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design + development

WordPress Coaching

Building confidence while getting stuff done

I work with you on your site collaboratively in real time.

computer help parrot likeness
  • • working with WordPress
  • • runs/owns small business
  • • has access to site (as Editor? as Admin? it varies..)
  • • would like to update content
  • • may want to update site design
  • • probably doesn't clearly understand the line between site design and site content (due to WordPress pitfalls and anti-patterns)
  • • would be available for 1-4 hour period where they can focus on learning HOW to make their site better by working with me in real time to do improvements to live site
  • • alternatively could set up a local site, port current live content down to it, and experiment with that site (or experiment with a local install on my computer)
  • • type of conferencing software would depend on needs of client: do they want me to be able to take over their screen (something like Go To Meeting) or just help talk them through what they are doing (then Zoom or Google Hangouts would work)
  • • Client would probably have a specific problem or two that they would want to focus on right away: for example, they might have an image that they want to add to a post but when they do it the image is way too big and breaks the bounds of the site. Or a client may want a sidebar widget to stop showing an error message; there are many small annoyances in WordPress sites that can detract from the image of professionalism that they want to project
  • • The hands-on approach of fixing a problem or two can help build confidence and give the client a "win" and from there a few different formats could work, depending on the specific client:
    • • one approach would be showing the client how to use some key web development tools like the browser debugging UI, Git and FTP
    • • Another direction would be to go deeper on WordPress: how to use the WP admin to update plugins and themes and create content
    • • Many business owners are concerned about SEO these days so I will walk through the basics with them, emphasizing quality content and good links over tricks and tactics
    • • Also possible is to focus on theme development or editing: are there snippets of CSS they can add to their current theme to make it look better, or do they have a blue-ocean idea for a site and need some help with how to turn it into a theme
  • • The session is really about answering the client's questions and helping them with their WordPress site. In practice this can touch on many disciplines: programming, business, marketing, security, and content creation, to name just a few. I am here to help with all of that stuff!
    What is WordPress?
  • • a CMS ("content management system") for the web
  • • written in PHP (and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript)
  • • very popular on the web: many sites use it
  • • architecture
    • • traditional 'monolithic' CMS that creates the content on the server (with PHP) and sends a web page (made up of HTML, CSS and JavaScript) to the user
    • • uses mySQL database for storage (persistence layer)
  • • What is WordPress used for?
    • • blogs
      • • started as a tool for blogging sites
      • • while many alternatives exist and blogging has changed somewhat, WordPress is still a major player in blogging software: competitors include Ghost (for NodeJS), Drupal (another PHP tool), and newer 'static site generator' blog systems powered by GatsbyJS (front-end JavaScript)
    • • marketing sites
      • • traditional '5 page marketing' sites and variants
      • • agency-style sites, typically with lots of plugins
  • • How do people get WordPress
    • • 'open source' or
      • • 'self-hosted' option is best for complex sites, especially with e-commerce: gives the webmaster total control of the code, ability to switch, and direct control of the domain/URL.
      • • any type of plugin or theme can be installed since the user can install them him/her self
      • • user or developer sets web site up themselves
        1. 1. get web hosting
        2. 2. get access to `public_html` or web root directory for your domain or subdomain
        3. 3. get access to the mySQL server on your host (via PHPmyAdmin or similar app) and set up a new database (save the username, password and database name, and make the address localhost)
        4. 4. download WordPress open source software from their web site
        5. 5. edit the `wp-config-sample.php` file with your mySQL credentials and save it as `wp-config.php`
        6. 6. upload the WordPress code to the web root directory
        7. 7. Navigate to the web site for your page in a browser and finish setup
    • •
      • • site is hosted by a company (Automattic) and user creates a site based on the options offered on the site
      • • plugins and themes are picked from a menu offered by the site owner (Automattic)
      • • features like custom code and custom domain can be purchased on an as-available basis (so the basic acocunt is free or cheap but in order to make the site's features competitive with a self-hosted WordPress site there may need to be a number of upcharges)
      • • these kind of sites are good for popular bloggers who just want to write and not think about the site or do much else with it, and for people in the market for something like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly