One strength of WordPress is that it uses an interface that most of us have seen before. We’re familiar with application dashboards, page editors that look like Word processors, and changing an app’s settings. Because of that, WordPress is a manageable tool for many users.
But to really master WordPress to meet your needs, takes time – too much time. For many small business owners, a line is crossed when DIY makes no economic sense.
I look at it this way.
I can do a lot of small electrical things around the house even if I shouldn’t. But when it comes to the big stuff – like putting in a dedicated 120v line to the circuit breaker – I know it’s time to call the electrician. I’m not that adventurous.
Perhaps my example overstates the case, but you get the point.
When Should You Outsource?
Because WordPress is touted as being easy to use, knowing when to go for outside help may be a little harder to ascertain than you might think. Here are a few red lines that when crossed, means it’s time to turn to outside help.
1. Realizing The Job Is A One-Time Task
At first you may not realize that what you’re trying to do is a task you’ll only do one time. If it is complicated or requires expertise you can’t – or won’t – learn, then it’s time to go outside.
For example, migrating a site to a new web host. Not all web hosts will do this for you or you may not want them to do it. If you are going to move a site once every five years, you don’t want to spend the time to learn how to do it. This includes learning any plugin that helps you do the migration.
2. Spending Too Much Time Trying To Figure Something Out
This can apply to anything. It depends on you. You may even want to turn to a group like the WPNYC Online Help Desk on Facebook to get some friendly advice.
See you there!
3. Doing Custom Work On Your Database
Unless you are comfortable with MySQL (the database application used by WP sites), don’t touch your database. The DB is the brains of your site, and unless you know how to do brain surgery, you best hire someone who does.
4. Creating A Custom Style For Your Site
5. Creating Artwork
A lot of people, like me, can muddle their way through Photoshop or Illustrator. And there are lots of great sites where you can license Royalty Free images.
If you need top notch art direction, hire a pro like a member of the Graphic Artist Guild. If product shots are what you need, put down that crummy cellphone camera and hire a professional photographer like my daughter, Bree Kraus.
The same holds true for multimedia. If the home video look from a cellphone works for you, you won’t need to hire a videographer. Otherwise, you will.
Since the web is a text based medium, it follows that this is a most important skill. If you love to write, you’ve got barrelsful of free ink and paper (which may not always be a good thing when crafting web words).
Get yourself an editor, copywriter, or at least a proofreader. You can get this sort of help from wordsmiths that belong to the Editorial Freelances Association or Editors Canada. Fortunately, I have a Wizard Of Words who watches over most of what I do.
Less Obvious Tasks Not To DIY
It could be much simpler things like
- keeping WordPress up-to-date,
- re-organizing your site’s menu,
- getting your image to look right, or
- tweaking the style of your site to get the look you want
…and on it goes, right?