Just because you know WordPress…

...Doesn't mean your client does too!

I've been diving into the world of consulting a lot more than ever before. I have always been pretty hands on the projects I work on, usually I'm the guy installing WordPress and configuring it. Usually I'm the guy installing the Linux repositories and cloning devices. I'm the guy that manages Active Directory while keeping tabs on the backup system. Lately though, I'm being called to serve in as a consultant, where I bring forth my expertise instead of my technical skills --though, these are always just within reach.

I've discovered something both about my own abilities and about the abilities of other people. We should never assume anything about somebody else's technical ability on a computer. This is especially true when you're working with a client instead of a peer. I recently had to help somebody who was struggling with a new wordpress sitte. They paid someone to produce a website and they did, but when they finished, they simply passed it on to the client and expected the client to know where stuff was. They didn't explain that the sidebars were hardcoded for example, so the client couldn't change the content via the widgets... They didn't even know they had widgets. The vendor dismissed the client saying that this is "basic" website stuff and quoted them some exorbitant amount for training.

As a 10+ year veteran in the technology field, I take for granted what I know. Often I forget that most people don't install blogs, wikis, webservers and databases on a daily basis. Most people will never install one of those in their lives. Sometimes the challenge is much less technical and it involves something simple like posting a link on a website. As sysadmins and heavily web oriented people, we must keep in mind that most of our clients will never have the ability necessary to maintain their own stuff, or to learn to do "it all" by themselves. They have a business to run and widgets to sell, chances are they don't want to know how to post a properly crafted XFN link or other stuff like that.

WordPress is very easy, compared to how difficult is used to be to make a website... but remember, it is easy for you, but not necesarily so for your client. They have to learn, they are usually unsure if they should click here or there, does it matter if they create a new page or a new post? Do yourself a favor and your client as well, teach them how to use the tools you provide them with. Better yet, provide them better tools.