WP-News Vol 2 Issue 1 February 2014
Do or Be. That is the question.
Break the habit of thinking what a website will be and think about what a website will do. Any darn fool can put up a website (a survey of the internet will prove that), where the meat of the issue (Where steak meets sizzle) is in what the site does.
Yes a site can and should do something other than sit there looking pretty. It is the old issue between be and do. Templates and free sites abound, but they are aimed at the less than discerning public who think an online brochure is all that they want. Generally that is because they don’t know of any options. Another issue is that the customer conflates the look of a site with its function. Finally the would be web poster forgets that long before computers were used to sell potato chips to unwary consumers it was used to enhance and leverage a business’ bottom line.
There are several reasons for a website and some may over lap. If your reason isn’t here you might want to ask yourself if you really need a website.
- Helps create the idea that the business or organization is real and serious
- Competes with similar businesses and organizations who are already on the web.
- Passive: Online Brochure. Put up a few pictures, some bland copy and call it good.
- Active: Due diligence with SEO best practice and write powerful copy to merge with business specific imagery. Some attempt at outreach with email newsletter
- Aggressive: Blog and cross post with social media. Track usage with google and bing webmaster tools and post to forums to answer questions and never sleep.
- Links to online retailers
- Pre-programmed PayPal sales buttons for limited number of products
- Shopping Cart system for many products with static shipping costs.
- Shopping cart system with live shipping that will calculate shipping by weight and by shipper.
- Online contact form to direct question to right organization
- Online Product knowledge base
- Customer Support Forum
- Online direct text chat
- Distributed access to documents. (access from home or office)
- Document version tracking and sharing
- Work group calendar and project management
- Shared work space for digital documents for stakeholders
- Upload of digital files for internal and customer use.
- Institutional memory
- Internal messaging system
- Training videos, documents etc.
Cut to the Chase
The fact is that the best sites are not those where the client merely said I want a “pretty site” or I want a site like Apple or Amazon. The best sites are the ones that actually fit the client and what the client needs. No developer, no matter how good, can read a client’s mind and most do not bother. It is easy to make a site but hard to make a site that does what is needed for a specific client.
If you want a website but don’t know what you want to do then it is a good idea to figure that out on your own or find someone to help you with options. The major issue for someone not in the web business is to know about and understand the technical options that can be applied to needs and wants.
The first warning sign of a disappointment is when you hear the developer tell you what they will do for you when they should be asking what do you need done.
WordPress Roles Overview
For sites with a community focus there is always confusion about the default roles for WordPress. The default WordPress world allows for several levels of access for a use to do things on a site. Of course one can set the site admin so that any Tom Dick or Harry can post any comment, in most cases a wise admin limits posting of comments to those who are logged in and limits posting of content to known users.
Roles work only for users who have an account with your site and are logged in. WordPress only knows who they are if they are logged in. When an account is created the admin can set the access level for the user. By default a new user is a subscriber.
While a full exploration of the WordPress documentation on roles (http://codex.wordpress.org/Roles_and_Capabilities) might clear up all confusion I will attempt to set down a few simple rules.
All roles can read any public page (unless you are using a members only type access system in which case this is not for you). All roles could comment on a post or page if comments are allowed to logged in users.
Roles in a Nutshell
- Administrator means absolute control over the website installation. An administrator can add plugins, move widgets, edit the navigation and add and remove users. Of course as such an administrator level can blow up a website and render it dead. Only very trusted users should have admin function. VERY TRUSTED!
- Editor can make pages, posts and edit anyone’s pages or posts. This includes uploading images or other media. An important task is to approve comments. The editor focus is content and has access to all content by anyone up to and including deleting the post or page.
- Author can edit their own pages and posts and upload files. An author can publish their own work but have no access to the work of others.
- Contributor can create posts only and these posts must be approved before they are posted live. Contributor can not upload files.
- Subscriber can read only and if your settings allow, comment on posts.
In keeping with the theme that organization and productivity are also reasons for websites, I want to feature one example of a project management plug-in. There are others of course and some very high end that will integrate with existing systems, but here is an example that seems easy to use and has enough features for the small organization or business.
WordPress Plugin info page:
Video How To For Plugin