I am appalled by the number of people who work with WordPress for a living but don’t use it outside of work.
To me, it would be like a mechanic who works all day on high-end cars, but rides a bike home to work and never takes the car out of the garage. Ultimately, this makes little sense.
As a car owner, I would have little faith in the abilities of a non-driver understanding my needs. I’ll describe a problem in a certain way that, by calling also on personal experience, other drivers would understand fairly quickly. A non-driver, though, will need hand-holding to pick up on things.
As a customer, I want a mechanic who understands what I’m going through. Someone who can relate to my concerns, pains, and goals.
My customers often want the same thing from a developer.
Using a Tool
In my day job, I use WordPress both as an editorial tool and as an application platform.
After I clock out for the day, I primarily use WordPress as a platform. It powers several of my personal, non-blog projects and life wouldn’t be the same without it. But, until this year, I used the software as an editorial tool very rarely.
Considering many of my clients are news outlets, this is a problem. Rapid releases in WordPress result in changing editorial UX. Without being in the admin, writing content every day, I have little insight to the problems my clients face.
As my wife and I were out to dinner the other day, I had the misfortune to be stuck in an elevator with a crowd of people after one woman saw my WordPress t-shirt and exclaimed, “I hate WordPress!”
The next 20 minutes involved me standing patiently in a small box, listening to every gripe and complaint this woman had with the software. It turned out she didn’t really hate WordPress – she was a power user who wanted a specific feature from DreamWeaver included in WordPress’ WYSIWYG.
Conveniently, I had faced the exact same issue a few days before while drafting a blog post. She wanted to insert a line break, without the WYSIWYG inserting a new paragraph. I listened to her rants, then told her to just press Shift + Enter.
“Wait, what? It’s that easy? Wow. This WordPress thing isn’t as bad as I thought.”
It’s a start!
Publishing a post every day has helped me do several things:
- Increase repeat traffic through my site
- Build discipline in establishing a daily habit
- Identify editorial pain points that I can characterize from a developer’s perspective
Knowing a feature is lacking is one thing. Having a solid, developer-friendly bug report to help guide remediation is another thing entirely. Often our clients will establish convoluted workarounds rather than raising issues to avoid looking dumb. WordPress is huge – if I don’t understand it, something must be wrong with me, right?
Not every developer is a writer – but every developer can write. Even if only a few words a day, taking time to sit down and use a tool in the same manner of our clients is a beneficial practice for all involved.
If you disagree with the daily blogging “trend,” I’d how you’d build familiarity with WordPress from an editorial perspective with developers. If they’re not writing, how will they understand the workflow of writers?