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Why the mis-use of WordPress annoys me

Fairy Blog Mother builds websites with WordPressI’m not a person who usually gets on their high-horse to make a stand, but recently I have come across two instances involving WordPress that have made me angry.

I like to help people to succeed through advice so they travel down the most appropriate road. I don’t like placing barriers in the way to hinder their progress forward. Some people find technology confusing enough without anybody making it difficult for them. So why do some web developers (not designers, as their results show they obviously aren’t that breed) become so protective of their ‘work’ they destroy the very medium they are working with?

WordPress is an open source tool that is available for free to make blogs and websites using a content management system. It has been carefully constructed and designed during the past decade by some clever people in the US to make it as simple as possible to use. It is this simplicity as well as its effectiveness that has made it so popular, and the content management system in place is designed for anyone to edit and make changes wherever needed.

These two incidents I’m referring to consist of blogs that don’t allow their owners to make such changes. When they enter via WordPress’s CMS front doors into the Dashboard, they cannot see the content they wish to amend. The pages are either invisible through what I call ‘back door coding’, or the content within them is not available for editing.

WordPress’s language is .php, which is a usefully simple script that can easily be adapted. It seems to me that web-developers, with all their prior knowledge, like to flex their coding muscles to make their changes and put their ‘slant’ on a WordPress website. This is absolutely fine if a good job is done, but it is not fair if pages and other applications are created in ‘custom’ mode which is not visible via the front door CMS access.

I can’t understand why this CMS that is widely accepted by millions of users is ignored in this way. Is it beneath them to enter the website via the normal methods? CSS is readily available for coding changes, and by all means enter via a FTP browser application, but not to the detriment of the non-technical user.

The website’s owner must be able to make their own changes. If you don’t think they’re capable, then teach them how. It’s not difficult to learn WordPress’s CMS (that is why Fairy Blog Mother was created), especially with a bit of patience and understanding.

Any web developer who is ‘precious’ of their website construction ought to realise that this is detrimental to their continuing relationship with their client, who may resent having to fork out a large amount of money each time a typo needs correcting. They should be only offering professional help wherever it is valid and necessary, particularly if it could further the use of the website in the future.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
Alice Elliott - 30 November 2012

If you are concerned about a client messing up a theme on your WP website, it’s simple to restrict him away from Administrator status where he could do damage. What I am talking about is websites where the poor owner can’t even create a post, not because he is prevented from doing so, but because when he publishes it the design goes completely heywire due to its instability.

If you think owners of WP websites should not be allowed or are prevented from using the CMS facilities because the web programmer hasn’t understood the CMS properties available, then that is in my view short-sighted. Messing about with coding when it isn’t necessary, and purely because you think it is better or you can do it, is not applicable in a well designed CMS like WordPress.

However, highly expert web developers can create wonderful things with WordPress; I just wish those aspiring yet incompetent thugs who think they can develop a WordPress site are actively redirected away into doing something less destructive.

Sharon - 4 July 2013

I’ve heard web designers/developers actually state they don’t like to give full admin to clients. In my opinion that is the whole point of clients paying me to develop them a wordpress website is to enable them to have control in the future rather than being beholden to myself or another designer for changes.

Sure, sometimes they make mistakes and ask me to fix them, but in most cases they’ve set off flying and never looked back. And I am proud of that.

    Alice Elliott - 4 July 2013

    I’m glad you allow your clients access to their website’s functions, otherwise what is the point of a content management system?

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