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 The WordPress Paradox and our guide on how to effectively train and empower new WordPress users.

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 who has control of their digital presence and who can achieve better results online by learning how to configure, combine, and use all of the different aspects and elements of their WordPress site.

Most WordPress training methods, courses, and resources don’t do this. At least not in a systematic way where the end result is to help new users become completely self-empowered.

As explained in The WordPress Paradox, anyone can be in complete control of their own web 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 is in complete control of their web presence and does not depend on people with technical skills to help them get basic things done on their site, like:

  • Adding new pages and posts.
  • Publishing and editing content.
  • Uploading files and adding images, videos, etc. to their site.
  • Managing and maintaining their site and keeping their content, software, files, and database updated.
  • Performing file and data backups.
  • Installing, configuring, and updating plugins and themes.
  • Configuring and tweaking their site’s settings.
  • Using widgets, shortcodes, RSS feeds, etc.
  • Automating various management and marketing processes.
  • Troubleshoot common WordPress errors.
  • And a whole lot more.

Helping new WordPress users become self-empowered so they can learn how to do all of the above themselves, however is quite challenging and 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 into simpler words, an effective WordPress training system has to help users answer the following questions:

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

There’s a lot of content written about WordPress, but as we’ll soon see, most of it is not directed at the audience that needs it the most. This is the real challenge of educating, teaching, and training, new WordPress users. To better understand and address this challenge, let’s break things 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 about WordPress.

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’ users.

Technically inclined people typically don’t mind spending time learning how things work. They are often autodidactic (self-teaching) 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 manage themselves but they are averse to learning ‘technical’ stuff. They don’t want to learn how to edit code, install scripts, learn web programming languages, etc. They just want results from 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 between these two groups.

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 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

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, as some of them may not even have heard about WordPress and include business owners, people planning to start or take a business online, would-be bloggers, etc.

Technically declined people who already have a WordPress site or blog are your clients. This group of people not only need to be educated about the benefits and advantage of using WordPress but also 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

(Technically declined 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 easily teach themselves everything they need to know about WordPress from the myriad of WordPress resources that are currently available.

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

Technically-minded people who can teach themselves WordPress don’t need general WordPress services like website development, WordPress maintenance, etc. as they can easily learn this themselves.

People who provide general WordPress services, then, need technically declined prospects and clients who will pay for their services.

If, for example, one website developer needs 10 clients to stay in business, then, logically, the “WordPress Economy” must consist of a much larger 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 end user group of WordPress products and services and are ultimately the ones responsible for keeping the WordPress industry alive and growing.

Even most WordPress developers, plugin developers, theme developers, etc. ultimately have to service non techie WordPress users to stay in business.

The main challenge with educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users we need to be concerned about, then, is found in the interdependency between technically inclined service sellers and their technically declined 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

The challenge of educating technically declined users about WordPress is that most don’t care about the technology that powers their website. Non techies 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.

Technically declined users not only want better results, they also want to feel that they are in complete control of their web presence. WordPress education and training that will empower users to be in complete control of their web presence begins by teaching prospects and clients about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress.

We have created an entire Introduction To WordPress training module devoted to explaining the benefits of using WordPress to non-technical users. We also 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 prospects and clients should know about are covered in the tutorials we’ve created below:

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

  • What kind of systems, tools, resources, and content do I need to create or have access to in order to truly educate and train non-technical WordPress users and fully empower them to get better results online?
  • Are the current methods I am using to educate and train my prospects and users enough to help them become self-empowered WordPress users, or are there things I am not teaching them about 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 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, can be 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 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 client 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 the client receives from their website developer is very basic training, 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 continually charge 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 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?

Businesses that sell web services depend on clients 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 or motivation to educate their clients not to need their services.

The reasoning behind this is obvious. Service providers who rely on clients depending on their services feel that they would be out of business if they were to truly empower their clients to use WordPress in its fullest capacity …

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

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

As we also explain in The WordPress Paradox, this creates a conflict of interest. Clients have an implicit expectation that their website developers will help to empower them by showing them how to use WordPress to manage and grow their sites, but the core business of a website developer in not to train clients but to find and keep clients who will depend on their services to stay in business.

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

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

Even tasks that seem basic in WordPress can be quite complex to teach!

(Even tasks that seem basic in WordPress can be quite complex to teach)

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

This difference is explained in the next section.

Practical Tip

We believe that empowering new WordPress users is actually “good” for business, because the more you educate and empower WordPress users and teach them all they can do with WordPress to grow a successful business online, the more WordPress services and products they will want to use …

Why empowering WordPress users is good for business

(Why empowering WordPress users is good for business)

Challenges Of Creating Effective WordPress Training Resources

The previous diagram shows how something as seemingly basic as creating a new WordPress post requires knowing how to use many different interlinked processes, sections, features, functions, settings, options, buttons, 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 organize the information in a 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 ‘missing’ steps.

Creating this kind of resource for non-technical users requires meticulous planning and incredible attention to detail. Most WordPress training resources are not created by people whose goal is to help new WordPress users become self-empowered.

This includes:

  • 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 overwhelm users and leave them with more questions than answers at the end of the session.
  • Other WordPress training methods built by ‘compiling’ any or all of the above.

As I stated earlier, most service providers need clients to remain dependent on using their services. If this is their aim, then why would they go through all of the time-consuming and frustrating effort of putting together training resources where the end goal is to help clients no longer need their services?

Even if you start out with the goal of helping non-technical clients become self-empowered WordPress users, 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 technically-minded users 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 code averse non-techies.

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 ‘assumptions.’

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

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

If your approach is to empower users, you would let them know this and then let them choose whether they would like to invest the time to learn how to perform maintenance on their own sites or pay you to perform the service for them.

WordPress Training Resources That Are Hard To Keep Updated

WordPress and many of its features, plugins, and themes are continually being improved and constantly 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 document management 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 made in your documentation, where updates need to be made, who has which version of what training resource, etc.

Many WordPress training resources are produced, delivered, and distributed in formats that are inherently difficult to keep the information up-to-date. These include 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 want is out there but finding what you need when you need it the most is incredibly difficult and very 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 creates a number of challenges. For example:

  • If the user needs to have taken prior steps before moving forward, they can’t move forward, until they find out what all those prior steps are.
  • If you are describing what users need to do to achieve a specific outcome or result, then you will need to have already created all of the supporting documentation and tutorials the user will need to refer to. Otherwise, you are just telling people “what” to do but not actually teaching them “how” to do it and users will be left hanging in mid-process 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 users ending up with more unanswered questions than results.

Challenges Of Implementing Effective WordPress Training Methods

The last challenge of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users 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 keep users dependent on your services, or truly empower them to be in control of their WordPress sites.

Many service providers want clients to remain dependent on using their services and use ineffective methods to train their clients.

If your goal is to truly and effectively empower users to learn WordPress, then you will need more than just methods. What’s required, is 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 of the training given to new users, then, is basically just a loose collection of methods, put together for the convenience and ease of the service provider, delivered in a format where the information is difficult to keep up-to-date, and where the end goal is really just to make the client feel good enough about the service provider to keep using their services.

To have a truly effective WordPress education and training system that empowers new WordPress users to be in complete control of their web presence, the focus has to be on the user, not the service provider.

This is difficult enough to do without the conflict of interest that exists between most service providers and their clients. Not only would you have to make sure that the training information you are providing is comprehensive, ‘step-by-step,’ and up-to-date, but to be truly effective, your WordPress training system would also have to allow users to keep finding the answers for themselves when they have questions or get stuck and need help.

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

To have a truly effective system that can educate, teach, and train new WordPress users to become self-empowered requires an immense library of information about WordPress. Not only that, but this information has to be very well organized, easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to keep up-to-date.

All you would have to do, then, to effectively train new WordPress users is:

  1. Show users how to access and use this vast library of WordPress training content, and
  2. Direct users back to this resource any time they need help with WordPress or using their sites.

Given the fluid and evolving nature of WordPress, creating a comprehensive repository of WordPress tutorials that can empower non-technical WordPress users to learn how to create better results online by themselves is a massive challenge.

Even the section in the official WordPress Site dedicated to helping new WordPress users tends to gravitate in some areas towards technical-minded users and feels more like a place for learning definitions than a WordPress training site.

Here at WPCompendium.org, our focus is 100% on helping non-technical WordPress users be in complete control of their digital presence and create the results they want online using WordPress.

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. Our written tutorials show users how to build, manage, and grow a successful presence online using WordPress with no coding skills required and at minimal cost.

We have also developed a WordPress user tutorials plugin that allows users to instantly access all tutorials on this site plus hundreds of WordPress video tutorials from their own WordPress dashboard.

While this site is still a work in progress and far from complete, we believe that there’s probably no better site for training non-technical WordPress users than WPCompendium.org. All of the tutorials on this site are FREE and anyone is welcome to use it to train their clients, staff, etc.

We hope that you have found this article useful.

Practical 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

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies and beginners. WPCompendium.org provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!