Web Development

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.

Question

Liz,

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 WordPress.tv.

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!

Best Gifts for the Design Nerd & Internet Geek You Love in 2009

The end of the year is approaching, and many people are taking this time to reflect on the year past and the people in their lives who have made it so memorable.

Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or just celebrating the love in your life, finding a unique gift for that design nerd closest to you just got a little easier — here’s my 2009 gift list!

Days of the Week T-shirt Set

A new color for each day! These shirts could be fun for any color lover in your life – and on those hectic work weeks — they could come in handy when you can’t remember what day it is!

On sale right now at Cotton Factory for only $65 for the whole 7 T-shirt set!

Pop-Up Cards

You don’t even have to be a designer to appreciate these beautiful pop-up cards at PubliqueShop. At $4.50 per card, these may not be something you will want to send out to everyone on your mailing list, but will make a real impression on those who deserve something a little special! These aren’t just cards, they’re tiny works of art!

Typography Coasters

Coasters are perfect for any designers desk! Looks like a set of 4 will run you $45 for these Bamboo letter jumbles set in Baskerville Semibold.

Would it be over doing it to pair these coasters with the typography coffee table I featured last year?

Helbotica T-Shirt

No gift list for designers would be complete of course without a Helvetica Fan item! This tshirt is specifically for the nerd in your life who has cross over nerdisms for typography and robots! Meet Helbotica!

These shirts are available in sizes for Men, Women and Kids and multiple colors starting at $20.

Shirts For Coders

ShirtsForCoders.com has a whole store of shirts with silly slogans that show off your code nerd status. There are only 14 items on the site right now, but you’re likely to find something there that will make your favorite Web Developer chuckle. Prices start at just $19!

The Ruler Gun

Here’s one that’s sure to make a BANG! (Sorry, I had to say it!)  This wooden office ruler shaped like a pistol may not be something you’d put in your kids pencil box, but that special someone in your life who spends their days sketching will get a kick out of having this on their desk! It’s $12.49 from the Paris boutique, Atypyk. Ammunition not included.

Typography Soap

This gift will give a whole new meaning to “clean type,” its the Typography Soap from Charles & Marie and since the site is offering FREE shipping this week, I would head over there and pick this up now if you want it. It’s $20 per bar, which is a lot for some soap — but I can’t image anyone would actually USE it, more something you can display on your bookshelf next to your design books! :)

Well that’s it!

7 gift ideas for you to share with your loved ones, whether  you plan to grab one of these for them or you want them to get them for YOU! Is there something amazing I didn’t include? Leave a comment and let me know about it!

You can check out my 2 gift lists posts from 2008 if you are looking for even more nerdy schwag! 7 Gifts for the Design Nerd in your Life and More Gifts for the Design Nerd and Internet Geek in your life

How to Move WordPress To a New Server

Today I had the task of moving an existing WordPress Site from one hosts server to another. For a basic blog, this isn’t much of a big deal at all — but the particular site has a very large database, multiple plugins and a ton of customizations done to it that made the prospect of relocating it a horrifying thought!

I was really happy to have found a great blog post on the matter at WordPress Me! that gives clear and easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how this can be done with minimal headaches!

Any of you who work with WordPress should bookmark this post, it is solid gold!!! A big thanks to Shayne, who wrote the post!