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We’re offering a new WordPress Support option!

I don’t often blog about particular services we offer, not directly anyway, but I’m very excited about this particular one as it addresses a long-standing niggle. Before I describe the new service, though, let me explain just what itch it is scratching.

The World’s Favourite CMS

WordPress is a hugely popular, and very capable, content management system (CMS) for websites. It runs somewhere in the region of 16%-17% of all the world’s websites. Whilst it started as a blogging platform (and indeed is still a very popular choice in that area), it has developed into a content management system that underpins many different types of website.

As a website developer I have created sites using WordPress that act as online brochures, event management services, ecommerce sites and much more. There are few uses to which WordPress cannot be put, although its more capable at certain tasks that others. For instance, if you need a site to run a high volume online shop, with built in stock management, then it may not be the best option.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

It’s also worth pointing out the difference between a site hosted by WordPress themselves (wordpress.com), and a self-hosted site (wordpress.org). On the former, WordPress host the site and have a great degree of control over the content management side of things. On a self-hosted setup, you install the WordPress software on your hosting account and have complete control over it.

Pretty much every site I create these days is self-hosted, as that gives enough control to choose any design, and implement features that aren’t possible on a WordPress-hosted site (e.g. Google Analytics). It’s also essential if you want to consider anything beyond a blog or ‘brochure’ site.

The Perils of Popularity

Being such a popular platform for creating a website provides both benefits and disadvantages. The upside is that there is a strong team of developers pushing the base product forward and plugging security holes. There is also a vibrant user community developing addons and extensions (plugins), and designs (themes).

The downside, though, is that popularity makes it a great target for hackers and their ilk. As so many sites use WordPress, discovery of a loophole or backdoor is greeted with joy by the hacker community, as it could lead to access to thousands of sites.

For this reason, anyone whose website is based on WordPress should expect their developer(s) to keep WordPress at pretty much the latest version (currently 3.4.1) as this will ensure that most of the known issues have been fixed. There may be a slight cost involved with this, but the alternative is a hacker either taking your site down completely, or using it to spread malware (which will result in it being blacklisted, which is an even bigger problem).

Outdated Training

So, just as you wouldn’t run a car without taking it for regular servicing, you should be updating WordPress and the plugins on your site to ensure it is secure. However, one issue with constant updates is that those clever WordPress developers don’t jsut limit themselves to security fixes. Nope, they go and improve the functionality as well!

“Surely that’s a good thing?” I hear you say. Well, yes it is, but it also serves to make less relevant the training you got when your site went live. But since each training session not only involves about an hour in front of people actually delivering the content, but a lot more time researching and preparing said content, it could get very expensive for customers if they are having refresher courses every few months.

The Solution

But now I have an answer that I’m very happy to offer to customers, and to those who have a WordPress site but struggle to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. The solution consists of the following:

  • Over 30 videos covering pretty much everything about the core WordPress functionality a user might want to know
  • Videos professionally produced and of very high quality
  • An on-line manual for those that prefer to read, or just need to quickly look-up a particular function
  • The ability to add customer-specific or plugin-specific videos to a customer’s library
  • Videos cover all major releases of WordPress (some small bug-fix releases are ignored)
  • Only videos relevant to the customer’s version of WordPress are shown
  • One payment to cover all customer staff
  • All accessed from within the WordPress admin panel

The benefits

For customers there are obvious benefits:

  • Professional-quality training videos available whenever needed
  • On-line manual for quick look-ups
  • Training material is always up-to-date and relevant to their version of wordpress
  • Everything available within their website admin panel – just where it needs to be
  • No need for expensive refresher training courses

I’m very excited to be able to offer such an elegant and effective support solution to existing customers. Have a look at our support page for more details on pricing.

But wait, if you have a WordPress site that wasn’t created by Four Lakes, then this can be added to your site too! Get in touch directly and we can help you keep up-to-date with the latest changes to WordPress.

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