WordPress is supposed to be easy. So why is it driving me crazy?
You’re a successful, educated, innovative business owner – and you’ve got big plans for your new web site. You talked to friends, family and co-workers … and everybody said the same thing:
“WordPress is super-easy. You can totally do it yourself!”
“My brother-in-law built a WordPress site in an hour. He’d be happy to show you how!”
“Just sign up and install a theme … no problem!”
“And by the way, it’s free!”
Yeah, right. What you quickly discovered is that your advanced degrees, years of experience and go-getter spirit are no match for the seemingly bottomless pit of frustrations that come with learning WordPress for the first time. You’re in this to build a business – not to learn how to code – and it seems like every “easy installation” or “five minute job” is an infuriating mirage that wastes hours of your precious time.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Your frustration is part of the design.
WordPress is billed as “easy” and “one-click” because that’s what everyone wants to hear. It’s true, to a degree – I’ve been developing web sites professionally since 1999, and I use WordPress every day because it is easier than its competitors. But that’s a relative term, and it definitely does not mean it is plug-and-play for someone who’s never been under the hood of a web site before. (You can’t even copy-and-paste text into a blog post without a learning curve!) The iPhone is easy. Facebook is easy. Compared to the software you engage with in daily life, WordPress is hard.
WordPress is also an ecosystem that is intentionally designed to create paying work for designers and developers. It’s promoted as “free” because that makes a nice headline, but you’ve quickly discovered that doing just about anything requires a mystical array of plugins and customizations … and usually a call to a coder who’d be happy to charge you by the hour.
This is a great business model: the core software is free, which creates wide adoption and a vast market of people who need programming help. But it feels backward and deceptive when you’re just starting out, especially when you’ve been sold on a simple, one-click solution.
There’s really no such thing as an ‘easy’ web site.
When you’re creating a web site to support and grow your business, everybody is going to pitch you on the next “easy” thing. Please delete their e-mails and throw their business cards away. They are selling you something that doesn’t exist: a painless solution to a complex problem.
The hard truth is that you will need to put some energy and effort into building a functional knowledge of how web sites work in order to run a successful web site for your business. But when you think about it, doesn’t that make sense? You don’t buy into get-rich-quick schemes. You put a ton of research into setting up your business entity, correctly filing your taxes and launching your marketing campaigns. You work your ass off creating amazing content, products and services. A successful business owner knows there are no shortcuts, and your web site is no different.
However, you also don’t want to waste the next year learning how to code. There has to be a better way – a healthy balance between hiring a developer (whose work you can’t understand) and taking a four-year detour to get a computer science degree. So you start Googling, and you find yourself on YouTube, watching one of the millions of WordPress tutorials. Then you start getting mad.
“This guy talked for half an hour … and I learned nothing!”
“He just told me to put a snippet of code in the header. Where the hell is the header?!”
“I just wasted my night … and all I got was a sales pitch for a plugin I don’t want to buy.”
The people on those videos may indeed be WordPress experts – but they’re so deep in the code, so immersed in computer science, so accustomed to sitting in dark basements staring at screens all day, that they cannot, for the life of them, explain even the most basic WordPress concepts to a normal person.
Being a good coder is not the same thing as being a good teacher. And also, if we’re being honest, being too good a teacher would put most of these guys out of a job, because they’re counting on you to get so frustrated that you decide to pay them $75 an hour.
In the end, this approach hurts everybody. The coders are stuck in their bizarre, anti-social bubble, wondering why they’re so awesome and everyone else is so lame. And as a business owner – with a great education, a long resumé and expert knowledge in your specialty area – you end up feeling embarrassed that you can’t figure WordPress out.
You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You have all the intelligence, experience and hustle you need to build a beautiful, professional web site for your business. Until now, you’ve just had terrible teachers.
Introducing WP Assurance, the business owner’s guide to WordPress without a developer
Remember that strange paradox, where coders don’t want you to learn too much, because they want you to hire them? Good news: You can’t hire me.
I’m Rob Howard, the founder and author of WP Assurance. I’ve been developing web sites professionally for nearly 20 years. I learned to code when I was 12 years old. Since 2008, I’ve owned a small web site development firm, and we’re totally booked. We actively manage 50+ WordPress sites, and new clients join us at a typical retainer rate of $1,000 per month.
However, a lot of my friends are business owners and entrepreneurs who genuinely need my help – but can’t justify the expense of hiring my company. WP Assurance is my way to give back to my fellow entrepreneurs, and make sure you’re not trapped in a bad situation with bad advice from a sketchy developer – without asking you to take out a second mortgage to pay the bill.
There’s one more key difference – I am not, and have never been, a pure computer science guy. I learned to code, and became an expert in all things WordPress, because I’ve always had a passion for journalism and publishing. My web development firm is successful not because I stare at loops and functions all day, but because I can bridge the gap between advanced technology and regular human beings. It feels effortless for me, because it’s a natural fit for my personality and skill set, but it’s a challenge under which most coders crumble.
What you’ll learn in WordPress Without a Developer
I’ve designed my new series, WordPress Without a Developer, to help you take control of your web site, stop wrangling with coders who benefit from your frustration and embarrassment, and finally escape the rabbit hole of YouTube tutorials.
I will teach you exactly what you need to know – and none of the jargon you don’t – to build an amazing site yourself. When your business grows and it’s time to hire, you’ll have the knowledge you need to make an informed, responsible decision, and you’ll never be at the mercy of a coder again.
Get started with my free, instant guide comparing the three most popular web site software options – WordPress vs. Squarespace vs. Shopify. It’ll be in your inbox instantly, and you can dig in and walk away with useful, actionable knowledge in less than 10 minutes. Everything I do is fast, efficient and to-the-point – designed for busy business owners, just like you.