Update: The author of the original post emailed me directly and we’re talking. He said that he appreciated the article I wrote, despite the fact that I disagreed with most of it. In the spirit of improving the lives of WP users, we’re talking about ways to implement specific ideas and it looks like he’ll be blogging about these things soon!
I read an article, http://www.webinsation.com/rethinking-wordpress-as-a-cms/, the URL is in plain text bc this person doesn’t deserve ANOTHER link.
For most clients WordPress is overwhelming
First off, I should say that I agree with this statement in so far as you add the phrasing “out of the box” and “non-technical”, oh and switch “is” to “can be”. Maybe, like this:
For most non-technical clients, WordPress out of the box can be overwhelming
If you have been hired to install, configure, design, and implement a site on WordPress it is your JOB to teach your clients how to use it. That means that if your clients are overwhelmed, it’s YOUR fault. Not the clients, not WordPress. If 60million websites are made on WordPress, it isn’t that hard.
As an example, let’s talk about Microsoft Word, which is arguably the most used text editor in the world. It has more unused and cluttered features than WordPress by a long shot, but these same users who are having so much trouble with WordPress seem to figure out Word. So, I suggest that you spend a little time putting things into context for your customers instead of dropping them in and walking away.
When the average business owner logs in to WordPress they are greeted with a host of options including “Custom Types”, “Appearance”, “Plugins”, “Tools”, “Permalinks”, “Widgets” and on and on. Even when they do finally figure out how to edit a page, they see symbols entitled “Remove Formatting”, “Insert Special Character”, and even “Text Colors”.
Why is there a menu item at the top of a client’s install called “Custom Types”? You should name a custom post type in a user friendly manner so that it is obvious what the user is doing. Again, this is your fault. Not WordPress’. Try something like “Beers” or “Testimonials” that makes sense for the type of content that is being entered.
I will give you that “Appearance”, “Plugins”, “Tools”, “Permalinks”, “Widgets” are all features that are special to WordPress. These are all things that you can hide from your customers. You could also just train them properly.
To hide these things from your users you can do it as easily as giving your customers lower-level users (Author maybe) or you could create a new user type and define their roles using the Role Scoper plugin (super easy to configure). The last option, if you feel like it’s morally incorrect to modify a user’s permissions is to copy and paste this code from an article called How to Make WordPress Easier for Clients.
a fresh install of WordPress is almost as overwhelming for our Clients as Photoshop is to a beginning photographer.
How is a fresh install of WordPress any different than any other WYSIWYG editor out there, including MSFT Word and so very many sites on the web. Even “antiquated” sites like yahoo groups have WYSIWYG editors built in (yes, they hide it by default, but they have it). Also, WordPress uses TinyMCE which is arguably one of the MOST used editors on the internet, even if you cut out all 60million sites on WordPress.
As a creative community, we really haven’t put much thought into designing a beautiful, simple solution that is a joy to use. Rather it’s more like “Okay, so you need to edit the site? We’ll build it on top of WordPress and charge you an extra 3-5K”.
Building the site on WordPress should not add an extra $3-5k, because you can cut the PSD or illustrator file down to HTML/CSS specifically for WordPress, skipping the step of hand-coding and then integrating. It’s kind of crappy to add that much money to a website cost, just because you are putting it on WordPress. It really doesn’t get much more easy to build a theme for a website. The fact that it’s a WP theme should only add a couple hours of work and definitely not $3,000+. As an aside, if you claim installing WordPress is costly, most hosting accounts have a one-click-install. Without one-click, it takes 5 minutes to install WordPress. 30 max, if you have to install MySQL and PHP to Linux yourself.
Actually, the correct way to change images is to click on the image, select “Add Media” and then insert the new image – not very intuitive or simple.
This is true, you do have to click “Add media”, select an image and then click “Insert into post”. Dragging directly into the editor would be better, but you have to remember that this is a web-based system and dragging/using within the browser requires flash or Java. WordPress is almost there, they have the drag-drop for upload already – adding drag-insert to the WYSIWYG editor is a step away, but then people would bitch and complain that the images aren’t in the media manger, that they can’t edit them, blah blah blah. The solution isn’t ideal, but have you ever used Joomla?
But how about creating an advanced 2-column layout like Dropmark’s site?
This is easily done by using The Loop with posts. Yes, you could do a custom post type as well. Or, you could just add a category for the homepage. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but it all boils down to using The Loop. This is basic WP templating.
Or maybe a beautiful one-pager like Circles Conference :
Use Google, find a theme that exists and modify it. WP and all plugins, themes are GPL – so you can (and should) build off someone else’s work. That’s about as easy and effective as it gets.
It’s very difficult to build advanced responsive layouts with WordPress.
It’s really not that hard. Use a theme that exists and is responsive or add Bootstrap to your CSS files, you should be using a reset anyways. Then to make custom fields and content areas on specific pages, you can just use add_meta_box in your functions.php file to make this process easier. The functions that WordPress adds make things about as easy as they could be. Yes, there’s code involved (OMG) but most of that code is copy/paste and doesn’t require anything more than basic understanding of Mad Libs to figure it out.
Instead of writing flaming link bait articles to help you sell more square readers, maybe you could do a little research and write articles that give people practical knowledge. Also, it will improve the quality of sites and the functionality that you provide the customers who dropped $10,000+ on a website.