Your development company pushes your new, animated, background-video, responsive, scroll-jacked heavyweight WordPress website live. You send it out to your friends, eblast your Clients and show it around town like a prized poodle. Sure it cost a lot, but look at that thing – it’s so shiny!
A little while later, the boss asks you to change his bio. He’s actually been at the company 16 years, not 15.
You dig out the WordPress admin login details from your web designer or developer and login to your new admin so you can easily update your leader’s extra annum.
It’s then that you realize that your shiny new site needs a recall. Where is his damn bio? How the bloody hell do I change that 15 to a 16 without the page turning blue? Why is the text breaking? AARRGGHH!!! I thought I already uploaded that pdf. Screw it, I’ll just delete the page. Oh no? UNDO!!
The back-end admin functionality and user experience barely concerns many WordPress Developers, but can be a nightmare for those of us tasked with keeping a website updated with fresh content. Sure, it has no effect on your brand or your end-user experience, but in terms of keeping your site up to date, visually consistent and “alive”, how the content management interface of your site works is key.
There are normally 2 poor outcomes for site administrators…
AKA – A shiny new car containing a dashboard with hundreds of buttons, dials and sliders stuck together with duct tape.
Visual Composer is a plugin for WordPress that is supposed to make it easier to manage blocks of content on pages and posts. Many “paid for” themes use it, with a a little fanfare about how it “makes managing your page’s content a breeze”. For most people the breeze is a little strong, and becomes a terrifying, cumbersome tornado matrix of confusion. You spend whole months adding rows and blocks, moving them around and refreshing your new page every 5 minutes. Plus, you are kind of stuck with it forever. The only way out is a painful amount of un-budgeted for development work.
The Big White Wordpress Content Box
AKA – a shiny new car with wires and cables where the dash should be and a single big red button saying “do not press”.
AKA – the WYSIWYG.
WordPress comes with a visual/code editor window, otherwise known as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. Most of the time what you see is not at all what you get. These boxes have a purpose – maybe for adding a couple of text paragraphs or a single heading and text, but a lot of developers will add a ton of HTML markup into that box in order to get their page to layout correctly.
That means, when you come to edit it, you HAVE to know HTML or your page will break. HTML training is not widespread amongst marketing departments that are often tasked with maintaining your site, so updates end up looking awful and off-brand, or get sent back to the developer to complete for extra cost. Which sort of defeats the creation of a CMS to begin with.
The Alternative Admin for Wordpress CMS
There is another way, that will save you hours of frustration and training and keep your site content relevant. Build the back-end like you do the front. Find out who is using it and how they will need to use it, wireframe it, build it bespoke but flexible, and keep it as simple and clear as possible. Remove anything that isn’t needed, create space for your company logo, change a few color’s. Brand and design the admin so it works brilliantly for your Client.
Less time refreshing, more time getting refreshed.