Ask A Freelancer #10: Specializing in WordPress Design & Development

Got this question just recently via Facebook and decided to expand on my response for another installment of Ask A Freelancer.



How did you decide to specialize in wordpress design, and do you charge your clients for any time you spend training them on it?

WordPress isn’t something I decided to specialize in, it just sort of evolved. My first introduction to the software was with putting together this blog. In the months before leaving my old 9to5, I came home every night and spent hours at the computer slowly teaching myself WordPress and building what was version1.0 of the CMD+Shift Design blog. It was late 2007, I was working with WordPress Version 2.3 — which when I think about it now it was pretty primitive compared to what we know as WordPress today!

Time Lapse from Late 2007 of me learning WordPress and building V1.0 of the blog in the hours after my “9to5” workday was over.

As I worked with the software more and with the big upgrade to features that version 2.5 brought, I was very excited about how vertistile WordPress could be and naturally started selling it to clients. It is not a solution for every type of site, but it is much more than just a blogging platform, for sure!

What I like most about it is how easy it is for my clients to use! Whenever I do a WordPress project I always include a tutorial session at the close of the process. The client has a chance to sit down with the software and get walked through how they will update and maintain their new website. As the software evolves more and more, it has just gotten easier and these sessions rarely last more than a half hour.

Over the last month, I have even opted to make screencast tutorials for my clients  — in a 10 minute video I can walk them through all they need to know and they have that to reference back to whenever they need it! There are also some great resources for helping your clients get familiar with the software, like

I remember the days when having a content management system was an expensive process that was still not very simple for a casual user to pick up and for the most part — websites were fully static creations, meaning if you wanted to change something, you had to edit the code. I’ve dealt with teaching clients how to do basic HTML editing, it was awful! No client should have to deal with that stuff, they have businesses to run and they shouldnt have to shell out my hourly rate everytime they need some contact info changed.

Content manegement systems put the power into you clients hands so that they can grow their business in an efficient way and it ensures that the integrity of the design you have created with them is not compromised by any code blunders along the way.

WordPress isn’t the only game in town, there is a bunch of great CMS’s out there that can do a variety of unique things for you unique projects! There is Joomla, Drupal, Expression Engine, Movable Type, Magento, CushyCMS, CMS Made Simple and a lot more. Download and install and just try one out, see what it can do and think about how it may benefit your clients and you business!