WordPress Webdesigner Blues

Scenario #1 - It happens-  Your wordpress webdesigner says they can deliver a top-notch site.  They actually deliver, but in the end, they:

  • Can't or won't support your site.
  • Get too busy to work on your "smaller" account
  • Just plain go out of business

Scenario #2 - You have someone design your site and halfway through the process you have a difference of opinion, and wind up parting ways.  Or a one week job takes 3 months.

Here's what you do to keep your website up and running smoothly, or get it up and running if it is not completed.

Step #1- Don't Panic

Things like this do happen.  Instead of using every expletive you can think of, just relax and try to focus on getting your site stable and/or completed.

Step #2 - Gather all files, themes, and graphics

Gather all the information that you provided the web designer originally including:

  • Files
  • graphics,(including logos)
  • attachments (pdf files)
  • urls
  • email correspondence to the designer - this will come in handy later.
  • any other pertinent information that you use on your site.

Step #3 - Gather all usernames and passwords

You should have all of these already, but in case you don't you should have at minimum the following:

  • WordPress username and password
  • Webhosting username and password

Out of the two of these, your webhosting password is the most important.  If you had the designer purchase your hosting account.  He/she probably has the login information for your site.  The reason that the webhosting login is important is that you have access to the actual account that hosts your wordpress site.

This gives you the option,(only if absolutely necessary), to delete your wordpress install and start fresh.  If you are totally sure that you will not want the webdesigner that left you anymore then you should change the password to the site so that they will no longer have access.

The WordPress and Webhosting passwords should be changed.  You should first see all users in the wordpress dashboard.  If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, contact me at wp-tutoring.com and I can step you through the process.  Essentially, the admin user password should be changed so that you are the one that has access to the site.  The former designer should not have any admin privileges at all - if he or she is bitter, they can do the following:

  • Add crazy pages/posts to your site
  • Change the menu structure
  • Add/remove pictures
  • Delete site altogether.

In other words - they can do what they want.  You must make sure that you "lock" them out of your site.

Step #4 - Do a site backup if you haven't done one already

You should use a backup utility to backup your site - If you are pretty familiar with wordpress, and you know the theme you're using at bare minimum you should do an export of the site.  This is done under Tools > export in your wordpress dashboard.

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Step #5 - Do a site assessment

Now is the time to look over your site and see how it has been performing, or if it is not complete, what is missing from your original vision of the site.  Did you want a twitter feed?  Are the pictures out of date?  Is the site running on an old version of wordpress?  Make sure your write these things down because they will come in handy for the next two steps.

Step #6 - Start shopping around for a wordpress tutor, or a new wordpress webdeveloper

Once you have everything in hand, now start shopping for a new wordpress developer.  There are two main types that fall in this category:

  • Agency - (Larger scale webdesign firms that have persons on staff that are wordpress "gurus"
  • Freelancer - (Person not affiliated with a design firm that has experience with wordpress)

Either choice will work, but in the case of a freelancer, make sure you get samples of work, and references.  Freelancers are generally cheaper than agencies, and usually don't have as much red tape.  If however you have a larger budget, an agency might be the way to go.

Step #7 - Make lemons out of lemonade, update your site.

Remember your site assessment, now is the time to pull out your punchlist and let the new designer give you exactly what you need for your site.  If you are in the process of building or rebuilding make sure that you get what you are paying for.  Some things to include might be:

  • Upgrading to the latest version of wordpress,(security and added functionality)
  • Adding Social Media
  • SEO
  • Adding new testimonials, videos, and Customer reviews

Step #8 - Learn WordPress so you won't have to go through this ordeal again

I know, I know, everyone has varying levels when it comes to tech, however; you must learn at least the basics about wordpress in order to keep your next designer semi honest, or at the very least keep your site going when you're in between wordpress webdesigners.

At the very least you should know how to:

  • Add/ delete users
  • Add/ delete posts and pages
  • Add media files such as pictures and videos to your site
  • Backup your site
  • Know your way around the "dashboard"

If you need help there are numerous resources online.  A great way to learn is by using a wordpress tutor that can usually get you back on track within an hour or two.  Click here to learn more about wp-tutoring.com


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