Do you build WordPress sites for clients or provide services that require you to educate and train people to use WordPress?
If so, you’ve probably experienced some of the challenges of educating 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?” Source: WordPress Experts – LinkedIn Groups)
Having spent well over a decade as a WordPress educator and trainer helping businesses of all sizes grow their digital presence, I am well aware of the challenges of educating and training new WordPress users.
In fact, I have spent many years systematically addressing these challenges and developing an effective training system to help create self-empowered WordPress users.
This article explores the challenges of empowering new WordPress users to get results from their WordPress websites.
In addition to this article, we also recommend reading The WordPress Paradox and our comprehensive guide on how to effectively train and empower new WordPress users.
- 1 The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users
- 1.1 The Challenge Of Identifying WordPress End Users & Their Needs
- 1.2 Challenges Of Providing WordPress Education & Training Services
- 1.3 Challenges Of Creating Effective WordPress Training Resources
- 1.4 Challenges Of Implementing Effective WordPress Training Methods.
The Challenges Of Educating, Teaching & Training New WordPress Users
WordPress is easy to use but hard to explain.
WordPress is easy to use once you know how, but hard to explain to anyone who has never heard of WordPress before.
Like most technologies, learning WordPress requires going through a learning curve. The challenge with WordPress, however, is not learning how to use it, but learning how to become a self-empowered WordPress user.
As explained in The WordPress Paradox, WordPress allows anyone to control their own web presence and create the results they want without requiring technical skills or depending on technical experts.
A self-empowered WordPress user, then is someone who is in complete control of their web presence.
Helping new WordPress users become self-empowered, however is very challenging. It requires an effective training system that will:
- Educate people about WordPress and the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress platform,
- Show people how to use the unique and powerful features of WordPress to create the results they want, and
- Empower users to be in complete control of their web presence.
Put into simpler words, an effective WordPress training system has to provide users with answers to the following questions:
- What Is WordPress?
- Why Do I Need WordPress?
- How Do I Use WordPress To Create The Results I Want?
Most content written to educate people about WordPress focuses on the first two questions. The real challenge is how to create an effective training system that shows users how to create the results they want using WordPress.
To understand and address this challenge, we’ll break things down into the following sections:
- Challenges of identifying WordPress end users and their needs.
- Challenges of providing WordPress education and training services.
- Challenges of creating effective WordPress training resources.
- Challenges of implementing effective WordPress training methods.
Let’s go through these …
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 Training & Education?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s divide our audience into two main groups:
- People who are technically inclined
- People who are technically declined
(Are you 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 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, we could say that technically inclined people like website developers provide web services to technically declined people like most typical end users and this creates an interdependency between the two.
(Technically inclined and technically declined users … one of those “circle of life” things!)
Let’s divide technically declined users into two further categories:
- Technically declined people who do not use WordPress (yet), and
- Technically declined people who need to use WordPress
(Technically declined users are your prospects and clients)
Let’s also divide technically inclined users into two categories:
- DYIselfers who learn WordPress to build, manage, and grow their own web presence, and
- Website developers, web designers, etc. who learn WordPress to help other people build, manage, and grow their web presence
(Technically inclined WordPress DIY users and service sellers)
We don’t need to be concerned about DIY WordPress users, as they can easily teach themselves everything they need to know about WordPress.
Technically inclined WordPress service sellers need technically declined people to sell their services to. Technically declined WordPress end users pay technically inclined people like website developers for services and ultimately keep the ‘WordPress Economy’ alive and growing.
Let’s define prospects, then, as technically declined people who are not using WordPress yet. These include business owners, people planning to start or take a business online, would-be bloggers, etc. who would really benefit from using WordPress if they only knew all the ways WordPress can help them achieve results online.
Using the same definition, clients are technically declined people who have a WordPress site or blog and who need to learn how to use WordPress to achieve the results they want.
So … prospects need WordPress education and clients need both WordPress education and training.
(Technically declined users need WordPress education & training)
The main challenge with educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users, then, is found in the relationship between technically inclined people who sell WordPress services to technically declined prospects and clients …
(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 they don’t care about WordPress. They don’t want to become web developers and they are not interested in messing with code and scripts and web languages. That’s why they pay people like website developers to do all of the technical work for them.
(Most website owners don’t want to learn technical stuff, they just want results!)
Most WordPress end users, however, want 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, etc.
Technically declined users not only want results, they also want to feel that they are in control and can manage their own web presence.
Technically declined users, then, need WordPress education and training that will help them become self-empowered. This education begins with teaching prospects and clients about the benefits 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 training new clients by opening with the benefits of WordPress as described in our guide on how to effectively train and empower new WordPress users.
Some of the benefits of WordPress that you can educate your prospects and clients about are covered in these tutorials:
- Why Choose WordPress
- Why WordPress Is Free
- The Benefits Of Using WordPress As A Content Management System
- Useful Facts And Statistics About WordPress
- How WordPress Can Help Business Grow Faster
- How WordPress Can Help Businesses Engage Better With Users
- and more …
If you sell WordPress services, ask yourself the following:
- How much effort am I putting into creating systems, tools, and resources to educate and train technically declined people about WordPress?
- What kind of content am I writing to inform and educate technically declined prospects and clients about the benefits of using WordPress?
This brings up the next challenge …
Challenges Of Providing WordPress Education & Training Services
Technically declined users simply “don’t know what they don’t know” about websites, WordPress, and how any of this stuff really works. They depend and rely, therefore, on the advice of experts.
When technically declined users hire the services of a website developer, they expect to be trained and shown how to use their websites to get results. If you build websites for clients using WordPress, then you are also responsible for educating and training your new WordPress users.
Making website developers responsible for training clients, however, is very challenging because:
- Training clients is not the core focus of their business, and
- Many feel that empowering users 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 training and education services.
(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 resources into planning, documenting, and creating effective client training systems.
For most website developers, ‘WordPress training and education’ is not an end in itself but an afterthought of their sales process. It’s often mostly a convenient way to hand over completed website projects to clients, rather than steering clients toward the beginning of their journey towards self-empowerment.
Because of this, most website developers end up only providing clients with very basic training on how to use their new sites.
This creates another challenge for both the user and the service provider …
More Cost For Users & Less Time For Servicing Clients
If all clients are going to get from their website developer is basic training, what happens when clients need to get things done that fall outside the training they’ve been given?
Are you going to remain continually available to service your client’s needs, answer their questions, and show them how to use all of the other features of their website? If so, are you going to continually charge them for this?
Clearly, most service providers can’t afford to provide 24/7 training and support for free. While charging clients for the time you spend answering their questions and training them makes complete business sense, this also impacts your business and theirs.
- Higher ongoing costs for users can raise your client attrition rates,
- Answering ‘quick questions’ from clients for free eats into your daily workload and costs you money
- If you work alone or as part of a small agency, adding client support and training services requires implementing additional systems and processes and reduces the time your business has to find and service new and existing clients.
Self-Empowered WordPress Users Is “Bad” For Business
Suppose your business is building WordPress websites and that you have just finished building a new website for a client and now you have to train them to use WordPress.
What is the main objective of training your clients?
Is it to help them become self-empowered so they can learn how to be in control of their own web presence, or is it to keep them dependent on using your web services so you can stay in business?
As we explain in The WordPress Paradox, businesses that sell web services depend on clients that depend on using their services to stay in business. If they truly helped clients become self-empowered WordPress users, they could be out of business …
(Businesses that sell web services need dependent clients to grow their business)
As we also explain in The WordPress Paradox, this creates a conflict of interest. Clients expect website developers to empower them and show them how to use WordPress to manage and grow their sites, but website developers need clients who are dependent on using their services to stay in business.
As a result of this and a number of other factors discussed further below, many website providers will ‘hold back’ on the information they give to clients and will only show them how to do basic stuff, like how to add and publish content on their site.
The thing about WordPress, is that even seemingly ‘basic’ tasks like showing users how to create a WordPress post can, in fact, be quite complex …
(Even seemingly basic tasks like creating a new post in WordPress can be a complex task to teach others!)
The way you teach users how to create a post in WordPress will be completely different depending on whether you plan to keep your clients dependent on using your services or help them become self-empowered WordPress users.
This difference is explained in the next section.
Challenges Of Creating Effective WordPress Training Resources
The previous diagram shows how doing something as seemingly basic as creating a new WordPress post requires knowing how to use many different interlinked processes, sections, features, functions, settings, options, and buttons. There are also many things users need to know and do before, during, and after completing this task.
Creating effective WordPress education and training resources that organize and put all of the information non-technical minded WordPress users need to know in logical step-by-step sequence and in the right context to help users become self-empowered takes many years of meticulous planning and detailed documentation.
Most WordPress training resources are not very effective, because they were not created by people whose goal is to help users become self-empowered. These include info products that have been quickly cobbled together by internet marketers and ‘Quick-Start’ PDF guides that contain incomplete, outdated, and confusing information.
If your aim is to keep clients dependent on using your services, why go through all of the time-consuming work of putting together detailed training resources where the end goal is to help them not need your services?
Even if your intention is to help clients become self-empowered, there are still many challenges associated with the current WordPress training resources being used to train technically declined users.
WordPress Training Created By Technically Inclined Users For Technically Inclined Users
Most of the tutorials and resources for WordPress users found online (including the official WordPress Codex) are created by technically inclined users to help other technically inclined users.
These tutorials are useful for web developers, but not really useful for technically declined WordPress users.
WordPress Training That Assumes To Know What Clients Need
Many website developers believe that building, configuring, and maintaining websites is best left to technically inclined experts.
Some will even argue that users would “stuff things up” if left to manage their own sites …
(Many website developers believe clients will “stuff things up” if they manage their own sites!)
While many website developers will cite many years of experience working with clients to back up their belief, as we discuss in The WordPress Paradox, these are ‘assumptions’ that lead to decisions being made by people who ultimately have no vested interest in their clients’ success (i.e. their income doesn’t depend on whether their clients success or fail) and which affect the businesses of users who are not being given real choices.
WordPress Training Resource Is Hard To Keep Updated
WordPress and many of its features, plugins, themes, etc. are continually being improved and constantly being updated. This makes it very hard to keep the information up-to-date.
Many online tutorials contain outdated or obsolete information about WordPress because there are no systems for managing the information. Without effective document management systems, it’s almost impossible to keep track of what has changed, what needs to be updated, who has which version of what training resource, etc.
Also, many WordPress training resources are created, delivered, and distributed in formats that are difficult to keep constantly updated. These include eBooks, PDF guides, videos, etc.
WordPress Step-By-Step Training Is Not Step-By-Step
The World Wide Web has been described as being like an endlessly vast chaotic library with books scattered everywhere. All of the information is out there but finding what you need is incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
Technically declined users typically don’t know what they are looking for until they need to do something or run into a problem and get stuck.
Many training resources that claim to be ‘step-by-step’ are in fact overviews of processes containing lots of missing steps and these often lead users to various confusing ‘dead-ends’ with nowhere else to go.
Challenges Of Implementing Effective WordPress Training Methods.
The last challenge of educating, teaching, and training new WordPress users is implementing effective WordPress training methods.
The main issue here, is that helping people to become self-empowered WordPress users requires more than just ‘methods’, it requires an effective WordPress training system.
If we go back to the opening screenshot at the top of the page where WordPress service providers are asked “how to train WordPress clients,” we can see that most people use one or a combination of the following methods and resources to train new WordPress users:
- PDF guides (or ebooks) – ‘Quick Start’ guides or ‘How To’ ebooks
- Video tutorials – ‘Over the shoulder’ screen capture videos
- Personal training – ‘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.
Without an effective WordPress education and training system, the above are just a collection of ineffective methods and resources given by service providers to keep clients dependent on using their services.
As we’ve already mentioned, PDF guides, e-books and video tutorials are hard to keep information about WordPress up-to-date and most are not ‘step-by-step’ even if their creators claim they are.
Giving users no training is … well … giving users no training!
Personal training and group training can be effective if users are shown a path towards self-empowerment. Otherwise, this is just another strategy used by service providers to sell users additional services e.g. ongoing training and support) and keep them dependent.
The Missing Element Of An Effective WordPress Training System For Empowering Users
The missing element of an effective system designed to help educate, teach, and train new WordPress users, then, is having a comprehensive repository of detailed step-by-step tutorials delivered in a format that allows the information to be kept up-to-date, that service providers can direct their clients to, and that non-technical users can access anytime they need help with WordPress or using their sites.
Creating a comprehensive repository of WordPress tutorials for technically declined users is a huge challenge in itself, even for members of the WordPress Community tasked with managing this aspect of the official WordPress site.
At WPCompendium.org, our mission is to help create self-empowered WordPress users who can learn to be in complete control of their digital presence and create the results they want online using WordPress.
To achieve this goal, we have spent years building a comprehensive WordPress training system that includes hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials organized in logical sequence. These tutorials show users how to build, manage, and grow a digital presence using WordPress at minimal cost and with no coding skills required.
It is still a work in progress and far from complete or perfect, but it’s probably better than anything else out there. It is also available to all WordPress users for FREE and anyone is welcome to use our tutorials to train their clients, staff, etc.
If you need a WordPress Training 1-1 presentation script for training your own clients, go here: How To Effectively Train And Empower Clients To Use WordPress.
We hope you have found this article useful.
"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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