites in general. They mostly depend and rely on the advice of experts.

For most non-techies, the first point of contact and main source of information about things related to websites, then, is their website developer.

Clients expect to be trained on how to use their new websites. Making website developers responsible for educating and training clients, however, is challenging because:

  • Training clients is not the core focus of a website developer’s business, and
  • Many website developers believe that fully empowering users to manage their own sites is “bad” for their business.

The Core Business Of Website Developers Is Not WordPress Training

The core business of website developers is selling web services and doing technical work for clients, not creating client training systems and providing WordPress training and education services.

Providing web services is full-time work ... so is creating training systems!

(Providing web services is full-time work … so is creating training systems!)

Building a web services business is full-time work. So is creating and maintaining effective client training systems.

As the main focus of most website developers’ businesses is selling web services, many will not invest the time, effort, or the resources required to plan, document, implement, and maintain effective training systems.

Many website developers regard WordPress training and education as an afterthought of the sales process, i.e. a convenient way to hand over a completed website project to the client, instead of the beginning of the client’s journey towards digital self-empowerment and self-reliance.

Because of this, many website developers provide clients with only basic training on how to use their new WordPress sites.

This creates another challenge for both users and service providers …

More Cost For Users & Less Time For Servicing New Clients

If all a client receives from their website developer is basic training (e.g. how to add content to posts), what happens when clients need to get things done outside of the training they’ve been given?

Are website developers going to be available 24/7 to service their client’s every need, answer every question they have, and solve every problem they experience? If so, will they be continually charging their clients for this?

Clearly, most service providers can’t afford to provide 24/7 training and support for free. While charging clients for time spent training, answering questions, and helping them solve problems makes good business sense, this also has a profound financial impact on both the service provider’s and the client’s business.

For example:

  • Answering ‘quick’ questions from clients for free will eat into the service provider’s daily workload, increase their costs, and lead to opportunity losses, but charging clients for ongoing training and assistance will increase ongoing client costs which can lead to higher client attrition rates.
  • Adding client support and training services requires the implementation and maintenance of additional systems and processes which can increase the strain on existing resources and reduce the time service providers have to find and service new and existing clients.

Training clients to use WordPress, then, can be a double-edged sword that will cut into both the client’s and the service provider’s business.

There is, however, another challenging aspect to website developers providing clients with WordPress training …

Is Self-Empowering WordPress Users “Bad” For Business?

Suppose your business is building WordPress websites and you have just finished building a new website for a client. Now you have to train them to use WordPress.

What is the main objective of training your clients to use WordPress?

Is it to help them become self-empowered so they can learn how to be in complete control of their own web presence, or is it to keep them dependent on using your web services so you can stay in business?

Most businesses that sell web services depend on keeping clients dependent to stay in business.

As we explain in The WordPress Paradox, however, WordPress is becoming progressively easier for non-techies to build, manage, and grow their own web presence without requiring knowledge of coding or web development or even the assistance of outsourced service providers.

There is no reason, therefore, why non-techies couldn’t do everything themselves if they really wanted to. The main problem for non-techies, then, is that their most trusted source of WordPress help and advice (i.e. their website developer) has no financial incentive to let their clients go and no motivation to educate their clients to no longer need their services.

The reasoning behind this is obvious. Service providers who rely on clients to remain dependent to stay in business believe they would be out of business if they fully empowered their clients to use WordPress, as a fully empowered WordPress user would’nt really need their services anymore  …

Businesses that sell web services need dependent clients to stay in business

(Businesses that sell web services need dependent clients to stay in business)

The very idea of asking a website developer to teach their clients that they don’t need website developers to build and run a WordPress site must feel ridiculous … to a website developer!

Informing businesses that WordPress gives them the choice of not needing website developers and technical people to build and run a website, however, doesn’t feel ridiculous to the client. It feels empowering!

As explained in The WordPress Paradox, WordPress creates an inherent conflict of interest between technical service providers and their non-technical clients.

Businesses have an implicit expectation that their website developers will help empower them by showing them how to use WordPress to manage and grow their sites, but, as we have just seen, the core business of a website developer is not to train their clients to be independent, but to find and keep clients dependent on their services to stay in business.

This conflict of interest can result in service providers ‘holding back’ on the information they present to their clients and only showing them how to do very basic stuff, like how to create a post or how to add and publish content.

The thing about WordPress, however, is that even something as seemingly ‘basic’ as showing someone how to create a post in WordPress is, in fact, quite complex when you break down all the processes involved …

What you need to know to create an effective post in WordPress
Hover over image to zoom or click image to enlarge

(Even basic WordPress tasks can be very complex to teach!)

WordPress comprises of many moving and interrelated parts. Its many different features, functions, options, settings, integrations, enhancements, add-ons, etc. are part of the reason why WordPress is such a powerful, flexible, scalable, and highly customizable website-building platform, content management and content publishing system, and digital marketing and web management tool.

As explained in What Most Learn WordPress Tutorials Don’t Teach You About Using WordPress, knowing and understanding how all the processes and features listed in the diagram above work is essential for users that want to learn how to create a more effective post using WordPress.

How you teach someone to create a post in WordPress, then, will depend on whether your goal is to keep clients dependent on using your services or help them become self-empowered WordPress users.

Challenges Of Creating Effective WordPress Training Resources

We’ve just seen how something as seemingly basic as creating a new post in WordPress requires knowing and understanding how to use many different interlinked processes, features, functions, settings, options, etc. It also involves teaching users what to do before, during, and after completing each step of the process.

An effective WordPress education and training resource for non-technical users, then, needs to be able to organize the information in logical step-by-step sequence and deliver it in the right context using non-technical terminology. It can’t assume that users know things they may not know and it can’t have any ‘missing’ steps or it will confuse the user.

Creating this type of resource for non-technical users is fraught with its own challenges. It’s hard, it’s time consuming, and it requires meticulous planning and incredible attention to detail.

Most WordPress training and teaching resources are not designed to help new WordPress users become self-empowered. These include:

  • Info products and guides that have been quickly cobbled together by internet marketers looking for quick ‘niche’ profits,
  • ‘Quick-Start’ PDF guides or training videos that contain incomplete and/or outdated information.
  • 1-2 hr training sessions that confuse and overwhelm users and leave them with more questions than answers at the end of the session.
  • Etc.

As already stated, most service providers need clients to remain dependent on using their services. Why would they go through all the time-consuming and frustrating effort of putting together training resources to help clients no longer need their services?

Even if you start out with the goal of helping non-technical clients, there are still many challenges involved in putting together an effective WordPress training resource.

Let’s quickly go through some of these …

WordPress Training Resources Created By Techies For Techies

Most WordPress tutorials and resources found online (including the official WordPress Codex) are created by technically-minded users to help other techies learn how to do techie stuff like tweak code, customize templates, etc.

These tutorials are useful for web developers and other WordPress service providers. They are not aimed at helping non-techies who are averse to messing with code.

WordPress Training Resources That Assume To Know What Clients Need

Many website developers believe that building, configuring, and maintaining websites is best left to technical experts. Some will even argue that users would “stuff things up” if they were allowed to manage their own sites …

Many website developers believe clients will "stuff things up" if they manage their own sites!

(Many website developers believe clients will “stuff things up” if they manage their own sites)

Although many website developers will cite years of experience to back up their belief, ultimately these are just ‘assumptions.’

Empowering users means giving people a choice. It begins by educating clients about all of their available options and then letting them make an informed decision about how they would like to proceed.

For example, performing WordPress maintenance is not hard or time-consuming once you know what to do. Many aspects of the WordPress maintenance process can even be automated.

If your approach is to empower clients, you would let them know this and they can then choose whether to invest their time learning how to perform their own site maintenance or pay someone like you to perform the service on their behalf.

WordPress Training Resources That Are Hard To Keep Updated

WordPress is continually evolving and many of its features, plugins, and themes are constantly being improved and regularly being updated. This makes it hard to keep training documentation and information up-to-date.

Many online tutorials contain outdated or obsolete information about WordPress because the authors of these resources have no systems or processes for keeping their information updated. Without an effective document management system, it’s almost impossible to keep track of what changes have been made in your documentation, what updates need to be made and where, who has which version of what training resource, etc.

Many WordPress training resources are also produced, delivered, and distributed in formats where informationis inherently difficult to keep up-to-date. This includes eBooks, PDF guides, videos, etc.

WordPress ‘Step-By-Step’ Training Resources That Are Not Really ‘Step-By-Step’

The World Wide Web has been described as being like an endlessly vast and chaotic library where the books are randomly scattered everywhere. All the information you need is out there but finding what you need when you need it is incredibly difficult and time-consuming.

Most new WordPress users don’t know what they are looking for until they run into a problem or get stuck and need help.

This also creates a number of challenges. For example:

  • If users need to have completed prior steps before moving forward with their current task, they’re stuck until they can figure out what prior steps should have been taken.
  • If you are describing what users need to do to achieve a specific outcome or result, you will also need to have already created all the supporting documentation and tutorials they will need to refer to. Otherwise, users are being told “what” to do but not actually being taught “how” to do it and they will be left hanging in mid-process confused with nowhere to go.

Many training resources that claim to be ‘step-by-step’ are, in fact, more like overviews of processes and contain lots of missing steps. This can create confusion and lead to more unanswered questions instead of focusing on getting results.

Challenges Of Implementing Effective WordPress Training Methods

The last challenge of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users we’ll mention here is how to implement WordPress training methods that are truly effective.

Again, this comes back to whether the end goal of your training is to truly empower new users to be in control of their WordPress sites or to keep them dependent on using your services.

To truly and effectively empower users to learn WordPress requires more than just training methods. It requires an effective WordPress education and training system.

If you go back to the opening screenshot at the top of this page where WordPress service providers are asked “how to train WordPress clients,” we can see that their responses are all based on using methods, e.g.:

  • ‘Quick Start’ PDF guides or ebooks
  • Video tutorials and screen capture videos
  • ‘1-on-1’ sessions or group meetings, workshops, phone calls, etc.
  • No training – Give users link to support forums and let people figure things out on their own.

Most training given to new users basically consists of a loose collection of methods, put together for the convenience of the service provider, delivered in a format where the information is difficult to keep updated, and where the end goal is essentially to make the client feel good about the service provider and keep using their services.

Consequences Of Not Providing WordPress Training And Education That Empowers Non-Technical Users

As we’ve just seen, empowering non-techie WordPress users is actually good for the WordPress economy, especially if you provide WordPress services or products. The more you educate and empower WordPress users and teach them about all the things they can do with WordPress to grow a successful business online, the more WordPress services and products they will want to use …

Empowering non-techie WordPress users is good for the WordPress economy!

(Empowering non-techie WordPress users is good for the WordPress economy!)

The focus of a truly effective WordPress education and training system, then, should be to empower new WordPress users to learn as much as they can about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress and to show them how to be in complete control of their web presence.

This is very difficult and challenging, however, because of the inherent conflict of interest mentioned earlier between WordPress service providers and their non-technical clients.

Not providing WordPress training and education that empowers non-technical users to be in control of their digital vehicles, however, will have a serious impact on the WordPress economy and negatively affect anyone who provides WordPress services to businesses. These consequences are explained in more detail in the  The WordPress Paradox and in my book, The Small Business Digital Manager.

The Missing Element Of An Effective Training System That Can Empower New WordPress Users

An effective WordPress training system needs to be well planned, well organized, comprehensive, and up-to-date.

Individual tutorials need to be detailed and laid out in ‘step-by-step’ sequence. The content in these tutorials should also be easy for non-techies to understand and contain practical applications that they can easily apply by themselves.

The format of the training should also be easy for users to navigate, and to quickly and easily find the answers they need when they need help, get stuck, have questions, or simply want more information.

With such a system, educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users about WordPress would consist of showing them how to access and use the system and directing them back to the system any time they need help with WordPress or how to use its features.

As mentioned earlier, WordPress itself provides training content, but it tends to be more geared toward an audience of technical users.

This is why we created WPCompendium.org. Our mission is to help non-technical WordPress users be in complete control of their digital presence without requiring technical skills and our focus is to help non-techie website owners become self empowered so they can learn how to create the results they want online with WordPress at minimal cost.

We have spent years building a comprehensive WordPress training content library that includes hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials organized in logical sequence and fully interlinked.

We recently added WPMasterclasses.com, a site that provides WordPress and digital business video courses, to our WordPress training system. The site provides 1,000+ video tutorials and many video lessons include links to detailed written step-by-step tutorials, downloadable files, templates, guides, etc.

We have also developed a WordPress user tutorials plugin that allows users to instantly access all written and video tutorials from their own WordPress dashboard.

While WPCompendium.org is a work in progress and far from being complete, there’s probably no better online training resource for non-technical WordPress users. All of our tutorials are 100% FREE and anyone is welcome to use it to train their clients or staff, or to learn about WordPress.

We hope that you have found this article useful.

Tip

For more help training non-techie clients, staff, and self-learners, refer to our FREE WordPress online training guides below:

The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

***

How To Effectively Train And Empower New WordPress Users

Learn how to train new WordPress users to get more effective results using our WordPress training system and 1-on-1 training script!

How To Effectively Train And Empower New WordPress Users*** Download Our FREE WordPress User Training Guide At The Bottom Of The Page! ***

No doubt, you’ve probably heard the old business adage “Give clients a fish and you feed them for a day; teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

Empowering new WordPress users to learn “how to fish” for themselves is not a simple task. There are challenges to overcome, as explained in The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users and an inherent conflict of interest as explained in The WordPress Paradox.

How To Effectively Train And Empower New WordPress Users

One of the main challenges with training new clients to use WordPress is that most of them will tend to be technically declined. These are users who want to be in control of their digital presence and get results from their websites but are averse to learning technical stuff like editing code, web languages, etc.

Using our fishing analogy, most technically declined users don’t want to learn how a “fishing rod works,” they just want to “catch fish.”

This requires a well thought out WordPress training system that will teach and empower new WordPress users to get the results they want without overwhelming them with technical information.

Teach your clients how to fish and get loyal clients for life!

Teach your clients how to fish and get loyal clients for life!

If you need to train clients how to use WordPress, the section below will take you through the WordPress training system and 1-on-1 training script we have developed and used successfully for years to train and empower new WordPress users.

WordPress User Training Method: 1-On-1 & Group Training

Use our detailed step-by-step tutorials to train new WordPress users!

(Use our detailed step-by-step tutorials to train new WordPress users!)

WordPress User Training Format

The training can be performed as a ‘1-on-1’ or group training session and delivered onsite, offsite, over Skype, etc.

WordPress User Training Resources

We recommend the following resources to effectively train new WordPress users:

For more information on the above, see the “WordPress Training Resources” section at the end of this tutorial.

WordPress User Training Outline

Below is our suggested outline for a 60-90 minutes WordPress user training session:

WordPress Training Outline

(WordPress Training Outline)

We’ll use WPCompendium.org’s step-by-step WordPress tutorials to deliver an effective training session without overwhelming the user.

After their initial training session, users can refer to the additional training resources and go through the tutorials in their own time and at their own pace for a more detailed understanding on how to use all of the WordPress features covered in the training.

WordPress User Training – Opening

The section below explains the mindset used when approaching the training session before the opening script.

Training Overview – WordPress Benefits Vs WordPress Features

Consider this …

What kind of results do businesses want from their websites?

How about:

  • More targeted visitors, more leads, more sales, more subscribers, etc.
  • Higher search engine rankings
  • Greater visibility on social media
  • Better conversion rates
  • More effective marketing strategies – better ROI from their marketing $$$
  • Save time, save money.
  • Etc …

Compare the above to the structure of the ‘1-on-1’ WordPress training session below:

  • How to log into their WP admin area
  • Tour of the WordPress dashboard
  • Overview of basic features of WordPress – posts vs pages, menus, widgets, plugins, themes, etc.
  • How to create a post and add content
  • How to use categories, tags, excerpts, etc.
  • How to edit and publish content
  • How to manage users, edit comments, etc.

Comparing what clients want vs. the training structure outlined above, how are these two connected?

Clients want to learn how to get the benefits of using WordPress (i.e. how to “catch more fish”) but most end up spending an hour or two learning all about the features of WordPress instead (i.e. how the fishing rod works).

The first thing to do in our training session, then, is make sure that users understand the benefits of using WordPress and how WordPress can help them get the results they want.

Useful Info

If training a new client, ask them to open their web browser and give them a tour and overview of their new website before commencing the training session. When you are ready to begin, open WPCompendium.org’s WordPress Tutorial Index page in a separate browser tab.

WordPress User Training – Opening Script

The opening script of your training session should communicate to users:

  1. The benefits of using WordPress to get results online
  2. How the focus of the training session will be on getting these benefits by learning how to use some basic WordPress features
  3. Where to go to learn more about the features in order to learn how to get more benefits.

For additional information and help with this area, see our Introduction To WordPress  tutorials.

Feel free to modify the script below to suit your needs.

[Client Name],

Before I show you how to log in and use your new website, let me tell you a little bit about the technology being used to run your website. Once you understand what it can do, how it works and how it can benefit you, then you will see how everything we cover today and everything you learn after this training session is designed to help you get the results you want.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the technology used to run your website is called WordPress. WordPress is used by millions of websites around the world to run all kinds of websites.

WordPress is not just great for building websites, it’s also great for managing your web content … you can do just about everything you need to use, run, and grow your website without touching code or learning technical stuff.

In your training guide, you’ll find links to a site called WPCompendium.org. This site has hundreds of step-by-step tutorials that will show you how to use WordPress. It also has this section called WordPress Overview (click on link to ‘WordPress Overview’ tutorials), which I recommend you go through. It explains all of the benefits of using WordPress: (read the post titles)

I’ve added links to all of these sections in your training notes.

The great thing about using WordPress is that you can start with a really simple site and add new things only when you need to, like e-commerce, membership levels, newsletters, etc. You can do this using things like apps called ‘plugins‘ … you can change the look and feel of your site anytime you want using web design templates called ‘themes‘ … you can completely rearrange the layout of your site in your theme settings and by using things called ‘widgets‘ … and you can easily add pretty much any type of content you like to your site … not just text, but images, videos, downloadable files, etc.

In fact, you can do most things in WordPress just by clicking buttons, selecting different options, and using drag and drop. You can also automate a lot of stuff.

Now … I’m not going to overwhelm you with a lot of information, so today we’re going to keep things really simple and just cover some of the basics you need to know to add your content and start getting results. All you need to remember about WordPress is that it’s a very powerful and easy to use tool, and that you can do and build pretty much anything you can imagine with it.

Today’s training is about 1 -1.5 hrs long and at the end of the session I’m going to leave you with a training guide with links to all of the tutorials you need to learn how to use your website. You can go through the tutorials in your own time and at your own pace … they’ll show you exactly what to do step-by-step. I’ve also installed a plugin with links to written and video tutorials inside your site, so if you ever have any questions about using any feature or section of your website, all the help and tutorials you need are just a couple of clicks away.

Before we leave today, I’ll also install a little menu button on your web browser that you can click anytime you need help with WordPress and it will bring up the tutorial site in your browser. 

I recommend that you (or your staff) go through as many tutorials as you can and learn to do as much as you can yourself. This will save you thousands of dollars and you won’t have to wait or depend on other people when you need to get things done on your website.

If you find that you’re too busy or don’t want to do things yourself and you would rather have us manage things for you instead, then we can discuss this later.

Just one more thing before we get started … we have set up your site to automatically drive traffic whenever you publish new content. All you need to do is publish content, which I’ll show you how to do today, and WordPress will then automatically index your pages in Google and post links to your content on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a bunch of other sites. 

If you get in the habit of posting great content to your site on a regular basis, say once or twice a week, your site will get more exposure online, your search engine rankings will go up, more people will find you and come visit your site and you’ll start getting better results onlineYour training guide has a link to a course on how to never run out of great content ideas worth hundreds of dollars that you can sign up for FREE.

So … today I’m going to show you how to log into your administration area, give you a quick tour of admin dashboard, and show you how to create and publish a new page with text, images, and videos. We’ll then go through some of the tutorials so you can learn how to use them when you need help, and then we’ll finish with a Q & A in case you have any questions.

The next time we get together, we’ll look at how you’re going, see if you need any help, and discuss different ways and strategies to help you get better results.

Ok, then, let’s get started … are you ready? 

*** Begin Training ****

WordPress User Training – Opening Section Rationale

The opening script helps you achieve the following objectives:

  • Leads with benefits, not features. Talks about the results users are going to get with their new website.
  • Assures users that they have made the right decision choosing your services and trusting your expertise.
  • Assures users that you are committed to empowering them and helping them succeed online.
  • Assures users that the training session will not focus on technical stuff and that they can get results without having technical skills or depending on technical people.
  • Assures user that the training will cover everything they need to know without overwhelming or confusing them, because everything they need to know is documented in detailed step-by-step tutorials they can refer to anytime they need help.
  • Reminds users that you want to help them save money by giving them a choice – they can easily learn how to use and run their own websites, or they can outsource some of these areas and responsibilities to you.
  • Assures users that you are truly committed to building a long-term relationship with them, that you are available to support, assist, and advise them, and that you will champion their success.

WordPress User Training – Main Presentation

After outlining the structure of your training session in the opening section, the next step is a hands-on session where you take clients through the following steps:

Practical Tip

As stated earlier, there is no need to overwhelm clients with too much information, as you will be mostly referring them to step-by-step tutorials that cover everything they need to know about WordPress in great detail.

Below are some useful tips for presenting this section of the training.

How To Log Into The WordPress Administration Area

  • You should have provided your client with details like the login URL, username and password for their site.
  • If you need help with this section, refer to this tutorial.

Overview Of The WordPress Dashboard

  • If you need help with this section, refer to this tutorial.
  • If you plan to install the WPTrainMe plugin for your clients, make sure to show them where to access the WordPress tutorials and videos.

WPTrainMe - WordPress Tutorials Plugin

(WPTrainMe – WordPress Tutorials Plugin)

How To Create A New WordPress Post

How To Add & Edit Content In WordPress

  • Clients should bring content items they would like to add to their site to the training. This includes articles in .doc or text-format, images, photos, etc. This makes their learning more effective, as they will be working with their own content. If you need help, see our initial content checklist.
  • Show clients how to use the WordPress Visual Editor, basic HTML tags, how to add hyperlinks to text, how to add images, videos, etc. to their content.
  • If you need help with this section, see tutorials related to adding and using content in WordPress in the How To Use WordPress tutorials section.

How To Publish Content In WordPress

Additional WordPress Features

Depending on the purpose of your training and your client’s needs, there are so many other areas and features of WordPress you may want to cover or discuss, like installing plugins, changing themes, using widgets, customizing menus, etc.

If your clients have questions about how their site has been installed or configured, you can refer them to the WordPress Installation and WordPress Configuration tutorial modules.

Once again, we recommend not overloading users with information, but simply showing them how to access the tutorials that will explain everything they need to know in detail.

WordPress User Training – Main Section Rationale

You can structure this part of the training session to suit your own needs.

The difference between the training system presented here and other training methods is that the focus is on giving new WordPress users context, not content.

As we explain in great detail in The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users, WordPress is easy to use but complex to explain.

New WordPress users can become quickly overwhelmed with content (i.e. information overload), especially if you start trying to explain what all of the sections, features, functions, buttons, settings, and options they see once they have logged into their WordPress dashboard do and how to use these.

Instead, our approach focuses on ’empowering’ users with the right context to help them learn “how to fish” for themselves.

Showing users how to access and use the tutorials when they need help or have questions not only teaches them how to find the answers by themselves, it also leverages your resources, reduces support costs, and frees up your time allowing you to focus on more profitable and productive activities (like finding new clients).

WordPress User Training – Help, Support, And Additional Services

After showing users how to navigate inside the WordPress dashboard and how to create, edit and publish a post, the next step is to show them how to get help and additional support.

Getting Help & Support

You can let users know that help and support is available by saying something as simple as this:

“If you have any questions or need help with any aspect of using, managing, or growing your website, I recommend going to the tutorials first and if you can’t find the answers there, then just contact or email us”.

Useful Tip

At this point of the training, we also recommend the following action steps:

  • Install the FREE WordPress Tutorials Chrome Browser Extension on your client’s browser. This will allow them to access all of the tutorials from their browser toolbar menu with just one click.
  • Ask users to subscribe to our FREE Content Creation email training course to learn how to plan an effective content marketing strategy and create quality content that will attract and engage more visitors on their site.

Additional Services

Empowering new WordPress users to be in control of their own digital presence actually makes it easier to upsell them additional services like ongoing support and maintenance.

All you need to do is present users with the choice of saving money vs saving time:

  • Save Money – If your clients want to save money doing everything themselves, they can. All they need to do is follow the tutorials.
  • Save Time – Once your clients start going through the detailed tutorials and see how much information they have to learn in order to get things done, they will most likely want to consider using your help and outsourcing your services.
Additional Services & Upsell Script

As you explore some of the tutorials and resources with your clients, say this …

“As you can see these tutorials and resources are very comprehensive and will show you how to do everything you need to learn to get better results online and grow your business. I recommend investing the time to learn how to do as much as you can yourself. It will help you save money and put you in complete control of your web presence. If, however, you find that you are just too busy, or that you want to save time and fast track your results … or that you just don’t want to do these things yourself, let me know and I’ll explain to you some of the services we offer to help you manage or promote your site.”

It’s a fact that most businesses are too busy to do things themselves. The more you empower users to learn about WordPress and the more you show them what WordPress can do to help them achieve the results they want, the more possibilities they will become aware of and the more WordPress services and products they will want to use …

The more you empower people to use WordPress, the more WordPress products & services they will want to use!

(The more you empower people to use WordPress, the more WordPress products & services they will want to use!)

When you put your client’s needs and interests first and give them the choice of saving money by showing them that they can learn how to do things themselves or saving time using your services, you build enormous trust and loyalty with clients, resulting in‘win-win’ outcomes and clients for life.

WordPress User Training – Closing Section

At the end of your client training session, we recommend spending 10 -15 minutes answering questions and then scheduling the next follow-up meeting.

Q & A

The purpose of running a 10-15 minute Q & A session after the training is not only to help answer your client’s questions, but to help identify their concerns and note down any opportunities to provide additional services in the future.

Q & A Script

Don’t get caught up explaining how to use more features. This will only lead to information overload. If the training has already gone on for some period of time and users are still full of questions, just say this …

“[NAME], as I have explained before, all of this is covered in the tutorials. I suggest going through these tutorials first whenever you need help or have any questions. This will save you a lot of money on the cost of providing you support. As you work through the tutorials, write down any questions you have. If you can’t find the answers you need in the tutorials themselves, then email me your questions and I’ll either send through links to the information you are looking for or get back to you with the help and answers you need.”

If you haven’t already done this in the main training section, open up the WordPress Tutorials Index or the Site Map page and click on a few tutorial sections or individual tutorial links.

Scroll through the content and as you do, point out how comprehensive and well organized the information is and how they can quickly and easily access the step-by-step tutorials by:

Once again, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no need to overwhelm clients with information. Just shown them how to access the hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials we have created (and are continually adding to), as these will help them learn everything they need to know and empower them to get better results from their website.

Follow-Up

Great service providers follow up with clients on a regular basis. The purpose of scheduling a follow-up meeting is to build an ongoing relationship that will allow you to “touch base” with your client on a regular basis (e.g. every 90 days) and see how your client is progressing with their site and if there are any opportunities to provide them with additional services such as site maintenance, additional plugins or customizations, site speed optimizations, improvements to security, digital marketing services, etc.

Follow-Up Script

At the end of the training session, say the following to your client:

“I hope you found this training session useful. We’ve covered a lot of information today! Obviously, there’s a lot more information to cover, and the more you learn about what WordPress can do, the more questions you’re going to have. Like I said at the beginning, my goal was not to fill your head with information overload, but to teach you how to get the results you want with your new site! That’s why I focused a lot more on showing you how to get answers from the tutorials than overwhelming you with details about what all of these buttons and features do. The last couple of things I’d like to do before we end today’s training session is to leave you with a reference guide that includes links to tutorials covering all of the things we talked about today and more, and to schedule another meeting in [30/60/90] days to touch base, see how you’re going with your site, review your results, and discuss your next step to success. [give clients training resources & schedule next meeting].  I appreciate any feedback you have on how you think today’s training session went.

I wish you great success and I’ll be in touch with you again in [30/60/90] days for a [live 1-on-1, phone, skype, etc …] meeting to see how you are doing. In the meantime, if you have any questions, or need help with anything at all, just let me know.

*** End Of Training ***

WordPress Client Training Resources

This section contains information and links about the resources we recommend using to train new WordPress users.

WordPress User Guide For Beginners – FREE Download

Download a printable copy of The Ultimate WordPress User Guide For Beginners below for your clients to use as reference after your training session:

Free Content Creation Course

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

Infinite Web Content Creation – Free web content creation course!

Infinite Web Content Creation is an in-depth 120-part FREE email training course we created to teach WordPress users how to create great content for their websites and blogs and how to market and promote their business online using content.

Areas Covered In The “Infinite Web Content Creation” Course

  • Why Create Content?
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Copywriting Principles
  • Guidelines For Writing Effective Blog Posts
  • Content Writing Action Plan: The 5-Step Formula
  • The Simplest Way To Get Started With Content
  • What To Write About – How To Never Run Out Of New Content Ideas
  • Developing An Effective Content Plan And Content Marketing Strategy
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing … The Right Way!
  • & Other Time-Saving Content Strategies

Users will learn easy methods for generating endless new content ideas to keep their readers interested, engaged, and coming back to their site. In addition to providing lots of great content ideas, this course also shows users how to write high-quality content, how to develop an effective content plan and content marketing strategy, and how to outsource their content writing.

To learn more about our FREE Content Creation course, go here:

WordPress Tutorials Free Chrome Extension

Access our WordPress tutorials from your web browser

(Access our WordPress tutorials from your web browser)

To download our FREE Chrome browser extension, go here:

WPTrainMe – WordPress User Tutorials Plugin

WPTrainMe - WordPress Tutorials Plugin

(WPTrainMe – WordPress User Tutorials Plugin)

The WPTrainMe plugin allows WordPress users to access WPCompendium.org’s detailed WordPress step-by-step tutorials and hundreds of WordPress video tutorials instantly from their own WordPress dashboard.

Learn more about the WPTrainMe plugin here:

In Summary …

Giving users too much information during the training session will overwhelm them, is completely unnecessary, and can even be counter-productive. Not giving users all the information they need to become empowered, however, will do them a great disservice.

This is why we have spent years creating hundreds of detailed step-by-step WordPress tutorials and organizing these into a comprehensive and fully interlinked WordPress training system.

It would take years to duplicate the work we have already done to plan, research, and document all of the information that has gone into these tutorials.

You are more than welcome to use the training method described above and refer your clients to the tutorials on WPCompendium.org, or install the WPTrainMe plugin and let them access all of the written and video tutorials from their own dashboard.

There are many benefits of using our training system to educate, train, and teach your clients and new WordPress users:

  • The training focuses on helping users understand the benefits of using WordPress to achieve the results they want.
  • Users are not overwhelmed by detailed explanations of technical features.
  • Referring clients to the tutorials provides an effective training system that you can easily duplicate with all new clients and users.
  • Users are empowered to learn how to find answers for themselves, reducing your support costs.
  • The time you invest into training new and existing clients is kept to an absolute minimum, allowing you to focus on other priorities and other important areas of your business.
  • It allows you to provide users with a consistently high-quality level of training and helps you set and achieve training benchmarks.
  • It allows you to cover more ground in 60-90 minutes than any other WordPress training method.
  • It helps you build trust and loyalty with clients, keeps them engaged with your business, and, as they refer to the tutorials and discover or become aware of new possibilities, this helps you sell additional services.

WordPress User Training – Final Thoughts

As explained in great detail in The WordPress Paradox, many web services providers try to retain clients by holding back on the information they share with clients in order to keep them dependent on using their services.

We call this holding clients “hostage.”

At WPCompendium.org, we believe that by empowering users to learn and do as much as they can by themselves and providing them with the tools and information that will allow them to do this, you will gain their trust and loyalty, sell more services and build clients for life.

We hope that you have found the information on how to structure an effective WordPress client training session useful, that it will help you train your clients to learn “how to fish” for themselves, and empower new WordPress users to take control of their digital presence and get better results online!

How To Effectively Train And Empower New WordPress Users

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"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org

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